V-CC Cycling History No. 10

The Speedy Aristocrat

by Kevin J. Hayes.


A fascinating record of the Hon. Ion Keith-Falconer, a pioneer of British cycle racing in the late Victorian era. 140 pages.

The Speedy Aristocrat tells an action-packed story of this neglected part of his life. Not only does it differ from earlier biographies of Keith-Falconer, it also differs from biographies of other competitive cyclists. Keith-Falconer’s noble birth allows a much different story to be told, the story of the son of a Scottish earl who attended Harrow before entering Cambridge, where he earned top honours as an undergraduate, remained to take a graduate degree and ultimately accepted a professorship. Though it almost sounds cliché to say so, the story of Ion Keith-Falconer is very much the story of a scholar and a gentleman.

Despite how much his aristocratic background separates Keith-Falconer from most of the world-class cyclists who have followed him, Keith-Falconer and his followers shared something that transcends time and wealth and class: a passion for the bicycle. Though he entered the history of cycling near its beginning, Keith-Falconer embraced numerous aspects of the sport. He raced on the road, and he raced on the track. He enjoyed long distance point-to-point rides, and he liked bicycle touring. He recognised the value of clubs for perpetuating the sport and served as a club president for many years. And he understood the power of a nationwide cycling organisation and worked hard to form the first one. Since his story embraces so many aspects of cycling, The Speedy Aristocrat is not just a biography of Ion Keith-Falconer, it also forms a history of the early days of cycling.

Book Specification:

ISBN 978-1-9993429-1-3

A5 148 x 210 mm with 140 pages.

13 illustrations

Perfect bound.

Published by Pinkerton Press (now Veteran-Cycle Publications), the publishing arm of the Veteran-Cycle Club, in 2019.


V-CC members £11.50 including UK P&P (non-members £13.23 including UK P&P).

Order now from Club Sales