George Robert Broadbent
Professional Road Racing Cyclist, Deceased Person
1863 – 1947
Who was George Robert Broadbent?
Broadbent was born in Ashby, Victoria, the son of George Adam Broadbent, and his wife Elizabeth, née Ruffhead. The family moved to North Melbourne and Broadbent attended the Errol Street school. On leaving school, he became a draper, like his father, and became an early bicycling and bicycle-racing enthusiast.
Broadbent held most Victorian and Australian cycling road records at various times. Two performances on solid tyres—203 miles in 24 hours on a penny farthing, and 100 miles in 6 hours 20 minutes on a 'safety' bicycle—were never surpassed. The Australian Cyclist periodical described him 'the finest road rider that Australia has ever produced'. Broadbent won the five–mile Australasian championship for 1893-4 and the five-mile Victorian championship in 1894–5.
Broadbent was a foundation councillor of the League of Victorian Wheelmen in October 1893. He contested the first Warrnambool-Melbourne race in 1895, and was active in the Good Roads Movement. In 1896 he issued a road map of Victoria, 'prepared … after some sixteen years riding and touring in all parts of the Colony', which indicated general topography, distances, and roads classified as 'good', 'fair' or 'ridden with difficulty'. It became Victoria's standard road map.
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