Remembering Russell Mockridge: Saturday 15th September, 2018 – 2

On the weekend of 15th and 16th September, 2018, three events were held, to mark the anniversary of the death of Russell Mockridge, who was killed while competing in the Tour of Gippsland, on 13th September, 1958.

Saturday, September 15th, 2018, 6pm, Russell Mockridge Pavilion, Cycling Criterium Circuit, Belmont, Geelong

Remembering Russell Mockridge – Meet the Authors

Five authors who have written cycling history books were present to present a Q&A, with a focus on Russell Mockridge.

Over fifty people attended this most successful event. Most attending were from out of town, including several closely associated with Russell during his life.  The forum was planned and implemented by Tim Alexander.  The panel included authors Martin Curtis (Russell Mockridge: The Man in Front), Daniel Oakman  (Oppy: the Life of Sir Hubert Oppermann), Ben Schofield (Wheel Life: Cycling recollections of the 1950s and 60s), Marcus Arnold (Reginald Arnold: SixDayMan),and Rod Charles (A Whirr of Many Wheels – Cycling in Geelong: A chronicle).  The discussion was lead by Martin Curtis and the evening compered by  Doug Merritt.  The pavilion, home of the Geelong Cycling Club, was given free of charge.  Light refreshments were provided by Tim Alexander and the The Bicycle Baker of Albury, and Jason Hunt free of charge.  A sound system  was provided by Tim Alexander and costs recouped from attendees voluntary gifts and from the sale books of the writers sold on the evening.

Thanks to Ray Bowles (The Cycling Scrapbook) for the three photographs above.

Thanks to Rod Charles for this report.

A Whirr of Many Wheels: Rod’s in the news again

Our resident cycling historian, Rod Charles, featured in The Weekly Review Geelong this week, in an excellent article by Noel Murphy.  The headline ‘BIG WHEELS KEEP ON TURNING’ was most appropriate with the main photograph showing Rod with his Dursley-Pedersen (hammock) bike.  

Volume 3 of A Whirr of Many Wheels is now at the final pre-publication stage.  We look forward to attending the launch.

Noel Murphy, The Weekly Review, 30th June, 2016, page 15

Noel Murphy, The Weekly Review, 30th June, 2016, page 15

Barwon River Circuit: Saturday 2nd July, 2016

Around 20 riders cycled the river circuit this morning, led by Tina.  Tina had brought along her two daughters – lowering the average age somewhat.  Nancy, Charlotte and Denis and Gavin joined the group for coffee at Barwon Edge.  David did brisk business taking membership renewals (which fall due on July 1st).

We had our own celebrity on the ride.  Rod Charles featured in a full page spread on page 15 of this week’s Weekly Review Geelong.

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Cycling tour in the Victorian Alps, 1897

Our cycling historian, Rod Charles, has sent us this report from 1897.  Global warming hadn’t kicked in then…

Notes from the party –

an extract

‘The second day at 6.30 am we set our faces Beechworthwards. Violet town was soon a thing of the past , and with our appetites sharpened by the clear, crisp air we ran into Benalla at 9.30 ready for anything on toast. Fortified, we were able to give the Kelly country a sample of our going powers in a 15 mile spin, which, after another interval of 10 miles, ended us at 12.45 at Wangaratta in time for roast beef and plum pudding.

The view from this upland vantage point was exhilarating. South-ward and east-ward rose the mighty ranges of the Alps, whose snow clad summits sparked and glinted in the noonday light. The Buffalo, Feathertop, Razorback, Hotham, Bogong all contributed to the scenic grandeur which in their far off quiet, spoke of a marvellous work of the Creator . it was a magnificent scene, magniloquent in its stillness, beautiful in its purity. The deeper shadows, the darkling recesses, the russet and blue-black tones in the foliage, with the mantle of snow atop the stately peaks made up a picture of choice contrasts ever changing to delight the eye and fascinate the mind.

We were escorted by about a dozen of the local cyclists to Tarawingee, where for a space of 6 miles desperate hill climbing commences. After many a puff and never give -in-plug, we catch sight of Beechworth, which lives amid the hills. The natural setting of this town is like Jerusalem, beautiful for situation. Perhaps for all round effect, it has no rival in Victoria. 80 miles was the record the second days’s effort.’

So wrote George Burston who was leading a M.B.C contingent overland to Sydney and reported in The Australian Cyclist 16 September 1897

Sadly, with the size of photographic equipment in the 1890s, there are no en route photographs.

We doubt that the roads were quite as good as this snap of cyclists ascending …

vic alps cycling B&W

or as bad as this road – on the ascent of Mount Hotham in the Centenary 1000 in November 1938…

To read a contemporary report of this 1938 ride in the Gippsland Times go to


You know you’re a cyclist when…

… you ride into the city to be guest on The Bicycle Show even though it’s blowing a gale, 6C and raining cats and dogs.  Then you decline all offers of lifts home in other people’s gas guzzlers.  Bravo Rod Charles, historian, writer and cyclist extraordinaire!

Rod’s appearance was the first of two appearances to discuss Volume 2 of A Whirr of Many Wheels: Cycling in Geelong.  This volume chronicles cycling as part of the social structure of Geelong from 1914 to 1945.

Sales were brisk.  Allan snaps up his copy.

Sales were brisk at the launch of A Whirr of Many Wheels.  Modern-day wheelman Allan Marshall snaps up his copy. 

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Rod Charles at the book launch on 7th June, 2015.

Watch out for podcasts of this and future episodes of The Bicycle Show when John gets them all set up on The Bicycle Show website.

A Whirr of Many Wheels: Volume 2 book launch – June 6th

The launch of A Whirr of Many Wheels is to take place at Osborne House Swinburne Street North Geelong on Saturday afternoon 6 June 2015 at 2 pm for 2.30 pm. All are welcome.

The subject matter is all things cycling in the period 1914 to 1945, to the war end with a focus on Geelong of course but cyclists tend to go everywhere so all that going everywhere is included.

Copies of this volume will be available then but they are available now from Rod Charles or Barwon Booksellers in James street. The price is $60

A smaller number of copies had been printed this time. Suggest if you wish to obtain one, before the event might be preferable.

Historic bikes, historic bike route – vintage cyclists: Queenscliff-Point Lonsdale 27th April, 2014

Report from Ride Leader:  Rod Charles

Queenscliff at Easter, the perfect place and the perfect time of year. Cycling Geelong conducted a ride to participate in the National Trust’s Heritage Festival this year. Riding along the sea wall to Point Lonsdale was a perfect outing for the penny farthings and vintage machines attending. Joy Barnett and David Connolly, both with strong attachments to Queenscliff provided the historic commentary. A great day with the local market and an art show to visit at the end of the ride and exploration. We all slept well that night.

Editor’s aside:  It was a great ride – penny farthings, a three wheeler, lots of bike bling of yesteryear.  Thanks to Rod for organising this bumper ride.  I noted that we didn’t stop at the Queenscliff Fort.  This was not on the radar as, being built in 1860, it actually doesn’t exist – being built before 1869 – the year the world began (i.e. the year the first ‘bike as we know it’ was built and the first bike came to Geelong).  It was good to see a number our members riding small wheeled bikes from our members.

Riding at the back, it was amusing to see the number of motorists who clearly enjoyed the spectacle – taking time out from their usual rushing everywhere attitude.  Lots of phone cameras recorded the event.

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