Alan Sidney Richards 1945-2017


RRA and MRRA Record Breaker Alan Richards died on 25th April 2017, at his home in Normandy where he had lived for many years. His thatched cottage caught fire during the evening and, although the village neighbours called the fire brigade, nothing could be done to save Alan.

Alan held all four National RRA 25 mile records at the same time, on bike, trike, tandem and tandem trike. He was also a breaker of many Midland RRA records, again on all types of machine, some of which still stand.

Born in Birmingham on 14th October 1945, Alan inherited and ran Tower Cycles in Erdington after his father died whilst Alan was at college. Eventually it became the largest bike shop in Birmingham. He was a prolific time trialist on all four types of machine, breaking tricycle competition record for ten miles. He was also an RRA Observer, helping out particularly on the long distance attempts of Pat Kenny and John Taylor. He also acted as team mechanic for me at three World University Cycling Championships and at one time sponsored a Professional cyclo cross team.

Alan was a great Francophile and had become fluent in the language through his own immersion in the country, its history and its culture. After many years visiting and travelling through France, he decided to settle in the small village of Trouville-la-Haule, in the Normandy countryside not far from Le Havre, and just 1Km from the River Seine. There he was adopted by the locals as (almost!) one of their own, although he did object when he was once accused of speaking fluently, though with a Birmingham accent!

Alan was a fan of cars and especially vintage sports cars. He had a small fleet of these, very well maintained. He became a well known figure in the MG Car Club of France, regularly taking part in their gatherings and even organising events. The memories and salutations of their members have been much appreciated.

Alan also had a fine record collection, especially of Jazz and Blues, but also including Classical and even Gregorian Chant. Some people may think that his favourite could have been Sinatra's "I did it my way", but in fact it was Dylan's "the times they are a'changing'. Well, they certainly have now.

Alan and I shared many happy, indeed hilarious times together, we also shared a few dark momemnts. He was a great friend and I shall miss him. He had not been well in recent years and had made no trips back to England for some time. I should like to think of him falling asleep in his chair, in front of the open hearth, a half empty glass of wine or whisky by his side, and not knowing what happened to him.

A full tribute to Alan can be found here

Tony Shardlow