Obituary: Ivor Reid, Scottish cycling coach and competitor
Ivor Reid, who has died aged 57, was a highly successful and popular Scottish cycling coach from Inverness who also enjoyed a successful career in the saddle.
Many of the country’s top cyclists over the past two decades or so benefited hugely from his input, including Sir Chris Hoy, Ross Edgar, Craig Maclean and James McCallum.
In particular, as national track coach for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne he was a major influence behind the record haul of six medals won by the Scots on the track – one gold, one silver and four bronze, with Hoy, Edgar and Maclean combining to win gold in the team sprint.
He was also a valued member of Scottish Cycling’s track and Road Commission.
As a competitive cyclist he won domestic honours on the track, the Highland Games circuit and shorter road races, but the win he cherished above all else was his World Masters Championships gold medal in the team sprint at Manchester in 2006 with teammates Steve Cronshaw and Dave Robson.
He also won a silver in the time trial and finished a creditable 4th in the individual sprint.
Physically powerful, he was more suited to the sprints, where he was capable of covering 200m in under 11 seconds and the kilometre, in a shade over a minute. He also had a fine record in shorter road races, where if he was with the leaders near the end, his explosive sprinting power inevitably won the day.
As a coach, he was very inspiring, knowledgeable, committed and attentive to the needs of his riders, who held him in the highest regard. On occasion he could be a demanding taskmaster, making it clear there was a line not to be crossed.
He would regularly zip up and down the road from Inverness to Edinburgh and Manchester for training sessions in his beloved Porsche, often midweek with work the following day, a punishing schedule which he took in his stride.
A big, appealing character, he was one of the best-known figures in the cycling community here and elsewhere. Born in Inverness and brought up in the city’s Balloch area, he attended Inverness Royal Academy where he met his future wife Elaine, originally from Carluke. Childhood sweethearts, they married in Fife in the early 1980s and were a very close couple who set up home in Balloch.
Elaine was very supportive of his cycling activities and understanding too, as after their wedding she agreed to him participating in the Kingdom of Fife road race prior to their honeymoon.
After leaving school he began working as a mechanic, later joining Volvo trucks garage in the Highland capital where he remained for his working life, latterly as foreman.
He caught the cycling bug as a teenager through friends, which led to joining the local Clachnacuddin cycling club whom he represented for years, being honoured with a Life Membership.
There he was coached by former top cyclist John McMillan, later President of Scottish Cycling and Commissaire – chief judge – at several important events.
He was a big influence on his career, as was Eddie Alexander, 1986 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist. Later he joined the Moray Firth cycling club and the famous City of Edinburgh track club at Meadowbank velodrome, which then featured virtually all the country’s top sprinters.
Another two proteges were Inverness brothers Roddy and Kenny Riddle, who represented Scotland at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
That year, together with them and Hamish Scott, Reid won the Scottish 100km team trial championships over the Aberdeen to Dundee course while representing the Moray Firth club.
The next year he helped Roddy set a new Scottish one hour record of 46.5km at Meadowbank, breaking Graeme Obree’s mark. In the months beforehand he had accompanied Riddle twice weekly from Inverness to Meadowbank to oversee his training.
His involvement in coaching progressed from club level to development groups and his first senior appointment came as Scotland’s national track coach in January 1998, prior to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur later that year which he attended.
Alongside coaching he still fitted in competing, the previous year having won a bronze at the World Masters in Manchester, while he also collected several British and European Masters’ crowns.
He continued as track coach at the 2002 Manchester Games and as track cycling manager for the very successful 2006 Melbourne edition. Underlining his commitment to the role, he took six months off work prior to the Games to travel with his wife to Australia to work with his squad at their training camps in Victoria. James McCallum, a Melbourne bronze medallist, commented: “His presence with us for months before the competition, coaching and monitoring our training, made a huge difference to our performance. It demonstrated his commitment and helped me and others enormously.”
Having enjoyed his Australian experience, Reid did consider emigration but contented himself with a further trip the next year to Sydney where, at the World Masters, he won another silver, in the team sprint. In 2014 he was delighted to be selected to run with the Queen’s baton in Inverness for that year’s Glasgow Games. He was a devotee of sports cars, and with Elaine enjoyed holidays in Puerto Pollensa, Majorca.
He made a huge contribution to Scottish cycling, to which he gave his time voluntarily. Reflecting that, Sir Chris Hoy tweeted: “Such sad news, legend of Scottish cycling and mate.”