Mecredy, Richard James Patrick (1861–1924), cyclist and journalist, was born 18 May 1861 at Ballinasloe, Co. Galway, son of the Rev. James Mecredy, DD, a Church of Ireland clergyman then in the parish of Inveran, Spiddal, Co. Galway. Educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, he graduated BA from TCD (1884) and was an Irish champion tricycle racer while still at university. He taught briefly after taking his degree but entered the office of his solicitor uncle Thomas Tighe Mecredy in Merrion Square, Dublin, as an articled clerk in 1884. The following year he opposed the formation of the GAA, as he felt that Irish athletes should not be bound to its rules, and helped to form the Irish Amateur Athletics Association as an alternative. His interest in cycling and his growing reputation as a cycle racer led to his becoming Dublin correspondent of the Tralee publisher J. G. Hodgins's Irish Cyclist and Athlete in September 1885. Realising Mecredy's abilities as a writer, Hodgins appointed him editor in November the same year. Mecredy bought the paper from Hodgins with his brother Alexander in 1886 and moved its office to Dublin. Having convinced the RDS to construct a cycle track at Ballsbridge (1885), he travelled to Alexandra Park, London, to win the twenty-five-mile (40 km) English tricycle championship (1886) and the five-mile (8 km) English championship (1887). An early advocate of the John Boyd Dunlop (qv) pneumatic tyre, he became a director of the Pneumatic Tyre Company on its formation by Harvey du Cros (qv) in 1889. He had his greatest success at the National Cyclists' Union meeting in London in 1890. On a Humber bicycle with Dunlop tyres, he won all four available English championships, at distances of one, five, twenty-five, and fifty miles. He ended the season undefeated, and had won seven Irish cycling titles by his retirement in 1892. He began to popularise cycling with books such as The art and pastime of cycling (1890), co-written with G. Gerald Stoney (qv) and A. J. Wilson, and his highly popular Road book of Ireland (1892).
He resigned from the board of du Cros's company when it was taken over by E. T. Hooley in 1896, and founded Motor News after being introduced to motoring by S. F. Edge in Dublin in 1900, long before the motor car became popular in Ireland. Through R. J. Mecredy & Co., he published The Daimler car (1901) and De Dion Bouton cars and how to drive them (1901), a book so enthusiastic that the French manufacturer adopted it as an official handbook. He took part in the motor tour to Killaloe in 1900 and in the Irish Automobile Club Tour of 1901. A prime mover in the foundation of the Irish Automobile Club in February 1901, he was its first secretary. He secured the 1903 Gordon Bennett race for Ireland. Joining his business rival Sir James Percy to trade as Mecredy, Percy & Co., he transformed the Irish Cyclist and Athlete into the Irish Cyclist and Motor Cyclist in 1913 to reflect his market's changing tastes. An enthusiast of motor touring, he persuaded a consortium of investors, including the Thomas Cook company and the Great Southern & Western Railway, to improve the road between Glengariff and Killarney to promote tourism.
In the first two decades of motoring in Ireland Mecredy was its most influential advocate, and is rightly described as the ‘father of Irish motoring’. He always took his own holidays in Ireland and preferred camping in Kerry to all other pursuits. He never worked on a Sunday and believed that mental rest was the key to longevity; his frugal habits allowed one social grace, a love of dinner parties. In later life he developed an interest in archaeology, and regretted that he could not speak Irish to communicate with the people he encountered on his tours. In poor health from 1920, he wrote little and travelled to California and France to recuperate. Retiring to his house, Vallombrosa, Bray, Co. Wicklow, he walked in the surrounding hills despite his frailty. He died in Scotland while attending a sanatorium on 26 April 1924, survived by his wife, Catherine Anna Mecredy (née Hopkins; m. 1887), and four children, his daughter Myrtle having predeceased him in 1922. He is buried in Dumfries, Scotland.