'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Australia

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'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Australia

Postby Aushiker » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:04 am

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Wendy Law was celebrated across Australia and beyond as one of the two ''girl cyclists'' whose three-year odyssey of riding their bicycles up and across the continent began soon after the end of World War II.

In 1946, at 19, she and her equally adventurous school friend, Shirley Duncan, 21, were dissuaded from travelling across war-ravaged Europe and instead opted to ride their Malvern Stars to Queensland. They had already ridden in Victoria, to Adelaide and around Tasmania to prepare themselves. They envisaged being on the road for six months - but did not get back to Melbourne until April 1949.

It took them a year to get to Queensland and on to Darwin, then they pedalled south to Adelaide and crossed the Nullarbor to the west. They were the first female cyclists to cross the Nullarbor, but by then they had already attracted the attention of the press and were dubbed the ''girl cyclists'' as they drew crowds in every city they passed through. Their trip also featured on Movietone News.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/obituari ... z27ipTXNBv

Regards
Andrew
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by BNA » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:24 am

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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby r2160 » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:24 am

That was a great story!!

cheers
Glenn
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Oxford » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:50 pm

sounds like adventure was in the blood and actively encouraged. what a great person and pioneer.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Amalasuntha » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:29 pm

Thanks for posting Andrew.

A life well lived.

And she managed to fit in raising 6 children!
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby find_bruce » Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:59 pm

Impressive ride on a fixie with no brakes
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Meditator » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:12 pm

Very nice story.


My dad just told me that to stop the bike you used to jam your foot between the back wheel and the frame. A nice old-fashioned bit of cycling technique.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby il padrone » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:27 pm

She is (was) a great storyteller, who spoke at our touring club about her travels a few years ago. Sad to hear of her passing, but yes, she lived life to the full. I have a copy of her book.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Parker » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:54 pm

I'm so buying the book :)

Thanks Andrew
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby jp » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:16 pm

Meditator wrote:Very nice story.


My dad just told me that to stop the bike you used to jam your foot between the back wheel and the frame. A nice old-fashioned bit of cycling technique.


A technique that served me very well in the '70's and '80's, though a bit risky with flip flops!

We have Wendy's book at home and it is an awesome read. Our 6 year old loves the adventures the ladies got up to. Highly recommended.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Ozkaban » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:00 pm

Amazing women and the book sounds amazing too... want. to. buy. now.

Can't find the thing anywhere though!!! Seems to be out of print.

Does anyone know where such an item can be procured? I think I found a link for a place in the UK that I've never heard of called dingo media that will sell it for about GPB 24 delivered, but I'd love to buy locally.

Cheers,
Dave
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Amalasuntha » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:56 pm

Shirley Duncan also wrote a book about their adventures called "Two Wheels to Adventure: Through Australia by Bicycle". Published in 1957 so might be quite a different read to Wendy's account published 50 years later! Haven't read it yet. Has any one else?
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Ozkaban » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:51 am

Turns out Wendy's book was self published. Dingo Media appears to be her publishing house - http://www.dingomedia.co.uk

There are 4 books for sale on there, all written by Wendy. I've just splurged and bought the hard back edition of her Cycling book for GBP30 delivered. I love travel and adventure stories and the idea of this intrigued me. I wish I knew about it while she was still alive!

Cheers,
Dave
Last edited by Ozkaban on Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Ozkaban » Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:57 am

Amalasuntha wrote:Shirley Duncan also wrote a book about their adventures called "Two Wheels to Adventure: Through Australia by Bicycle". Published in 1957 so might be quite a different read to Wendy's account published 50 years later! Haven't read it yet. Has any one else?


Funnily enough, that one's out of print too! It would be worth tracking down a copy of it though. It would be interesting to see the differences in the content and style.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Amalasuntha » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:08 am

Thanks for the link to the publishing house Dave. I have ordered a copy of her book. I also picked up the one copy of Shirley Duncan's book that I could find - on AbeBooks. As you said it will be interesting to compare style and content, especially given the 49 years between accounts. I'm looking forward to reading both of them.

It's a bit of wake up call to the differences in lifestyle in 50 years. Now we buy fancy trekking bikes, light weight this and light weight that - we NEED it to go off exploring. Back then people jumped on bikes many of us wouldn't consider riding more than 10km on, and headed off loaded up with swags and so forth. My great-uncle (the black sheep of the family) decided Perth wasn't for him, jumped on his bike and rode to Adelaide - in 1936. Unfortunately I don't know much more about the story than that. Perhaps he cheated and threw his bike on the back of truck - but I like to think he cycled the whole way.

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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby il padrone » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:51 pm

Wendy and Shirley did put their bikes onto trucks and cars for some significant lengths of their tour. It was not a solely bicycle tour. Lady's drop frames with 28x1 3/8 tyres are not really the best for sandy outback roads.

Ask me how I know.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Amalasuntha » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:55 pm

Ok... How do you know? :)
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby find_bruce » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:28 pm

Because you were 25 at the time & drove the truck ? :wink:
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby il padrone » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:55 pm

26x2.15" Marathon Mondials, running at sub-20 psi bogged down in the sand of the road to Old Andado, so I know 28x1 3/8 tyres will stop them too.

The outback roads in 1946 were certainly no better for them.
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Re: 'Girl cyclist' made history - 1946 3 year ride of Austra

Postby Ozkaban » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:02 am

I got the book a week or so ago and have just settled down to read it. In the middle of the Tassi tour now.

Quite an enjoyable read thus far.

oh, and so far they've hitched rides whenever they could. They weren't trying to do a purely cycling tour as such - more trying to get around as cheaply as possible with bikes as their main mode of transport.
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