The bicycle craze gripped Australia in the 1880s and 1890s and early 1900s. Bicycle clubs proliferated and bicycle racing caught the public’s attention as young men sought fellowship, camaraderie, glory and even riches in amateur and professional competition.
Harry Irwin explores the racing culture of the time in fascinating detail – the penny farthings and safety bicycles, tracks and champions, spectacles and carnivals; the prizes held out to racers, the risks, challenges, match racing and gambling; and the social life of the racers. Setting the scene are the stories of the five prominent and plucky Shaw brothers, born and bred in working-class Woolloomooloo, and how they enjoyed and endured the ups and downs of track and road racing in cities and country towns and over long distances in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
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