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Detailed Club History

The Canberra Cycling Club can trace its origins back to the mid-1920s and was one of several local clubs of the era, including the Queanbeyan Cycling Club (est. January 1899) and the Kingston Cycling Club (est. circa-1927/28).

The Canberra Cycling Club (CCC) was first established on 15th November 1926 and was affiliated with the League of New South Wales Wheelmen. The club’s first executive office bearers included President H. Crofts, Vice-Presidents H. Richardson & S. Meehan, Secretary Jacob H. Tootell and the Club’s Patron was L.J. Finch Esq.

The club’s ‘first run’ was held on Sunday 21st November 1926, departing at 2.30pm from the front of the Hotel Canberra, with ‘…all members and others desirous of joining up…’ being encouraged not to ‘…miss this opportunity for an enjoyable spin…’. By March 1927, the club was able to boast 90+ members.

The CCC has operated in a number of guises over the years and has been operating in its current form since June 1984, after a special general meeting of the Canberra Old Boys Amateur Cycling Club (COBACC) was convened on the 28th March 1984 to decide whether to accept a request from the Canberra Wests Amateur Cycling Club (CWACC) to combine the two clubs as one. The motion was passed 32 to 12 with one abstention. An attempt to amend the motion to be ‘…and that under one President there will be two bodies separately responsible for the interests of veterans and non-veteran riders respectively…’ was rejected.

Twice in the CCC’s recent past there have been insufficient volunteers available to fill all of the club’s executive committee positions. In the first instance, the March 1994 AGM was reconvened to April, whereupon the required number of office bearers were found. The second instance was more serious in that a special general meeting was held on the 15th May 1996 to determine whether the CCC should be ‘wound up’. The motion was defeated and a new committee and new era was born, with most of the small committee new to the executive board after previously long standing commitees, taken from a regular core of members, had come to an end.

The CCC’s club colours and uniform design, including those of its antecedents, has changed over the years. The COBACC ‘club guernsey’ was maroon with a gold chest band and gold sleeves, which was replaced upon amalgamation with CWACC by the ‘new’ CCC colours of greenwhiteyellow, arranged in a horizontal topmiddlebottom pattern. This design survived for many years with little change, but after much discussion, a new CCC uniform design was finalised in the autumn of 1994. The design incorporated the new Parliament House flagpole and used deep green & fluoro yellow. The committee accepted a vote to change the uniform design at the March 1993 AGM, but the original club colours of yellowgreenwhite were retained, despite a submission to the CCC to change the club colours ‘…to something more distinctive…’.

After much discussion amongst club members over a number of years following the adoption of the 1994 design, a survey found that a high degree of dissatisfaction with this uniform, politely dubbed ‘the yellow peril’ by some, existed within the club. As a result, the CCC committee sought a new design from club members and mooted the possibility of changing the club’s colours. At the March 2000 AGM, a motion to change the club’s colours from yellowgreenwhite to bluewhiteblack was passed and the club’s current uniform design was subsequently decided. The current club uniform arrived in Winter 2000 with much approval from club members.

Other notable events that form part of the CCC’s recent history include the creation of the ACT Veteran’s Cycling Club, formed when members of the CCC wished to start a club that catered specifically for the needs of the district’s Veteran cyclists. Another significant event was the calling of a special general meeting on the 29th July 1992, to determine whether the ACT should split from the New South Wales Cycling Federation to form the ACT Cycling Federation. The motion was passed and, after the ACF accepted the submission at its December 1992 Council Meeting, the ACT Cycling Federation came into existence on 1st January 1993.

The Canberra Cycling Club’s newsletter, ‘The Whispering Wheelie’, was first published in July 1977 by the members of COBACC and continued as the CCC’s club newsletter after COBACC and CWACC merged in June 1984. The first issue of ‘The Whispering Wheelie’ was a four page, typed A4 document which soon transformed into the familiar brightly covered A4-booklet format. In recent years, ‘The Wheelie’ has reverted back to the full A4-page format and has been supplemented by information provided on the CCC website and by the CCC’s weekly email bulletins.

One of the CCC’s antecedents, the Canberra Amateur Cycling Club (CACC), also published a club newsletter, entitled ‘The Pedaller’. The first issue of ‘The Pedaller’ was published in early 1975 in a typed, A4 page format, with hand-drawn front covers depicting racing cyclists in various poses. Content of the early club newsletters included club news and gossip, club and regional events and results, news and training tips from the European peloton and biographies of famous, and infamous, Australian cyclists of years gone past.

The Canberra Cycling Club’s two high profile cycling events are the Canberra Tour and the Tour de Femme. The inaugural Tour de Femme, Australia’s largest women’s-only cycle race, was first held in November 1990, attracting 105 women. The format of the Tour de Femme allows women of all ages and abilities to participate and this has seen the event grow from strength to strength, such that the November 2001 edition attracted over 520 women of all ages and abilities.

The Canberra Tour is a multi-stage, two day race held each year in early April and is considered one of the toughest races on the Australian calendar. The first Canberra Tour was held in 1983 and 1984 saw the race obtain sponsorship from Spokesman Cycles, with a subsequent name change to the Spokesman 2 Day Tour. The race was sponsored by Canberra Milk from 1989 to 1997, during which time the race was known as the ‘Milk Race’. Due to the loss of Canberra Milk as naming-rights sponsor, the race was renamed the Canberra Tour for the 1998 edition and that name continues to this day.

The Canberra Cycling Club has a proud history of producing many State, National and International champions, Australian representatives, Commonwealth and Olympic Games medallists and currently has several of its members riding successfully on the international scene. The efforts of many of the club’s volunteers have also been recognised locally and nationally. The CCC is one of Australia’s strongest cycling clubs, with a membership exceeding 220, and is the current National Club Champion, having won the inaugural ACF National Club’s Championships in September 2001.


The Canberra Old Boys Amateur Cycling Club Inc.

COBACC was first established in early-1977, when Dr Eric Alden placed an advertisement in The Canberra Times on 24 February 1977 declaring that the ‘Veterans’ were coming to the region. The impetus came from the running of ‘The Great Race’ between Canberra and Queanbeyan held in November 1976, as well as events happening at that time in the world of veteran’s cycling, including the 1976 decision of the International Cycling Federation (ICF) to place all former amateur and professional cyclists between 35 and 60 years of age into a ‘veterans’ category, whose events would be run under amateur racing rules.

The newly formed ‘ACT Veteran’s Cycling Club’ had 12 foundation members and was to be open to all men over 35 years of age and to all women over 25 years of age. By August 1977, club members realised that incorporation was essential and by September 1977, the newly formed ‘ACT veteran’s cycling club’ was incorporated under the name Canberra Old Boys Amateur Cycling Club Inc. The reference to ‘Old Boys‘ in the club’s name came about as a result of not being able to use the word ‘veterans‘ as part of the club’s name once incorporated as, at that time, this was reserved for organisations associated with Australia’s war veterans.

Despite the CWACC (via its antecedents the CACC and before that the original 1926 CCC) being the ‘true’ antecedent of the current CCC (in that COBACC cannot trace its origins directly back to the original 1926 CCC), COBACC is looked upon more as the current CCC’s pre-amalgamation antecedent as its traditions had the largest influence upon the current CCC’s early post-amalgamation years due to the new committee being comprised mainly of members from the former-COBACC committee.

Not only was COBACC the antecedent of the current CCC, it was also a precursor to the 1988 establishment of the current ACT Veteran’s Cycling Club Inc., which is affiliated with the Australian Veterans Cycling Council (AVCC). The 1988 incarnation of the ACTVCC was established in Feb/Mar of that year by 8-10 members of the CCC who were dissatisfied with the club’s lack of ‘vets-only’ races and who thus wished to establish a club that catered specifically for the needs of the region’s veteran riders.

The relationship between the CCC and the ACTVCC has always been cordial with many of the CCC’s veteran riders also being members of the ACTVCC. In recent years, the CCC and the ACTVCC have come together to hold the Bob Chorley Memorial Handicap, a combined CCC/ACTVCC event held in memory of Bob Chorley, a well-respected and much liked member of both clubs.


  • 1. The Whispering Wheelie, magazine of the CCC (and formerly COBACC).
  • 2. Minutes of Meetings of COBACC & CCC.
  • 3. The CCC email bulletins compiled by Mark Carter.
  • 4. Cycling Canberra – A History of Cycling In Canberra by Barbara Malpass
  • 5. The Canberra Bicycle Museum
  • 6. Discussions, comments and other information provided by club members.
  • Changes to Document:
  • 1. Original Document produced 29th March 2002.
  • 2. v2 created 18th April 2002 – correcting establishment date of Queanbeyan Cycling Club.
  • 3. v3 created 25th April 2002:
  • 3.1. Page 1, para 6: included information about COBACC uniform & newly-amalgamated CCC uniform.
  • 3.2. Page 2, paras 9 & 10: added to include information about ‘The Whispering Wheelie’ and ‘The Pedaller’ .
  • 3.3. Page 3, COBACC sub-heading: added to provide more detailed information about the formation of COBACC, which is also the precursor to the establishment of the current ACTVCC, established in the February 1988.
  • 4. V4 created 5th August 2002 – added further words to COBACC sub-heading regarding reference to ‘Old Boys’ in name page 3, para 2.