Obituary: Cycling was not just a hobby for ‘bike guru’ Richard Ballantine

Richard Ballantine

Richard Ballantine - Credit: Archant

The son of the man who wrote the cycling world’s bible paid tribute this week to his late father, who died aged 72.

Author, editor and publisher Richard Ballantine, who lived in Primrose Hill, was one of cycling’s most influential and passionate supporters, writing many books on the subject.

His first, Richard’s Bicycling Book, was a worldwide bestseller and was read by a million people.

He died peacefully on May 29 after battling cancer.

His son Shawn remembered: “He was a very warm-hearted, patient and loving man who wrote in a very human way about his love and appreciation of cycling and its mechanics.

“He was somebody who liked to sit down and tell real stories, which were wonderful.

“Even though he was hard of hearing, he communicated brilliantly with many people, particularly through his writing.”

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Mr Ballantine’s funeral on Sunday, June 2 in Golders Green began and ended with a bicycle-led procession, with Shawn proudly at the head of the pack.

Richard Ballantine was born in July 1940 in Kingston, New York State, US, into a family with a long publishing tradition.

He moved to the UK in the 1970s and after his first book was published, he launched Bicycle, the UK’s first magazine for casual cyclists.

In 1983, he co-founded and was chairman of the British Human Power Club, as well as chairing the World Human Powered Vehicle Association until his death.

A year later, he launched a series of mountain bike races to promote off-road cycling, sparking national interest in these durable bikes.

Friend Nick Crane, presenter of BBC programmes Coast and Great British Journeys, said: “Richard wrote as if he knew every reader was an expert-in-waiting. He was a kind and irrepressible writer and the bike guru.”

He is survived by wife, Sherry, his children, Danielle, Katharyn and Shawn, his grandchildren, Alexander and Norah, and his mother, Betty.