Alan Hind 1938 - 2017

Long term club member Alan Hind died suddenly at home from a heart attack in July. He was aged 79. Alan had suffered heart issues since a valve replacement operation in 2008, though that didn’t dampen his love of cycling or spirit
of adventure.

Alan was one of 5 children born to William and Mary Hind in Glasgow in April of 1938. Following his schooling he completed an apprenticeship as a fitter and joined the Merchant Navy in 1959, working for a few years on the cargo ship Sundra. In 1961, while fourth engineer on the passenger ship Oriana, he met his future wife Pam. After marrying in Glasgow in 1962 Alan and Pam emigrated to Australia.

Cycling and travel are natural bedfellows and those that knew Alan will know that his passion for both remained undiminished through his life. He began riding in his teens, travelling around Scotland with friends. He travelled all over WA with his young family and his 50th birthday treat was a trek in Nepal. His last big cycle tour through Europe was undertaken just a few years ago at the age of 75.

Like many of us Alan was an inveterate “joiner”. Apart from the WAHCC he was an active member of the Over 55’s Cycling Club, the Canning Mens’ Shed, the WA Cricket Association and had been a member of several photography clubs. Alan joined the WAHCC early in the life of the club and was rarely absent from a meeting. 

He was a frequent contributor to show and tell, either with one of his beloved Flying Scots or one of many intriguing unusual frames he had collected along the way. He often joined club displays and almost always joined club rides, usually piloting a Claud Butler fixie. Alan served on the club committee a number of times and was a committee member at the time of his death. 

His contributions to club life go far beyond that though; over the years many members were beneficiaries of Alan’s knowledge, his good humour and of his generosity. We will all cherish the memory of Alan’s smile.

Alan is survived by two sons, Ian and Alistair, and Christiaan, his grandson

WA Bicycle Number Plates

Bicycle registration is a bit of a hot button dog whistling topic these days. It’s been tried and dropped in WA in the past, but the relics of the experiment live on in a few club members’ collections. If they’re still hanging off a bike they could help establish the bike’s age or origin.

The earliest WA plates go back to the turn of last century. These Cue Road Board plates from the early 1900's were designed to wrap around the headtube.

Most plates are more conventional, smaller than car plates but otherwise similar in appearance.

The "Uniform Bicycle Tax" was introduced into the WA Traffic Act in 1913, to replace regional schemes that authorities like Cue and Coolgardie already had in place. A public meeting was held in Victoria Park Town Hall on March 28th 1914 to protest the introduction of bicycle registration, and in fact due to an oversight in the original legislation which made no provision for number plates bicycles weren't registered until 1917. (See Daily News article below)

The following partial list was compiled by Merv Thompson.
White or silver on red - 1939
Black on yellow - 1940, 1949, 1954, 1960
Black on white - 1941, 1945, 1952, 1958
White on green - 1942
White on black - 1917, 1944, 1950
Silver on red - 1948, 1953, 1959
White on blue - 1951, 1957, 1963
Silver on green - 1955, 1961
Black on silver - 1956, 1962
Silver on black - unknown
Blue on white - unknown

Daily News, Thursday 8 November 1917, page 2

During the past week owners of bicycles almost forgot that there was a world war in progress, and talked little else but bicycle tax. They paid cheerfully the half-crown demanded by the City Council for registration, others demurred, others protested vigorously and paid, and others have not yet paid. The town clerk has been asked to bear the brunt of the criticism of a tax that is not popular, but as a matter of fact had little or nothing to do with the matter.

The by-law has been in existence for four years, and it is only at this juncture that the City Council led the way and asked owners to pay what they have been entitled to demand from them for over four years. The Government issued the uniform by laws affecting Road Boards only in 1913 and the fee then fixed for registration was Is. 3d. per wheel. The Government has no power to make by-laws for municipal councils.

What was not provided in the uniform by-laws was the provision in respect of numberplates, and, accordingly last week's issue of the 'Government Gazette,' the Government at the request of the City Council issued the following amended by-law of the uniform general by-laws for regulating motor traffic and standard rights for all vehicles - "No person shall drive, ride, or impel any cycle unless there shall be attached thereto in conspicuous positions, in the front and at the rear, number plates containing the number of the licence, of such cycle, together with the distinguishing letter or lettcrs, of the digtrict of the local authority in which it is licenced.

The said number is to at least 2in in height and to be in white figures on black ground. This amended by law, requiring the two plates will require further amendment in view of the fact that the City Council, at its meeting on Monday last decided that only one plate was necessary.

It is understood that the question of registration will be discussed at the meeting of the Subiaco Council on Tuesday next. At the present time the council is registering as in Perth. having been practically compelled to take that course owing to the fact that owners of bicycles in Subiaco using the Perth roads were required to exhibit the number plate. Presumably other councils will take similar action. It is held by quite a number of suburban councillors that 2s. 6d. registration is too high, but apparently any desire to effect an alteration would necessitate the consent of the Government.

Geoff Owen's Books

The club had the great pleasure of hosting a presentation by Geoff Owen on March 20 2017. Geoff is a book collector with a focus on cycling books. While his collection encompasses many areas of cycling he is particularly fascinated by the personal history genre - stories of the mad endurance cyclists traversing a new nation, many in the days before roads. 
A bibliography of the books covered is below the photos.

The Ingenious Mr Pedersen; David Evans; Alan Sutton 1978

Pedals, Politics and People; Hubert Opperman; Haldane Sydney 1977
First race at age 15
Died on an exercise bike in his retirement home
Record breaking 2875 mile ride Fremantle to Sydney
Held 24 hour record for a time
Idolised by French
Won Paris-Brest 726 miles
Became a federal politician - Minister for Immigration

From Ocean to Ocean; Jerome Murif; George Robertson 1897
Adelaide to Darwin 74 days traversed marshy lakes Gibber Plain and railway ballast, wore pyjamas and high boots

By Bread Alone; Ernie Old; George House Melbourne 1950
Anzac soldier, born in poverty ,mother died in childbirth, long cycling career,  cycled Melbourne to Perth and return in 62 days in 1948

The Book of Albert McDonald of Orroroo; By one who knew him; The Austral Cycle Agency Ltd( sellers of Swift Cycles)
1895 Time Darwin to Melbourne 33 days 5 hours 30 minutes - daily average distance 78 miles, -distance 2596 miles. Orroroo 3 hours north of Adelaide, population currently 540.

My World on Wheels; Russell Mockridge (posthumously completed by John Burrows) Stanley Paul 1960
1928-1958 killed in collision with bus Dandenong and Clayton Roads Melbourne
Rode with Hubert Opperman
Won 12 consecutive Australian championships

The Story of a Remarkable Ride; As Related to “Pedal” of The West Australian; The Dunlop Pneumatic Tyre Co. of Australasia, Melbourne 1900
Arthur Richardson’s circumnavigation of the continent. Photocopy only - an exceedingly rare book. 

Battle Fronts of Outback; Francis Birtles; Angus and Robertson Sydney 1935
A re-cap in part of next item

Lonely Lands; Francis Birtles; New South Wales Bookstall Co. 1909
(see also Francis Birtles;Australian Adventurer by Warren Brown Hachette 2012-and Grit, an Epic journey Across the world, Peter Wherrett., Ibis date ?)
1910-1911 rode around Australia
1905 Perth -Sydney Record
Subsequently held Sydney-Fremantle Record 31 days
1927 London to Darwin-customs at Darwin wanted to impound

H. Grivell; Australian Cycling in the Golden Days; Courier Press Adelaide 1949
89 articles by various authors including Hubert Opperman,an article entitled ‘ The Decline of Cycle Racing’- see comments by Major Taylor

Round the World on a Wheel; Fraser ; Nelson Londonpost 1899
John Fraser 1868-1936, knighted 1917. 19237 miles in 26 months on a ‘Rover’ safety bicycle.

Cycling to War ; Austin; Slouch Hat Publishers 2008

The Bicycle and the Bush ; Fitzpatrick;  OUP 1980
Unparalleled as a history of cycling, especially of Western Australia-essential reading

Last of the Explorers (Story of Donald Mackay); Clune; Angus and Robertson 1942
Trip taken 1899 with Alex White 11500 miles,24 inch bike overall weight 29 pounds DUX brand bicycle, carried a revolver. Includes exploits in New Guinea and N.T. Worked for a time with Basedow Famour anthropologist, lots of good photos of aboriginal life.

Hard Liberty ; Fred Blakely; Harrap and Co 1938
1930 Looked for Lasseters Reef

Major Taylor in Australia : Jim Fitzpatrick Star Hill Studio 2011

Horizon Bound on a Bicycle ;Eywind Earle, Publisher Earle and Bain 1990 (a cycle trip solo commenced in 1937 across America -difficult to believe)

A few of the books are available online at the National Library of Australia website. Links to a couple of the shorter, rarer ones;
Albert MacDonald of Orroroo

Story Of A Remarkable Ride


Perth to Sydney - 1933 Record Tandem Ride

Jones (left) and Read on their Aussie tandem - image courtesy State Library of NSW

Jones (left) and Read on their Aussie tandem - image courtesy State Library of NSW

On November 4th 1933, William “Billy” Read and Gordon Jones, members of the Bassendean Midland Cycling Club, left the Perth G.P.O. in Forrest Place Perth, in an attempt to ride to Sydney in under 23 days. The solo record at that time was held by another West Australian, Vic Waltham, who had ridden from Sydney to Peith in 26 days 3 hours 8 minutes in 1927.

The tandem was steered by Read, aged 31 years. He was short and sturdily built and had been a racing cyclist for 17 years. Jones, aged 22 years was taller and lighter than Read and had raced as a West Australian junior. The men had trained for five months, cycling 640 km a week. Their daily average distance had to exceed 190 km a day, a gruelling task in view of the unsealed and corrugated roads of those days, and the very rough track between Coolgardie and Adelaide

Their machine, an Aussie tandem was fitted with the “latest and greatest labour saving device”, a 3 speed Cyclo variable gear, internal brakes and Dunlop Perdriau tyres. A tank to hold 9 litres of water was fitted between the frames of the machine. There were no backup vehicles as today’s riders enjoy; between towns they were dependant on their own resources and had to carry all they needed.

Read and Jones were given an enthusiastic send-off by a large crowd. Their cycle was brightly painted and they wore green and gold guernseys, plus-fours riding breeches and white fisher hats. The first three stages were to Cunderdin, Southern Cross and Coolgardie. By the 8 November they had reached Balladonia after 15 hours of hard riding through heavy sand and against strong head winds. From Balladonia, the cycle was fully loaded for the crossing of the Nullarbor. The water tank was filled as well as four detachable water flasks. Although they had arranged for food supplies to be left at some stations on the Nullarbor, they carried tinned provisions and a blanket, the necessary spares and a minimum of personal items. The tyres had to bear a weight of over 190 kg on very rough roads.

There was no made road across the Nullarbor and at one stage they spent two days wheeling their cycle through heavy sand. Another section was pitted with camel tracks; sometimes the country was overgrown with brush and near the Madura Pass the jagged edge of limestone had been exposed by strong winds. One day they had 12 punctures in 26 km and finished up walking to the next station. In addition, they battled head winds and hot weather. Also near Madura in WA, they attracted the attention of a herd of wild steers. Read later commented that was when they easily registered their fastest burst of speed for the whole trip and just managed to out-distance the herd.

The riders sustained a bad fall approaching Iron Knob in SA. They were descending a hill when the wheel was caught in a rut and they were thrown over the handlebars. Read had numerous abrasions and a badly sprained shoulder, Jones escaped with slight abrasions.

Undaunted, they remounted the cycle and carried on. After leaving Port Augusta, they suffered a blowout due to the great weight on the tyres and had to walk 24 kmto the next town. Going to bed at midnight, they were up and on their way at 4am covering the remaining 290 km to Adelaide by dark - the journey so far had taken 14 days.

One would have thought that their worries were over but after leaving Adelaide, they encountered heavy rain and further strong head winds which slowed them to an average 11 km/h causing them to fall behind schedule.

Reporting when 160 km out of Melbourne, Read said that they were both very saddle sore and could only ride short distances. In spite of this, once free of the head winds they made good time and when 26 km out of Melbourne they were met by the Australian champion
cyclist, Hubert Opperman, who rode with them the remaining distance to the Malvern Star Agency in Elizabeth Street. They were welcomed there by many people prominent in cycling circles but there was no time for self congratulation, they stopped only for a light lunch and started off again on the last leg of the journey to Sydney. From there on, the conditions were vastly improved and Read and Jones made good time, averaging 32 km/h. For the whole trip they had averaged five punctures a day and, except for replacing tyres and a few spokes, the Aussie tandem had come through unscathed.

Their arrival in Sydney was reported by the Guardian, Nov 27, 1933.

"Sunburnt and with their equipment spattered with the mud and dust of four states, William Reid (sic) and Gordon Jones of Western Australia, rode their gaily coloured tandem bicycle to the General Post Office at 9am today, and signed a time-sheet which showed that they had ridden 3,003 miles across Australia in 22 days, 17 hours."

After returning to WA, Read, who had played a leading role in the Bassendean-Midland Cycling Club, became its first life member. He died some years ago.

Gordon Jones, after working for WA Govt. Railways and then manager and part owner of Moondah at Gingin, retired to the metropolitan area becoming an active sportsman, playing bowls with the Bedford Bowling Club. He died in 2013 aged 102 years. 

Jan Lonsdale

Goldfields Ride Wrap

The Inaugural Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride, which traced the first delivery of the Coolgardie Cycle Express Co in 1894 by cycling Pioneer Percy Armstrong, was undoubtedly an overwhelming success. Six riders and one catering manager enjoyed a memorable 70km riding experience spread over two days. Someone has surely put together a cycling experiences bucket list, but I’m afraid it needs updating as the Percy Armstrong Goldfields Ride has to be added to the list.   

Great Southern WAHCC members Glenn Huffer, Nick Raven and Murray Gomm were joined by Perth members Viv Cull and Robbie Harrold. Kalgoorlie vintage cycling enthusiast, and unofficial tour guide, Paul Day also completed the ride. Great Southern member Collyn Gawned, incapacitated by recent shoulder surgery, was the catering manager and against doctors’ orders, completed the final ride into Ora Banda.

Accommodation was either swag or tent and meals were around the campfire with Collyn’s lamb casserole followed by dumplings for dessert a clear favourite. Generous amounts of bacon and eggs and no shortage of porridge for breakfast ensured riders were well prepared for the day ahead. Collyn also bought along some homemade Percy Armstrong Ale, Murray shared his Coolgardie Cycle Express Co port and Viv’s whisky ensured riders all had a solid night’s sleep.  

Unsurprisingly, it was cold overnight with zero degrees the norm. We fell on our feet with the daytime weather as the conditions were perfect for riding with blue skies, little to no breeze and not a single bushfly sighted over the entire trip. Thanks to generous rain in the region prior to our ride, the roads were in great condition to ride. They were firm and compacted, no mud was traversed. Taking in the scenery did have to be combined with eyes on the road to avoid corrugations and ruts however.

An unexpected bonus throughout the ride and around the campfire was the amount of local knowledge was Paul Day provided. Paul was a pedalling encyclopaedia on the history and flora and fauna of the region. The highlight of his wisdom was undoubtedly stopping at three abandoned bush velodromes that could still be seen.

The bikes that were ridden were sympathetic to the era with Nick riding a 1920’s Ren Star with Kelly bars, Glenn on a circa 1940’s Flying Arrow (previously owned by Phil Harris), Robbie on a Triumph with nickel plated handlebars so definitely some age there, Viv on an old safety inspectors bike, Murray on a 1936 Malvern Star and Paul on a bike modelled on an old Goldfields bike in a photo. He started with a BSA chain ring and then built the rest. 

There were a number of keen fossickers that spent many a daylight hour looking for treasures along the way. Robbie set the standard five minutes into the ride by spotting an 1896 English threepence at the abandoned Coolgardie bush velodrome. After day one a number of old bicycle components were found and the challenge was laid down to find enough parts of old Goldfields bikes to make a complete bike to ride the Percy Armstrong Goldfield Ride in the future. Robbie was up to the challenge and got up at dawn the next day and scoured the Ora Banda tip with a fine tooth comb and came back with an armful of parts. Clearly we will need to complete the Ride again and fossick some more, but the challenge is looking definitely doable!  



There were only a couple of minor breakdowns, Nick had a chain guard rattle loose and Murray lost both soles of his boots. Fortunately there was plenty of rusty fencing wire on hand to twitch up the latter.

Robbie Harrold took a number of photos and plans to show a video of the Ride at the next Perth meeting which will be an event not to be missed.

Event Coordinator Glenn Huffer and Catering Manager Collyn Gawned, who also drove the sag wagon, deserve special mention for all the hard work they put in that resulted in a Ride of great substance that was enjoyed by all.





Vale Peter Wells

Club member Peter Wells died at Fiona Stanley Hospital on Monday September 13th. He was 88.

Peter was a founding member of the club. He had been club president for many years, a role he only recently reired from. 

Those who knew him will remember him not only for his his passion for WA made bikes, but for his passion for the club. His contribution to the club was immense; aside from his years on committee he was responsible for the newsletter and organised many of our rides and displays. His mechanical knowledge and generosity with expertise to club members was second to none.

Funeral details;

20 Sep 2016 10:00AM Sacred Heart Catholic ChurchDiscovery Drive Thornlie

20 Sep 2016 1:15PM Fremantle Cemetery

It is my sincere hope that as many club members as possible attend to pay tribute to a man who gave so much to his fellow members. 

On a personal note it was Peter who introduced me to the club just 5 years ago, an introduction that I’ll always be grateful for.

Robert Frith, club president

Peter visiting ex member Patrick Leverett in Melbourne in 2010. Photo courtesy Patrick Leverett.

Arthur Grady Day Display 2016

Club members just enjoyed the best Arthur Grady Day we've done yet! Seven members rocked up with over twenty bikes between them. Alan Hind's trio of Flying Scots attracted a lot of interest, as did Robert Hunt's Raleigh town bike. The Bell's penny farthing, kindly brought along by Andrew Blackmore, fascinates the great unwashed no end.
Heavy overnight showers cleared and presented us with a beautiful cool, sunny day.

A Busy Evening

It was awesome to see so many members at the Perth May Meeting. Not just members but bikes! ... count them;

1. Merv Thompson raised eyebrows aplenty with a recent acquisition - a penny farthing racing model with it's original seat, though not original paint. Manufacturer unknown, however a patent plaque on the wheel suggests it was made post 1888.
2. Peter Wells showed off a beautiful pre WW1 BSA racer he's been working on for a few years. He'd originally spotted it "holding up a clothesline" in a backyard full of bikes and it took him some years to persuade the owner to part with it. Everything on the bike, bottles and bottle cages included is original (though replated or repainted) with the exception of the saddle and toolbag. 
3. Peter also had a Swansea child's bike he's recently restored in brilliant red and white.
4. Another child's bike, this one from Phil Harris. Spotted in an op-shop, Phil found it impossible to resist the charm of this micro bike with Giro d'Italia livery. It also sports the original shop price tag - €180!
5. Visitor Tom Favazzo brought in a Swansea 2 Swan that's been in the family it's whole life; his grandfather bought it in 1939(?) and rode it regularly to Fremantle Port where he worked as a crane driver. Tom generally rides a modern bike however having rescued the Swansea from being thrown out he's been riding it regularly. It was his transport to the meeting.
6. Rob Frith had his 1955 Rotrax onboard ready for a ride in the wheatbelt the next day. A mid-range offerening from Southampton's finest replete with Cyclo Benelux derailleurs and Cyclo Oppy pedals.
7. Rick Verschuren brought along a 2 Swan frame (no frame number visible) which he is donating to the auction next month.
8. Not a bike! - Adrian Emilsen brought along his immense collection of freewheel removal tools as well as an intriguing freewheel vise.

A Letter From Oppy

Thomas Massam, was an active amateur racer in WA in the 50’s. In 1952 he received the below letter from Hubert Opperman in response to a request for training ad- vice. Thomas recently made a generous donation of the letter to the club along with his state jersey, his amateur certi ca- tion and some photographs.

25th February 1952

Dear Mr. Massam,

Acknowledgement is made of your letter of the 6th January, and I must apologise for not replying at an earlier date. However I have been away Interstate and at Canberra, and this is the rst opportunity I have had to reply.

Actually I cannot hope to go into any great detail, but if I can nd some training hints which I wrote some years back I will have them forwarded to you.

(1) Diet is a subject of its own, if you decide to special- ize. I followed one known as the “Dr. Hay” diet, but that only came after years of experience. Meantime keep to grills, avoid fried foods and pastries, eat plenty of fruit and do not eat heavily within 11⁄2 hours of a race.

(2) In a race, eat small quantities and often. Do not drink unless thirsty, and then only a mouthful at a time.

(3) I couldn’t possibly tell you how to massage - books by specialists are written on this subject, and masseurs take special courses at the Universities. However the object of massage is to tone up tired muscles and cre- ate a feeling that you are better for this. If your muscles are sore afterwards as a result of the massage or you do not feel any better for it, then you should change your masseur. After road training, you need at least an half hour “rub down” at least three times a week.

(4) Australians use 61⁄2” cranks only because they hap- pen to always be B.S.A. standard length. Continental cranks used by the worlds’ greatest are invarabiy the equivelant of 63⁄4”or 7”. I would say that with your size, you would be justi ed in using 63⁄4” at least or 7” but 63⁄4” would be the safest. Only do not mess around once you have decided.

(5) Do not worry about the size of your chainwheels. The actual gear is the most important. If you have 8 gears, you should have from 68 up to 96” with the vari- ations from one to the other as regular as possible.

(6) Position - This is rather dif cult to check, as differing lengths of leg, arm etc. make a differences I think that
I have dealt with this in the notes I spoke of. However you should be riding about 21⁄2” to 31 behind the brack- et, with the centre of your handlebar stem being level
with the tips of your ngers, when your elbow is against the nose of your saddle. To check your length of leg re- quired when the foot is in its correct place on the pedal, see if you can ride just comfortably with your instep.

(7) Gymmnasium period - Same as for boxing, except that prolonged skipping should be avoided as it tends to jar the muscles. Ground work, leg stretching, toe touching etc., is good, in fact, all exercises which are correctional against the tightening up by the pedalling are good.

Be careful not to overdo them though when you are tired from long training, and it is a good idea to cut back gymn work you when are this has started, and to step up the time in the gym when you are doing less cycle training.

(8) Mileage is not easy to specify but to be really t, you should be riding 300 - 350 miles a week - 6 weeks before the events. If you are feeling stale and not recu- perating between training rides, ease down your speed and cut back on distances. This depends also on the time you have available, and it is useless to try and pile up miles when your working hours make you tired.

Above all, whenever you line up, you must be fresh, and to have great mileage in your legs, and be (not) tired from lack of form, time to spell up, simply means that you can never show your true form.

I trust that these few remarks will be of some assistance.

Congratulations on your success to date, and best wishes for your future.

Yours sincerely

Hubert Opperman

Bike Week Exhibition

The WAHCC has been awarded Department of Transport funding to assist us in mounting a month long exhibition of bicycles in the city.

The club is partnering with the fabulous Museum of Perth, the UWA Bike Club (who'll be running a series of lunchtime seminars) and Giro d'Perth.

Bike Week runs from March 12th to 20th 2016. The exhibition will run for a month though; from February 29th to March 27th, details here.