Sarah Maddock’s 1894 Bicycle Ride To Melbourne

12 March 2019

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the first woman – Sarah Maddock – to cycle from Sydney to Melbourne.

Mulga Bicycle Tours and a modern-day Sarah Maddock are inviting Bicycle NSW members to join them on a fully supported cycling tour to celebrate the 125th anniversary.

In 1894 Sarah was 34 and she had only taken up riding the previous year.  With the introduction of the new safety bike design (both wheels being the same size, unlike the penny farthing) many more people, including women, took to cycling as Australia got caught up in the cycling craze of the 1880s and 1890s.

Sarah (4th from the right) alongside her husband Ernest, with the Sydney Ladies Bicycle Club in 1895

In the early 2000’s another Sarah Maddock googled her name and came across her namesake. This discovery led her to research as much as she could about Sarah’s life and track down her great grandchildren.

The 19th century Sarah has had a great impact on 20th century Sarah’s life. Her adventures on the bicycle and her advocacy for women in cycling inspired her to take up the challenge to undertake her own modern day version of the Sydney to Melbourne bike ride.

Sarah has partnered with Mulga Bicycle Tours to co-host a fully supported cycling tour that will also enable others to take part and celebrate the 125th anniversary. The tour will start on Wednesday 28th August and will take 14 days including 2 non-cycling days, providing an opportunity to explore the area.

Daily distances will range between 65 and 127km per day, with the option of taking a break in the support vehicle at any time.

It will be a modern day version of 19th Century Sarah’s achievement, as cycling the Hume Highway would be more gruelling than enjoyable.

Instead, the tour will take in some new towns such as Cootamundra and Wagga Wagga and in Victoria it will include sections of both the Murray to Mountains and Great Victorian rail trails, which will give a sense of what the scenery and ambience would have been like for Sarah and Ernest.

While the route may be slightly different, the essence of celebrating the adventures of Sarah is at the heart of the tour by encouraging others to take their own modern day adventure!

For further details about the Sarah Maddock Sydney to Melbourne 125 Year Commemorative Cycling Tour visit here.