It’s with great pleasure that I had the chance to interview Sue Hoare, (Lincsquad’s very own Beryl Burton) for this month’s Q&A. You only have to see Sue at Sportives to realise that cycling has been a big influence in both her and late husband Donald’s life. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Cycling has become a hugely popular pastime in this country, but this hasn’t always been the case. What changes have you witnessed over the years?
Yes, cycling has certainly changed a lot since I started out, woollen shorts with real chamois that stiffened in the wash for starters! I’m pleased that custom built steel frames are now considered iconic, but glad to see the back of straps, toeclips and nailed on shoe plates (cleats!) Sunday club runs were a lengthy affair of up to 120 miles which required two pack-ups. There were few cafes around then but you could eat your sandwiches in pubs as they didn’t serve meals. No sportives but we had reliability trials and Audaxes. You cycled either because you hadn’t got a car or were eccentric, it certainly wasn’t cool!
When did you first take up cycling?
I started cycling as a child, coming from a large family there were always bikes around, begged or borrowed. Living in the sticks it was the only way to get anywhere. I was a runner initially, then got my first road bike in 1975 and started racing immediately. I came second in my first open 10 mile time trial with a 25-34, and thought ‘wow, this is so much easier than running.’
Your name often crops up when the Cycling legend Beryl Burton is mentioned. Could you elaborate for those members that are unaware of Beryl and your personal dealings?
I had the dubious pleasure of being thrashed by the great Beryl Burton (World Road Race Champion twice, World Pursuit Champion five times, holder of umpteen National Titles and records) practically every weekend in time-trials throughout my racing career! The rest of us were always competing for second place. I was in awe of her at first but she was always so friendly, very down to earth and encouraging towards us youngsters. I lived not far from her at that time and we were in rival Yorkshire clubs so I got to know her very well.
What’s your preference …..Run, Bike ,Kayak, Swim? (As if we don’t know)
It’s always been all about the bike!
So where’s your favourite place to ride?
My favourite place to ride is the Isle of Man, there used to be a fantastic Manx Cycling Week.
Proudest Sporting Achievements,
My proudest sporting achievement was being selected to ride for the British Team in International stage races four times.
Favourite Film? My favourite film is Dr Zhivago, I’m an incurable romantic!
Best advice received and by whom?..
The best advice given to me was by my former coach, another blunt Yorkshire woman, Val Rushworth who said, ‘Let the legs do the talking!’
What has life taught you that you can pass on to your children?
life has taught me to treat others as you would want to be treated yourself and always pay your bills on time. I trust my son heeds this advice!
Your Sporting hero/inspiration?
My sporting hero/inspiration has to be Beryl Burton, and also my late husband Donald. He was National Vets Cyclo-Cross Champion a few times and was most definitely ‘the wind beneath my wheels.’
Something not many people know about you?
Not many people know that I have skinny-dipped in the River Ancholme for an art film.( Well that’s what I was told!)
Your dream job?
My dream job…..is retirement! Although I loved teaching PE when I first started before the national curriculum was introduced!
3 x Dream dinner party guests.
My three dream dinner party guests would be Grayson Perry, Kate Adie and Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Favourite meal and where?
My favourite meal? The cheese and tomato sandwiches at the finish of the London Marathon were historic!
Your most treasured multi-sport possession.