Author Topic: Jack Eason  (Read 5336 times)


  • Full of bon courage.
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Jack Eason
« on: June 07, 2013, 12:14:47 pm »

Very sad. He was before my time, but I have heard many riders talk fondly of him and his exploits.

The little interview linked to in the above report made me chuckle:

What is the secret of your long-distance Riding success?

Choose the right mum and dad Plus luck

He must have been a great man to know.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!


  • Gonna ride my bike until I get home...
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Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2013, 12:19:32 pm »
Jack was already a legend when I started audaxing in 1997. I remember him riding the Daylight 600 on a flat-barred bike, wearing plimsoles, and with his pipe permanently clenched between his teeth.
Sad news indeed.
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2013, 12:34:23 pm »
Don't be sad.

Everyone has to go, and when I go I want to have kept going for as long as Jack did.

One of life's quiet inspirers. The sight of Jack going into free fall down a Welsh hill, peering over his glasses, pipe clamped in teeth, aged 80-something is not easily forgotten


  • It is all about the taste.
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2013, 12:51:48 pm »
An inspirational chap. The excerpt from the interview with him is brilliant.


red marley

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2013, 12:52:28 pm »
The word 'inspiration' is often bandied about on these occasions, but Jack truly inspired me to take on long distance cycling when I first started Audaxing 10 years ago. My riding speed was such that I'd often bump into him on rides. On more than one occasion on a hilly ride (the Cotswold Corker and Graham Mills's Corwen rides spring to mind) I'd find myself recovering at a control only to find Jack having a quick break to light his pipe before setting off again. Who needs cleats and Sidis when tennis shoes and toeclips suffice. After all, it's all just a bit of a giggle.

Bianchi Boy

  • Cycling is my doctor
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Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2013, 12:52:56 pm »
Jack was at the very first Audax I did. I was overweight (quite a lot) and puffed and panted up every hill, but no matter how hard I tried I could not get further than a couple of minutes ahead of Jack.

The last time I saw him was at Dolgellau YH. I slept in the same room. Daylight was just up and he asked me if I thought people would mind if he lit his pipe. Oh well I had to suggest that possibly lighting up outside was a better idea. He left before me and I passed him on the decent from Cross Foxes.

Truly an inspiration to us all.

Set a fire for a man and he will be warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

red marley

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2013, 01:01:27 pm »
And this quote from an interview with him is classic:

I was cycling home, approaching Leicester, and saw a female having bike trouble on the opposite side. I went across to see if I could help. A puncture - no problem. Cover was pierced with a sliver of wood, which I removed.. I don't patch tubes insitu and told her I would replace tube with one of my spares, patched many,many times ( I am not one of the "six patches" then throw away brigade). She was happy with this. All went well. No brake release so let tyre down to fit in bike, then skewer would not tighten wheel - too much axle poking through. Had a closer look - the locknut was missing. Searched around and found it on the ground in two bits. It had cracked in half, with rust. Tried to form a spacer out of a spare spoke, but couldn't make it small enough. She followed what I was trying to do. She unzipped her jacket, lifted her jumper and un-screwed or untwisted a ring from her belly button and said "Try this". It was a tight fit but went on with a struggle. Success- wheel tightened on fork. Pumped up tyre, had a test ride-all OK. She gave me a kiss and went on her way to Loughborough. Continued on my way with a tailwind and for a while oncoming lights all looked like a belly button.


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Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 01:31:30 pm »

I never got to talk to him as he was more a SE kinda person and he was just calming down a bit in '05 when I was starting.

On LEL 2005 I remember overtaking him twice in the first stage because I took a couple of wrong turns

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Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2013, 01:37:54 pm »

He must have been a great man to know.

He was.

My father and I used to talk about sightings of "that old man on the green bike with a radio and bunch of flowers on his handlebars."
I was about 12 then. I never knew who he was and neither Jack or I had ever heard of AUK. This was about 1986.
I joined the CTC at 14 and started doing the reliability rides and club runs.
Jack never rode club runs but he did used to do the reliability rides in the slowest time, because he didn't like to rush and just went for the fun of it. Jack was a regular at the clubroom but I was never allowed to go, because it was midweek when I was at school.
He never really knew about AUK, but began riding Audax with the CTC National 400s and always rode to and from those events, usualy overnight. It was about at that time when my father died, I'd just left school and I was going to the clubroom and hearing some of his tales, which were very often "embellished." He was always one for telling a good story and adding in a few extras.
As a young and keen cyclist with a taste for long distances, I was told about AUK at the end of 1991 and joined straight away, then got stuck ito Audaxing.
Jack got wind of the rides I was doing and asked me about AUK, so I told him how to join and he joined in 1993 and the rest I suppose is history. He ditched the flowers and very soon the radio for Audax rides, though he did get a pocket radio with headphones in the late 90s. His original radio had a small speaker on his handlebars.
We rode a lot of miles togther and have shared many bus shelters where he often had a puff on his pipe, especially 1993 to 1998 until I moved to Milton Keynes. He never puffed his pipe while he cycled.
The last time I saw him was January 2007 or thereabouts on a Willesden 200k Audax. He was a lifelong cyclist since he was in the RAF in WW2, though if what he told me is true, he never did any active service because the war ended soon after he was stationed.

Don't be sad.

Everyone has to go, and when I go I want to have kept going for as long as Jack did.

Jack would have said the same. If I'm right (Salvatore will know)  he was 88 when he died. He wouldn't have wanted to have been in a bad way from dementia.


  • RRTY Mad 31 up
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 02:16:47 pm »
I approached an unassuming Brit cyclist after PBP95 and this gent kindly took a celebration pic of my RAF colleague and myself. This guy, apparently, had been a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force and we were wearing our Club kit. Of course, it was Jack; he had obviously finished ahead of me, a youth a mere 22yrs younger (my excuse Trike?). He finished PBP again in 1999.

I came across Jack regularly on many of my longer SR-qualifying rides. His skill to finish in time was minimum delay at Controls, as many are the times when the leap-frogging became almost a joke. I am sure Jack was proud of his AUK achievements and those who did not know him should take encouragement (and be in Awe) from reading of his exploits, where entering and completing an event were what mattered, rather than standing on the podium. Jack earned a rightful place in Audax history.

I feel honoured to have known him.

Promoting : Cheltenham Flyer 200, Cider with Rosie 150, Character Coln 100 21 Mar 20.

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2013, 03:11:57 pm »
Very sad news indeed. Jack was an inspiration to me in my early Audax days. He (and his pipe!) were much missed when he stopped riding.

When asked what he used to do for a living he'd always reply "Burglar". A line that I've shamelessly stolen for myself on more than one occasion.

RIP Jack.
You're only as successful as your last 1200...

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 03:24:01 pm »
I was very sad to hear this news.

When I started Audaxing he was a fixture on many of the rides that I did, pottering along in his Dunlop Green Flash and often getting around out of time.  He was an inspiration - there was I, in my early 40's, seeing a guy who had done so many of the challenges still plugging away in a no nonsense way just enjoying the ride.  For me he was the epitome of audax - getting a great day out on the bike in good company.

Jack will be missed and I hope that his spirit lives on!  A true gentleman.



  • mojo operandi
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 03:41:31 pm »
I didnt know him or meet him, but know of his reputation. I feel sad about the passing of such a well repected character


  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2013, 03:52:01 pm »
I met Jack on the road a few times when I started riding. All I knew was that he was 'old enough to be my dad (+++)', was annoyingly indomitably cheerful, cruised where I struggled, and had a handshake like iron. One of those guys you ride with in bewilderment, trying to work out exactly how exactly they do it, because whatever it is you're doing just isn't matching up.


  • I brake for Giraffes
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2013, 04:08:35 pm »
Something that says a lot about Jack:
On the famous 'Club Ride' from Caen to the Purple Hedgehog Hotel for PBP in '99, we were riding up the last real hill (famed for dropped bottles etc. on the way out) when a youngish USAish lass asked if that was Jack ahead. When told yes, she shot off and spent a few minutes with Jack (I moved up to just behind and heard some of their conversation). It appeared that, in spite of the 50+-year gap in ages, Jack was her hero and inspiration.
That's one of the things that I love about Audax: 'class', age, occupation, nationality etc. don't matter a damn!
2x4: thick plank; 4x4: 2 of 'em.


Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2013, 04:23:43 pm »
Like lots of the 'old hands', Jack was a big part of my randonneuring.  Lots of memories spring to mind, particularly Jack emptying one of the men's dorms with his snoring on a pre-Christmas dinner ride that I regularly organised to Ivinghoe Youth Hostel and he and Karl Hrouda, his partner in crime, 'enjoying' the Sicily No-Stop 1000 and finishing a day late but having had a great time.  He was the only rider I know who kept a piece of carry mat cut to fit the bottom of his Carradice saddle bag, so that if he wanted a sleep in comfort at a suitable bus shelter, he could rescue the carry mat to sit on and slip on his yellow cape to keep warm, fuelled of course by his pipe.

Whenever you asked him how he was going, 'struggling' was the reply.  Like hell he was!

A great bike rider and enthusiastic allotment holder, who was strictly to be called Jack, not Granddad. 

Hopefully he's enjoying the everlasting 200km rando up in the sky with those other AUK legends such as Mr Potts, Mr Jennings, Mr Richardson and Mr Lewis.


  • No gears and all the ideas
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #16 on: June 07, 2013, 05:53:29 pm »
That is truly sad, but I hope he went in the way he would have wanted.  A great character and it is possible that the stories he told and others told about him are all true.

I recall the exasperation of the organiser of Boston-Montreal-Boston when Jack applied to ride it for the third time and he supplied a photo for identification as requested. It was of JE, aged three, sitting on his trike in the back garden.  He added a note: "I'm a bit older now and I've got a big boy's bike!"

It has been a priviledge to have known him and I hope he can continue in his unique way, wherever he is.
At the end of the day, when all's said and done, there's usually a lot more said than done.

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #17 on: June 07, 2013, 06:20:13 pm »
I was asked to do a bike check at an early starting 300 (run by Mad Jack of this parish). 

"Where are your lights, Jack?"

He lifted his jersey and said, "Right here, beside my liver."

Same age as my father.

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #18 on: June 07, 2013, 07:07:06 pm »
Oh Jack.
I was a complete novice on Rocco's freezing cold 200 PBP qualifier in 2003. Kept on catching and overtaking, or being overtaken by this older gentleman on a green bike with flat handlebars. Think that he was accompanied by Mark Green on this ride.

Anyway, it was a tough intro for me, had to stop at a service station and buy new socks to keep my tootsies warm. At the arrive on a BP or Esso forecourt, Jack was holding court and explaining his mental tactics for dealing with 200s, 400s and 600s. When he had finished talking, he calmly lit his pipe, and chucked the match onto the forecourt  :facepalm:

Subsequently bumped into him and Karl on several long brevets, his participation was always a great source of comfort.


  • Fueled by cake since 1957
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2013, 07:58:57 pm »
A legend. He got me round my first 600. Calmly smoked his pipe while waiting for me and a few other strugglers to finish our curry at a Sainsbury's café, despite being not far off the time limit.

As I got fitter and faster, a lot of that 'leapfrogging' went on: 'how come Jack's ahead AGAIN!!!'


  • Fueled by cake since 1957
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #20 on: June 07, 2013, 08:25:43 pm »
Just dredged up from the remote past - I first met a recently retired Jack at a 'Hilly 30' early season reliability ride that I organised for Hertfordshire DA. I'd managed to devise a relentlessly undulating course in N. Herts/NW. Essex [riders of my events may see a pattern emerging] and it was a very blowy March day, too. None of the 2 hour riders were back in time and a good few on the 2 1/2 hour schedule were timed out too. Jack got back with a minute or two to spare, then set off on a 20 mile ride home, having of course ridden there too.

When he rode LEL 2001, I was helping at the Harlow control and this convinced me that ordinary mortals could do this ultra long distance lark. He signed on at the start as 'Jeffrey Archer', if I recall correctly. [This being just after J.A. was sent down to Ford Open Prison.]

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2013, 08:37:52 pm »
Jack always used to ride steady and not stop at controls, especially cafes, that's why he was always leapfrogging people. Cafes were expensive and cost a lot of time, though he would often have a sit down feed on 400k or longer rides if there was a good cafe. He never saw the logic in paying £1 for a small glass of drink when he could buy several glassfulls from the shop next door and not have to wait for it and had the view about food, though he would stop for a hot drink on cold nights.
He carried his food in his saddlebag, usually 2 litres of Cola too and sometimes some milk. He often ate from his bar bag on the move and sometimes stopped in shops now and then if he fancied something he wasn't carrying.

He had a set of jokes he liked to use on people. One of his favourites when someone commented that he was old was to tell them he has a pacemaker fitted. After their reaction, he went on to say that he turned it up when he had to go up hills.

Though he used to joke with people a lot, he was very knowledgeable. He was a radio engineer for British Aerospace. His bike didn't look much, but that was his intention as he sometimes left it locked up in London. He certainly knew what he was doing. He never wore lycra, but he came from the era before lycra and all he really did was carry on what he'd always done and improved on it his own way. His bike wasn't just for Audax, it was how he travelled and he wanted to be comfortable all the time and not need to have a special outfit for different activities.

One thing that did strike me as a shame was that good lights and GPS came too late for Jack. His eyesight wasn't too good, which was why he often went off route. Just as diode lights started getting very good Jack became too slow for AUK time limits. He often used to ride with people and help them round events so that they could navigate for him. Easy navigation was one of many reasons he liked events in Wales and Scotland.

Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2013, 08:41:51 pm »
When he rode LEL 2001, I was helping at the Harlow control and this convinced me that ordinary mortals could do this ultra long distance lark. He signed on at the start as 'Jeffrey Archer', if I recall correctly. [This being just after J.A. was sent down to Ford Open Prison.]

He used that sort of joke a lot before he was known in AUK. When he went to collect his brevet card and the organiser asked his name he would say, "John."
The organiser would look down the list and say, "John who?"
It was a good distraction joke because while the organiser was looking for names he would say, "John Major," and because the organiser was distracted it always took them a few seconds of looking down the list before he twigged.
When he was becoming well known I remember him telling me that he can't do that one anymore.


  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2013, 08:48:09 pm »
It's amazing how often new acquaintences would ask after Jack once I'd been identified as a member of The Willesden.


  • Enjoying life in the slow lane
Re: Jack Eason
« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2013, 09:49:22 pm »
I wouldn't claim to have known Jack but he was still riding when I started Audaxing and I met, and rode a little way with, him many times. I recall encountering him about 150km into the 2003 PBP (the one he didn't finish, I think), having previously seen him being interviewed by French TV at the start, and asking how it was going.  The response, of course: struggling.

Perhaps one of the classic Willesden calendar events should be renamed the Jack Eason Memorial.
Between the Disney abattoir and the chemical refinery