About Who We Are
This website began as a collaboration between myself (Eugene Vandal) and Arnold Devlin, back in the fall of 2004. Arnold and I made our acquaintances through the Thunder Bay Cycling Club during the 2002 cycling season. Because of our common interests in cycling, we immediately became good friends. Over the next two years, Arnold introduced to me many of his other cycling interests, one of them being six day racing. I'd heard about 6 day racing from reading Bicycling Magazine and Winning Magazine back in the mid 80's, but never really got into it.
The job Arnold did for a living (administration) meant he always had his nose digging around in books. This was also what he did in his spare time, acquiring cycling stats, figures and resource material. He was a real pack rat when it came to collecting information. His real home in Quebec and his part time home, here in Thunder Bay, were cluttered with bookshelves full of material for his job and his love of cycling.
Eventually, Arnold got me interested in six day racing. It wasn't long before the two of us decided to start a website, pertaining to Canadian and American six day racing. During some of Arnold's digging, he found out about an old six day rider who raced here in Ontario back in the 1930's. This really kicked off the [6dayracing] site. It wasn't long before Arnold rounded up more information on different Canadian and American riders.
One of our more important resource people (in the beginning) was the daughter of Freddie Schultz, who still lives in California. She sent us quite a lot of information regarding her father and also got us in contact with other six day rider family members. When Arnold and I went to the Gent 6 in 2005, we met a fellow (Steve Penny from the Uk) who had been going to that event for quite a number of years. Steve eventually became a reporter for us, emailing us quality reports on the Gent and Berlin sixes, every year.
Arnold moved out of town in the spring of 2007, so the two of us contacted and transferred material through email. We were constantly in touch with one another, Arnold finding and sending new resource material, and me editing and creating the new pages for the site. We did this for a good year, until I received a call one morning from Arnold's daughter that Arnold had suddenly passed away at his home in Sudbury. Arnold loved cycing, and I think he'd be proud to know that this site is still growing, even though it's happening slower than before.
An Ongoing Project
At this point in time the site is almost fully upgraded to be responsive to all devices, making it larger, cleaner and more user friendly.
Because I'm still using of some of the old website pages, there are going to be broken links, so the user will have to rely on using the back/return arrow. If you find other errors or bad links, please email me these errors so they may be corrected.
This website is only one of the many projects I work on, so it will only be updated occasionally. Most of my time is taken up by painting (EugeneVandalArtist.com), cycling in the summer and skiing in the winter at (Thunder Bay Nordic Trails).
If you have material you would like posted on the 6-day bicycle racing project, please forward it to my email address.
IMPORTANT!! If you use any material from this site, please be courteous and credit '6dayracing.ca' as the source of your information.
6-day bicycling racing is an important part of Canadian cycling history. During the 1920's and 1930's Canada had several cyclists that were the best in the world. 6-day bicycle racing started in England in the 1880's and quickly spread through the European continent and to North America. Up until 1898, 6-day racing was performed by a group of individual cyclists who would ride around a track for 144 hours straight, most often indoors but sometimes outdoors. The track could be as small as 125 meters and as long as 250 meters. Fighting sleep deprivation and exhaustion the individual cyclist rode round and round to the cheers of the sporting public. Certain humanitarians became concerned at this display of suffering and complained to local authorities to stop the races. The city of New York in particular banned single rider 6-day races. But not to be stopped, the 6-day races were transformed into two man teams who would ride wooden tracks.
At the turn of the century and into the 1900's several European and North American cities were holding 6-day races. In particular Madison Square Garden in New York City became the mecca for 6-day races. Between 1899 and 1961 there were seventy 6-day races held in New York City. From this famous racing arena came the backbone event of 6-day racing, the Madison. This is the event where the team of two riders take turns racing along the bottom of the track while their partner rests riding at the top of the track. Every few laps the rider comes off the top and meets his partner who hand slings him into the fray at the bottom. The action is fast and furious as the riders attack off the front hoping to gain a lap on the field. In Europe the Madison is called l'American.
In the 106 years of 6-day history Canada has held fifty-nine 6-day races in seven different cities: Montreal (37), Toronto (13), Quebec City (3), Vancouver (3), Delhi, Ontario (1), Ottawa (1) and Winnipeg (1) race. Crowds of 6,000 to 10,000 spectators would crowd into the indoor arenas and forums to watch. A sports reporter with the Toronto Globe & Mail in 1937 described the event: "The squirrelly whirl, which goes under the more common moniker of 6-day bike race, is with us next Sunday night at midnight. At that time and for twenty-four turns of the clock per day till come a week Saturday, the daring young men on wheels will be ridin', ridin', ridin' till the cows come home."
The rough-and-tumble nature of the 6-day racing was what brought crowds to the arenas of North America and Europe. During the depression people had a lot of free time on their hands and little money to spend. You could go to an arena and see a 6-day event for 25 cents.
The racing was very real and not just entertainment. Even though the races lasted for 144 hours the riders would do many things to liven up the riding and to entertain the spectators.
We hope to keep 6-Day cycling history alive by sharing stories, interviews, photos and links of the racers who rode the wooden tracks in Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Vancouver and Delhi. The first 6-day race was held in Toronto in 1912 and the last 6-day race was held in Montreal in 1980. We hope that this exciting sport will some day return to these North American shores. In Europe, at one time, there used to be at least fourteen 6-day races held each year; now there might only be three or four.