Alan Palmer, a true friend of cycling

Pam Nelson writes Alan Palmer, a much respected Colchester cyclist, died in August 2019. Alan was a long time member of CTC (now Cycling UK) and helped a group of CCC members re-establish the Colchester Sunday rides in 2009. The group has become the best supported in Essex – largely down to Alan's experience and patience as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of roads and lanes within 70 miles of Colchester. When new ride leaders came on board they would try to plan a route with a lane that Alan was unaware of: few succeeded.

Alan was also supportive of new riders, and when ill health meant he could not manage the pace and hills of the main group, he set up "Alan's Sunday ride", with an easier route and steadier pace that was ideal for newcomers. He planned his route to join us for elevenses and lunch, and his timing was usually spot on.

Alan was also a regular at our monthly Bike Drinks meetings and contributed to our debates about improving local cycling infrastructure.

Will Bramhill writes I had the pleasure of accompanying Alan on various CCC rides. One that is particularly memorable took place when age and hills were getting the better of him. We set off from Colchester to Mistley via a route that I had not ridden in all my 50 years on a bike. A lot of it I recognised but then just as I was expecting a left turn, we dived right. And then vice-versa! I would have taken a more direct route if I had been by myself . Then as I unwrapped my sandwiches at Mistley Place Environment Centre, it dawned on me: we hadn’t taken in any major hills … all the gradients were mere dimples. For me this showed Alan’s knowledge of the north Essex countryside like nothing else. Alan was also brilliant at Bike Drinks. He was generally quiet and deep in thought but when he did pipe up, everyone listened. He loved nothing better than to talk bike mechanics with fellow cyclists once the main business was over. A hat-tip to you, sir!

Pictured above Alan’s daughter Helen and some of his many friends. They had stopped to pay tribute to him at one of his favourite places in Essex, the Chappel viaduct in the Colne Valley.

Alan Palmer,  May 14 1940 – August 31 2019

Video of cyclists bell-ringing in Alan’s cortege