Our Editor, Ned Boulting, writes a few words on the passing of beloved cycling figure Richard Moore.
Many years ago, waiting for Carlos Sastre to emerge from the sheltering dark of the CSC Team Bus, I was tapped on the shoulder by a complete stranger. He was tall, friendly and Richard Moore. He thrust a book in my hand, presenting me with a free copy, though I subsequently worked out that it was actually just a thinly disguised ploy to get Gary Imlach to read his writing. It was Gary he was after, not me.
That was the first time I met Richard, but we stayed in touch. Before another year had passed, Richard suggested that I might like to try writing. He introduced me to his agent, Stan, and I began to work on my first book. Without Richard’s intervention, this would never have happened. Writing has since become my greatest pleasure, and I have him to thank. The cycling world is a very small one and can be exclusive to newcomers as a result. But Richard only ever extended a hand of welcome to me, an outsider. He was a natural friend, an easy companion, a good man.
Over the next 14 years, our lives happily criss-crossed the same paths; at the Tour, the Giro, at a whole variety of events. We went on a book publicity tour together once, a long time ago, staying in pretty little boutique hotels and being wined and dined by publicists. We felt like cheaper versions of Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in The Trip. I was never sure who was who, though I suspect I was Brydon and he was Coogan.
When Richard, along with Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe, first started the Cycling Podcast, I was quite a frequent contributor; until that is, they grew successful and famous, at which point my invitations dried up. But, watching from afar, knowing the team as I do, and listening like the thousands of others, I marvel at what they, Richard and the others, have produced.
But it was Richard’s writing which will endure as his professional legacy. His storytelling, his research, his easy manner and tenacity. He was one of the very best. Our last exchange of messages were about a piece he was going to work on for the 2022 Road Book, which now will never happen.
I wanted to see Richard, his wife Virginie and son Maxime at their new home in France last December. I was overseas on a writing trip, and had planned to drop by, but a covid infection meant that I couldn’t. So, I am left with a memory of our last face to face encounter, riding through the Surrey Hills one sunny day when lockdowns had eased and we were allowed to meet up. It was a beautiful ride, we chatted and laughed and did all those things you do when you are in familiar company, enjoying a ride. Then we tried to beat one another up Box Hill, and found that we were perfectly evenly matched, and locked together in a grisly, very slow tussle to see who was the faster of the two. Turns out neither of us were.
I only found out this morning that he is gone. It is impossible to understand just now. My heartfelt condolences go out to all of Richard’s closest friends, to Orla, Charlotte, Daniel and Lionel, to his extended family and to Virginie and Maxime. He will be greatly, greatly missed.