Enthusiast 'who did a huge amount for cycling'


Joe Daly:JOE DALY, who has died aged 89, was the founder and owner of the famous bicycle shop in Dundrum, Co Dublin which bears his name.

Bikes were his life. He sold and repaired them, talked about and cycled them, and fraternised with and supported the professional and wider cycling population, having first set up business in 1951.

Twice forced to move premises to make way for roads, and again for the Luas bridge, in 2006 he moved into an architecturally designed, cylinder-shaped, silver-clad futuristic looking building, set to become a landmark in its own right.

Cyclist Stephen Roche said: “I have a monument to myself in Dundrum, but Joe was himself a monument there. He did a huge amount of good for cycling.”

Roche won the 1978 Rás Tailteann on a Raleigh 753 he bought in the shop, and Daly led the fundraising drive to erect a memorial to mark Roche’s 1987 Tour de France triumph. It was a proud day for him when the monument was chosen as the start point for the 1998 Tour.

Born in the National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, in 1920, Daly was reared by his aunt Ellen Daly, whose name he took; he was originally Tansey.

Educated locally, he served his time in Mellons Garage, where he worked for 17 years. “They were like a family to me. I did everything; drove a taxi, did cycle repairs and looked after the bicycle section.”

During his apprenticeship, he attended Ringsend technical school, studying mechanical engineering, welding, electrical, and workshop practice three nights a week.

Going into business for himself, he sold radios and televisions as well as bicycles. A good bike at the time was relatively expensive at £16, and many were sold on hire purchase at five shillings a week. He also erected TV aerials.

He recalled that bikes were very popular in the 1950s among all classes and both genders. “There were lots of women cyclists in the 1950s; all changed now, all the young girls want cars these days,” he said in 2006.

He remembered the introduction of autobikes in the mid-1950s. With the addition of a Cycle-Master to the back wheel, a bicycle became a motor bike.

He saw the popularity of the bicycle rise and fall, and rise again. “The Stephen Roche, Seán Kelly, Paul Kimmage era of the 1980s made them very popular.”

More recently, he experienced an increased demand for bikes and also saw his customer base expand to include Americans, Australians, Bangladeshis, Belgians and Costa Ricans. Moreover, he welcomed a third generation of customers to his shop.

He remembered when cyclists had a choice of either single-speed or basic three-speed models, compared to the much lighter bikes of today with 18 to 27 gears.

He described his shop as akin to a club. Cyclists gathered there, and Orwell Wheelers’ Sunday spins began outside the premises.

Still working in his ninetieth year, every day he cycled the 5km (3 miles) to and from work, as well as making it home and back for lunch. His working day was 9am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. He took his holidays in the Isle of Man to coincide with the annual TT motorcycle road race.

The key to longevity, he said, was keeping busy, and not allowing inactivity to take hold.

Active in his community, he was honorary mayor of Dundrum three times and promoted an annual cycle rally to raise funds for Simpson’s hospital for elderly people. He served as road safety adviser to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for years.

Predeceased in 2004 by his wife Kathleen, he is survived by his daughters Bernadette, Catherine and Claire, and sons Paul, Francis and David.

Joe Tansey Daly: born April 9th, 1920; died February 15th, 2010