born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (nee Rhodesia). John's high school was well out of town so like
many of his school mates, BakerBoy,
rode to school on his trusty treadley ie.
his old clunker. One of John's mates was a keen cyclist
and John used to go down to the asphalt cycle track to watch his friend
"do loops". One day John had a ride on his friend's bike
and was hooked!! John bought a second-hand track bike, unfortunately
two sizes too small, so John had to have the seat pillar extended way up.
"Rhodesia was a small landlocked country with few frills or furbelows, so
you grab what you can."
that he his old track bike followed him around for some time, using
it to go to school and for road training. BakerBoy recollects his
bike with no brakes and a fixed gear, seemingly resembling a "gaunt
grasshopper" on his track bike. The next bike John strung enough rand
together to buy fitted his gangly frame, being a prestigious
in Italy with a chromoly
steel frame. Same set up, no brakes and
a fixed gear
again. Jean aka
still rides a fixed wheel.
John was so keen
on cycling that his school work suffered. However, luck came his way in
1960 when John represented Rhodesia in the team pursuit at the South
African Championships in Cape Town, whereupon a 2nd Place
chuffed him. In the same year John eclipsed the Rhodesian Junior 5 Mile
record to 11 minutes 36.9 seconds, which stood for 11 years. "The
juniors were very keen and active in those days to the point that we beat
the seniors in the team pursuit and broke the Rhodesian record."
By 1961 John was a
tad more knowledgeable about track racing and did quite well in Rhodesia.
All track racing was held in Bulawayo because there was "only one cycle track in
the country". John dabbled in road racing but on his track bike as he could
not afford a road bike. In fact, he considered himself to be a sprinter and
did not really push himself in road racing.
selected to represent Rhodesia in the South African Cycling Championships.
This was to be held in Krugersdorp which had a concrete track around a rugby
field, "a lot better than the asphalt track we were use to! Here I managed a
second in the five mile and a third in the ten mile."
BakerBoy was in his final year as a junior and "following some good
local races", John was chosen to ride in the esteemed Cycling Champs.
In the one mile heats, John broke the South African record but only managed a second in the final. Also at that memorable meet, John scored a
third in the 1,000 metre time trial.
"That was the end
of my competitive cycling because in 1963 I left Rhodesia for Jo’burg, South
Africa. Here I took up an apprenticeship in the printing industry, which
entailed a lot of overtime which I had to do as I was boarding and needed
the money. However, I did ride to work for the next two years and then with a
loan from my Dad, I bought a car. This was the end of my cycling for many
years and I only took it up again to keep fit after I was married."
In the early
seventies, John changed occupations and became a baker/pastry cook within
his family's company. John moved to
Krugersdorp, where he had raced before, with his wife,
Marijke, and two kids and opened
up a bakery. It was there that he started cycling again, after a break of
about ten years, to regain some fitness on the open road.
When John and his
to Australia in 1988, he brought his road bike with him [no more track bikes]
and started a cake shop in Castle Hill. "We were working our
butts off to establish the business but once it got going, I would go out
for a ride, I even did the Sydney to the Gong once. Since moving up to Pearl
Beach, I have been a volunteer for Bicycle NSW and for MS rides."
"Not having met a
group like the Muggaccinos before, I am pleased to be one of the group and
look forward to the Sunday rides, at least the ones north of Sydney, as
unlike most of the crew, I have to travel down from God's Own Country."
John in St
Ives carpark after a memorable SloshFest in mid-Feb 2008 where the
torrential rain was warmish,
which is a lot better than getting dumped-on in colder times.
out of Peats Ridge bound for Yarramalong and Wyee.
France - Aug 2014 The SHIT (cycle) Club with our guide,
Eros Pino, who won a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 1984 Olympic
Also, won a stage at the 1994 Montpellier to Carpentras ascent up Mont
Ventoux - a very strong cyclist
BakerBoy beating the Winter
Chill at Cardwell, Qld - 170km north of Townsville - July
A 'Happy Snap' after circumventing Uluru - July 2015