A friend of mine, Phil Williamson died last Sunday. Even as I’m typing this it seems unreal. Phil was 44 years old. I met Phil about 16 or 17 years ago when I wnt to work for his brother in what was then Williamson Cycles, a bike shop in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. I was into bikes then but was pretty inexperienced and needed a lot of help and guidance. Phil gave me that and much more. I remember him as a brilliant bike mechanic. I learned a tremendous amount from him and he was the first to teach me and encourage me to build my own wheels.
Phil was at the forefront of mountain biking in Scotland in the late 80s/early 90s and along with the rest of ‘Team Moont’, he could genuinely be called a mountain bike pioneer. Biking was in Phil’s blood. There were times when I was riding with Phil when he made me realise how important it was to just get out there and put some miles in. No matter if you felt like it or not. I regret I’ve not followed that advice nearly as much as I should have over the past couple of years. I promise I’ll do better Phil!
Sometimes when riding with Phil, it seemed like he was riding because he had to, not because he necessarily wanted to. It was part of him. I’ve been on rides with Phil when he arrived silently, did a ride without saying too much, packed up and headed home with barely 2 or 3 sentences uttered. It didn’t matter. Phil was dong what he had to. He was riding.
I hadn’t seen Phil for about 6 months when I heard the news of his death. The last time I saw him, he was on his bike and I’ll take some kind of personal comfort from that. Keep riding Phil. We’ll miss you.