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Paving the Way: Australian Cycling History

‘Paving the Way’ is all about Australia’s cycling history. It is motivated by our concern that the rich past of Australian cycling has not been adequately preserved, and our belief in the importance of recording and sharing this history.

The bicycle and the people who have ridden it have made a major contribution to the cultural, social, and economic fabric of Australia for well over 100 years. The cyclists of yesteryear – male and female, the elite and the ordinary, on dirt, road, and track – really have paved the way for the riders of today.

This page isn’t just about the Olympic medals, the World Champions, the Tour jerseys, or the record holders. It’s also about the everyday people who have achieved interesting and extraordinary things on a bicycle.

Attempting the Oppy 24-Hour Record

On Saturday 15 March, CyclingTips’ resident historian Craig Fry was part of a team that attempted the Australian Audax Flèche Opperman 24 hour record of 770km. In this piece Craig tells the story of that ride, while considering Australia’s long and successful history of endurance riding.

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Read more | by Craig Fry  25th March 2014

The Austral Wheel Race: the world’s oldest track race

This Saturday, March 1, the Darebin International Sports Centre in Melbourne will play host to the 116th edition of the Austral Wheel Race. It is regarded by many as Australia’s greatest track cycling event, and is the world’s oldest track race. To get you ready for the 2014 Austral, Craig Fry delves into the archives […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry  28th February 2014

The Sun Tour: Australia’s oldest stage race

With the 2014 edition of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour now underway, CyclingTips’ resident historian Craig Fry takes a look back at Australia’s oldest stage race, speaking with two Sun Tour legends – Barry Waddell (five-time winner) and John Trevorrow (three-time winner and current race director) – to get their expert views and memories about […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry  6th February 2014

Riding through history: the 1956 Olympic road race

In the early hours of Saturday December 7 2013, 12 riders set out from the Melbourne Cricket Ground to re-trace the original Broadmeadows course of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics road race. Organised by Brad Priest and Paul Munro of the Road Race Project, the ride marked the 57th anniversary of the Olympic race. Craig Fry […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry & Matt de Neef  13th December 2013

Wheeling Matilda: The Story of Australian Cycling A book review

Jim Fitzpatrick is widely regarded as one of Australia’s foremost cycling historians and now the US-born writer has revealed his latest book, Wheeling Matilda: The Story of Australian Cycling. In this post Craig Fry reviews Wheeling Matilda and shares some of his favourite moments.

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Read more | by Craig Fry  9th December 2013

Tour of Bright: a legend two decades in the making

Hundreds of cyclists will descend on the Victorian alpine town of Bright this weekend for the 20th edition of the Tour of Bright. Compared to races like the Melbourne to Warrnambool or Grafton to Inverell the Tour of Bright is still relatively young but for amateur cyclists in Victoria (and indeed around Australia) the Tour […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry  28th November 2013

Where are they now? – Matt Bazzano

Years before we used Bitcoins to pay our iTunes account, cycling fans in Australia rarely saw the world’s best cyclists. Race results drifted back from Europe in three-month-old magazines or were hidden deep in the newspapers, all part of the secret code of being a cycling fan. In this 1980s micro-climate of Sydney cycling, Matt […]

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Read more | by Jamie Jowett  26th November 2013

Grafton to Inverell: the hardest one-day race in Australia?

The 53rd Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic will run this Saturday October 26 as the final race in the men’s National Road Series. This 228km ‘Mountain Classic’ held in northern New South Wales is considered one of the toughest races on the Australian road race calendar. Craig Fry delves into the race history, and highlights […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry  25th October 2013

The long history of the Melbourne to Warrnambool Classic

The 98th edition of the famous Melbourne to Warrnambool one-day classic will be held this Saturday, October 12. It is Australia’s oldest road race still in existence, and the second oldest in the world behind Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The ‘Warrny’ is one of the enduring monuments of Australian cycling, with a long and rich history worthy of […]

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Read more | by Craig Fry  9th October 2013

The end of the Goulburn to Sydney Cycling Classic?

The Goulburn to Sydney Cycling Classic, one of Australia’s oldest road races, was supposed to be running this weekend but has been cancelled due to safety concerns. Today Craig Fry takes a look at the history of this great race and ponders the question: have we seen the last of the Goulburn to Sydney?

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Read more | by Craig Fry  13th September 2013

John Beasley — Australia’s oldest living Tour de France rider

As you prepare to cheer on the Australian cyclists in the 100th edition of the Tour de France, spare a thought for the pioneers who went before them, including John Beasley. John is Australia’s oldest living Tour de France rider and this is his story.

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Read more | by Craig Fry  26th June 2013

Where Are They Now? Scott Sunderland

In this instalment of Where Are They Now?, Jamie Jowett catches up with one of the legends of Australian cycling, a man who made a mark as a rider, as a team director and now as a commentator and cycling administrator. It seems silly to ask about Scott’s whereabouts when we often see him on […]

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Read more | by Jamie Jowett  12th April 2013

Finnigan’s 1898 Austral Win And The Birth of Malvern Star Bicycles

This Saturday evening the 115th Austral Wheelrace will take place at DISC Velodrome in Melborne. It’s one of the oldest standing bike races in the world and after speaking with some of the folks at Cycling Victoria I’ve realised there are some fascinating stories that have come out of the race’s history. In this post […]

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Read more | by Cycling Victoria History
and Heritage Committee  20th February 2013

Where Are They Now? “Bulldog” Besanko

With the 117-year old Melbourne to Warrnambool being raced tomorrow I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to one of the races greatest champions, Peter “Bulldog” Besanko who won the Warny three times off scratch. Good luck to all 229 competitors racing tomorrow in one of Australia’s greatest Spring Classics!

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Read more | By: Jamie Jowett  12th October 2012

Where are they now? | Clyde Sefton

“Racing is licking your opponent’s plate clean before starting on your own”, said Tim Krabbe in his iconic cycling novel The Rider. Kevin Clyde Sefton raced exactly that way, winning with not an ounce of his own effort wasted. Efficiency and results were what his rivals remember him for, some even jokingly called him ‘Jack’, as […]

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Read more | By Jamie Jowett  26th July 2012

The Madison – Part Of Australia’s Cycling Heritage

Summer is upon us and for many cyclists and enthusiasts track season is here. For over 30 years the Madison has been a mainstay of Australian cycling. Once you understand what’s going on and how to follow it, it’s one of the most thrilling races in cycling.

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Read more | 14th December 2011

Where Are They Now – Micheal Wilson

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, if all men count with you, but none too much; if you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, yours is […]

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Read more | by Jamie Jowett  9th December 2011

Where Are They Now? Danny Clark

Danny Clark’s racing career started as a 13 year old in Launceston, with a win in a junior Thursday night race out of town and back. Pretty soon he was developing his handling skills and sprinter’s mad-dog attitude with regular training sessions sitting millimetres behind the rear wheels of a log truck at 80km/hr as […]

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Read more | by Jamie Jowett  5th October 2011
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