WOMEN in CYCLING 1930s
Doreen Middleton and Navy Cycles
Back in the 30s there was one woman cyclist that gets a regular mention in my old and yellowing "Australian Cycling" magazines from that period.
"Er name's Doreen" (stolen from the Sentimental Bloke) Doreen Middleton. She was even a little bit controversial. The article below comes from an old Argus newspaper where her sponsor, Alby Sykes of Navy Cycles took exception to her not returning the machine that she used for a City to City record attempt. Compare that to today where our elite women cyclists are offered every opportunity to excel in their chosen sport.
GIRL CYCLIST'S RECORDS.
CLAIM FOR BICYCLE.
Court Orders Return.
The record breaking bicycle ride from Melbourne to Adelaide and back by Miss Doreen Middleton, Nicholson street Essendon, in June was mentioned in the Fitzroy Court on Thursday when Albert Charles Sykes cycle manufacturer of Gertrude, Street, Fitzroy claimed from Doreen Middleton the return of a racing bicycle and two spare wheels valued at £19.10 which it was alleged had been detained or converted to their own use. Albert Charles Middleton acted for the purposes of the court proceedings as guardian for his daughter, who being aged only 19 years is an infant in law.
Albert Charles Sykes said that in March, 1931 he met Doreen Middleton and lent her a cycle, which she used until June when she said that she was about to attack the record to Adelaide in company with Dot Hodgson. Spare wheels a sweater, raincape and shoes were supplied but the attempt on the record failed. Later Doreen Middleton rode to Adelaide and back. He accompanied her in his motor car and records were broken on both journeys. The bicycle had not been returned.
To Mr W. D. Sykes (for Doreen Middleton) witness said that often bicycles were lent to racing cyclists for advertisement. He had contributed to the expenses of the record rides which had cost him £50.
Mr. Sykes.—But you had a good holiday?
Witness (sarcastically) — Wonderful I was up every morning at 2 o'clock, and was working hard driving until 8 o'clock at night.
In answer to further questions Sykes admitted that his claim coincided with the fact that Doreen Middleton had changed the make of bicycle she was riding.
Doreen Middleton said that on the day on which she returned from Adelaide Sykes, said that she "had well earned the machine." He also said that he was not able to give her anything but the bicycle and subsequently he repeated that she had earned the machine." Later the bicycle was delivered to a friend who bought it to her home. On it was, printed Doreen's Record-breaking vest-pocket Model."
Mrs. Mary Amelia Middleton, mother of Doreen Middleton, said that she heard Sykes give her daughter the bicycle and promise to have it put into good repair.
Mr. Clarke P.M. said that while he would not say that the witness for the defence had perjured themselves he thought that a mistake had been made about what Sykes had said regarding the bicycle. He ordered that the bicycle, or its value, £19/10/, be returned to Sykes, and that Doreen Middleton pay £5/7/6/costs.
I remember as a young bloke in my mid teenage years at the Preston track, I met an older cyclist who looked good on the bike but maybe a little overweight on a fine track bike. I asked his name - he said he was Clive Middleton. I remembered his name from some of my earlier cycling magazines as a good Madison rider during the 60s. I wonder if he and Doreen were related. I bet they were!