Race around the ‘Rat
The popularity of bicycles in Ballarat spawned a number of local clubs catering to professional, amateur and recreational cyclists.
Cycling clubs have been integral to Ballarat’s social and sporting life. Since the 1880s, these groups have been organising cycling tournaments, athletic carnivals, safety demonstrations, riding classes and social events.
The Ballarat-Sebastopol Cycling Club (BSCC) is one of the oldest local bicycle groups, having started in 1879 as the Ballarat Bicycle and Tricycle Club. The club eventually merged with the Sebastopol Amateur Cycling Club in the 1970s. Today, BSCC hosts a number of popular local competitions including the Les Brookman Open Road Race, the John Collier Handicap and the Joe Merrylees School Teams Time Trial.
Ballarat’s cycling clubs have created a fertile ground for champion cyclists. Ballarat has produced notable cycling champions such as Alan Crick, a two-time champion of the Midlands Tour in 1944-1945, and Ray Bilney who represented Australia at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in the 1960s and 1970s.
Ballarat continues to be a cycling hotspot. Cyclists and cycling enthusiasts flock to the city for the annual Melbourne to Ballarat race, now in its 105th year, and for the Cycling Australia Road National Championships.