Glasgow bike shop lends Malawi's cyclists new bikes for Commonwealth Games

Bikes African riders brought with them were in too poor a state for competition

by Simon_MacMichael   July 27, 2014  

Malawi flag.png

Two cyclists from Malawi will be riding in road events at the Commonwealth Games on new bikes thanks to the generosity of a local bike shop after the bicycles they brought with them were found to be in too poor a state of repair to be used in competition.

Billy Bilsland Cycles, founded by the eponymous former Peugeot and Raleigh pro who also competed as an amateur in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, decided to lend the African country two bikes, one a Cérvelo time trial model, after the team brought in their existing bikes for repair.

Billy’s son Neil, who now runs the Glasgow shop, told STV: “Our major concern is they travel all this way to race in the Friendly Games and their equipment would fail.

“So although we did fix both bikes, doing them a good deal, after a few days thinking about it we thought, ‘We can really help Malawi out a little bit more,’ so we’ve supplied them bikes to race both the time trial and the road race.”

The country has two cyclists competing at Glasgow 2014, with both Missi Thomas Kathumba and Mataya Tsoyo due to take part in road and mountain bike events.

Both they and their coach are based in Malawi’s second largest city, Blantyre – founded by Church of Scotland missionaries in 1876, and named after the town just south east of Glasgow that was the birthplace of the explorer David Livingstone.

16 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Nice one

posted by BigAl68 [73 posts]
27th July 2014 - 12:41


Billy bilsland cycles has been recommended by posters on here previously. Sounds like they were right. Good stuff.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3723 posts]
27th July 2014 - 13:25


Generous move. Thanks to the bike shop and I hope the malawi's go well.

We're all entitled to a reasonable opinion!

posted by Guyz2010 [298 posts]
27th July 2014 - 15:13


Pure Dead Brilliant!

posted by Trull [76 posts]
27th July 2014 - 15:21


Nicely done. There are some nice people around...

ride slow, ride far, ride often

posted by mzungu [41 posts]
27th July 2014 - 18:24


Well done!

posted by matttheaudit [71 posts]
27th July 2014 - 20:03


Sometimes you see something that gives one a feeling that there is some goodness out there. There was no need for Billy Bilsland Cycles to step in but it did. The next time you order the new wonderbit gizmo from WiReactShiny, the internet supplier(s), just consider the support you get from the LBS, the likes of Billy Bilsland Cycles.

posted by NickK123 [94 posts]
27th July 2014 - 20:59


That's what it's all about! Just think what it means to the two atheletes taking part, they must be over the moon. Great jesture from a great cycling shop.

posted by ecossechild [2 posts]
27th July 2014 - 21:45


Billy Bilsland of course being a veteran Glaswegian professional who rode for Peugeot on the continental scene in the late 60's and even rode the Paris-Roubaix on .....a Flying Scot (ventoux model)

Billy is also a former commonwealth games rider himself.

Although it's his name over door, it's his sons shop these days.

.....he is also one of the only people on the planet that is in contact with the elusive Robert Millar!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [895 posts]
27th July 2014 - 23:32


they don't have a Twitter account, but searching for them reveals this isn't an isolated occurrence:
Clearly a shop with a heart - well done guys, I hope your generosity is duly rewarded.

dafyddp's picture

posted by dafyddp [280 posts]
28th July 2014 - 1:00


Billy Bilsland's is a great shop. Well worth trekking across the city to get my bikes sorted. They're also great at looking after the bikes I haven't bought from them too.

posted by bollandinho [65 posts]
28th July 2014 - 10:17


Robert Millar's race bike is often in the window (42×19 lowest gear!), and Millar's signed KOM jersey from the Tour is on display in the shop.

Great staff, great shop.

posted by Paul J [818 posts]
28th July 2014 - 10:55


Pure class. Support your (good) LBS.

posted by Beaufort [247 posts]
28th July 2014 - 11:45


Lovely folk, I saw the Cervelo's they were prepping for the Malawi guys the other day and a Look track bike as well when I popped in! Always a friendly welcome and great deals too, I bought my last bike from Neil and it's an absolute cracker!!!

andybnk's picture

posted by andybnk [99 posts]
28th July 2014 - 13:03


Absolutely brilliant shop. We walked in shivering and soaked minutes before closing time, ~700 miles into LEJOG to try and get a replacement rear wheel.

They had none suitable so sold us one from a complete bike for a decent price.

They also made us some coffees, gave the rest of our bikes a quick tune up and allowed us to use their computer to find some alternative accommodation for the night.

Oh, and they stayed open about an hour later than advertised.

Highly recommended.

posted by adamtaylor [63 posts]
28th July 2014 - 13:26


Was in today after the Commies to show the young team Robert Millar's mentally high geared KOTM winning bike, met Team Belize i. Getting sorted for the CWG road race on Sunday.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [895 posts]
28th July 2014 - 21:59