Lorne “Ace” Atkinson
The founder of Ace Cycles (est. 1946), Lorne “Ace” Atkinson, had a life-long history with cycling. Lorne’s father, Charlie Atkinson, was a professional cyclist/coach from Scotland. Charlie nurtured Lorne’s interest in road racing at a young age and supported his long history of competitive cycling. Lorne actually meet his wife, Evelyn Speer, at cycling event where he helped her fix her flat.
Ace represented Canada at several international competitions from 1948 to 1954, including the 1948 Olympics in London. In the 1950 British Empire Games he not only competed, giving Canada a 5th place finish in the 10 Mile Track Championship, but also managed and coached the Canadian cycling team.
For the 1954 British Empire games, Lorne served on the committee that established the China Creek Cycling Track, assisted in the organization of the cycling events, captained the Canadian team, and placed 4th in the 10 Mile track event (again, Canada’s best showing). His hand-build track bike is on display at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 1997.
He went on to coach Canada’s 1967 Pan Am Games cycling track team, and BC’s team at the 1982 Canadian Championships. In between, he saved the China Creek track from the bulldozer in 1972, and served as a member of the society that operated the track until 1976.
Legendary in cycling circles, Lorne was always available to athletes of all levels for advice and training tips. He was the “go-to” guy for information on cycling history as he spend many hours researching and documenting the history of cycling in British Columbia.
At age 84, Lorne was recognized for the work he had done in the province as a mentor, a coach and a dedicated small business owner by receiving the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards . As the owner of Ace Cycles in Kitsilano for the past 64 years, Lorne’s name was synonymous with cycling in B.C.. He has voluntarily trained and coached more cyclists in BC than any other person involved in the sport Available to athletes of all levels for advice and training tips, he was truly a leader and a legend.
His mind remained razor sharp though his body was experiencing the effects of age and chronic disease. Ace spent his days working on completing his century spanning cycling scrapbooks, visiting with friends and telling tales of times long ago with a clarity as clear as the twinkle in his eye.
Ace passed away in his home April 23rd 2010 at age 88 and the Ace Cycles tradition is proudly carried on by George Inglis (son-in-law) and Jan Atkinson (favorite daughter).