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Touring

Freewheeling: Cycling in Australia

Touring

Rambling and randonneuring

As the number of bicycles increased during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Australians took up touring, rambling from town to town on leisurely longer rides. Cycle touring declined in popularity after the Second World War, as many people started travelling in cars. By the 1980s, however, long-distance recreational rides made a comeback through mass participation events and randonneuring, a non-competitive sport in which cyclists aim to complete a set course within a specified time limit.

Exhibition highlights

Freewheeling features riders including Reima Miezitis, who toured around Tasmania on her bike in the 1950s and 1960s, and randonneur Greg Cunningham, who has covered thousands of kilometres on his bike in Australia and overseas since the 1990s.

  • A black and white photo of Reima Miezitis with her bicycle.
    Reima Miezitis, about 1953
  • Ladies refurbished 'Roadmaster' bicycle. The frame is handpainted in turquoise and navy blue enamel paint, and the mudguards are white. It has a brown leather seat and a silver rack attached to the rear end. Both of the wheels are from a Malvern Star. The rear wheel has lengths of red, white and blue fine cord attached through the mudguard and gathering just above the centre of the wheel; on both sides of the rear wheel. Small reflector on rear wheel guard. Large black bell on right side of the handlebar.
    Reima Miezitis' bike, 1945
  • Side view of a man cycling on a dirt road.
    Greg Cunningham, 2002
  • Two Carradice cycling panniers.
    Greg Cunningham's panniers, 1990
  • A cycling jersey which consists of a quarter zip t-shirt that is yellow down the front. The t-shirt has a green collar with green and yellow sleeves. Down the left and right side of the t-shirt is a red stripe with 'AUSTRALIA' printed in black and white within the stripe. Featured across the front of the t-shirt are various white stars, a black outline of a kangaroo and text that reads 'PARIS / BREST / PARIS / 2003'. The text is blue, white, and red in colour. The front right side of the t-shirt has a 'GIRAMONDO' logo that is green, white, red and black in colour.
    Greg Cunningham's jersey, 2003–07
  • A group of cyclists on the Great Ocean Road.
    The Great Victorian Bike Ride, 2009
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