Road records

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ldrcycles
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Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:50 pm

As some of you will know already, I got interested in old city to city records at the start of the year, and it's ended up snowballing a bit. I've now got 5 records to my name and I've kicked off the Road Record Association of Australia to keep track of new and old records, as the bodies which used to perform that role (the League of Wheelmen and Amateur Cyclists Union) no longer exist. At the moment said "association" consists of me and my mobile phone :lol: so I'm very keen to hear from anyone interested in playing a part in reviving this aspect of riding.

So far all I've got to go off is old newspaper clippings, so if anyone has ANY information at all pertaining to road records, be it certificates, medals, or just rides between smaller towns (Innisfail-Millaa Millaa as an example) I would love to hear from you. I'd like to think the League kept a list of some of the records, and finding something like that would be a huge help.

If you're keen to have a go at a record there are plenty to choose from, so again get in touch and I'll do whatever I can to help. I'm hoping there'll soon be an attempt on the Rockhampton-Gladstone record, and my Gladstone-Rocky record will be blown out of the water as soon as anyone reasonably fit attacks it :) .
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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:33 pm

I'll put my hand up to help - the popularity of road records seemed to boom in the 30s, Malvern Star in particular saw records as a way of promoting their bikes at a time when racing was handicapped so they couldn't guarantee a win by sponsoring all the best riders.

It died out with government intervention, at least in NSW, by the end of the 30s with the Police Commissioner saying the road was not intended as a racing track. This is an era when trove is particularly useful.

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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:01 pm

Good point, I had forgotten to mention the legal side of it.

Road Rule 85 in Queensland appeared to indicate that police permission is required for a record attempt, and I went through the excruciating process of getting a Special Event Permit from the police for my first record attempt, Innisfail-Cairns.

Subsequent rides met with resistance from the Department of Main Roads, and after I got my local MP involved, they backed down citing the fact I was "travelling as a normal road user". QPS appeared to see that as a way of getting out of dealing with the immense amount of paperwork I was generating :lol: and advised that they had determined the road rule was "intended to cover events involving 2 or more participants", and that a single rider adhering to all normal road rules does not require any approvals to carry out a record attempt.

Their only stipulation is that the observer car must not follow directly behind (so as not to obstruct traffic) and can only use normal hazard lights, having a flashing beacon light on the roof would require a permit :roll:

The NSW and ACT traffic acts have almost identically worded sections, so I would like to think that a similar result could be achieved. The Northern Territory I believe specifically excludes bicycles from their prohibition on unapproved races, the other states I haven't looked into yet. There are a few records in NSW and Victoria I'm keen to try at some point so sooner or later I'll probably subject the local constabulary to the same headaches QPS endured :lol:
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Re: Road records

Postby bychosis » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:49 pm

Good on you for overcoming the red tape! I follow your posts with interest knowing full well that I’ll never hold a record like that and thoroughly respecting your efforts.

I guess in this day of modern ‘sustainable’ transport it is a way of promoting the bicycle for everyday users. I hope you end up with some form of sponsorship to carry on your record breaking.
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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:38 pm

bychosis wrote:Good on you for overcoming the red tape! I follow your posts with interest knowing full well that I’ll never hold a record like that and thoroughly respecting your efforts.


Does Cessnock to Newcastle appeal? With no existing record it's just a matter of doing ~50kms as quickly as you like :) There are tandem records for Singleton-Maitland and Newcastle to Maitland, but that's about all I can find in the area (besides Newcastle to Sydney which is about 100 miles and at least a 32kmh average...)
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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:37 pm

I've got some Qld point to point records up on the website, though still plenty more to go there. And then the other states, crikey there are a lot!

Looking at distance records though, I'm struggling a little. The best men's 25 mile time I've found was 1hr 1min, but Valda Unthank did 51m 47s, she was incredible for sure but not to the point of being 10 MINUTES faster than the fastest man.

On the timed records I've had more luck, initially it looked (unsurprisingly) as though Opperman had the 12 and 24hr records for an amazing ride from Mt Gambier to Melbourne, and then I found this incredible effort from 1969.

843.88km for 24hr, 465.1km for the 12hr, and the records for 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 miles :shock: .
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Re: Road records

Postby jasonc » Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:02 am

Great to see your name on the list there a few times ldr
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Re: Road records

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:57 am

ldrcycles wrote:I've got some Qld point to point records up on the website, though still plenty more to go there. And then the other states, crikey there are a lot!

Looking at distance records though, I'm struggling a little. The best men's 25 mile time I've found was 1hr 1min, but Valda Unthank did 51m 47s, she was incredible for sure but not to the point of being 10 MINUTES faster than the fastest man.

The UK women's 25 mile record is currently 49' 28" by Hayley Simmonds of UK Aerocoach team.

The UK men's record is 42' 58". Marcin Bialoblocki of the Nopinz team.

We don't have time trials like they do in the UK. There are no comparable courses. We don't have any 25-mile courses on any regular calendar.

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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:04 am

Valda Unthank set her time in 1939, a time when they had regular 25 mile races. A record was said to be unpaced if set in a time trial and paced if it was set in a handicap race where a small prize was given for the fastest time.

Like LDR I am am more than a bit dubious about it. While most distance records were on an out & back course, one possible explanation is that she rode one way with a strong tailwind.

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The best mens record I have seen is, like ldr, is 1:01:17 by Alby Barlow in 1947. He also held the 50 & 100 mile records

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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Sun Sep 23, 2018 10:47 am

LDR, it may be worth looking at a copy of the "Ampol Book of Sporting Records" - available at a library near you

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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Sep 23, 2018 2:33 pm

jasonc wrote:Great to see your name on the list there a few times ldr


Hopefully there'll soon be a bunch of other 21st century names there too :)

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:The UK women's 25 mile record is currently 49' 28" by Hayley Simmonds of UK Aerocoach team.

The UK men's record is 42' 58". Marcin Bialoblocki of the Nopinz team.

We don't have time trials like they do in the UK. There are no comparable courses. We don't have any 25-mile courses on any regular calendar.


Where are those times from? The Road Records Association in the UK says 40:50 for the men's and 47:46 for the women's record.

I remember reading an article some time ago about Joyce Barry or one of her contemporaries breaking a record (25 or 50 mile, something like that) by starting her ride at the top of the Blue Mountains with a screaming tailwind :lol: That was presumably above board, even now the RRA rules just state that the course must not cover the same stretch of road more than twice. Valda Unthank's record starting at the top of "Pretty Sally" hill (529 metres) sounds like a similar scenario.


find_bruce wrote:LDR, it may be worth looking at a copy of the "Ampol Book of Sporting Records" - available at a library near you


Better still, available at my parent's house on the other side of town :D That is a 1969 edition I believe, I'll have a look the next time I'm there.
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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:19 pm

ldrcycles wrote:I remember reading an article some time ago about Joyce Barry or one of her contemporaries breaking a record (25 or 50 mile, something like that) by starting her ride at the top of the Blue Mountains with a screaming tailwind :lol: That was presumably above board, even now the RRA rules just state that the course must not cover the same stretch of road more than twice. Valda Unthank's record starting at the top of "Pretty Sally" hill (529 metres) sounds like a similar scenario.
That too would be Valda Unthank in April 1939 - 25 miles in 1 hour, took her 1:18 to do the 2nd 25 miles.

ldrcycles wrote:
find_bruce wrote:LDR, it may be worth looking at a copy of the "Ampol Book of Sporting Records" - available at a library near you


Better still, available at my parent's house on the other side of town :D That is a 1969 edition I believe, I'll have a look the next time I'm there.

Why am I not surprised :lol:

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Re: Road records

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:58 am

ldrcycles wrote:
jasonc wrote:Great to see your name on the list there a few times ldr


Hopefully there'll soon be a bunch of other 21st century names there too :)

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:The UK women's 25 mile record is currently 49' 28" by Hayley Simmonds of UK Aerocoach team.

The UK men's record is 42' 58". Marcin Bialoblocki of the Nopinz team.

We don't have time trials like they do in the UK. There are no comparable courses. We don't have any 25-mile courses on any regular calendar.


Where are those times from? The Road Records Association in the UK says 40:50 for the men's and 47:46 for the women's record.

These are UK time trial records. There are specific requirements for a TT course, e.g. the start and finish must be within a certain distance of each other and the start/finish elevation must be no more than a given elevation change. This reduces the impact of one way courses with elevation drops and tailwinds. They do however run them on dual carriageways and the impact of traffic wind assistance can be quite substantial.

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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:16 am

I thought that might have been it, as you say a TT is a much more rigid arrangement than a road record. I've seen a few local articles also calling them "straightaway" records.


Lots of progress on the website last night, it turns out Weebly and tables are not happy bedfellows, I can create tables with no small measure of difficulty, but as I find new records I would only be able to tack them on the bottom, keeping things in alphabetical order would mean redoing the whole table :roll: . It's also apparently impossible to insert an excel spreadsheet. So to keep the ball rolling I'm just typing the lists out, which doesn't look as nice but is a heck of a lot faster. Down the line when most of the existing records are documented and new insertions aren't required so often it can go back to a prettier table arrangement.
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Re: Road records

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:29 pm

Maybe Weebly isn't the best solution. Depends on your budget I suppose.

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Re: Road records

Postby AUbicycles » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:50 pm

Curious whether road and route changes are a consideration. Have historical record attempts taken other routes that have a different distance or may not longer be accessible today?

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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:57 pm

AUbicycles wrote:Curious whether road and route changes are a consideration. Have historical record attempts taken other routes that have a different distance or may not longer be accessible today?

The concept of "rules" for a place to place record were fairly fluid. You had to ride from the post office at one place to the post office at the other.

Just to pick a record I am familiar with, the Goulburn to Sydney, which was the foundation for Goulburn to Sydney classic, which never actually made it to the GPO. For example the winner of the inagural 1902 race "won" at the Ashfield Town Hall but continued to ride to the GPO to break the record with 8hrs 20' 30".

Anyone familiar with the history of that area would know that the road has been upgraded from a dirt track & there have been numerous realignments, making the route shorter & quicker. It was in the 20s that tarmac on razorback allowed riders to climb their single speed bike all the way up without having to walk. Shortly thereafter Razorback was avoided entirely.

Best time I know if is 6hrs 57' 56" set by Frankie Thomas in 1932 as part of his ride from Canberra to Sydney.

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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:31 pm

AUbicycles wrote:Curious whether road and route changes are a consideration. Have historical record attempts taken other routes that have a different distance or may not longer be accessible today?


Just part of the job, the first Innisfail-Cairns involved walking for 10 miles through a swamp, and most of the Perth-Sydney attempts had an unsealed road across the Nullarbor. On the other hand, due to Motorways taking over, the route from Brisbane to Ipswich is 15% longer now than it was in 1939!


Bruce, would you be able to use your Trove/Google magic to find Vic Browne's sectional records from 1969? I've been bashing my head on that particular brick wall this evening and so far I haven't been able to find any of the times, just references to the records he had broken- https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/arti ... decade=196

Another article mentioned the Perth-Coolgardie record, but no time. I'll need to get in touch with Christoph Strasser to see if I can get my hands on the GPS track of his Perth-Sydney ride last year. Vic Browne went via Melbourne, so his overall time would be a separate record, as would the likes of Adelaide-Melbourne, but Strasser would surely have beaten his times for Perth-Coolgardie etc, assuming they both passed the relevant post offices.

I've now got 96 records listed, and there's a LOT to go :shock:

Oh and I found a couple of mentions of a silver cup engraved with the names of the Lismore-Brisbane-Lismore record holders, so got in touch with the Lismore Museum and while they have a listing in their system for "Silver bowl, cycling trophy" they have no other details and can't find said bowl. They're going to do some looking, it would be fantastic if the cup does still exist.
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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:43 pm

Two more interesting finds, on September 15 1937 Charles Winterbottom broke all but one of Opperman's records between Dubbo and Sydney. Exactly a year later, Opperman went out and absolutely mauled every single one of Winterbottom's records! On one of Oppy's records in WA (Collie-Perth I think) it was noted that on 3 rides in 3 different states, his distance over 12 hours was within 5 miles each time. Any wonder he was called "the human dynamo".
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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:20 pm

101 records listed now, and time for bed!
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Re: Road records

Postby bychosis » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:14 am

find_bruce wrote:
AUbicycles wrote:Curious whether road and route changes are a consideration. Have historical record attempts taken other routes that have a different distance or may not longer be accessible today?

The concept of "rules" for a place to place record were fairly fluid. You had to ride from the post office at one place to the post office at the other.

Now that Aus post is changing to a ‘shop front’ model in a lot of places, how does that affect the start and finish points? Back in the olden days a post office was a very important building and easy to locate as the centre of town, but the modern equivalent is quite different. Is there an alternative town centre when the old post office is now a restaurant, or long demolished and the new version is stuck deep inside a new Westfield for example?
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Re: Road records

Postby singlespeedscott » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:49 am

I think most of the original post offices would still be standing as many are heritage listed. I believe the post office to post office thing should still stand.
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Re: Road records

Postby ldrcycles » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:33 am

bychosis wrote:Now that Aus post is changing to a ‘shop front’ model in a lot of places, how does that affect the start and finish points? Back in the olden days a post office was a very important building and easy to locate as the centre of town, but the modern equivalent is quite different. Is there an alternative town centre when the old post office is now a restaurant, or long demolished and the new version is stuck deep inside a new Westfield for example?


Yeppoon (I'm going for the Rocky-Yeppoon-Rocky record this Sunday) is a good example, the current post office is just a little shoebox sized shop inside a shopping centre, so I'll be going past the front of the building and continuing on to the old post office building which currently serves as an information centre. For Gladstone-Rockhampton, I started at the current PO, rode past the old heritage listed building, and at the other end rode past the current PO to the original which now houses a cafe. It's the vibe of the thing :)
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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:17 am

Its like the old joke, turn right where the pub burnt down, stop where the post office used to be

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Re: Road records

Postby find_bruce » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:37 am

ldrcycles wrote:Bruce, would you be able to use your Trove/Google magic to find Vic Browne's sectional records from 1969? I've been bashing my head on that particular brick wall this evening and so far I haven't been able to find any of the times, just references to the records he had broken- https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/arti ... decade=196

I'll see what I can do - its a difficult period to web search for as the Canberra times is one of few to be on trove after the 50s & Vic & Browne are common terms. I have not seen much about Vic apart from 4th in the team pursuit at the 64 Olympics & winning the 67 Austral. I might have to make a visit to the library - fortunately I work near the State Library of NSW.

Bicyclepassion may be able to help as his review of oppy's 1937 Malvern Star states
bicyclepassion wrote:Oppy’s record was not broken until 1969 when Vic Browne staged a serious effort and covered the distance in 11 days, six hours and 47 minutes, over very much improved roads. In 1975, Bruce Hunt knocked a mere six hours off Browne’s time.

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