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A Tribute to Bob Bragg

 

A Tribute to Bob Bragg

      Robert (Bob) Bragg, who died on 12th May 2018, had a great love of life, which was centred round his family - and he loved his dogs. He brought fun and laughter to all, especially those he met whilst pursuing his many interests and hobbies. This is well illustrated by this photograph taken in 2004 by Bill and Colleen Powell during one of the Ratae RC’s monthly walking club meetings.

 

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      Cycling was Bob’s lifelong passion, not only through the many hours he spent in the saddle but also in the time he devoted to maintaining his precious bikes. He was happy to share his knowledge of cycles with anyone, young or old, and was often asked for advice about fixing a problem; whether from the simple to the complex, he loved to be involved and helpful. He was a long-standing and valued member of Ratae Road Club and in 2017 he was awarded honorary life membership in recognition of his many years of dedication and support of the Club.

      Bob first joined a cycling club, the Blackdowns in Somerset, aged 17. The club would spend days riding around the Somerset hills and moors covering many miles but always with a stop off in Dunster for a tea break. The club still halt there, and Bob would always stop for a chat if he saw them when he was in Somerset, an area of the country for which he never lost his love. He liked talking about bikes and cycling, routes and also sharing ideas with follow cyclists. He became a keen competitor on the road preferring the excitement of mass start events to the more sedate time trial form of the sport that he dabbled with in his later years.

      Whilst Bob was a great cyclist he was always a little accident-prone and he seemed to fall off a lot! – cattle grids, hedges, sides of the road were constant sources of danger, and he also survived being hit by a car. But none of that could dampen his enthusiasm for the sport. This passion is summed up by the following quotation offered by club mate Keith Bentley. It encapsulates the depth of feeling for the sport held by him and his contemporaries:

“The bike is a terrible thing that drives you to make excessive efforts, inhuman efforts. It takes a racing cyclist to understand what it means to hurt yourself on a bike. Apart from that, everything else about cycling is wonderful: the friendships, the tactics, the ambience, the glory.”

      The above sentiments, and his competitive spirit, which continued long after his road racing career had ended, are depicted by the following examples of Bob’s wider cycling exploits.

      In 2004 he set out and completed the Lands End to John O’Groats ride, having been persuaded to undertake it by fellow clubman Bob Perrett. They even chose a longer route enabling them to pass through Leicestershire for a home visit. On reaching Stretton-on-Dunsmore, they were met by various Ratae members and they all rode together back to Wigston, gathering more club mates along the way. On the following day’s ride, going through the village of Stathern, they were looking for the correct road when they were accosted by a helpful local, who shouted:

“Where are you looking for?”

“John o’ Groats” they shouted back.

“Silly buggers! I was only trying to help” was the reply.

      Bob loved everything about cycling, and even planned holidays to coincide with being able to watch the Tour de France. In July 2011 he helped organise a short trip for six Ratae members to watch Le Tour in Brittany.

       All those who were fortunate enough to have known Bob will remember his strength of character and positive spirit. He always had time for people and he possessed the rare ability raise a smile and to sort out difficult situations. The common theme throughout Bob’s life was his unfailing optimism and enjoyment of life. He will be sorely missed by his family and also those outside his immediate family - especially by the cycling fraternity in general but in particular by members of the Ratae.

      The family would like to say a big thank you to those cyclists who took the time to cycle to Scraptoft on the day of Bob’s funeral to say goodbye to ‘Braggie’. It was such a thoughtful and fitting tribute and was greatly appreciated by all those closest to him.

  

 
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