1952 TO 1963

My introduction to the sport of cycling was in December 1952 when a school friend, Neil Andrew, let me see his copy of 'Cycling' magazine - I was hooked! In 1953 I joined the Wallacehill Cycling Club of my home town Kilmarnock. I began racing in time trials (which I hated!). Wallacehill were going through a 'golden' sporting period mainly due to the efforts of Jimmy Train (see 'Friends & colleagues' page) who had a group of talented youngsters under his wing led by the famous Kinnear Brothers Alan, Bobby, Billy and Gordon. There were a host of others whose names will be included as they return to memory!

The Kinnears and other talented riders (not me) dominated Scottish cycling time trials till the end of the fifties. On one famous occasion the Wallacehill Club broke the Scottish 25 mile team record three times in the same event - and with six different riders contributing!

 Four years after joining the Club I was conscripted to do National Service in the military and found myself in the Royal Army Pay Corps. After my initial training I was posted to Strensall Camp, outside York, to look after pay for the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. There I was able to resume cycling and rode in the colours of the Army Cycling Union. I also becames a member of the British League of Racing Cyclists so that I could start to ride road races and did so mainly in the Bradford Area.

I rode the Girliington Kermesses in the company of many of the semi-professionals of the day including Ron Coe. I also recall taking part in a race at Hathersage near Sheffield where the HQ was the Pewitt Cafe.Later that year I rode the Army Championship held at Blandford Camp in Dorset where I first met Keith Butler, Harry Reynolds and others. The event was won by Alan Ramsbottom who went on the become a professional on the continent during the sixties.

On one occasion during my service my officer, a Captain Ford, stuck his head through the hatch between our offices and said ' I  believe you cycle Miller' Yes, I replied. 'Well you're running in the Army cross country championship tomorrow in Harrogate'. I did and finished in the top ten. the winner was some chap called Gordon Pirie!!

My National Service ended in March 59 and I returned home to Kilmarnock and resumed racing with Wallacehill. I entered as many road races as I could and after a couple of years I began to finish with the leaders - but never managed a win. On one occasion I was sprinting shoulder to shoulder with Andy Kerr of Fullarton Wheelers but finished second. As we came to a halt Andy turned to me and said 'you had me beaten - why the h*** did you change gear in the last 100 metres??'.  A well, we live and learn.

Despite my lack of interest in time trialling Jimmy Train persuaded me to ride a 100tt to help our Club win the Ayrshire championship - which we duly did and my name remains on the trophy to this day. Fame at last.

In 1959 the Cumnock Rally was still a feature of Scottish cycling and the first race sponsored by the Milk Board was a marathon from Arbroath to Cumnock - I didn't ride but watched the finish at Cumnock. the following year the 'Milk Race' was run as a single day event from Ayr to Falkirk and back and I entered that event. I didn't finish being dropped with several others (no names) just before Falkirk and ended up in the sag wagon. The following year the race became a two day event from Glasgow to Dundee and return the next day. I had my first experience of team management helping the Ayrshire and Dumfrieshire team at that event.
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