Slightly more of an epitaph ( was: Not much of an epitaph)

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Guy Chapman, May 9, 2003.

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  1. Guy Chapman

    Guy Chapman Guest

    Those who read with sadness of the death of BHPC founder-member Steve Donaldson might like to read
    the Telegraph obituary, reprinted below.

    Available online at <
    - requires registration.

    Steve Donaldson (Filed: 02/05/2003)

    Steve Donaldson, who has died aged 38, was a noted proponent of recumbent cycling, in which the
    rider lies back on a low machine rather than sitting upright, as on a conventional bike.

    Recumbent cycles first appeared a century ago and can achieve great speeds. They are, however,
    banned from competing in conventional cycling races. As a founder member and secretary of the
    British Human Power Club (BHPC), the organisation fostering interest in human-powered vehicles,
    Donaldson and his Australian-born wife, Sherri, helped to promote the club's annual recumbent race
    series across some eight venues from Manchester to Milton Keynes, and were involved in hosting the
    European Championships every six years.

    Donaldson owned four recumbents, including a Kingcycle and a K-drive Wasp, both fitted with
    fairings of his own design, and competed at every distance from 200 m sprints to 50-mile road
    races. In 1995 he represented the United Kingdom at the World Championships. In the heat of
    competition he was always good-natured. The duel between him and Nick Green in the open-class final
    at the World Championships 2002 at Lelystad in the Netherlands proved intense, yet Donaldson wore
    his habitual grin throughout. He once suggested that the unofficial motto of the BHPC might be "Lie
    Down And Be Counted".

    John Steven Donaldson was born in Aberdeen on April 28 1964, and educated at Robert Gordon's College
    and Aberdeen University, graduating with honours in Geography. From an early age he was a keen
    cyclist and a lover of the great outdoors; he lived for a time in Ecuador, and ski-toured in the
    high latitudes of Norway and Finland.

    For the last 15 years he was a project manager with Aberdeen Environmental Education Centre and
    designed walking trails round the city, covering themes including the Second World War and "how to
    live with trees".

    As well as representing the United Kingdom in the International Human Powered Vehicle Association,
    Donaldson was a member of the Cyclists' Touring Club, and travelled extensively across Europe,
    racing many times, always on a recumbent. While representing the United Kingdom in a series of
    international races in Denmark in 1993, he met his wife, who was also a recumbent racing and touring
    cyclist. Between them they owned seven machines, and were a familiar daily sight around their home
    in Aberdeen.

    A gourmet and trencherman, Donaldson was also a great francophile; on one tour of France, he ate his
    way through his tight budget and was forced to return home early. He also managed to burn out his
    brakes during a spirited 11-mile descent of a Tour de France col.

    At the time of his death, on April 23, Donaldson was in the process of building an
    advanced-engineered carbon-fibre recumbent, and had contributed to a BHPC publication on building a
    human-power vehicle. His favourite machine was The Speedy, a three-wheeled (two at the front, one at
    the back) cycle built by Mike Burrows, the engineer who designed the Lotus on which Chris Boardman
    took Olympic gold.

    A member of Deeside Thistle Road Club, Scotland's largest cycling club, Donaldson was able to
    compete against conventional machines in closed club races. He savaged the record time established
    by Graeme Obree for a local 10-mile course, clocking just over 19 minutes, an average speed in
    excess of 31 mph.

    He died in a road accident near his home while riding a recumbent; his wife survives him.

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