Northcote Amateur Cycling Club

Cycling had played an active role in Northcote’s sporting life well before the Northcote Amateur Cycling Club was formed in October 1922. As early as February 1896 M. J. McLean, son of the Northcote Mayor, became the Victorian 10 mile cycling champion. 

The same year the Northcote Cycling Club opened its clubhouse at 272 High Street Northcote. This club was eventually to disappear but in early October 1922 the Northcote Amateur Cycling Club was formed with E. A. Eastman as the President, W. Baker as Treasurer, E. H. Crane as Secretary.  They had their club rooms at 116 High Street Northcote.

On 30 October 1933 the Club was in a horrific accident when cyclists from the club collided head on with the Fitzroy Cycling Club. Both clubs had organised cycling events for the same day, Northcote with a ½ mile handicap race on the Epping Road, whilst the Fitzroy club had a five mile race on the same route. The Thomastown Hotel was the finishing point for both races. Both groups of cyclists, moving at high speed collided about 50 yards from the hotel. Some riders were able to swerve away from danger at the last moment but Richard Bailey, 18, from the Fitzroy Club was killed in the accident and Norman Freebain, 17, and John Gibson, also 17, of the Northcote Club were seriously injured.

In 1935 the club had a more positive result when they became the Victorian Amateur Cycling Club champions. The result had been contentious as the Amateur Cyclists Union had arranged a three match race off between the three fastest clubs. The conditions of play see not to have been passed to the referee who declared Northcote the Champions after winning the first race. Despite a protest the result was upheld.

In October 1944, W. Spargo, Secretary of the Northcote Amateur Cycling Club, lost his life during a bombing raid on Nuremberg in Germany. He was serving as a Flight Sergeant on a Lancaster bomber which was shot down.   He was aged 20.

By the 1954 the President of the Club was still E. Eastman, and with his nephew, Bill Bolwell, he formed the Northcote Pedal Club. Cycling was still strong as a sport, although its heyday had been the 1930s. 

Northcote Leader, 15 February 1896
Argus newspaper, 14 October 1922
Argus newspaper, 30 October 1930
Argus newspaper, 5 April 1935
Argus newspaper, 7 October 1944
Argus newspaper, 1 October 1954
Argus newspaper, 8 October 1954