1930 Clifton Queensland Australia - John Bange Cyclist and Azure Star Pilot
The elusive John Bange image is of him hammering round his dirt track at AVIADEL in 1930. On the 13th of March 1932 Bange made his maiden flight in the "AZURE STAR" at the age of 25.
The very first post published on Velo Aficionado was on December the 21st 2011. There were just two images, hand picked to represent the spirit of racing on two wheels. One features an "unknown cyclist" and the other a motorcycle rider. The motorcycle rider was board track legend and Harley Davidson rider Otto Walker. Yet the "Unknown Cyclist" smashing out a lap around a dirt track, bike cranked over, kept appearing in image searches - a popular cycling image seemingly without attribution.
Months later, finally the image was located right here in Brisbane at the archives of the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. The "mysterious unknown rider" is John Bange of Clifton Queensland who was known as the pilot of the "Azure Star". No wonder he's got the goggles on. Bange is known to have built the Azure Star - the first enclosed-fuselage glider to fly on the Darling Downs. The build took three years and the Azure Star was flown for the first time on the 13th of March 1932. The image of Bange smashing it round the dirt track on the bicycle was shot in about 1930 at his property Aviadell near Clifton Queensland Australia. Sounds like he'd been reading up on Tolkein and aviation at the same time.
Update 11th April 2014, since publishing this post we've received many messages where the use of the John Bange images, or this post has helped answer the question of just who the mysterious bike rider was. One band used the image on their album cover, check 'em out Gris Gris another couple of notables, Headset Press and Bristol Bicycle Festival
Below Video of Bange in 1982 flying the Azure Star.... the man had a pioneering spirit which comes through in this video and the image of him tearing up the dirt.
Channel 9 news story from 1982 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary flight of the "AZURE STAR" primary glider. Built by John Bange of Clifton, Qld over a 3 year period and first flown in 1932 when he was 25 years old. Launched on this historic day by the same wingman and with the same 1925 Chevy from the day of the maiden flight.
You can find the John Bange images at the State Library of Queensland. More on locating John Bange Images at The State Library of Queensland, John Oxley Library Accession number: 6780 Collection reference: 6780 Photographs of Gliders flown by John Bange vfa: ead-6780-2007-01-24 15:05:10