Tribute to Les Lowe

This website was made possible thanks to a generous and very substantial bequest from the estate of the late Les Lowe, who died in December 2013 aged 82. It was launched in 2018 with the vision of providing not only information, but a truly interactive membership and competition portal. Further financial contributions have since been made by the VTTA Groups to fund enhancements.

Les was a lifelong cyclist, an old school mile-eater whose weather-beaten features were shaped by long hours in the saddle. Upon his death he had achieved a lifetime recorded mileage of almost 793,000 and was a member of many cycling organisations, most notably the 300,000 Mile Club, the 24 Hour Fellowship, and of course the VTTA.

He excelled at school in his native Isle of Man, then studied engineering at Salford; he began cycling with his elder brother Albert in about 1950 when they both joined the Mannin Twoaieagh Cycling Club. Despite the restricted Manx environs, he found his forte in long distance riding and time trialling.

In the island's own 12 hour race, squeezed improbably into their limited road network, in 1952 he achieved 203 miles 980 yards for fourth place; the following year he improved on that with 217 miles 592 yards for second place. The previous day Les had been notified that he had been awarded a BSc First Class Honours degree in mechanical engineering; he left the island to serve in the RAF, then went to work at Rolls Royce in Derby, where he was surrounded by much more expansive cycling country and able to sustain his passion for long rides.

By 1958 Les had discovered 24 hour time trialling, with 414 miles at his first attempt. He went on to ride many more '24s', achieving a best of 446.707 miles, and his final one was in 1995, when he covered 314.91 miles aged 64 on his trike. Les also had an interest in road record riding and broke records of the RRA and MRRA on a variety of machines.

In later years a heart condition called a halt to Les's competitive riding, but he became more active as an administrator. Being a professional engineer, he was very much a 'numbers' man and he became the VTTA National Assistant Recorder in 1998, responsible for age records and taking over the job following the unexpected death of Doug Brunwin and thus having to create order from undocumented processes. He served in post until 2011 (during which time the position had been renamed National Records Secretary) and he migrated the records system from manual recording to a computer database in 2001/2002. Les's valuable work in this area still forms the foundation of our current website records database. Following his retirement he was awarded Distinguished Life Membership.