A bon vivant who liked to drive fast and laugh hard, Simpson crammed as many adventures and memorable moments into his 29 and a half years as some people would do in their entire lives.
The film director Shane Meadows, who has spoken of his intention to produce a Simpson biopic, described him as “like Keith Moon on a bike … the first rock ’n’ roll cyclist”, to Shortlist. Simpson’s character feeds the myth too. Several stories are excavated during the research and interview process which nobody can corroborate.
The pick of the lot has Simpson spending several nights performing on stage with Coco the Clown at the Cirque d’Hiver in Paris one winter; another suggests he turned up unannounced at a Belgian hospital for hydrocephalic children with three bags of sweets for them. Unsure whether they’re true or not, his widow Helen Hoban concedes, “it’s the kind of thing he’d do.”
From Tom Simpson: Bird on the Wire by Andy McGrath