Vale, Keith Guthrie

For those who have been around the cycling scene in Christchurch for a while, the one retail institution that has outlasted them all is the Cycle Trading Company, currently in Elgin St, Sydenham. And the long-standing institution behind that institution has been Keith Guthrie, cycle retailer and collector extraordinaire. So it is sad news to hear that Keith recently passed away on Feb 12th, aged 69.

Keith Guthrie (c/ Roy Sinclair)

Unlike some people, I have had only a fleeting connection with Keith over the years. The only bike I actually bought from CTC was a silver folding bike in the early 2000s when I was looking for something to take with me on trips. The last time I saw him was at the 2017 NZ Bike Expo when he gave a seminar on the history of the bicycle (not surprisingly, he had a lot to say!).

In an earlier era when most bike shops were focused on the sporty mountain bikes and road bikes, the Cycle Trading Company was the place to go to get a more “everyday” bike, or something more unusual like a cargo bike (or my foldy). For over 45 years, Keith was the man to seek out when you needed a bit of expert advice on a bike or part – the more unusual, the better…

Over the years, Keith also acquired an amazing collection of over 100 bikes of all vintages, right back to the original “boneshakers” and penny-farthings. He generously loaned them out to special events, such as the 2017 Ride On cycling heritage exhibition at the Arts Centre.

Keith tries out the Raleigh Chopper from his collection (c/ CCC)

Keith’s funeral will be held this Thurs 20th at the Christchurch City Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre (cnr Colombo / Salisbury Sts) from 11am.

Did you know Keith? Feel free to say a few words here…

16 thoughts on “Vale, Keith Guthrie”

  1. Keith was my very first employer at age 15 when I left school, My uncle set up a position for me with Keith at Cycle trading co when it was in Manchester st. He was close to being family as his Fathers sister and husband raised me from aged 8 or 9. I have fond memories of cycle trading and Keith’s knowledge back then and I clearly remember how he always was so helpful to a certain customer that would come in sometimes twice a week and want his crank set or sprocket changed as he thought it was the wrong sized gearing for his single speed bike, He never argued with John he just took his bike out the back and got it sorted and waited for the next visit. It was Keith that encouraged my interest in Bikes and I went onto becoming a cycle mechanic for another company. He was also the man to go to for Moped parts and repairs back then.
    He will be surely missed by many many people whose lives he impacted on with his kindness and knowledge.
    Rest in peace Keith and thank you for all your support all those years ago.

  2. RIP Keith. CTC is my bike shop of choice; he always managed to fix whatever issue I had or find a relevant replacement for whatever odd broken component that I brought in.

  3. RIP Keith.Thanku so much for your help and advice.I want to remember you as you are not gone you have just hopped on your Pennyfarthing and gone for a ride.Until we meet again rest easy.
    To Val,family and the awesome team at Cycle Trading i send much love and prays to you all.Kia kaha.
    Cyclists Mark and Lee Ann (West Melton)

  4. I was saddened to read of Keith’s passing. A really top bloke with a pretty encyclopedic knowledge of all things cycling. I first met Kieth not long after arriving in New Zealand from the UK in 2006. I liked him from the get go – an old school, straight talking, no nonsense kind of guy. That said, he was always more than happy to chat and gave me some great advice over the years. R.I.P. Keith.

  5. I think I’ve known Keith as a cycle man since around 1974. He was a wealth of knowledge. Sad to read, he’ll be missed.

  6. I have known Keith since 1968, when i started working for his father Jim and his uncle Doug Pettigrew, at Hobdays Cycles. When it was necessary i was sent down to Cycle Trading to help with an overflo of repairs. I think that over the 50 odd years that i have had in the cycle industry, that i also worked for Keith another 2 times at Cycle Trading in the later years. Also i can recall getting the odd strange part from Keith over the years that couldn`t be found from the normal sources, whilst working from other cycle shops.

  7. Saw Keith just a month ago and he was ‘the same old Keith’, so this news is a real shock. I have been based in Wellington and was building a bike wheel set. I wanted a special axle to finish it and got the run around from the Wellington cycle shops.:

    “That’s a very unusual size” “Nothing in stock at the wholesaler” “We can order in but you will have to wait four months.”

    Back to Christchurch, I went and saw Keith. He disappeared out the back and returned with the axle I wanted – sorted. Always willing to help, always willing to chat. Looking after a bike just won’t be the same without you Keith. Rest in Peace.

  8. keithwas a dear friend and i first met him through our sheared intrest in Penyy Farthings and all thing cycle related. when i moved to christchurch as teenager Kieth was always there to help, i worked on and off at the manchester store round my studies at CPIT, and really felt like family there, keith treated his staff like family and we always respected him for this. Cycle trading was a special store where real cyclist could go, and was the only place for anyone with an unusual vintage bike. it was a center for early cycle couriers who were often at the shop. the stock of parts that were out the back were without match and every service was available there. there was even the remainders of the frame building set up there last used by Brian Philips, along with full paint and sandblast with a full oven out the back. nothing was out of the question and it will be a key part of the cycle culture here in Christchurch. he will be missed by many and thursday will be a very big service.

  9. I am very saddened to hear of Keith’s passing. You will be missed. I have known Keith since 1976 when I moved to Christchurch. His Knowledge of All thing Cycling would certainly rival Wikipedia.
    I fondly remember many visits to CTC on the corner of Armagh & Manchester Streets on Friday Evenings. R.I.P.
    Des Ellery

  10. from my early days going to hobdays keith built about 30 bikes for me over the years .a humble man with great knowledge of bikes i was very sadened to hear of his passing a man i always admired a man i was pleased to know and remember. rest in peace

  11. This is a shock. Just returned from a cycling holiday so missed the service this morning. Keith and I were at Papanui High School in the 1960s. He has been my first stop for bikes, repairs, etc. His knowledge will be greatly missed. May you always have a smooth path and a backwind Keith.

  12. I dropped in to see Keith just a month ago and he was “the same old Keith”, so this news came as a real shock.
    I was after an odd part for a gear selector and he was able to sort me out right quick.

    My first experience with Keith was way back when he was in Armagh Street – he helped me put together
    a bike along with Brian Phillips. I still have that bicycle!

    Keith was my main goto man for anything cycling-related and he was a hellava nice guy to boot.

    RIP Keith…I’ll meet you, cycling the fields of Elysium.

  13. Sadly I’ve only just heard of Keith’s passing. Such a unique guy. If you needed something out of the ordinary Keith was your man. Looking for a certain type of tire I found one on line but thought maybe I’ll try CTC. Sure enough he had what I wanted and it was cheaper. I felt honored when he turned up at my surprise 50th birthday party. He is a great loss to the cycle trade and will be sorely missed.

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