Topflight Montréal Racer
Raymond Bedard was born February 16, 1915 in Lachine, Québec, a working class suburb of Montréal that borders the St Lawrence River. Bedard was a crack rider and in his late teens he joined the Club Pirates Athletique Lachine and started to distinguish himself both on the track and as road racer.
As a young man Raymond was small in physical stature but when on the bike he was never timid and could ride like a warrior. His nickname, 'Ti-coq', may have originated from Gratien Gelinas a Quebecois author who wrote a popular play of the same name and radio programme called "Fridolinades" whose protagonist was called Ti-coq. Ray had quite the following of supporters that attended both the track and road events and cheered him on.
In 1935, at the age of 20, Ray won the Quebec 1 mile sprint championship. The following year he won the Canadian National Championship for both the 5 and 10 mile races on the wooden saucer at the Montreal Forum and on the road he won the 160km Montréal to Sherbrooke Road Race.
In 1936, Raymond entered an amateur 6-day event in Chicago partnered with fellow Montreal teammate Arthur St. Laurent. They did exceptionally well, coming in second place. From the San Francisco Archives. The following month Bedard entered his first professional six-day race at the tender age of 21. He was partnered with the German six-day veteran Werner Miethe; the team abandoned. The next six-day race for Raymond was a three rider team race in Ottawa. He was partnered with Max Hurley (Can) and Georges Trepanier (Can), both riders from Montreal. They did well grabbing a second place podium position. Less than two weeks later there was another trio six-day race in Montreal and Bedard partnered with Gerry Rodman (Usa) from Chicago and again with Georges Trepanier (Can). This time they put it all together and won the race. The following is a newspaper report from the Toronto Globe and Mail, October 19, 1936.
Canadiens' Bike Team Wins Montréal Grind
Montreal, October 18, 1936-Six Days of cycling at an end, a trio of youthful pedallers held a new mileage today in winning Montréal's fifteenth semi-annual saucer grind. Though not rated an outstanding threat at the start of the race, Raymond Bedard, Georges Trepanier, and Jerry Rodman, racing under the Canadien Hockey Club colors, fought there way to victory Saturday night over a field that contained six other teams in the final hour. When the last wheel had spun over the finish line this trio had travelled exactly 3,039 miles (4862.4kms) and 5 laps to establish a new record in Montréal six-day bike racing history.
MONTREAL GRIND RESULTS Miles Laps Points Bedard, Rodman, Trepanier 3039 5 1040 McDonald, Lanes, Juner 3039 4 1094 Bollaert, Wilisky, Pelletier 3039 4 1048 Heaton, Hunt, Hurley 3039 4 674 L. Gachon, Walthour, P.Gachon 3039 4 664 Peden, Charest, Peden 3039 3 1201 Flynn, Gruber, Gillis 3038 7 606
Raymond went on from this victory to have a distinguished six-day livelihood. His professional career lasted for 10 years from 1936-1946 interrupted by World War II when Ray was a seaman in the Canadian Navy until 1945. His last six-day race was in Chicago in 1946 as the revival of six-day racing in North America was starting a comeback. In review of his career both as an amateur and professional Raymond Bedard participated in 18 six-day races. He finished 11 6-days, winning one, coming in second once and coming in third twice. Ted Harper, a six-day rider in the 1930's and early 1940's, who rode with Raymond Bedard, wrote in his book 'Six Days of Madness (1993)' that: "Although Raymond Bedard's six-day career was short, he was among the best riders both amateur and professional of the 1930's".
The Federation Québécoise des Sport Cyclistes recognized Bedards' excellence by accepting him into the FQSC Temple de Renommée in 1990. Raymond 'Ti'coq' Bedard was deceased in 1995.
NOTE: Images marked SPX ARCHIVE are from the San Francisco archives.