Back in the early 1920s Suncorp Stadium featured cinder tracks and was often used by cyclists belonging to Hamilton Amateur Wheelers, a local bike club that was formed in 1908. The stadium might no longer support bike racing, but the club has certainly gone from strength to strength.
These days the Hamilton Pine Rivers Wheelers membership is nudging 400 with major recent growth in junior and women cyclists in particular.
Since appointing junior coaches the club has seen its number of young riders increase from zero to 40. The Hamilton Wheelers was the first club to institute a women’s series, which has been incredibly successful and includes a women’s only race once a month at the Nundah Criterium Track, which is where their clubhouse is located. This is complimented with a women’s only bike skills session, which occurs throughout the year.
So whereas once the Hamilton Wheelers comprised largely of middle aged men, these days its home to juniors, elites and masters of all fitness and ability. That’s a pretty endearing feature of this club, actually; they welcome anyone who wants to ride and race. They enjoy giving things a nudge but this is ultimately friendly racing – nobody’s riding for sheep stations.
That said the club acknowledges its best riders from all three disciplines (crits, road and track) at an annual presentation night, which is usually held around October. Another once-yearly event on the calendar is the coveted Century Ride, which has been running for the past 70 years. It comprises a 100-mile (and 50-mile) course and is a major feature on the calendar. One member in particular has participated in 49 of the rides – at 68 years of age he’s got number 50 in his crosshairs this year!
In terms of more frequent activities, the club races every week except for a period over Christmas and it is the only club in Brisbane to race crits, road and track. Tuesday and Thursday late afternoons are for training sessions and informal training group rides are hosted by various members who roll out of different locations on the North side each week.
Feel like travelling with the bike? Check out our visit to Victoria's Bright and Mt Beauty. Alpine climbing here we come...!
When it comes to members who have made their mark beyond the club, Hamilton Wheelers boasts cyclists such as Mitchell Mulhern (2014 Gold Medallist in UCI Track World Championships Team Pursuit, 2015 – 2nd in Track National Championships Team Pursuit, 3rd in UCI Track World Championships Team Pursuit), Jordan Kerby (Drapac Team), Andy Patten (2015National Individual Pursuit Champion Masters 4, 2014 UCI Masters 4 Silver Medallist) and Peter Gumbley (Grand Masters Men’s 7+ and 2012 Queensland Track Cyclist of the Year).