William ‘Bill’ Long OAM was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1991 as a General Member for his contribution to the sport of cycling.
Bill Long promoted the sport of cycling at all levels. He has served the sport in every capacity as an amateur and professional road and track rider, club president, organiser, official, handicapper, judge, head steward, traffic controller, promoter, team manager, coach, sporting journalist and broadcaster.
He became the youngest councillor of the League of Victorian Wheelmen in 1948 and the youngest president in 1948 and the youngest president in 1954 at the age of 30. He served again as president in 1974 for six years and was awarded life membership in 1979. His association with the LVW spanned 40 years. He was also national president of the Australian Professional Cycling Council in 1977 and awarded life membership in 1991, president of the Victorian Veteran Cycling Council in 1990 and awarded life membership in 1999, national president of the Australian Veteran Cycling Council in 1993 and awarded life membership in 2003.
Long has been the manager of Victorian and Australian teams to national and world championships and Australian delegate to UCI World Cycling Conferences. He was the first Australian delegate (professional) to a UCI World Cycling Conference in 1963.
A highly respected official with the world cycling countries, he has brought about many changes to international racing regulations. He promoted cycling in Australia in almost every discipline including Australia’s most traditional events, the Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race, the Austral, the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, state, national, amateur and professional and schoolboy championships, weekly track carnivals, world record attempts, madisons, omniums and 49 Six-Day Bike Races offering rich prize-money and innovative incentive payment contracts attracting international champions to Australia. He was involved in the creation of The Sun Tour of Victoria in 1952 with Laurie Jones (founder), Ben Kerville, Harry Lovell, Snowy Munro and Chalmers Watt. Such was Long’s innovation for cycling promoting, he even got a political party, The Nationals, to sponsor an 8-day bike tour around country Victoria criss-crossing each electoral boundary.
He was the owner-editor of The Australian Cyclist magazine from 1951 to 1969.
He was a cycling commentator with the ABC from 1956 and covered more than three Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Cycling Championships.
Long was invited to Japan from 1973 to 1978 as a specialist sprint coach and from 1975 had three professional cyclists win 14 medals (10 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze) in 12 UCI World Cycling Championships (1975-1986) putting Japan on the world stage for sprint cycling excellence. One of those cyclists, Koichi Nakano, won a record 10 world professional sprint titles – the blue ribbon event – 10 years running from 1977 to 1986. In 1976 Long was honoured by the Fédération Japonaise de Cyclisme Professionnel.
He worked in the bicycle trade, first at Hartleys, as a travelling salesman before and after World War Two, then as a retailer, Progress Bicycle Company, for 37 years, mechanic, manufacturer and expo director. He was the Retail Cycle Traders Australia president in 1963, then secretary in 1964 for 24 years, steering it from a state association to a national one in 1979. In 1983 he created the Bike of the Year Award and in 1984 Bike Expo and ran 8 Expo’s, now known as Bicycling Australia Show. The RCTA awarded him Life Membership in 1985.
In his spare time, Long played cricket with various clubs including the AIF during World War Two and RSL Victoria after the war, then Collingwood (1957-1963) and Elsternwick (1963-1976) Cricket Clubs having Captained both First XI and Second XI and opening bat. Elsternwick Cricket Club awarded him Life Membership in 1975.
At one stage, circa 1969-1973, Long entered into the arena of boxing having Lionel Rose, Henry Nissen, Tony Mundine, Paul Ferreri and Rocky Mattioli under contract.
Cycling Awards and Events Established
- 1953: Echuca 3-Day Tour
- 1954: Sporting Globe Sydney to Melbourne 7-Day Tour
- 1956: Repco Olympic 7-Day Tour Amateurs
- 1958: Russell Mockridge Medal
- 1959: Australian Cyclist of the Year
- 1959: Russell Mockridge Wheel Race
- 1967: Hubert Opperman Trophy, Oppy Oscar & Oppy Medal
- 1974: Sun-HSV7-3DB Cycle for Sight
- 1977: Four’n Twenty Melbourne to Berri SA 4-Day Tour
- 1978: National Party 8-Day Cycle Tour
- 1983:Bike Expo & Bike of the Year Award-Hour Relay Ride at Southland Shopping Centre
- 1987: Australian King of the Mountains Championship Wangaratta-Mt Buffalo
- 1990: VicHealth Masters Games Nepean Peninsula Cyclists Championships
- 1991: Veterans Repco Mornington Peninsula Tour
- 1991: Russell Mockridge Sun Tour Cup Veterans Individual Time Trial with Cecil Cripps
- 1991: Mildara Blass Veterans Camperdown to Warrnambool Road Race 70km with Ray King
- 1994: Opperman Weekend Grand Prix Rochester
- 1996: VicHealth International 6-Day Bike Road Race 532km
- 1954: Mordialloc Professional Cycle Club
- 1975: Elsternwick Cricket Club
- 1975: Yooralla Hospital School for Crippled Children – Life Governor
- 1979: League of Victorian Wheelmen
- 1985: Retail Cycle Traders Australia
- 1988: Victorian Cycling
- 1991: Australian Professional Cycling Council
- 1995: Australian Cycling Federation
- 1999: Victorian Veteran Cycling Council
- 2003: Australian Veteran Cycling Council
- 1963: Federazione Ciclistica Italiana
- 1963: Union Cycliste Internationale – Delegate
- 1973: Channel 9 Sportman’s Committee Charity Trustee
- 1976: Montréal Olympic Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
- 1976: Fédération Japonaise de Cyclisme Professionnel
- 1978: Edmonton Commonwealth Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
- 1988: Seoul Olympic Games Special Contribution in Broadcasting
- 1988: Confederation of Australian Sport Best Organization and Presentation of a Sporting Event
- 1990: Union Cycliste Internationale
- 1992: Oppy Medal
- 1993: Medal of the Order of Australia
- 1996: The June Long Foundation for Patient Safety – Patron
- 2000: Sydney Olympic Games Torchbearer
- 2000: Australian Sports Medal
- 2001: Victorian Cycling Hall of Fame
- 2001: Victorian Cricket Association
- 2003: Australian Veteran Cycling Council – Patron
- 2004: Oppy Centenary