The passing of cycling legend Basil Cohen

It is with tremendous sadness that we bid farewell to Legend of the Pedal Basil Cohen, whom passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after a lengthy battle with illness.

Basil was, as many of us are aware, an extremely capable cyclist, representing South Africa at the Maccabi Games, and was, as the major shareholder in Deale & Huth, the founder of the cycle trade, as we know it today: being the importer/wholesaler/retailer, at that time, of virtually all of the foremost brands in world.

He was also recognised as the very first development officer of cycling, into the then black community, through his enormous such efforts with the mines in particular.

His commentaries, at Hector Norris Park and at the SA Track Championships, for many years, were nothing short of Legendary: he was in fact very possibly the greatest SA cycling commentator of all time and was certainly able to turn track cycle racing into a modern day gladiator encounter, as his exceptional commentary created such a competitive and show business atmosphere, which in turn, greatly spurred the riders on, to their very best performances.

We shall dearly miss Basil, whom was indeed one of the most staunchly supportive, of this movement, Legends of the Pedal, and whom never ever missed a single related LotP function or activity; which was simply perfectly in keeping with his unfailingly upbeat, always giving and forever supportive character.

Basil will be most sorely and dearly missed by all and we wish him only tailwinds and downhills, to wherever his new travels take him.

Cycling SA President, William Newman, said: “It is with great sadness that I learn of the passing of cycling legend, Basil Cohen. We at Cycling South Africa would like to express our sincere condolences and sympathy to the family and friends on the passing of Basil. He was a true legend, a gentleman and a great inspiration. His immense contribution to cycling and the development thereof is well noted and sincerely appreciated. May his soul rest in peace.”

Photo courtesy Annelene Coetzee

*Content credit to Johnny Koen