It all started at a barbecue in in 1978 when Don Beavis envisaged a cycling club that was more than just racing. One that was fun and incorporated weekday rides, tours and socialising as well as various racing disciplines. Now we're one of the biggest clubs in Australia with almost 500 members.
Don Beavis was the President of Eastern Suburbs Amateur Cycling Club but was growing concerned about the ‘hard core’ racing attitude of that club. Don envisaged a club that looked upon cycling as more than just racing. He resigned his position and in good Australian tradition, hosted a barbecue with his riding friends to discuss the idea – and thus our club was born with a more holistic view of cycling, incorporating both sport and recreation.
With riders sometimes racing interstate and even overseas, it was decided that the name Sydney would be identifiable anywhere and so the new club had a name.
The founding members were Don Beavis; President/Secretary, Tom Wilhelm; Treasurer; and Bruno Sibilia; Race Secretary. The general members were Jack Browne, Alain Agullo, Gilbert Droz, John Manini, John Lovell-Jones, Michael Goulay, George Chalvin, Dave Stakes and Paul Montesin.
OUR FIRST KIT
Don Beavis also designed the club’s first jersey, which was produced by Mrs Christoff of Adelaide, and was 100% wool. However, unfortunately when it was wet, it would stretch out of shape and at times you would appear to be wearing a skirt. They would also shrink, unevenly of course, with the striped side shrinking more than the rest.
The chosen colours of red, white and blue were reflective of the club’s membership at that time (Australian, English and French).
Nowadays you might see some club members wearing a replica of the first jersey but made with modern materials that can cope better with wet weather. This new kit is reserved exclusively for our 'old boys' who owned the original wool version.
Club meetings were held at Sydney Bicycle & Motor Club, Wynyard Park. In 1979 the Bicycle & Motor Club was celebrating its centenary year, and SCC organised a criterium to coincide with that and the annual Festival of Sydney. The race circuit was along Hickson Road in The Rocks, and the race was called ‘Myer’s Cup Cycle Race’ with Kevin Nichols winning from Shane Sutton.
The event was such a success that Don decided to look for another course where they could hold more regular crit races without the need for road closures. With the help of some members from Randwick Botany CC they illegally pulled down a few fences at a disused migrant hostel centre in Maroubra. By doing this they opened up an outstanding criterium course but didn’t realise how successful it would become. Heffron Park is now a Sydney racing institution. As well as hosting local amateur racing, Heffron has also seen world-class cyclists such as Manfred Otto, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Caleb Ewan and many more.
THE FIRST TT
The club’s first Time Trial Championships were held at Heffron Park on September 16th 1979 with Alain Agullo taking best time on this ‘tight’ circuit and was presented with a trophy for the occasion.
THEY THINK IT'S ALL OVER
SCC struggled through 1980 and 1981 with only a handful of members. A meeting was held with the view of winding up the club. Don Beavis stated that his work commitments would not allow him enough time to preside over the club, although he remained President until 1983.
With dwindling numbers, all seemed lost until a rider cycled up alongside Alan Smith (Life member) in Centennial Park and asked to join the SCC. His name was John Beauchamp and due to his banking background was soon made Club Treasurer - a position he held for eight years. John also produced a monthly SCC newsletter, which he delivered by bike, of course! Thanks to John, membership began to increase and club meetings transferred from John's home to Woollahra Public School to accommodate more members.
Membership stood at 54. In a vote, members decided to restructure SCC into two distinct clubs: Sydney Cycling Club and Sydney Cyclists’ Club. Sydney Cycling Club catered for the racing membership of the Club (membership was $36), while Sydney Cyclists’ Club catered for all club members purely for touring and social events (membership was $6). Club monthly meetings were conducted at the Royal Hotel, Randwick (Don Beavis had just completed interior alterations to the pub).
SKID LIDS ARRIVE IN AUSTRALIA
Club Secretary, John Beauchamp, first brought a Skid Lid helmet back from the USA, having used one while participating in the Cycle Across America. The Skid Lid was the first of its kind in Australia; it was constructed from polymer plastic, and proved to be a huge success with club members.
Race officials had to sanction the use of these new skid lids. The skid lid was a far better design than the leather hairnet, because it was strong but still quite flexible.
KANGAROO VALLEY TOUR
In February 1982 the club held its first tour to Kangaroo Valley. The full circuit was 345km with accommodation at the Kangaroo Valley Caravan Park. The tour continues today and proves just as popular, although we don't cycle back and spend more time touring around the surrounding region.