Ian Gray: Civic Award winner 2016

Published on 22 September 2016

Photo of 2016 Civic Award winner Ian Gray

Ian Gray’s love of cycling began when he was just 14 years old. “I enjoy the challenge it presents. But my real passion is coaching.”

Ian Gray has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to cycling in the Manawatū. Alongside his significant contributions to local cycling clubs, he has coached numerous young riders to success, established the first open Novice Tour of Manawatū as a national event, was integral to the success of the Tour of Manawatū, and has given more than 40 years’ service to the West Coast North Island Centre.  His interest in cycling history has resulted in three books with a fourth underway.

“My dad was into cycling and when I was 14 I started riding in the New Plymouth Amateur Road Cycling Club. I raced seriously on the local scene in New Plymouth and Palmerston North until my late thirties and then again seriously as a Masters cyclist in later years. But I had much more success as a coach than a rider.”

Palmerston North Amateur Road Cycling Club

His involvement with local cycling clubs in Palmerston North began in 1963 when he joined the Palmerston North Amateur Road Cycling Club.  As a committee member from 1965, he helped organise many races for club members around the region.

Particularly keen on getting young people into cycling, he organised a Schools Promotion Series around Savage Crescent in 1968.


Ian later coached one of those young riders, John Dykman, who went on to be a national boys’ champion winner and represent New Zealand.  John was one of between 15 and 20 riders who benefited from Ian’s coaching skills over the years, many of whom won national medals.

“I really enjoy the personal contact of coaching. I never coached more than one or two riders at a time as the one-on-one time lets you really see what they’re doing.”

Bike Manawatū Cycling Club and Manawatū Masters Cycling Club

In the 1970s he established the first open Novice Tour of Manawatū as a national event. The tour was hugely successful and is still running more than 40 years later. He then went on to give many years of service to the Bike Manawatū Cycling Club and the Manawatū Masters Cycling Club where he was elected a life member in 1999.

He played a key role in the rejuvenation of the Feilding velodrome and has dedicated much of his time to managing and organising club racing there during the 2000s. During this time he has maintained and serviced 30 track hire-bikes and has personally donated bikes to young riders so they can participate.

Cycling historian and author

Ian also has a keen interest in cycling history and has published a number of books. He was the author of Round the Mountain 100 Years of a Cycling Class, and co-wrote Harry Watson: The Mile Eater and the Beginner’s Guide to Road and Track Cycling. He is currently writing the History of Cycle Racing in the Manawatū.

“A very satisfying moment for me was when the film Le Ride was released last month. It tells the story of Kiwi cyclist Harry Watson, the first New Zealander enter the Tour de France and the subject of the book I co-wrote.”


Palmerston North Amateur Road Cycling Club

  • 1965-70: Committee member

Tour of Manawatū

  • 1967-1972: Member of organising committee


  • 1970s-2016: Trained numerous riders who went on to win medals and represent New Zealand West Coast North Island Centre
  • 1970s: Rep for Palmerston North cycling

  • 1976-1980: Selector 
  • 2000s: National Track Championships Official

  • 2001-2016: Executive committee member

  • 2005-2009: President

  • 2009-2013: Selection panel member

Novice Tour of Manawatū Cycling Tour

  • 1974-1980: Established first open Novice Tour as a national event

Manawatū Masters Cycling Club

  • 1995: Founding committee member

  • 1996-1999: President

  • 1999: Elected life member

Feilding Cycling Club

  • 2000-2010: Member

  • Secretary for six years

Bike Manawatū Cycling Club

  • 2010-2016: Member

  • 2010-2016: Managed and organised club racing; coordinator of track sub-committee; member of Bike Manawatū Recreational Cycling Committee


  • Reviewer and contributor to four books

  • Author of Round the Mountain 100 Years of a Cycling Class

  • Co-author of Harry Watson-The Mile Eater and Beginner’s Guide to Road and Track Cycling

  • Currently writing History of Cycle Racing in the Manawatū