Ron Kitching, one of the most influential cycle trade figures since the war, basked in the June sunshine as an assembled crowd of old timers many arriving on roadbikes queued up to shake his hand and congratulate him on a job well done. The Ron Kit library, close to Chevin Cycles, officially opened today.
Phil Liggett was there and said he was impressed. And no wonder, this is no dank, dark room full of dusty books, its a living collection of cycling history housed in plush surroundings.
Not only has Kitching donated his collection of books and archive materials, he paid for the refurbishment of the top floor of the Otley Cycling Club building.
When I do something, I like to do it right, he said.
Aside from the catering staff handing out wine and very yummy canapes the BikeBiz editor was the youngest person there (and hes no spring chicken himself). Talk, naturally, gravitated to the good old days. This was helped by the presence of such luminaries as Brian Robinson, the first Brit to win a stage in the Tour de France.
Earlier memories were stirred when the topic of WWII came up. On the September day in 1939 when war was declared Ron was doing the Leamington 100. Riders who set off before him pulled out as the news broke. Ron rode on oblivious and was only told the fateful news when he finished the race which, incidentally, he won!
The Ron Kit library ensures one of the most famous names in the post-war cycle industry isnt lost. When Ron Kitching sold his business for the second time (he had to rescue it the first time it was sold) little did he know it would be moved from Harrogate and renamed Zyro.
The final few Ron Kit Everything Cycling catalogues from the 1980s are on display in the library and will bring back fond memories for anybody involved in the early growth of British mountain biking.
Library opening times will vary. Call 01943 467493.
Ron Kitching is an avid collector of everything cycling
The etched glass effect its Ron on his bike was created with opaque laser-cut vinyl.
The library is close to Chevin Cycles
Old timers were impressed with Donald Benns bike shop photos from the 1960s. There are two albums packed with pix of shop exteriors and their owners.
One of the shops featured is Nicholsons of Dundee, the first IBD to turn into a Cyclelife shop. Two old timers looking at Benns book said the bike shops featured represented the good old days of British cycle retail. Nostalgia clearly fogs the brain, the shops look truly awful to our modern eyes (although were probably no different to other retailers of their day).