Bob Howden has today been elected the new president of British Cycling – and admits that his predecessor Brian Cookson, who became UCI president in September, is “a tough act to follow.”
Howden, a member of British Cycling for 43 years, has been acting chair of the organisation since Cookson beat Pat McQuaid to secure the UCI presidency in Florence six weeks ago.
He was elected president of the governing body at the annual meeting of its National Council in Crewe today and has been a British Cycling board member for 13 years. He also chairs its Yorkshire region.
After being elected president, Howden said: “I am delighted to have been elected as British Cycling’s President with a mandate to push on with ensuring that British Cycling is achieving its objectives.
“We will remain true to what has become our tradition: to succeed on the world stage and to inspire people to enjoy riding their bikes more often, be it for sport, recreation or transport.
Howden paid tribute to his predecessor, who helped rescue British Cycling from the brink of bankruptcy and helped lay the foundations for the country's success at the Olympics and beyond, leading to a boom in the organisation's membership.
He said: “Brian Cookson is a tough act to follow – especially when you look at the amazing roll call of successes that British Cycling has enjoyed under his leadership.
“We are certainly riding high and it’s now my job to ensure that we build on this.
“I’m looking forward to getting stuck in.”
British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, commented: “Bob Howden has a long history of working for the sport at all levels – from working as a volunteer and a Commissaire, to leading a Regional Board and sitting on various Commissions – he truly knows cycling inside out.
“There is no better person to build on the foundations Brian Cookson has laid for cycling in Great Britain.”
Howden, who raced for 24 years and is a former junior division road champion, founded the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling and has also organised the national road championships on three occasions – most recently at Ampleforth in 2012.
He has also served on various British Cycling commissions, and outside the sport is owner and managing director of paving business, Grass Concrete Limited.
Today’s National Council meeting also approved changes to the composition of the British Cycling Board – instead of eight elected members, the organisation can now elect up to seven board members, plus three non-executive directors, the first of whom will be appointed in April next year.
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.