Sunday, December 1, 2013

How many Cycling Magazines were there?

As a young bloke when I first started racing in 1963, the first cycling magazine I bought was Australian Cyclist. There were others after the magazine folded and many before it. They are a wealth of cycling history.
At the time when I purchased AC it was published by Promoter Bill Long. Bill had his finger in many pies over the years. I remember my first encounter with Bill as a 14 or 15 year old. He gave us the opportunity to race at the Melbourne Olympic board track under the lights with all the big stars. We were billed as Melbourne Midgets and naturally we were on the early part of the program but we could sit there in the middle of the track amongst our heroes, many being among the Internationals that Long brought to Australia.

Australian Cyclist magazines spanning from March 1947 to January 1957.
But I digress. Recently I happen to mention to Jae Omara (Omara Cycles Black Rock) that I had a great collection of Australian Cyclist magazines but over the years and many moves I finished up giving them to a friend who in turn passed them on to another cycling enthusiast. I know they are in good hands today.

Vol 1 - No 1, March 1947
The very first editorial
Click to enlarge.
Anyway Jae told me he also had a collection that belonged to his "Pop" Les Omara. My father Jack and Les knew each other and raced occasionally on the same programs. Jae brought out this wonderful collection of magazines entrusted to me for my research on this Blog. The magazines include the very first Volume 1 - Number 1, published in March 1947.
Australian Cyclist was published by Wheel Publications at 503 Elizabeth St, Melbourne. A.B. Dawson was the Managing Editor. It sold for sixpence. Within a year, Dawson upped the price to 1/-. That's one shilling to young folk.

In October 1951 Bill Long took ownership with Stan Mullany continuing as the Feature Writer. Mullany was a font of cycling journalism although with a sense of humour that you would consider to be "Dad Jokes" these days. His humour was full of puns. I have actually been on the end of his sense of humour in a 1965 edition which I won't repeat here……..

An example of Stan's humour:
Wider powers are sought for Officials at ladies' meetings - Powers to suspend-her?
From that very first issue.
Preston Velodrome 1947 with amazing crowds all around the track I'm told from people who attended these meetings.
 During those early editions, there wasn't much of political correctness amongst the cartoon content. I'm not sure that things have changed much. All fairly harmless I guess.


Stan Mullany did however write a great introduction piece titled "These Made Wheel History" which included some gems.
I'd always heard rumours that we had a board track inside the Exhibition Buildings - I knew we had one somewhere prior to the one outside the Exhibition, possibly located within the old Olympic Park and known as the saucer track.
Mullany confirms the indoor Exhibition Board Track in the below excerpt.

Victoria had indoor racing.
How many times have we heard wheel enthusiasts ask if Australia is ever likely to stage an indoor bicycle racing as it is in vogue in America? Present day enthusiasts will learn with interest that Australian history has made in this regard when our first indoor solo six day race was held inside the Melbourne Exhibition Building on an eight laps to the mile track from April 25, 1897 four years after the LVW was formed.

Oldests Clubs in Victoria
In every State the question of which are the oldest clubs never seems to have been answered with any authenticity. Of Melbourne clubs functioning today under the original names we know that Richmond and Carlton were prominent units of amateur bodies of two centuries (1800/1900s) but it will surprise even hardened critics to learn that Fitzroy is the oldest of all present-day Metropolitan and that Northcote can go back to the 1880s.
Note: Today only Northcote survives
Of Victorian country clubs, the most traditional ones are Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Warrnambool. Yet all of these country clubs have survived


Sid Patterson, then our National Sprint Champion shares  the Malvern Star add with Oppy - Australia's Greatest Cyclist.
Battle of the Bike Builders. Max Rowley rode for Hartley.
Healing were another supporting advertiser in Australian Cyclist.
With two decades of Australia Cyclist magazines, I have a lot of reading to do and a lot more fodder for  "The Cycling Scrapbook". Hope you can join me.


9 comments:

Rhodesia said...

Love the cartoons :-)))) Diane

Warren Slater said...

Top job Leon. As always. Rgds. Waz

phil stevens said...

that's a great pickup Leon, I have been buying these mags as they become available.
great reading, Bill Long certainly had his own style.
Cheers, Phil

phil stevens said...

that's a great pickup Leon, I have been buying these mags as they become available.
great reading, Bill Long certainly had his own style.
Cheers, Phil

phil stevens said...

don't know what I'm doing wrong there with the double post, sorry!

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