Of all the hard-as-nails record breakers of the 20s and 30s, one stands head and shoulders above the rest, Sir Hubert Opperman, or as he was known the world over "Oppy".
Born in Victoria in 1904, his introduction to bicycles was as a delivery boy for the Postmaster General, and his first race win was at the age of 17. From there the only way was up, and his tally of race wins and records is simply staggering.
He took more than 5 whole days off the Perth-Sydney record, rode over 1,000kms from Brisbane to Sydney in 47h10m without any sleep, won the 1,166km Paris-Brest-Paris race in 49h21m, broke the 24hr motorpaced record with 1,384km (a record that still stands today, 86 years on!), and set dozens more records all across Australia and in the United Kingdom.
Oppy was a superstar all over the world, adored by fans who would line the streets in the middle of the night just to see him pass by. On one record ride, as he passed through Melbourne parliament was suspended so the dignitaries could go out and greet him.
After the 2nd World War Oppy began a long and extremely distinguished career as a politician, and while his racing days were behind him, he remained a cyclist to the end. He died a month before his 92nd birthday, while on his exercise bike.
Space precludes us from even scratching the surface of Oppy's spectacular achievements here, for those wanting to know more there are numerous books about him, including his autobiography.