Friday Throwback: a blast from the past, from the days when pros ate ice cream...

As London swelters in the sun this week, perhaps you're thinking an ice cream might help cool you down, but perhaps you're worried about the calories?  Fear not my over-heating friends, because who knew that ice cream - in all its buttery calorific glory - is the "health food of the nation" according to Australian cycling champion Hubert 'Oppy' Opperman.

We've been celebrating the best historic photos of cyclists from archives around the world in our ongoing series of Friday Throwbacks.  Today's is from the State Library of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and shows Oppy endorsing Peters Ice Cream, which would have been a vital source of revenue for him in the days when competitive cyclists were strictly amateur.

Oppy's career saw him racing in the Tour de France in 1928 - the first time an Australian and New Zealand team were fielded - and he went on to break a series of famous endurance records, including a ride from Lands End to London in just fourteen hours.  He denied doping allegations stating "There is no sporting prize worth the use of drugs or stimulants", though whether he counted ice cream as one of those substances is unclear.  His racing career ended with the outbreak of the second world war, when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force.

He continued cycling in to his 90s, and when he died (exercising on a stationary bike) in 1996 a number of his records were still standing.  In a strange twist ice cream outlived exercise, with the Australian brand Peter's Ice Cream still manufacturing sweet treats today, 107 years after the firm was founded (though it was sold to a European firm earlier this year.)

For a full profile of Oppy see his Wikipedia profile here.  Be sure never to miss a post from ibikelondon blog! You can follow us on Twitter here or join the conversation our Facebook page.



Anonymous said...

A brilliant cyclist, I remember him as Minister for Immigration.
His Wikipedia entry says "He oversaw a relaxation of conditions for entry into Australia of people of mixed descent and a widening of eligibility for well-qualified people"
I think someone has been whitewashing the historical record just a little.
- charlie

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