200 Years on 2 Wheels – Celebrating the bicycle: Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Although it was also a joint ride day, Rod had been invited by Bicycle Network to run a Geelong event to celebrate 200 years since the invention of the bicycle.   The ride began in Eastern Park.  Thirteen cyclists braved the chilly morning. 

Rod explained that the first recorded 2-wheeled human powered vehicle was the running machine (laufmachine or Draisine) invented by Karl Von Drais in 1817.

Karl von Drais on his original Laufmaschine, the earliest two-wheeler, in 1819 By photo Lesseps artist unknown – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10104646

This had no pedals – the rider scooted and rolled.  The machine was constructed of wood and iron, and the weight meant that only able-bodied men were likely to be users.  As the roads were too rutted by cartwheels for easy riding, Draisine riders took to the footpaths – leading to the first conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians.  Despite their weight, Velocipes (as they were soon named) were fast and efficient.  The reaction of governments was to ban their use in several countries including Great Britain, USA and Germany.

Today’s bicycles have firmly established the use of pedals for propulsion.  The oldest bicycle on the Cycling Geelong ride was a Gazelle, purchased some decades ago and ridden by Simon Watt.  This bike is steel, and sturdy – 22kg, with front and aft racks.  While in Amsterdam, adults are often be seen riding on the racks, Simon assured us that he uses his for transporting a crate of wine.

The group heard more of the history of bicycles, and their use in Australia and Geelong whilst waiting for a photographer from the Geelong Advertiser.

The group finally got underway along the new Eastern Beach bikeway to Point Henry.  In early years Point Henry was a popular tourist and recreation destination.   However, if one wished to ride through Eastern Park, it was necessary to dodge the many goats which grazed there.

Thanks to Rod for once again running a most successful history ride.

Read the article in this weeks Geelong Indy about the birthday of the bicycle http://geelongindy.com.au/indy/2017-06-08/birthday-bicycle-takes-a-ride-around-town/

Keep your eyes open for news of our Seniors Month rides, when Rod will again lead the popular “History around the Barwon River” ride.





“Le Ride” – a movie record of a historic Aussie team in the 1928 Tour de France

Le Ride is the story of the 1928 Tour de France team led by Sir Hubert Opperman who, with Percy Osborn, Ernest Bainbridge, and New Zealander Harry Watson took part in what is widely regarded as being the single most difficult race of its kind ever. Of the 161 cyclists who started the race in Paris, only 41 made it the whole way back. Over 22 grueling stages, covering 5,476km, crossing the Pyrenees and the Alps, the race itself was enough to put a fresh team, many considered a joke, off competing. But after 6 weeks at sea getting to the South of France, their troubles started as soon as they arrived in Paris.

Le Ride retraces the journey of the four Antipodeans, follows all the hardships they suffered, and puts into perspective how massive an achievement the gargantuan effort was. New Zealand TV personality and host of the American The Amazing Race, Philip Keoghan is a cycling enthusiast who retraced the steps of the 1928 Tour De France and documented the feat in this tremendously entertaining full length movie.

The venue is again the wonderful Pivotonian Cinema in South Geelong and tickets are $20 each plus a small booking fee. Any profits will go to SAS (Support After Suicide) a new organisation set up to help families and others affected by suicide. See http://www.supportaftersuicide.org.au/ for more info.

The first session is now sold out, but a second session at 6pm on Thursday March 2nd is now available.  To book go to https://www.trybooking.com/ORCU

150th Anniversary of the Bicycle! Celebration weekend


Sat Nov 19:

  • 1pm ride led by Cycling Geelong Life Member Rod Charles
    from Geelong West velodrome (cnr Church & Weddell st)
  • 6.30pm spit roast dinner & guest speakers (enter online)
    Geelong West velodrome (cnr Church & Weddell st)

Sun Nov 20: 

  • 9am  swap meet
  • 9am Show & Shine (enter online)pre 1900 bikes
    Vintage racing bikes up to 1960
    racing bikes 1985-2000
    Best Australian bike
    Best overseas bike
  • 1pm Victorian Penny Farthing Championship (enter online

Volunteers wanted


Vintage bike collectors Pat and Robin Evans who attends Rod Charles annual Heritage ride is organising the event. If you want to help on the day contact them by email.

Entry online: http://geelongcycling.com/#pennyfarthing

A Whirr of Many Wheels – Volume 3 now out

The final volume of Rod Charles’s definitive history of cycling in the Geelong region is finally available.

Volume 3 of

A Whirr of Many Wheels,

the history of cycling in Geelong, this time from 1945 to the 1980s the last of the trilogy Price $80 available from Barwon Booksellers (cash only) or from Rod Charles.

Congratulations, Rod for this achievement.

Rod’s history is far more than facts and figures about cycling.  It follows the history of Geelong and the impact of the bicycle on that history.  There are hundreds of historic photographs, documents and news reports to peruse.