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Club cycling

Freewheeling: Cycling in Australia

Club cycling

Weekend warriors

The first cycle races in Australia were novelty events at athletics carnivals. By the 1880s newly formed cycling clubs were organising meets and by the early 20th century, competitive cycling clubs with track and road racing programs, had formed across the country. Earlier divisions between amateur and professional riders have eroded over time and there are now about 200 cycling clubs in Australia, with nearly 50,000 members.

Exhibition highlights

Freewheeling features a 1924 club shield from the Rainbow Cycling Club in Melbourne, and the stories of successful amateur riders Reg Goodwin and Jim Coyle.

  • Members of the Footscray Rainbow Cycling Club with club trophy, 1925.
    Members of the Footscray Rainbow Cycling Club, 1925
  • A wooden shield trophy with two scroll plaques across the top that consist of three pieces of metal one of which is detached from the wood. There is a shield plaque in the centre of the wood and a smaller one underneath it with eight round plaques surrounding the centre shield. All plaques have etched text on them. Text on the middle plaque reads 'PRESENTED / BY / A.J.H & H.S. / TO BE WON TWICE IN SUCCESSION / OR THREE TIMES IN ALL'.
    Footscray Amateur Cycling Club shield, 1924
  • Local riders line up at the start an open race in Broken Hill, New South Wales, about 1940.
    Riders at Broken Hill, about 1940
  • A two handled silver presentation cup. Inscriptions engraved on the front of the cup read; 'COBURG A.C.C.10 MILE ROAD RACE / SEASON 1931 / Won by / R. GOODWIN'.
    Reg Goodwin's 10-mile road race trophy, 1931
  • A two handled silver presentation cup with a decorative shield featuring a raised relief of a cyclist. Below the shield is engraved inscriptions that read 'C.A.C.C. / TRACK SEASON 1931-32 / WON BY / R. GOODWIN / PRESENTED TO / E. WATKIN.'.
    Reg Goodwin's Coburg Amateur Cycling Club trophy, 1931–32
  • A circular silver presentation cup on a dark timber base. The inscription on the cup partially reads 'COBURG A.C.C. SPECIAL PRIZE / WON BY / R. GOODWIN / Oct 17th 1931'.
    Reg Goodwin's Coburg Amateur Cycling Club trophy, 1931
  • A circular gold-plated medal with a pin clasp. The medal is decorated on the front with a raised relief of a cyclist with inscriptions that read 'AUS AMATEUR TRACK CH.SHIP / ACAA / 1935'. Also inscribed on the reverse side of the medal is '10MILE / CH. / R. GOODWIN / 2ND'.
    Reg Goodwin's 10-mile handicap medal, 1935
  • Jim Coyle at the start of the World Masters’ Games, Austria, 1976.
    Jim Coyle, 1976
  • A bronze medallion featuring a stylised image of the shape of Australia, the Southern Cross and a human figure. The Image is encircled by a decorative gold-coloured metal that is support on a wooden pedestal base. Attached to the front of the base is a plaque with inscriptions that read 'JIM COYLE'. There is also inscriptions on the reverse side which read 'AWARDED BY THE AUSTRALIA DAY COUNCIL / FOR/OUTSTANDING / PROWESS / IN THE FIELD / OF SPORT / COMPETED / FOR ON / AUSTRALIA / DAY'.
    Jim Coyle's Australia Day award, 1979
  • A gold coloured irregular shaped medallion. The front side has blue and red enamelled sections and is inscribed 'ROAD - RACE/CITY OF WARRNAMBOOL / BY THESE WE FLOURISH / VICTORIA / TIME MEDALLION'.
    Jim Coyle's road race medallion, about 1980
  • A group of cyclists racing at the Toowoomba Criterium Circuit.
    Racing at the Toowoomba Criterium Circuit, 2012
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