This image shows Australian cyclist, Ken Ross, centre, with his trainer, right, and Belgian cycling champion, Emile Aerts. The photograph was taken after the finish of the Berlin six-day race in February 1922. According to Ross, ‘the Sydney Six-Days race … was only a training ride alongside of these’.

Taking it to the limit – the ‘extreme’ sport of six-day bicycle racing

It’s difficult for us today to imagine a cycling competition where, as The Mercury (Hobart) reported on 17 February 1897, ‘exhausted riders [were] lifted from and on to their wheels and carried to and from their quarters, their joints swollen and inflamed, barely able to see, with wandering mind, and only kept in a conscious condition by the efforts of trainers and physicians.’

The occasion referred to by the Mercury’s shocked and disapproving correspondent was a six-day bicycle race held at Madison Square Gardens, New York, in 1897 – a largely-forgotten type of cycling competition that, in its heyday from the early 1900s till the late 1940s, catapulted many cyclists Continue reading