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Devonport resident Bob McGuigan is well-known on the Shore. In business, as the founder of leading engineering consultancy MSC (he's the M) and in the community with Rotary and a range of other charities. Bob started his engineering consultancy in 1979, was joined by John Syme (he's the S) in 1984 and then Geoff Chilcott (he's the C). MSC has always been based on the Shore and now also has a busy office in Christchurch. In recent times Bob has been winding down from the thriving business. He has been doing some consulting but plans to fully retire after the first quarter of this year.
"The satisfying thing is that MSC is in really good hands and many of the key staff who have been with me for a long time are still there and in some cases are now shareholders and directors," said Bob when reflecting on the passion he still has for the business he founded. "People like Tom Donald, Paul Culley, Anil Krishnan and our senior senior draftsman Mike Hope have made for many good times. The same can be said for our many loyal clients some of whom’s work I’ve been involved in for decades."
Bob McGuigan's always been physically active and this hasn't stopped in semi-retirement. He's been working hard on getting his golf handicap down, and also loves fishing, walking and tramping – there is a big tramp on Stewart Island coming up soon. Overseas travel is a constant as he and wife Robyn have family (including six grandchildren) scattered all over the world. Their eldest daughter Tracy and her husband Sam are in Leeds, Yorkshire in the UK (with three children) and youngest son David lives in Melbourne with his wife Rachel and two youngsters. Eldest son Craig and his wife Lydia live just up the road in Takapuna with their young son Patrick and Bailey their black Lab. Bailey often gets spoilt by Bob who loves taking him for walks on Takapuna Beach.
Cycling has become a passion of Bob's over the past few years. Channel's Aidan Bennett put these questions to him in mid-February about his life on two wheels, wearing lycra with logos, and cycling in other parts of the world.
AB: How long have you been cycling for and how did you get into it?
BM: I got into cycling with a few of the guys from work when we joined Just Workout and the best thing I did was get Gavin Houghton as my personal trainer. Never had a personal trainer before! Gavin reckoned you always need a little challenge ahead to motivate you. So he enrolled us in a local corporate triathlon, the one that used to start at Lake Pupuke. We did that as an MSC team, my daughter Tracy joined in and we all loved it. Then he encouraged us to do the Round Taupo ride, and that meant lots of training. So, we had good camaraderie at work, a ride Friday morning followed by breakfast together, really good fun.
AB: How many kms would you average on your bike a week during a normal week?
BM: It depends on what you have coming up. A lot of the time it’s just maybe 20km a week for me but when we were training for our John O Groats ride last year it was maybe 100km a week at least.
AB: What do you get personally out of cycling?
BM: Everyone needs some interests, whether its re building an old boat or car, golf, cycling or whatever. I love cycling because its so basic and easy to get geared up for, it brings back the little boy in you. In my day we all rode to school if it was handy enough. So, I get out of cycling some good healthy exercise, great comradeship and a sense of achievement.
AB: What sort of bike do you ride?
BM: I ride a steel framed road bike built by a local bike maker. It’s a Caldera and has a nice bit of style. Easily carries panniers on the carrier for touring and handles nicely.
AB: Why do cyclists wear lycra with logos all over them?
BM: Aidan, you’ve gotta look the part! Seriously though you have to be comfortable and easily visible on the road. As for the logos often they are the brand of the bike you’re riding or from the company you might be representing. On the Round Taupo the guys from MSC ride with Takapuna builder Haydn and Rollett, they supply the gear and we love wearing it with them.
AB: Have you ridden an electric bike? What are your thoughts, is it cheating?
BM: I haven’t ridden one yet but when we did a family ride in the Czech Republic a couple of years ago my wife Robyn used one. It was great, it made sure she enjoyed the ride through the country and she was always first to the top of the hill! It’s definitely not cheating, it keeps you in the game and that’s what it’s all about.
AB: Are our roads cycle friendly?
BM: It’s getting better, motorists are starting to be more aware and sympathetic towards cyclists but there’s a way to go yet. These new cycle paths are great, thanks Barbara Cuthbert!. My favourite ride is from home at Devonport up and over the Greenhithe bridge, across through Hobsonville and Massey then down the North Western cycle trail right into town, down either the Pink Path or Grafton Gully then home on the ferry. Just over 50 kms so a good workout.
AB: Many keen cyclists seem to go to Europe to follow the Tour of France etc., have you ever done anything like that?
BM: I haven’t done the Tour de France but quite a few friends have, they’ve loved the event, probably a bit hilly for me though!! I’m going to try and do as many of the NZ one’s as possible. There are now some wonderful routes in our own backyard, Opua to Rawene, Hawkes Bay, Ohakune, West Coast South Island. Looking forward to a few of those.
AB: You have done some quite long rides, with some overseas. Tell us about those…
BM: There are plenty of opportunities overseas. Robyn and I did one with friends a few years ago starting in Vienna and down the banks of the Danube to Budapest. Cycles organised along with pension type accommodation, that was a beauty. Then we went back with our son Craig and his Lydia and did from Vienna up to Prague through some lovely Czech countryside and towns. That’s where Robyn used the electric bike and it was a winner!
Last year I rode with a couple of Devonport Rotary mates, Phil LeGros and Ian Cunliffe, from Bolton in Lancashire up through Scotland to John O Groats. Ian and Phil had already ridden up from Lands End, I just did the last bit with them. But it was a lovely long ride, 900km in nine days. We got good weather, stayed at some nice places and had a lot of laughs.
AB: Complete the following: My favourite ride is to…
BM: Hard to beat the basic ride up from Devonport around Lake Pupuke and home again, hopefully with a coffee along the way somewhere. But just taking the bike along the Devonport waterfront to Pilates on Friday morning is also a treat.
Channel Magazine: Issue 74 March 2017