Tag Archives: touring

George Berwick 500km on a broken frame

Admonished from more than one quarter for my lack of knowledge about George Berwick, I have endeavoured to find out more and been sent useful links by various people.

Below is George after completing a 1500km audax in Germany this August. He is 69, remember.

Not only this but he rode 500km of the event with a sheared downtube! There is a long thread on “Yet another Cycling Forum” that evolves into a eulogy to George’s legendary riding. notable quotes include:

True Audax epics come from the likes of McNasty riding 400km+ with a snapped frame held together by zipties
Can we have a picture of him at the beginning, I’m not convinced there’d be much difference.
years of life left in that bodge
George has been a legend for a long time. 1979 Paris-Brest-Paris: 62H36 117 BERWICK George GB M VE A.U.K.
Twenty years later in 1999: 65H37 820 BERWICK George GB M VE

Image courtesy of The Pingus on flickr

And a couple more pics by a German rider Johann Eilers who also did the ride.

There is another account of what sounds like an epic ride on the West Lothian Clarion forum. Thanks Matthew of the Clarion for pointing me in the direction of this.

Pic of the Day: George Berwick aka McNasty

Yesterday’s long-overdue post on George Berwick led me to a fruitless search for pictures of the man. Thankfully David Martin of Dundee Thistle (?) swung these pics my way.


Above is George on the Snow Roads 300 ride I think. Worth reiterating that he is the Scottish 24 hour time trial record holder, I believe, with 448.70 miles. Apart from that, he’s clocked up over half a million miles and ridden more, and longer, place-to-place tours than an ordinary cyclists could contemplate.


Why the nickname McNasty, I wonder?
Please share any info you have on him.
Thanks to David Martin for the pics.
David’s flickr photos
@Davidmam on twitter

Scottish Cyclist: George Berwick

A post on the great George Berwick is long overdue on this blog, and it was suggested to me by a chap called Robert on flickr that I was short changing him a wee bit by omitting him from my Top 10 Scottish Cyclists of All Time. I’ll admit that list is biased towards road racers and was limited by my own limited knowledge of Scottish cycling history. So let’s look more at George Berwick.

He seems to still hold the Scottish 24-hour time trial champion with 448.70 miles. That alone is worthy of celebration, on this of all blogs. I must find out more. He was a prolific racing cyclist and although now a touring cyclist deserves a bit of respect for his racing time. This is corroborated on the Glasgow Road Club website.

He founded the Rough Stuff Fellowship in the 1950s, a group dedicated to tough off-road riding and touring, and is still a member today. These days he runs their ‘Vagabonds’ group in Fife. Robert comments: I think it would be a very tough cyclist indeed to accompany him on his travels, even now.

A cyclist I know called Crispin is another keen Berwick fan, and nudged me in the direction of a few other links. George’s writings were featured in a the CTC Fife Wheels newsletter under the moniker of McNasty and one piece is reprinted here on a site called Total Cycling. The casual style is entertaining and belies the sheer number of miles he would batter out during his tours.

If you want a word doc of this article, click here to download.

Since this article George has done many, many more rides: he’s now ridden his 40th 24-hr race (in 2002) and the UK coastal circuit of 5100km at randonneur standard (2001).

This vague collection of links shows I still have quite a bit to learn about the man. I love a good photo, and have been unable to find one of George but I’m sure he’s included in one of the RSF galleries.

One key fact, though stands out. The RSF was founded in the 1950s, and Scots were riding off road long before anyone had heard of Marin County. George Berwick and Davie Bell (another who is under-represented on this blog) had a strong hand in the establishment of mountain biking long before Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey and Keith Bontrager.

Idea: round the world individual pursuit

I was chatting on twitter today, back and forth with @John_the_monkey and a great, albeit daft, idea evolved:

Mark Beaumont set a cycling world record in 2008, having taken 194 days to circumnavigate the globe. James Bowthorpe beat this record in 2009 taking 175 days to ride around the world.

I envisioned an ongoning head-to-head battle developing: wouldn’t it be cool if Beaumont made another attempt in 2010, beating the record again, and laying down the gauntlet for another challenge. Similar to the great battles for the hour record in the 1990’s between Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman.

Then John_the_Monkey made a great suggestion- one rider starts on one side of the world, an the other on the other: a round the world individual pursuit! To top it off, you could make it a ‘race to the death’. The pursuit would not be timed, but is only won when one rider catches the other.

Mark Beaumont in Texas during his round-the-world ride in 2008

Mark Beaumont in Texas during his round-the-world ride in 2008

ames Bowthorpe at the end of his record-breaking round-the-world trip. Image: Simon MacMichael

ames Bowthorpe at the end of his record-breaking round-the-world trip. Image: Simon MacMichael

“All joking aside”, Road.cc analyses the details of the two record attempts, also taking into account the ‘not for charity’ record attempt by the outspoken/controversial Julian Emre Sayarer.

Julian claims to have completed the ride in 168 days but the details of transfer days and other off days are yet to be ratified by Guiness World Records. He also takes issue in a big way with Beaumont’s sponsorship from Lloyds TSB, but that’s for another blog post.