Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bike racing - pre-War Northern Sydney courses

Interesting historical note on where the road cyclists raced pre-war on the north side of Sydney. Just for contrast down south the Randwick club raced crits at Bondi Beach and road races on a loop along Bunnerong Road and Anzac Parade.

Northern Sydney Cycling Club - Club History
Racing before the war was on courses such as the 20 mile out and back from Jersey Street in Hornsby to Peats Ferry (there was no Hawkesbury River Bridge in those days!), or track cycling on a board track at Riley Street in the city, which was eventually torn down and used as a storeroom during the war. After that, Norths and Hornsby riders would travel to the Henson Park track at Newtown. Not many people had cars in those days, so the riders would cycle out on their road bikes with their track bikes slung over one shoulder, hopefully finding a passing truck or car to hang on to along the way. Cars were not usually available to transport riders to opens such as the Goulburn to Sydney either, and in the late 30s and early 1940s, race entries included a rail concession so that racers could travel to Goulburn on the train with their 'machines', and race back. Interestingly, the prize list for 1941 also included one pair of 'Elasta-top' plus fours for the "competitor whom the officials consider the most unfortunate rider." Road laws made it compulsory for all bikes to be properly equipped with 'bell, brake and reflector', or racing was not allowed.
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