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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.