Richard Ballantine


Drifting a recumbent trike through a corner at high speed is one of life’s great pleasures, inside front wheel barely touching the road and body leaning into the turn to keep everything balanced.  There was no greater advocate of HPV’s than Richard Ballantine who so sadly died last week and I sometimes wonder if I would ever had tried one without the ZZZWAAAAMMO chapter in Richard’s New Bicycle Book.

The original Richard’s Bicycle book was a revelation to me when I first encountered it in the late ’70s.  I was commuting 25 miles a day because I wanted to, in those days it seemed that unless you raced or toured you rode a bike because you could not afford a car.  Here was this slightly subversive little book promoting a cycling lifestyle and celebrating the bicycle in all its variety.  Sadly the original book was lost and so when, years later, my children asked me what I would like for my birthday I suggested a new copy not realizing that it had been extensively revised and the chapter on HPV’s added.  ZZZWAAAAMMO struck a chord and I was hooked.  Around the time of the new versions publication there was a lot of talk about town centres being motor traffic free during the working day. (if only)  As a product designer I saw in HPV’s the potential for comfortable pedal powered transport with some weather protection ideally suited to the motor traffic free environment.  For the next few years many meeting notes and design sheets would have HPV and recumbent bike doodles in the margins.

ZZZWAAAAMO inspired me to design Streetglider, join Patrick Shaw at FutureCycles and led to nearly twenty years of involvement in selling and maintaining conventional and alternative cycles.  Sadly FutureCycles is no more but as I set out on a new journey it seems appropriate to pay tribute to the man who sowed the seed.





2 thoughts on “Richard Ballantine

  1. John Jenkins

    Hi Ian

    Just to let know today I did the Bikeathon 54 miles in total also earlier in the year the 16 bridges in London 37miles in all for the Stroke Assoc.
    The Trike was brilliant on both occasions ,you obviously prepped the Trike very well so a great big thanks.

    Best wishes


  2. Tim O'Flynn

    Hello Ian,
    That’s a beautiful tribute to a fine man. I’ve still got Richard’s book on cycle maintenance in my bike shed. It’s covered in oily fingerprints (as I think he would have liked). I learnt so much from it that I rarely look at it now but without it I would have been lost. I took it with me when I was living and working in Asia and even learnt to true a wheel from it – as a non-techie that was something I never thought I could do! Very sad that he’s gone but good to remember what an enormous amount he contributed to cycling. Thank you for reminding us.


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