Bicycle Club trips: how little things have changed

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marc2131
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Postby marc2131 » 12 Dec 2011, 12:26

I came across a news article from a Sydney-based paper from the late 1880s. The article recounted how local bicycle groups did regular cycle runs:

1. Sydney to Windsor (34 miles). Had to cycle towards Parramatta. Road was difficult but greatly improved once pass Parramatta. Then made way through Baulkham Hills and Rouse Hill which were largely orchards. Start time was 2pm and got there by ‘tea’.
2. Sydney to Wollongong (via Waterfall). One of the newer routes in 1888. Take the train to Waterfall then ride on to Clifton, Bulli and Wollongong.
3. Mossvale to Shoalhaven (80 miles). Done via Campbelltown, Picton and Mittagong.

Shorter runs to Coogee, Bondi, La Perouse, Manly, Lady Robinson’s Beach, San Souci and South Head.

At the beginning of the bicycling ‘season’, there was a joint cycle run consisting of all bicycle clubs. A contingent of approximately 200 bicycles was not uncommon. This began from the Domain and headed out towards either Ashfield or Botany. They’d have tea and then head back.

Back then, most of these cyclists would have been using either Penny farthings or the newer ‘safety’ bicycles (similar to the modern bicycle). I have read of similar runs from the city to Botany, as far back as 1869, when these cyclists used ‘boneshaker’ type contraptions. These were also called the Michaux bicycle, which did not have a chain, but had a set of pedals attached to the front wheel. Looked very much like a childs tricycle but on 2 wheels.

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lindsay
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Postby lindsay » 12 Dec 2011, 14:31

Here's a couple of pics I've found of Waratah Rovers. Don't know much about these guys however I think they were around perhaps shortly after this period? First photo is them outside Petersham Town Hall. Second photo is outside Royal Hotel Picton.




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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 12 Dec 2011, 16:25

I do not believe they rode all the way from Petersham to Picton in those period costumes.

Johnj
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Postby Johnj » 12 Dec 2011, 20:00


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Eleri
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Postby Eleri » 12 Dec 2011, 20:09

Good to see they are all wearing headwear. Those ladies' hats would be just the ticket in a crash.

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marc2131
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Postby marc2131 » 12 Dec 2011, 21:06

[quote="lindsay"]Here's a couple of pics I've found of Waratah Rovers. Don't know much about these guys however I think they were around perhaps shortly after this period?

The 'Rovers' were around in the 1880s. Not sure where they were based, but if they're meeting point was at Petersham Town Hall, they must have been located in the Stanmore and Petersham area.

Most of these clubs were from 'richer' suburbs ie. bicycles were expensive prior to the 1910s. Hence the first velocipede (not penny farthing or safety bicycle) clubs were formed in 1869 and by the late 1870s, switched to bicycles.

Sydney, Ashfield, Summer Hill, Burwood, Manly and Balmain all had their own bicycle clubs by the 1880s and early 1890s. Remember these areas, like the inner west, were still semi-rural, and many of the more well-to-do types preferred to commute 20mins into the city than live among the hectic, polluted and crowded conditions in the Sydney city area. These suburbs only became more 'working class' after the first and second decades of the twentieth century.

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weiyun
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Postby weiyun » 12 Dec 2011, 21:11

Bulli Pass in those gears? And we still fear it in lycra and 10 speed gearing. They are super-human!


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