Paul Richardson is a 46-year-old athlete from Scotland. Paul is married to Keira (a keen runner who is doing the London Marathon this year) with 2 kids (Finn 8 and Ava 10).
Paul lives in Lauder in the Scottish Borders which is an amazing part of the world. Paul loves to cycle and runs in different trails as well as likes going on holiday and socializing.
He has taken part in many cycling and running events including – Edinburgh Marathon, Mighty Deerstalker, Caledonian Etape, Ken Laidlaw Sportive, Tour of the Borders and Edinburgh to St. Andrews.
Paul say’s “My overall highlight though has to be the Mallorca 312 event – over 5000 cyclists, closed roads in spectacular scenery and sunshine. I’d like to say I completed the full 312 however we’ve been twice – 1st year we completed the 225, second the 167. I traveled with my group affectionately known as the Lauder Mamils; who I look after and design the kit for – a great week of cycling and beer :)” (The term Mamils is often referred to Middle aged men in lycra)
Since how long have you been Cycling?
I’ve cycled throughout most of my life. I remember learning with my Dad on my little red bike on a flat area surrounded by garages. I’ve progressed through many, many bikes in my life as well as BMX racing, through the early days of MTB and around 9 years ago I moved back to road cycling.
How has cycling helped you?
More than any other activity cycling has helped improved my fitness, well being and also has allowed me to make many new close friendships. It’s opened up new experiences and good times shared with like minded people.
Any behavioral change you see now in people’s preference for cycling in your city compared to what it use to be when you started?
I live in a large village in the Scottish Borders and I have seen cycling become very popular even in this small place – I think a lot can be attributed to the success of the British professionals and cycle teams as well as the Tour de Lauder event we started in 2012. I’ve seen so many people out on bikes around the area and it’s great to see the uptake – also a new Lauder Cycle Club has been started up for the school age children – which is very popular.
You are professionally promoting cycling and running events in your city?
Yes, I am part of the committee that organizes the Tour de Lauder
Can you elaborate about the Tour de Lauder and your role in it?
The first Tour de Lauder was held in April 2012 – the event raises funds for the Steve Cully Tribute Fund, which was set up by Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland on his wife Rosie’s wishes, in memory of Steve, a Lauder resident and keen cyclist. All entry monies go direct to the fund, now in its 8th year a staggering £240,000 has been raised for the fund, alongside this we have been able to set up a ‘Tour de Lauder Community Fund’ .
Funds raised so far have allowed us to provide financial support to The Scouts, Brownies, Lauder Cycling Club, Lauder Youth Football Club, Lauder Primary School Parent Council, Wooplaw Wood, Lauder Paths Network, Lauder Junior Limpers, Lauder Amateur Dramatic Society, Lauder After School Club & Duns Swimming Club. The event is hugely community focused with the local primary school being tasked with producing original artwork pendants every year – I think we must have nearly half a mile of them by now.
We normally have around 600 participants tackling one of two routes – The “Classic” route which takes riders on an 89 mile tour around the Cols of Berwickshire and the “Nouveau” route which will be the North half of the Tour de Lauder, a shorter 50 mile option but just as challenging.
I am officially the ‘Treasurer’ within the committee, looking after the money side of things – but I also look after the majority of the merchandise side of things – medal design and production, the design and production of the TdL kit, any sponsors banners, etc.
I am also one of 3 members of the Tour de Lauder Community Fund committee who are responsible for the awards to local groups.
What kind of preparations goes behind in pulling off such large scale public events?
A huge amount of preparation goes on behind the scenes of an event like the Tour de Lauder, many unseen hours of meetings, emails, form filling, checking and double checking everything is in place. The main thing that makes our event so special is the community and the army of volunteers that assist us on the day. We have 8 members of the committee as well as an event manager from CHSS who helps keep us all in line! The day before is focused on the set up – this translates in to 2 main areas
1. Start / Finish – which is in the stunning grounds of Thirlestane Castle and
2. Marking of the courses which is no mean feat given we need to cover just under 90 miles of roads. We use a combination of correx boards and RouteArrows to ensure our participants stay on track.
How does ‘RouteArrows’ help athletes?
Using the RouteArrows ensures we can keep our participants on track regardless of what route they are following – we can do this by using the different colours on offer – we use blue arrows (long route) and yellow arrows (shorter route). Any tricky junctions or places where a little extra help is needed the arrows are placed onto the road well in advance to warn people they need to take a turn. The arrows are brightly coloured and as they are on the road easy for participants to see. Far too many times I’ve heard of participants missing turns and ending up on the wrong road due to signage that just doesn’t quite match up.
The other good thing with the arrows are they can reduce set up time, they are easy to apply and remove. They are also eco-friendly as they are made with non-toxic ink, food grade adhesive and biodegradable (which is good news if the odd one gets missed on clear up).
What plans you have to include more people into cycling/running activities?
I’m focused on helping race professionals enhance their event and keep their participants on track – which in turn I hope then encourages more people to take part.
I’ve also dipped my toe into a new online store called CycleCube Boutique – sourcing quality goods for fellow cyclists.
What cycling routes you suggest for tourist who arrive in your city?
Being based in the Scottish Borders we are blessed with so much beautiful countryside and roads to enjoy. If you are looking for a real challenge then I would say the Tour de Lauder full route is an amazing route full of scenery and some real challenging cycling as well.
This route encompasses over 6000 feet of climbing and some spectacular views – the highlight being the climb up the infamous Witchie Knowe the run back to the Gordon Arms (where you can always stop for a rest) before heading down up and over Berry Bush and into Innerleithen (where you can grab in ice cream) and then tackle the road back to Lauder.
For a slightly less challenging ride I would head south from Lauder to just over the Border into England to Cornhill village where the local café there does amazing filled rolls. The journey back takes you along the course of the river Tweed to Kelso and home. If you are lucky you might even catch a tail wind on the return leg.
Photo credits : Paul Richardson
Ways to connect with Paul Richardson:
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai