Lorne “Ace” Atkinson
Lorne Atkinson, himself an avid long distance road racer, has voluntarily trained and coached more cyclists in B.C. than any other person involved with the sport.
Dubbed “Ace” by the papers of the time, Lorne Atkinson established himself as a top-ranked cyclist in Canada, representing the country at several international competitions from 1948 to 1954, including the 1948 Olympics in London. Lorne’s skills as a mentor came to the fore during the 1950 British Empire Games when he not only competed, giving Canada its best cycling performance in the 10 Mile Track Championship (5th place), but managed and coached the Canadian team.
For the 1954 British Empire games, Lorne served on the committee that established the China Creek Cycling Track, assisted in the organization of the cycling events, captained the Canadian team, and placed 4th in the 10 Mile track event (again, Canada’s best showing).
From the late 1950’s through to the early 1960’s, the sport of cycling was undergoing a difficult development period. Lorne worked tirelessly to ensure the survival of competitive cycling in the province by organizing races at the China Creek Bowl, the popular Penticton to Vancouver Three-Day Bicycle Race, the Kelowna to Vancouver Bicycle Race, and the annual 25 Mile Handicap Road Race. He even held weekly time trials for both veterans and newcomers to the sport.
In 1962, Lorne became President of the Vancouver Bicycle Club, and was made a Life Member two years later. He went on to coach Canada’s 1967 Pan Am Games cycling track team, and BC’s team at the 1982 Canadian Championships. In between, he saved the China Creek track from the bulldozer in 1972, and served as a member of the society that operated the track until 1976.
Now legendary in cycling circles, Lorne is always available to athletes of all levels for advice and training tips. He is currently researching and documenting the history of cycling in British Columbia, and, at the age of 76, is an active member of the Vancouver Velo Vets, regularly taking long distance rides throughout the province.