The power of the pedal – Rupert Guinness

Brent chats to author Rupert Guinness about his new book The power of the pedal from penny farthings ,long rides in Australia and more

The rich history of cycling in Australia is explored in a new photographic book. Written by renowned cycling journalist Rupert Guinness, Power of the Pedal: The Story of Australian Cycling (NLA Publishing, $39.99, 1 October), explores 200 years of the bike in Australia, covering not only its place in Australian everyday life but also the big races, here and abroad. Along the way, read about well-known Australians—from Sir Hubert Opperman to Kathy Watt, Cadel Evans and Anna Meares—whose cycling feats have entertained and inspired many.

Bicycles meant a new and faster way to get around, and gave rise to ways of exploring, socialising and competing. In the nineteenth century, cycling encouraged ‘overlanders’, adventurers who explored new routes through rugged terrain; cycling clubs, which gave women a new kind of freedom to mix socially with men; and novel kinds of racing. Guinness reveals all, from the fascinating origins through to the current popularity of cycling and competing. Highlights include:

• the tradition of international games participation: from the 1920 Antwerp Olympics to the 2018 Commonwealth Games
• use of the bicycle as a transport and service tool in military conflicts, especially during the Boer War and First World War
• women’s advocate Mrs E.A. Maddock, who cycled from Sydney to Melbourne in 1894, leading the way for women to participate in all aspects of cycling
• Australia’s participation in the world’s great races, such as Le Tour de France (from the first ride in 1914 to Cadel Evans’ win), along with local events like the Tour Down Under

Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares describes Power of the Pedal as ‘a pictorial feast and fabulous read …. Whether you’re a weekend rider or enjoy competitive cycling, this book captures the passion and spirit of the sport.’

Listen to the podcast here.

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