Sandy Gilchrist

A quote from David Millar at the 2010 Commonwealth Games piqued my interest: I’ve known our mechanic, Sandy Gilchrist, since the 1995 world championships.

Sandy is well-known around Scottish Cycling and I’d heard his name before but didn’t quite realise his profile so decided to dig out a few links and facts.

He has had a cycle shop in Edinburgh for over 30 years – starting at Restalrig and then moving to Easter Road as Sandy Wallace Cycles- and is an accomplished mechanic, having worked for the Specialized XC MTB factory team and the British and Scottish national teams as mentioned by David Millar at the top of this post.

Previously he raced at a high level:

As a mechanic, I have attended 6 Olympic Games and numerous World Championships for mountain bike, track road, cyclo-cross, and Paralympics sports.

My first World Championships was in Germany in the 70s when I was riding. I was in the team pursuit with Robert Millar. We came fourth. In the Commonwealth Games, I rode for Scotland for a number of years. I came seventh in the road race and fourth in the team pursuit at Christchurch in 1974 which were my best results.

click to read Veloresults- 1971 Scottish Milk race

He rode the Peace Race in 1972 and 1973 for a British team, and from the brilliant ‘Ivan’ on the Braveheart forum comes this story:

In 1972 when Sandy rode his first PR, on the 3rd stage from Berlin to Magdeburg, Sandy and Ian Greenhalgh of the GB team came down about 8 km from the stadium in Magdeburg. Sandy’s bike was badly damaged, and with no team car in sight, a 14-year-old East German boy called Holgar Trenck handed Sandy his heavy touring bike and pointed in the direction of the finish, only 8km distant.

IG and SG made their way to the finish, IG pushing SG for much of the way. The crowd in the stadium had been informed of the unfolding drama by the stadium speaker, and both riders received a splendid ovation from the 40,000-strong crowd in the Ernst Gruebe Stadion.

Holger Trenck, meanwhile, had been picked up by a race organisation car, and was at the finish to get his bike back from Sandy. As a reward he was invited to the GB team table for the evening meal. This story made the national press in the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik. This type of story, the Peace Race riders being helped by spectators, has a long tradition in the race, being part and parcel of the propaganda of the race – i.e. that riders and spectators united in their common desire for peace and solidarity between nations.
– edited from Braveheart forum

1976 was a good year, contesting the Scottish Milk Race with top European amateurs and winning the Scottish RR championship. Read more about the Milk Race on Veloresults.

click and scroll down for '76 Milk Race (Veloresults)
–images: Al Hamilton, Veloveritas correspondent

And as recently as 1990-1994 he was the UK vets mountain bike champion. There’s clearly lots more to learn about this legend of Scottish cycling, so if you have any other stories or links, please share.

Sandy’s blog on i-am-specialized
Guardian interview World track champs 2001
1994 world pursuit champs- Obree saddle incident
1981 National Hill Climb