The Great Southern Division of the WA Historical Cycle Club is organising a vintage bicycle ride from Coolgardie to Ora Banda to celebrate the exploits of Australian bicycle pioneer, Percy Armstrong. He came into cycling folklore with an epic ride with R Craig in 1893 when they rode their bicycles from Croydon in far North Queensland to Melbourne, a total of 3 200km.
In 1884 Percy arrived to the WA goldfields and established a Bicycle Express Service near the Coolgardie Post Office. This resulted from a business man asking Percy how an urgent letter could be delivered to Kurnalpi, as all the camels and buggies were out of town. Percy offered to ride his bicycle and return the next day, a return trip of 164 miles. Within an hour of returning to Coolgardie, Percy received another offer to deliver a letter 45 miles from town. The Bicycle Express Service was born and Percy's bicycle delivery network served the entire eastern goldfield and extended to Cue on the Murchinson, with as many as 10 riders working for him.
Later that year he established the first bicycle sales agency in the goldfields which expanded to be the largest and most extensive network in the colony with outlets in nearly all goldfield communities, Perth and Fremantle. In 1887 he promoted the first Beverley to Perth Cycle race of 116 mile. In Coolgardie he promoted the Westral Wheel Race, an event this is still being held today.
The Inaugural Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride celebrates Percy's maiden Bicycle Express Service ride departing from the Coolgardie Post Office. The ride is approximately 70kms over two days and involves riding gravel roads and camping out in the bush. It is not a compulsory ride as you can ride as much or little as you like because the bus will be following the riders. Spring sees the Goldfields at it’s best and I’m sure there will be some great times on the bus trip, both out on the road and around the campfires.
For more details contact Glenn Hufferfirstname.lastname@example.org
Fitzpatrick,J. Wheeling Matilda: The Story of Australian Cycling. Star Hill Studio Pty Ltd., 2013