John Craig 4 Vere Road
174 Sanders Street Blackwood
N5Z 2S6 ML11 9RS
Canada Scotland, UK
7th October 2010
Re Royal Albert Cycling Club
Your letter to Keith Anderson at Pro Am Cycles in Larkhall has been passed to me
and I am writing to let you know about the club’s website.
The articles you sent are most interesting, as is the fact that you were once a member
of the club. I have been in this area for only four years, and I used to race in the mid
1960s with the Edinburgh Road Club. I remember one of your clubmates from that
time, Phil Holton. I understand that he went to Australia, but I can’t get in touch with
him. I may have met you too at that time if you took part in the same races as Phil did.
It would be good to hear from as many RACC ex pats as possible and our website has
a guest page to deal with just that. If you know of anyone else across the globe who
used to be a club member, perhaps you could let them/me know.
I don’t know if Keith has told Jack Campbell that you were in the shop, but I certainly
will when I see him. Jack is getting on now and doesn’t cycle or drive any more. But
he sure likes to come to club events!
On Sunday, the club Hillclimb Championship will be held on the Millheugh climb,
and the competition this year will be tough.
Have a look at www.royal-albertcc.com and you will see what we are up to. Please
feel free to post messages on the Guest Book on the website, and register on the
linked forum and post messages there too. You will be most welcome. If you have
any photos of your days in the club that you would like to send, I will put them on the
site – that will fire up the young uns!
I hope to hear from you soon. I’m sure that there will be a few folks around who will
Kind regards, John, now 76, was born and brought up in
Larkhall. In 1966 he and his Hamilton-born
wife, Marion, emigrated to London,
Dennis White Ontario. They have three sons and two
Royal Albert Cycling Club daughters. They return regularly to
Scotland to see family members. As well as
racing and organizing races and other
cycling events, John ran a bike shop in
London, Ontario for 20 years. He still
assembles bikes for seven department
stores within a 100K radius of London Ont.
John indeed posted messages on the guest
page of our website…and challenged Sandy
Bain to a race on the track!
John Craig wins again in 1967 in London, Ontario, Canada
I am answering your letter dated 7th October 2010. It is a very nice letter and I will
give you as much info as I can.
The first club I was in was Larkhall Roads CC. They broke away from the Albert I
think because they wanted road racing and Albert were time trials. All in black.
With the LRCC, in 1951 I won the club championships as a junior beating the top
seniors as well. I also placed 3rd in Lanarkshire Road Race Championships and held
some road records as well. We also won a number of team road races as well. After a
number of years, the Albert wanted me to join the club which I did but not before I
spent some time in the Glenmarnock. I remember playing polo for the Albert but that
did not last long [note: The Royal Albert were the Scottish Bicycle Polo Champions
for the years 1947; 1949 to 1953 (Johnstone Wheelers in 1954 – and they still have a
team today); 1955; 1956 and 1959].
(Jock Miller is in the centre – see below)
The riders I remember were Jack (Campbell) of course, Jack Barber, Jack’s father (J
B Campbell), Alex and John Dickson, they were related to me by marriage. I did not
know that at the time. Phil Holton (did not know he went to Australia), Tam Wilson,
John Watt (a current member of the Albert) - I met him a lot at Doug Crofts in
Florida. Also an Albert man. Also Scott brothers. Also Jim Moore, Eddie Toner
(current member of the Albert), Alec Watson (Sanny, former Club BAR champion
and who painted the 2010 BAR results on the board in the clubroom), McPherson, J K
Scott, Mackintosh (ex LRCC), Jimmy Leggate Formaley, they both were in the Roads
with me. Jimmy was a good friend of mine but he never beat me in a race. He died a
number of years ago.
Other RACC members were the Pollock brothers. I met Bill, he lives in Toronto and
came down to London (Ont.) to see our indoor track racing. He was a good polo
player. You mention the Millheugh Hill Climb, I stayed with my family in Morgan
Street at the top of the hill. Climbed it many times. A few years ago Jack gave me the
books of Larkhall Roads CC. They included all the minutes from 1934 when the club
was founded till the seventies when it disbanded. Excuse the spelling, I don’t write
any letters now.
It also included posters for the APR that was held every year till govt. had it banned.
Also Finans Books. Anyway all the books are now in the Hamilton Museum.
We have a computer but it is not hooked up. When our grandson stayed with us he
could work it. He moved to Arizona then to British Columbia. I hope some of the
items might interest you. The one photo of Jock Miller on the small bike he was in the
Royal Albert as well and at the time held the Larkhall to Dumfries record. He also
rode the Olympics in 1912. He had a bike store in Union Street Larkhall and when I
was working as a plasterer (Phil was also a plast), our company had the contract to
tear it down and build a surgery for Dr Parker. Dr Parker brought me into this world,
and his son was a member of the Albert.
[Jock Miller, former member of the Royal Albert. He was 35th in the 196 mile time
trial in the 1912 Olympics and was mentioned in the recent Club Profile published in
the Cycling Weekly.]
A lot of old bikes and bike parts were in the old store we sold them for 10/- (50p) for
scrap. Jock Miller moved down to England and had a collectioni of antique bikes
worth a fortune. One of the company’s I was dealing with when I had the bike store
(in London, Ontario) bought his collection that is where I got Jock’s photo from. He
also had an old hobby horse in mint condition; just like brand new in a glass case. The
article on Jocelyn Lovell is sad. I was mechanic for 5 years and was very friendly
with Lovell as with Gord Singleton, world champ Keirin, Steve Bauer Tour de
France, Curt Harmet, Olympic champion. John Jr (my son) got silver medal with
Gord Singleton in Canadian Championship, rode partner with Steve Bauer in
International six day in Montreal velodrome. My sons Jim and John were in the
Albert and used to ride Broomhill Track in Larkhall. John Jr rode sixes in Dehli,
Hamilton, Detroit and Montreal. He must be the only Albert to ride in International
six days. Maybe the only Scot to do so.
John Jr. (124) pushes his team mate in one of the Six Day races in Ontario
We came to Canada when I as 33. In those days I should have been past my race days
don’t mean to bore you here are some highlights:
1967 formed London Centenial Wheelers
1967 promoted first races in London Ont. Jocelyn Lovell rode and won junior race
1968 promoted first race at Gardens Parking lot
1969 promoted first springbank Park races (71st race this year)
Promoted 3 Toronto-Londons (120 miles)
Founder member Ladies bike ride for cancer
Promoted first indoor BMX races
Forme BMX association in Ontario
Guiness roller record 1977 book
Rode non stop from Sudbury to London 360 miles for cancer in 20 hours 50 mins
Rode from Tobermory to London (both Canada!) to help London get Canada Games
in 9 hours 50 mins – 208 miles
Team manager Ontario in stage race Montreal to Quebe City and back 7 stages
Acted as manager, mechanic, coach to road and track teams
Won club championships five times in a row LCW
John jr that’s a long story, rode both road and track
Bronze track team pursuit Canadian Champs
Silver track Madison Canadian Champs
Two times track 10 mile Ontario champ
Ontario veterans track champ number of times
London champs many times
Hope you enjoy the dvd of the six day in London Ont. John Jr is in yellow with blue
hat sorry no audio too many copies have been made from it. [if anyone wants to see,
please let Dennis know]
Hope this has been interesting for you.
John Craig in 2008, about to hand
over the books of the Larkhall
Roads CC, which were given to
him by Jack Campbell, to
Thanks, John, for this insight into
your links with the Club and your
life in Canada.