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Journeys : Jun Jul 2011
any) period, another coincidental find, the remnants of a late 20s Malvern Star, brought the idea of riding Paris-Brest-Par is on period bikes into sharper focus. With little cajoling, three good fr iends and fellow cyclists were inspired to join me as we attempted the required qualifying rides to enable entry to the event. We named our team 750M in recognition of the full race distance and I must admit that without the enthusiasm, support and shelter of Gavin Hinds, Craig Hoey and Stephen Billingham, riding P-B -P would have remained simply a rosy Sunday afternoon idea. (Sad to say, Stephen won’t be with us in France – a What is Paris-Brest-Paris? P-B -P is the world’s oldest continuously r un cycling event. First held in 1891, the 1200-kilometre race underscored the practicality and efficiency of the bicycle, and proved decisive in the acceptance of a new invention, the pneumatic tyre. A lthough initially conceived as a race, it has become a cycling endurance event. The route must be completed within 90 hours. Entry to the 17th P-B -P in August this year has required completion of 2500 kilometres in rides over 200 kilometres through 2009-2010, and then completion of a series of Audax Club Parisienne (ACP) sanctioned rides of 200, 300, 400 and 600 kilometre duration in early 2011. Just five Tasmanians are known to have entered past Paris-Brest-Paris events. Sir Hubert Opperman – the inspiration behind 750M Oppy’s cycling achievements, both on the international stage and in Australia, are too varied and numerous to list here. His achievements in Tasmania alone are remarkable enough. Early professional career wins were forged in the 1924 classic Launceston to Hobart scratch race, and in his reg ular appearances at Tasmania’s Christmas track carnivals. Notably, Oppy set a record for the ride from Hobart to Launceston and return in 1930, a feat that brought the capital city to a standstill as he swept along the unsealed highway using a single gear. Oppy continued this run of form by winning the first Tour of Tasmania a couple of months later, beating local and international competition, just prior to setting sail for his second European road season. There he managed a credible 12th in the 1931 Tour de France in spite of a bout of dysentery. This was followed by his astounding win in Paris-Brest-Paris just weeks later. In his autobiography, Oppy remarks that he enjoyed racing in our state, finding the Tasmanian crowds enthusiastic and knowledgeable, with the culture of cycling firmly embedded in the local community. Our aim is to highlight the achievements of this remarkable and humble athlete as the year leads toward our start in the 17th Paris-Brest-Paris from Aug ust 21-25 this year. recurring knee injury ended his P-B -P plans.) As long-term cyclists and ageing bike racers, our enthusiasm stems from cycling’s rich and varied history and a simple love affair with the bike. But beyond our personal aspirations to r ide this historic event, it is our intention to raise funds for the Oncology Children’s Foundation. 750M was created as a tangible identity for structuring these efforts. More about us can be found at our website www.750m.com.au and in the next issue of Journeys we’ll detail more about the bikes and our preparation for the event. Clockwise from above: Scott Dickson, Craig Hoey and Gavin Hinds; Craig on the gravel back lane at Cressy (three punctures from hawthorn thorns!); Scott (left) and Craig test riding in the Coal River Valley Destinations June / July 2011 17
Apr May 2011
MNJ Aug Sep 2011