George Stotter - 10 Mile Record Holder

George Dexter Stotter was probably encouraged by friends to enter a cycle race in January 1896. His first race, a one miler, ended in a collision with other riders but he rode again later the same day in a ten mile race and won by a respectable margin. 

Hi talent was quickly recognised and within months he was representing the WA  Cycling Club in races in the Goldfields. By the mid 1897, having won the Austral Trophy in Perth, was bound for Victoria and the Austral Wheel Race.

One of his key opponents on the local track was M. Porta, “the Italian champion”. By 1901 Porta was back on the continent being lauded as “Champion of Australia” and George’s cycling career was all but over. On his last serious race day in Albany, having won two out of three races against local riders, he was declared winner, taking home £15.

In October 1898 George was invited to ride in a worldwide relay. It was in this ride that he set the North Fremantle to Perth record of 23m 15s. It was over 40 years before anyone came close to George’s time; in 1940 Dave Stevenson bettered George’s time by just 20 seconds. George objected, pointing out that road realignments in the interim meant that Stevenson had ridden a route that was 100m shorter than the one on which George’s record had been set. 

In his five years of racing George took home over £700 in winnings. It’s difficult to make direct comparisons with today’s values but in rough round terms it equates to $100,000, a tidy sum.

George’s family joked that his winnings paid for their house in Holland St, Fremantle. Jokes aside, they were probably on the money, so to speak; in 1895 land could be bought in Holland St for £125 and a house built for £150 and up. It’s likely that George paid for the house and land and more besides. 

George’s race diary, a wonderful handwritten document, has no entries beyond 1901, however there are newspaper accounts of him competing up until 1904. 

In 1902 he appeared in court as the defendant in a case for the action of payment of bicycles. Stotter had evidently undertaken to purchase 11 bikes from a W. Pearson for £155 - more than a block of land in Fremantle, and had allegedly defaulted. The case was referred for lack of evidence. 

In the 1930’s George served as the Vice President of the Fremantle Trotting Club for a few years.

George’s grand daughters Geraldine Cook and Lynnette Dyer recently donated photographs of George and his world record certificate to the WAHCC. The club was also able to make a copy of George’s race diary the text of which is reproduced here;

The following are the performances of GD Stotter

January 26th 1896
I started in a Maiden bicycle race one mile I had seventy five yards start. Comeing around the corner in the last lap one of the riders collided with me we both fell and that spoiled my chance of wining.

January 26th 1896
I started in a ten Mile Handicap Bicycle race I had six hundred yards start a lap and fifty yards. The scratch man caught the fifty yards on me and I hung onto his wheel and after going Five miles he retired. He stated that it was no use of him trying to catch the lap on me as he could not shake me off his wheel. By this time I had caught the other riders instead of them catching me so I won by a lap to spare. This was the first Bicycle race I won and the second I started in. The prize money was£25.

March 21st 1896
I started in a road race from Perth to Pinjarrah the distance being 56 miles. I had five minutes start and won by forty five minutes.

April 15th 1896
I started in a two mile race off 195 yard mark. J Parsons of Victoria scratch man. I came second. Won by Donald Patterson 230 yards.

April 15th 1896
I started in a two lap handicap race off 95 yards, J. Parsons Scratch man. Won by A cooper off 120 yards start. I ran into second place.

September 14th 1896
I started in a road race from Perth to Greenmount and back. I started on scratch giving away 20 minutes start the distance being 25 miles. I won by three minutes. After the finish of this race the Western Australian Cycling Club asked me if I would go to Coolgardie to represent them in the forthcoming carnival. I said I would so one hour later I was on the Coolgardie Express with M. Porta the Italian champion who had just arrived from the Eastern States bound for Coolgardie. When we arrived at Coolgardie we were met by the leading people including Warden Finity and J.J. Cook and a drag with six horses. They drove us to Kennedy’s Hotel, the leading hotel at that time and they treated us like lords. After lunch they drove round to the hotel and drove us to the cycling track so as we could have a spin. After we had a ride they drove us back to the hotel. In the evening they gave us a banquet.

So you will see that it was at the Carnaval that I first beat M. Porta. I might state that the Western Australian Cycling Club gave me my expense before I left but when we got to Coolgardie we were told that we were guests of the Coolgardie Cycling Club and they were going to pay all expenses so that was better still. I might state that from the time we arrived and till the time we left they were continually showing us round. It is a time I will never forget.

The following are the races I won at the Carnaval;
September 17th 1896
I started in a one mile race in Coolgardie off 130 yard mark. I won after a great struggle. £25

September 17th 1896
I started in a two race off two hundred and thirty yards. I won by about 6 inches. Value £50 Stelwag ran second place off 230 yards.

September 17th 1896
I started in a five mile scratch race at Coolgardie. I might state that in this race sixteen riders started and we had to draw for places so I had the bad luck of drawing one of the places in the second row. When they started one of the riders in the front row fell off in front of me and knocked me off my machine so I jumped on again. The people shouted to the others but it was of no use they kept going. So I made up my mind to do my best to catch them. After about three miles I caught them so when it came to the last lap I made up my mind to try and beat Porta, but he beat me by about half a wheel. This gave me more confidence in myself and I said to myself that if I had not been knocked off my machine I would off beaten him. So you will see that it was not long after this that I beat him in all scratch races.

September 21st 1896 Sunday
I started in a one mile race off 50 yards. This race was run on a Sunday as we were leaving that evening for Perth to compete in races there. I won after a good race Value £25

September 23rd
I started in a two mile race off 150 yards. Won by Stevens 200 yards. I got second. Run at Perth. Value £25

September 23rd
I started in a two mile race off 150 yards. Won by J. Irvine.

September 23rd
I started in a five mile race scratch race at Perth. I might state that when I arrived back from Coolgardie I had a very bad cold and was not going to start in this race. Some off my friends persuaded me to start. While we were riding some of the riders were beginning to leave me behind so I shook myself up and went we were coming around the last lap I went to the front and rode for all I was worth and to my great surprise when the gun went off I had won and as soon as I stopped I feinted. Dr McWilliams attended me and said that he did not know how I won the race as I should off been home in bed. I could not walk home. So I had six weeks in bed with infammation on the lungs. When I got better Dr Birmingham told me to take a trip to the Eastern States which I did and stoped three months in Victoria. 

January 1st 1897
I started in a two mile race off scratch. I won after a good race. W. Nichols ran second off 100 yards. 

January 1st 1897
I started in a three mile race off scratch. I won after a good race. Cooper second. £15

January 26th
I started in the Australian Native Association Wheel Race run in Melbourne. Two cyclists feel and I went over the top off them so that spoiled my chance.

April 17th
I started in a mile and a half race at Bunbury in which I was not placed.

April 17th
I started in a scratch race one mile which I won £10

May 22nd 1897
I started in scratch race one mile at Perth Association Cricket Ground which I won. Value £15

May 22nd 1897
I started in five mile paced race at Perth. Ran third.

May 22nd 1897
I started in half mile handicap race. Won by E. Morrison I got second.

May 24th 1897
I started in W.A. Wheel Race two miles run at Perth. I won after a close race. Start 90 yards Value £50 First.

May 24th 1897
I started in a mile scratch race which I won value £15

June 1st 1897
I started in Karrakatta Wheel Race two miles. £50 which I won off 50 yard mark.

June 1st 1897
I started in a mile scratch race which I won. Porta second and Running third.

June 22nd 1897
I started in mile handicap race at Perth. Won by Coultas 85 yards Irwin second 85 Stotter third scratch.

June 22nd 1897
I started in ten mile scratch race. I won, Reynolds the Irish champion second and M. Porta Italian champion third. Value £30.

June 23rd 1897
I started in the one mile championship of WA. I won after an exciting race.

July 7th 1897
I started in a five mile scratch race at Perth which I won Porta second and Reynolds third. £25

July 7th 1897
I started in two mile handicap race off scratch. Early Closing Association. Won by me for which I got £50 and medal I am wearing.

October 13th 1897
I started in Grand Invitation Scratch Race one mile at Lady Smiths Charity Meeting which I won Porta second Fitzgerald third £10.

October 13th 1897
Lady Smiths Charity Meeting. I started in ten mile scratch race which I won Fitzgerald second Porta third Value £25.

October 16th 1897
I started in half mile handicap off scratch. Won by Snowden off 45 yards start. I got second.

October 16th 1897
I started in five mile scratch race which I won, Healy second Middleton third. Value £25.

October 21st 1897
I started in a scratch race five miles in Perth which I won, Bunning second and Porta third.

October 23rd 1897
I started in a ten mile invitation scratch race which I won, Fitzgerald second Porta third. £25.

November 9th 1897
I started in a five mile scratch race which I won, Cooper second and Bunning third. £10.

October 23rd 1897
Port Cycleing Club matched me against J Fitzgerald of Victoria in a pursuit race each man to start on opposite sides of the track over one mile for a stake of £15. I won by 70 yards.

November 9th 1897
I started in a five mile scratch race which I won at Perth £10.

November 9th 1897
I started in a one mile scratch race which I won at Perth £10.

February 19th
I started in a five mile scratch race on the Fremantle Oval which I won. £15.

February 19th
I started in a one mile handicap race off scratch which I won. £10.

February 26th 1898
I started in a ten mile scratch race at Port Cycling meeting which I won. £25.

December 26th
I started in a one mile scratch race at Coolgardie which I won. £25.

May 7th 1898
I started in the Cyclone Plate of three distances, one, three & five miles which I won the three races value £30 and £1 a week while I held it. 

June 1st At Geraldton
I started in half mile scratch race which I won £7

June 1st At Geraldton
I started in two mile handicap race which I won off scratch value £10.

October 1st Spring Fete Meeting
I started in two mile scratch race which I won £15

October 1st
I started in two mile handicap race which I won £30

Dec 3rd 1898
Port Cycleing Meeting
I started in five mile scratch race which I won after a hard race £15

October 26th 1898
A relay race was open all over the world in which ten selected riders were competeing. It was in this race that I put up a worlds record for the distance Fremantle to Perth. Time 23 minutes 15 seconds. The next best time was Bull of New Zealand 24 minutes 18 seconds. I might state that I still hold the world certificate of this distance. Distance 10 miles.

February 1901
I went to Albany and made a match to race any three riders over a distance of one mile, three miles and five miles. Each rider to take an equal distance in each race. The names of the riders who were chosen by the Albany Bicycle Club were Pearson, Perkins and Costello. The lines the match was to be run on was the rider wining two races out of three was declared the winner. I lost the one mile and won the three mile and five mile so I was declared the winner. Value £15.

A Cure For Sleepless Nights

The WA State Government has rewritten the Association Act, the new act came into effect in July the 1st 2016. Pretty exciting, huh? Just you wait!

The West Australian Historical Cycle Club's constitution needs to be updated to comply with the new act. Yes, your heart is racing!

A special general meeting has been called on Nov 20th to vote on the club's new rules. That's right, it's no longer a constitution (they've fallen into disrepute didn't you know), they're just rules.

Please familiarise yourself with the new rules ahead of the vote. 

Alan Hind 1938 - 2017

Long term club member Alan Hind died suddenly at home from a heart attack in July. He was aged 79. Alan had suffered heart issues since a valve replacement operation in 2008, though that didn’t dampen his love of cycling or spirit
of adventure.

Alan was one of 5 children born to William and Mary Hind in Glasgow in April of 1938. Following his schooling he completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and joined the Merchant Navy in 1959, working for a few years on the cargo ship Sundra. In 1961, while fourth engineer on the passenger ship Oriana, he met his future wife Pam. After marrying in Glasgow in 1962 Alan and Pam emigrated to Australia.

Cycling and travel are natural bedfellows and those that knew Alan will know that his passion for both remained undiminished through his life. He began riding in his teens, travelling around Scotland with friends. He travelled all over WA with his young family and his 50th birthday treat was a trek in Nepal. His last big cycle tour through Europe was undertaken just a few years ago at the age of 75.

Like many of us Alan was an inveterate “joiner”. Apart from the WAHCC he was an active member of the Over 55’s Cycling Club, the Canning Mens’ Shed, the WA Cricket Association and had been a member of several photography clubs. Alan joined the WAHCC early in the life of the club and was rarely absent from a meeting. 

He was a frequent contributor to show and tell, either with one of his beloved Flying Scots or one of many intriguing unusual frames he had collected along the way. He often joined club displays and almost always joined club rides, usually piloting a Claud Butler fixie. Alan served on the club committee a number of times and was a committee member at the time of his death. 

His contributions to club life go far beyond that though; over the years many members were beneficiaries of Alan’s knowledge, his good humour and of his generosity. We will all cherish the memory of Alan’s smile.

Alan is survived by two sons, Ian and Alistair, and Christiaan, his grandson

WA Bicycle Number Plates

Bicycle registration is a bit of a hot button dog whistling topic these days. It’s been tried and dropped in WA in the past, but the relics of the experiment live on in a few club members’ collections. If they’re still hanging off a bike they could help establish the bike’s age or origin.

The earliest WA plates go back to the turn of last century. These Cue Road Board plates from the early 1900's were designed to wrap around the headtube.

Most plates are more conventional, smaller than car plates but otherwise similar in appearance.

The "Uniform Bicycle Tax" was introduced into the WA Traffic Act in 1913, to replace regional schemes that authorities like Cue and Coolgardie already had in place. A public meeting was held in Victoria Park Town Hall on March 28th 1914 to protest the introduction of bicycle registration, and in fact due to an oversight in the original legislation which made no provision for number plates bicycles weren't registered until 1917. (See Daily News article below)

The following partial list was compiled by Merv Thompson.
White or silver on red - 1939
Black on yellow - 1940, 1949, 1954, 1960
Black on white - 1941, 1945, 1952, 1958
White on green - 1942
White on black - 1917, 1944, 1950
Silver on red - 1948, 1953, 1959
White on blue - 1951, 1957, 1963
Silver on green - 1955, 1961
Black on silver - 1956, 1962
Silver on black - unknown
Blue on white - unknown

Daily News, Thursday 8 November 1917, page 2

During the past week owners of bicycles almost forgot that there was a world war in progress, and talked little else but bicycle tax. They paid cheerfully the half-crown demanded by the City Council for registration, others demurred, others protested vigorously and paid, and others have not yet paid. The town clerk has been asked to bear the brunt of the criticism of a tax that is not popular, but as a matter of fact had little or nothing to do with the matter.

The by-law has been in existence for four years, and it is only at this juncture that the City Council led the way and asked owners to pay what they have been entitled to demand from them for over four years. The Government issued the uniform by laws affecting Road Boards only in 1913 and the fee then fixed for registration was Is. 3d. per wheel. The Government has no power to make by-laws for municipal councils.

What was not provided in the uniform by-laws was the provision in respect of numberplates, and, accordingly last week's issue of the 'Government Gazette,' the Government at the request of the City Council issued the following amended by-law of the uniform general by-laws for regulating motor traffic and standard rights for all vehicles - "No person shall drive, ride, or impel any cycle unless there shall be attached thereto in conspicuous positions, in the front and at the rear, number plates containing the number of the licence, of such cycle, together with the distinguishing letter or lettcrs, of the digtrict of the local authority in which it is licenced.

The said number is to at least 2in in height and to be in white figures on black ground. This amended by law, requiring the two plates will require further amendment in view of the fact that the City Council, at its meeting on Monday last decided that only one plate was necessary.

It is understood that the question of registration will be discussed at the meeting of the Subiaco Council on Tuesday next. At the present time the council is registering as in Perth. having been practically compelled to take that course owing to the fact that owners of bicycles in Subiaco using the Perth roads were required to exhibit the number plate. Presumably other councils will take similar action. It is held by quite a number of suburban councillors that 2s. 6d. registration is too high, but apparently any desire to effect an alteration would necessitate the consent of the Government.

Geoff Owen's Books

The club had the great pleasure of hosting a presentation by Geoff Owen on March 20 2017. Geoff is a book collector with a focus on cycling books. While his collection encompasses many areas of cycling he is particularly fascinated by the personal history genre - stories of the mad endurance cyclists traversing a new nation, many in the days before roads. 
A bibliography of the books covered is below the photos.

The Ingenious Mr Pedersen; David Evans; Alan Sutton 1978

Pedals, Politics and People; Hubert Opperman; Haldane Sydney 1977
First race at age 15
Died on an exercise bike in his retirement home
Record breaking 2875 mile ride Fremantle to Sydney
Held 24 hour record for a time
Idolised by French
Won Paris-Brest 726 miles
Became a federal politician - Minister for Immigration

From Ocean to Ocean; Jerome Murif; George Robertson 1897
Adelaide to Darwin 74 days traversed marshy lakes Gibber Plain and railway ballast, wore pyjamas and high boots

By Bread Alone; Ernie Old; George House Melbourne 1950
Anzac soldier, born in poverty ,mother died in childbirth, long cycling career,  cycled Melbourne to Perth and return in 62 days in 1948

The Book of Albert McDonald of Orroroo; By one who knew him; The Austral Cycle Agency Ltd( sellers of Swift Cycles)
1895 Time Darwin to Melbourne 33 days 5 hours 30 minutes - daily average distance 78 miles, -distance 2596 miles. Orroroo 3 hours north of Adelaide, population currently 540.

My World on Wheels; Russell Mockridge (posthumously completed by John Burrows) Stanley Paul 1960
1928-1958 killed in collision with bus Dandenong and Clayton Roads Melbourne
Rode with Hubert Opperman
Won 12 consecutive Australian championships

The Story of a Remarkable Ride; As Related to “Pedal” of The West Australian; The Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. of Australasia, Melbourne 1900
Arthur Richardson’s circumnavigation of the continent. Photocopy only - an exceedingly rare book. 

Battle Fronts of Outback; Francis Birtles; Angus and Robertson Sydney 1935
A re-cap in part of next item

Lonely Lands; Francis Birtles; New South Wales Bookstall Co. 1909
(see also Francis Birtles;Australian Adventurer by Warren Brown Hachette 2012-and Grit, an Epic journey Across the world, Peter Wherrett., Ibis date ?)
1910-1911 rode around Australia
1905 Perth -Sydney Record
Subsequently held Sydney-Fremantle Record 31 days
1927 London to Darwin-customs at Darwin wanted to impound

H. Grivell; Australian Cycling in the Golden Days; Courier Press Adelaide 1949
89 articles by various authors including Hubert Opperman,an article entitled ‘ The Decline of Cycle Racing’- see comments by Major Taylor

Round the World on a Wheel; Fraser ; Nelson Londonpost 1899
John Fraser 1868-1936, knighted 1917. 19237 miles in 26 months on a ‘Rover’ safety bicycle.

Cycling to War ; Austin; Slouch Hat Publishers 2008

The Bicycle and the Bush ; Fitzpatrick;  OUP 1980
Unparalleled as a history of cycling, especially of Western Australia-essential reading

Last of the Explorers (Story of Donald Mackay); Clune; Angus and Robertson 1942
Trip taken 1899 with Alex White 11500 miles,24 inch bike overall weight 29 pounds DUX brand bicycle, carried a revolver. Includes exploits in New Guinea and N.T. Worked for a time with Basedow Famour anthropologist, lots of good photos of aboriginal life.

Hard Liberty ; Fred Blakely; Harrap and Co 1938
1930 Looked for Lasseters Reef

Major Taylor in Australia : Jim Fitzpatrick Star Hill Studio 2011

Horizon Bound on a Bicycle ;Eywind Earle, Publisher Earle and Bain 1990 (a cycle trip solo commenced in 1937 across America -difficult to believe)

A few of the books are available online at the National Library of Australia website. Links to a couple of the shorter, rarer ones;
Albert MacDonald of Orroroo

Story Of A Remarkable Ride


Perth to Sydney - 1933 Record Tandem Ride

Jones (left) and Read on their Aussie tandem - image courtesy State Library of NSW

Jones (left) and Read on their Aussie tandem - image courtesy State Library of NSW

On November 4th 1933, William “Billy” Read and Gordon Jones, members of the Bassendean Midland Cycling Club, left the Perth G.P.O. in Forrest Place Perth, in an attempt to ride to Sydney in under 23 days. The solo record at that time was held by another West Australian, Vic Waltham, who had ridden from Sydney to Peith in 26 days 3 hours 8 minutes in 1927.

The tandem was steered by Read, aged 31 years. He was short and sturdily built and had been a racing cyclist for 17 years. Jones, aged 22 years was taller and lighter than Read and had raced as a West Australian junior. The men had trained for five months, cycling 640 km a week. Their daily average distance had to exceed 190 km a day, a gruelling task in view of the unsealed and corrugated roads of those days, and the very rough track between Coolgardie and Adelaide

Their machine, an Aussie tandem was fitted with the “latest and greatest labour saving device”, a 3 speed Cyclo variable gear, internal brakes and Dunlop Perdriau tyres. A tank to hold 9 litres of water was fitted between the frames of the machine. There were no backup vehicles as today’s riders enjoy; between towns they were dependant on their own resources and had to carry all they needed.

Read and Jones were given an enthusiastic send-off by a large crowd. Their cycle was brightly painted and they wore green and gold guernseys, plus-fours riding breeches and white fisher hats. The first three stages were to Cunderdin, Southern Cross and Coolgardie. By the 8 November they had reached Balladonia after 15 hours of hard riding through heavy sand and against strong head winds. From Balladonia, the cycle was fully loaded for the crossing of the Nullarbor. The water tank was filled as well as four detachable water flasks. Although they had arranged for food supplies to be left at some stations on the Nullarbor, they carried tinned provisions and a blanket, the necessary spares and a minimum of personal items. The tyres had to bear a weight of over 190 kg on very rough roads.

There was no made road across the Nullarbor and at one stage they spent two days wheeling their cycle through heavy sand. Another section was pitted with camel tracks; sometimes the country was overgrown with brush and near the Madura Pass the jagged edge of limestone had been exposed by strong winds. One day they had 12 punctures in 26 km and finished up walking to the next station. In addition, they battled head winds and hot weather. Also near Madura in WA, they attracted the attention of a herd of wild steers. Read later commented that was when they easily registered their fastest burst of speed for the whole trip and just managed to out-distance the herd.

The riders sustained a bad fall approaching Iron Knob in SA. They were descending a hill when the wheel was caught in a rut and they were thrown over the handlebars. Read had numerous abrasions and a badly sprained shoulder, Jones escaped with slight abrasions.

Undaunted, they remounted the cycle and carried on. After leaving Port Augusta, they suffered a blowout due to the great weight on the tyres and had to walk 24 kmto the next town. Going to bed at midnight, they were up and on their way at 4am covering the remaining 290 km to Adelaide by dark - the journey so far had taken 14 days.

One would have thought that their worries were over but after leaving Adelaide, they encountered heavy rain and further strong head winds which slowed them to an average 11 km/h causing them to fall behind schedule.

Reporting when 160 km out of Melbourne, Read said that they were both very saddle sore and could only ride short distances. In spite of this, once free of the head winds they made good time and when 26 km out of Melbourne they were met by the Australian champion
cyclist, Hubert Opperman, who rode with them the remaining distance to the Malvern Star Agency in Elizabeth Street. They were welcomed there by many people prominent in cycling circles but there was no time for self congratulation, they stopped only for a light lunch and started off again on the last leg of the journey to Sydney. From there on, the conditions were vastly improved and Read and Jones made good time, averaging 32 km/h. For the whole trip they had averaged five punctures a day and, except for replacing tyres and a few spokes, the Aussie tandem had come through unscathed.

Their arrival in Sydney was reported by the Guardian, Nov 27, 1933.

"Sunburnt and with their equipment spattered with the mud and dust of four states, William Reid (sic) and Gordon Jones of Western Australia, rode their gaily coloured tandem bicycle to the General Post Office at 9am today, and signed a time-sheet which showed that they had ridden 3,003 miles across Australia in 22 days, 17 hours."

After returning to WA, Read, who had played a leading role in the Bassendean-Midland Cycling Club, became its first life member. He died some years ago.

Gordon Jones, after working for WA Govt. Railways and then manager and part owner of Moondah at Gingin, retired to the metropolitan area becoming an active sportsman, playing bowls with the Bedford Bowling Club. He died in 2013 aged 102 years. 

Jan Lonsdale

Goldfields Ride Wrap

The Inaugural Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride, which traced the first delivery of the Coolgardie Cycle Express Co in 1894 by cycling Pioneer Percy Armstrong, was undoubtedly an overwhelming success. Six riders and one catering manager enjoyed a memorable 70km riding experience spread over two days. Someone has surely put together a cycling experiences bucket list, but I’m afraid it needs updating as the Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride has to be added to the list.   

Great Southern WAHCC members Glenn Huffer, Nick Raven and Murray Gomm were joined by Perth members Viv Cull and Robbie Harrold. Kalgoorlie vintage cycling enthusiast, and unofficial tour guide, Paul Day also completed the ride. Great Southern member Collyn Gawned, incapacitated by recent shoulder surgery, was the catering manager and against doctors’ orders, completed the final ride into Ora Banda.

Accommodation was either swag or tent and meals were around the campfire with Collyn’s lamb casserole followed by dumplings for dessert a clear favourite. Generous amounts of bacon and eggs and no shortage of porridge for breakfast ensured riders were well prepared for the day ahead. Collyn also bought along some homemade Percy Armstrong Ale, Murray shared his Coolgardie Cycle Express Co port and Viv’s whisky ensured riders all had a solid night’s sleep.  

Unsurprisingly, it was cold overnight with zero degrees the norm. We fell on our feet with the daytime weather as the conditions were perfect for riding with blue skies, little to no breeze and not a single bushfly sighted over the entire trip. Thanks to generous rain in the region prior to our ride, the roads were in great condition to ride. They were firm and compacted, no mud was traversed. Taking in the scenery did have to be combined with eyes on the road to avoid corrugations and ruts however.

An unexpected bonus throughout the ride and around the campfire was the amount of local knowledge was Paul Day provided. Paul was a pedalling encyclopaedia on the history and flora and fauna of the region. The highlight of his wisdom was undoubtedly stopping at three abandoned bush velodromes that could still be seen.

The bikes that were ridden were sympathetic to the era with Nick riding a 1920’s Ren Star with Kelly bars, Glenn on a circa 1940’s Flying Arrow (previously owned by Phil Harris), Robbie on a Triumph with nickel plated handlebars so definitely some age there, Viv on an old safety inspectors bike, Murray on a 1936 Malvern Star and Paul on a bike modelled on an old Goldfields bike in a photo. He started with a BSA chain ring and then built the rest. 

There were a number of keen fossickers that spent many a daylight hour looking for treasures along the way. Robbie set the standard five minutes into the ride by spotting an 1896 English threepence at the abandoned Coolgardie bush velodrome. After day one a number of old bicycle components were found and the challenge was laid down to find enough parts of old Goldfields bikes to make a complete bike to ride the Percy Armstrong Goldfield Ride in the future. Robbie was up to the challenge and got up at dawn the next day and scoured the Ora Banda tip with a fine tooth comb and came back with an armful of parts. Clearly we will need to complete the Ride again and fossick some more, but the challenge is looking definitely doable!  



There were only a couple of minor breakdowns, Nick had a chain guard rattle loose and Murray lost both soles of his boots. Fortunately there was plenty of rusty fencing wire on hand to twitch up the latter.

Robbie Harrold took a number of photos and plans to show a video of the Ride at the next Perth meeting which will be an event not to be missed.

Event Coordinator Glenn Huffer and Catering Manager Collyn Gawned, who also drove the sag wagon, deserve special mention for all the hard work they put in that resulted in a Ride of great substance that was enjoyed by all.





Vale Peter Wells

Club member Peter Wells died at Fiona Stanley Hospital on Monday September 13th. He was 88.

Peter was a founding member of the club. He had been club president for many years, a role he only recently reired from. 

Those who knew him will remember him not only for his his passion for WA made bikes, but for his passion for the club. His contribution to the club was immense; aside from his years on committee he was responsible for the newsletter and organised many of our rides and displays. His mechanical knowledge and generosity with expertise to club members was second to none.

Funeral details;

20 Sep 2016 10:00AM Sacred Heart Catholic ChurchDiscovery Drive Thornlie

20 Sep 2016 1:15PM Fremantle Cemetery

It is my sincere hope that as many club members as possible attend to pay tribute to a man who gave so much to his fellow members. 

On a personal note it was Peter who introduced me to the club just 5 years ago, an introduction that I’ll always be grateful for.

Robert Frith, club president

Peter visiting ex member Patrick Leverett in Melbourne in 2010. Photo courtesy Patrick Leverett.

Arthur Grady Day Display 2016

Club members just enjoyed the best Arthur Grady Day we've done yet! Seven members rocked up with over twenty bikes between them. Alan Hind's trio of Flying Scots attracted a lot of interest, as did Robert Hunt's Raleigh town bike. The Bell's penny farthing, kindly brought along by Andrew Blackmore, fascinates the great unwashed no end.
Heavy overnight showers cleared and presented us with a beautiful cool, sunny day.

A Busy Evening

It was awesome to see so many members at the Perth May Meeting. Not just members but bikes! ... count them;

1. Merv Thompson raised eyebrows aplenty with a recent acquisition - a penny farthing racing model with it's original seat, though not original paint. Manufacturer unknown, however a patent plaque on the wheel suggests it was made post 1888.
2. Peter Wells showed off a beautiful pre WW1 BSA racer he's been working on for a few years. He'd originally spotted it "holding up a clothesline" in a backyard full of bikes and it took him some years to persuade the owner to part with it. Everything on the bike, bottles and bottle cages included is original (though replated or repainted) with the exception of the saddle and toolbag. 
3. Peter also had a Swansea child's bike he's recently restored in brilliant red and white.
4. Another child's bike, this one from Phil Harris. Spotted in an op-shop, Phil found it impossible to resist the charm of this micro bike with Giro d'Italia livery. It also sports the original shop price tag - €180!
5. Visitor Tom Favazzo brought in a Swansea 2 Swan that's been in the family it's whole life; his grandfather bought it in 1939(?) and rode it regularly to Fremantle Port where he worked as a crane driver. Tom generally rides a modern bike however having rescued the Swansea from being thrown out he's been riding it regularly. It was his transport to the meeting.
6. Rob Frith had his 1955 Rotrax onboard ready for a ride in the wheatbelt the next day. A mid-range offerening from Southampton's finest replete with Cyclo Benelux derailleurs and Cyclo Oppy pedals.
7. Rick Verschuren brought along a 2 Swan frame (no frame number visible) which he is donating to the auction next month.
8. Not a bike! - Adrian Emilsen brought along his immense collection of freewheel removal tools as well as an intriguing freewheel vise.