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"Lothian Flyer" Memorial RR

Regional B road race for 3rd & 4th cat riders, based on the Stobo-Dreva circuit.

Saturday 23rd July 2016

 

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This race is held in commemoration of Archie Craig, "The Lothian Flyer", who was a prolific competitor during cycling's pre-war heyday.

 Archie Craig

 Archie Craig, The Lothian Flyer, in full flight.

 

William Stokes receives the Lothian Flyer Cup

2013 winner Pedal Power RT's William Stokes receives the Lothian Flyer cup.

 

Course: The field assembles at the access road to Stobo church, some 0.5 miles east of the race HQ. There is a short neutralised section from there to Stobo VH, the official start point. The route then proceeds west on B712 towards Broughton. After ca. 1.7 miles turn right onto unclassified road signposted Dreva. This road climbs for ca. 2 miles then drops to fork at ca. 2.6 miles. Take left hand fork to descend (with care) to cross Biggar Water then climb passing Rachan Home Farm to rejoin B712 at a T-junction. This is almost exactly the halfway point of the lap. At the B712 junction turn left descending to cross the Tweed followed by a short climb to junction with unclassified road, at which keep left heading for Drumelzier. Once through the hamlet descend to pass Dawyck Botanic garden to recross the Tweed. Shortly after that crossing turn acutely left back onto Dreva road. The full Dreva - Rachan - Drumelzier - Dawyck circuit (approximately 6.5 miles) is to be completed 6 times.

Having completed 6 full laps of the Dreva loop the field will make a seventh and final turn onto the Dreva road.The marshals will signal the final turn. On reaching the Y junction above Rachan Home farm the route now takes the right fork to finish at the right and left hand lay-bys just short of the road's summit. The total race length is some 44 miles.

 

2013 Risk Assessment - LothianFlyerRiskAssessment2013.docx

 

 

Evening News - Scotland Article July 21, 2000

 

A CELEBRATION of the life of one of Edinburgh's foremost cyclists is set to be held at Mortonhall Crematorium tomorrow following his death at the age of 87 earlier this week.

Archie Craig, alias The Lothian Flyer, was a prolific cyclist during the sport's pre-war heyday.

His love of the sport started young when he was given a bike by an uncle in Glasgow at the age of 11 - which he then rode home to Corstorphine.

As captain of the Lothian Cycling Club, Mr Craig set numerous records in the late 1930s, including managing a solo run from Edinburgh to Berwick and back in five hours and 15 minutes.

Jocky Allan, a veteran of the city's cycling scene, said: "He was revered among the top in Edinburgh. He was their number one."

Aside from cycling, Mr Craig, was also a regular at the "loony dook", where people take a New Year's Day dip in the Firth of Forth, even at the age of 84.

His late wife Mary Bruce died in 1975. He is survived by two daughters and his partner Rais Devulder.

 

Obituary Article from The Scotsman

August 10, 2000
Author: ALASTAIR CLARK

Archibald Fergus (Archie) Craig, engineer, cyclist

Born: 27 August, 1912, in Edinburgh Died: 18 July, 2000, in hospital in Peebles, aged 87

IF THE world was full of Archie Craigs there would be just one problem: there would be so many cyclists clogging up our roads that we would have to designate special lanes beside the kerb to accommodate those unfortunate motorists who decided to brave the two- wheeled traffic.

But we would be able to live with that. Because we would be a different kind of people in a different kind of world. A world where there was no senseless  feuding over the donkey-driven imperatives of the millstone that we call history, no hatred, no prejudice against a gender, a race, a nationality or a belief - or even a motorist.

A world that had got its priorities right; a world that truly believed it's good to talk - whether to a total stranger at a bus - stop or to Sir Paul MaCartney on a transatlantic airliner. Where people with practised hands could fix just about anything not functioning at its best, or just plain broken - cars, central- heating systems, toasters, telephones, trees. Where people - even elderly people - enjoyed and participated in the culture of each upthrusting, iconoclastic generation (how often do you hear Bob Marley and Neil Young songs played by request at the funeral of an 87-year-old after another of his musical heroes, Aly Bain, has stood up and delivered a poignant fiddle tune?) Where people could remember, with vivid clarity, what they had done on a day long gone, and how much it cost, and who was there, and precisely (well, almost) why it was worth remembering. Where familiar jokes were exchanged like currency in a way that brought comfort as well as laughter. Where daft wee songs were sung and tales told with a twinkle in the eye and plenty of red herrings along the way. Where people cared about people, recognising that they were all Jock Tamson's bairns and they had better make the best of it while it lasted.

It lasted fairly well for Archie Craig, although the final spell, when he was confined to a wheelchair, must have been so hard for a man who believed that life is there for doing things, not sitting on your backside. He was a dynamic, irrepressible force, a fitter, engineer and mechanic by trade, a man who could never expect to register on the established curriculum vitae scale of Who's Who achievement, but whose enthusiasms and ideas were far ahead of his time and whose warmth and unquestioning love for humanity, warts and all, is surely etched on the minds of all who came across him.

If he had a claim to wider fame, which I am sure never crossed his mind, it was in his cycling exploits. They called him the Lothian Flyer, and he was still flying on two wheels from Edinburgh to South Queensferry and the Borders to visit his daughters and grandchildren when he was in his mid-eighties. As a young member of Lothian Cycling Club, which he first joined in the late 1920s, he had been up among the best in the land, performing consistently well in British road races and solo record attempts.

He was proudest of his timing for the solo run from Edinburgh to Glasgow and back in 1933 - four hours and 15 minutes - but his cycling career was spattered with impressive runs: Edinburgh to Berwick and back (a record five hours 37 minutes); an award-winning average speed of 20.788 mph in the Cycling magazine best all- rounder competition (1937); silver medal as a Lothian team member in the 1937 Scottish championship, when they crossed the line in second place; three hours ten minutes in the Morecambe to Bradford road race of 1945, and many, many more. It is a measure of the man that he talked to me many times about various cycling trips but never once mentioned his medals and prizes.

Away from the competitive scene, of course, there was a lifetime of cycling for the sheer joy of it. In the late 1930s he pedalled right across Europe, through Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France to Spain via the Pyrenees. And back.

He held various positions in Lothian Cycling Club over the years, including the club captaincy and was also East of Scotland road racing secretary. (At this time, he was instrumental in persuading officials to allow cyclists to race in shorts rather than black clothing and tights - he felt that that way they would be less conspicuous on the road on the Sabbath, when much of the serious business was done.)

Superbly fit for all of his active life, he had been a keen skier since the mid-Fifties with a particular affection for the Cairngorms, where he first took a skiing 

course at Glenmore Lodge in 1956 and was a founder member of the Cairngorm Development Company. He also skied all over Europe. His other pursuits included swimming, hill-walking and camping.

During the Second World War his skills saw him "posted" not to the army, as he had expected, but to work for James Bertram, the Edinburgh engineers, serving as an aircraft spotter in his spare time. After the war, he joined W & JR Watson, the civil engineers, a job which involved him in a variety of construction projects around the country and offered ample scope for the outdoor life which he loved - and, of course, endless cycling on blissfully traffic-free roads. After the death of his beloved wife, Mary, in 1975, he eventually found a new partner in Rais, and spent happy years with her in Belgium before returning to his native Edinburgh.

An astonishing, unforgettable character, as his nephew, Brian Dunnigan, so graphically and evocatively recalls: "He was a dream uncle for a boy, with his 

biking and hiking and skiing and tales of faraway places. He was like a promise always there on the edge of my world - my little heart fluttered whenever he
appeared - a cross between Desperate Dan, Tough of the Track and Dan Dare.

"My children's first sight of him was as he ran half-naked through Queensferry in the middle of winter.

"'That's your great-uncle Archie,' I said.

"'Uncle Archie! Uncle Archie!' they cried.

"'I cannae stop,' he shouted back, and dived into the freezing River Forth."

It was New Year, and the traditional Queensferry "dooking" ritual had to be observed - at the age of 84.

Archie Craig is survived by his daughters, Sheila and Liz, and granddaughters, Emma and Jane. His spirit lives on, palpably, in each of them.

The Lothian Flyer flies no more, but his biker pennant stands high and proud. For me, it was just a great privilege to be one of his pals.

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