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

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.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.