Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Only late last year I paid a visit to the shop where I bought my stayer frame - although its now an architects office, they've retained the original facade and signage. Hanging on the wall inside can be seen one of the Morton Cycle bikes.
I actually don't remember how long ago it was now that I stumbled into Morton Cycles in Park Street, South Melbourne. I do remember however that hanging up out the back was this old pre-war motor pace frame or Stayer bike with a wooden small diameter front wheel.

Since watching the motor pace bike racing at the old Olympic board track opposite the Hisense indoor velodrome, I'd been enthralled by the speed the riders held behind the big motor bikes with rollers on the back. With the small front wheel, the riders were able to slipstream in close behind the motorbike at very high speeds.

During the pre-war years, riders such as Hubert Opperman, Fatty Lamb, Ossie Nicholson and Roy Johnson raced each other behind these huge motorbikes at speeds of 60 mph (100 kph).

You'll see the motor pace match race between Roy Johnson and Hubert Opperman on the cutting.
During the either late 60s or maybe the very early 70s, I stumbled into Roy Johnson's bike shop, I think in Glen Iris.
We chatted away on my visits to the area and on one visit, he loaned me his scrap book.
It was full of the great riders during the period between the two wars. I wonder where that scrap book is today.
Maybe after Roy passed away it was thrown away with what was thought to be just junk.
The Motodrome was this huge banked saucer. Not only did dare devil motorpace bike riders chase the big motorbikes around the three to the mile track but it was used by speedcars and motor bikes as well.

This picture gives an indication of its steepness.
Many of my old 1930s magazines report on the races at the "Drome" so I guess there might be a few to come on "The Cycling Scrapbook". We'll see.
In the meantime - I welcome input, comment or photos for the Blog.

I can be contacted on email - leonsims@optusnet.com.au

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