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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Albert (Alf) Grenda

Albert (Alf) Grenda (Member 1994)

1889 - 1983

Described by American cycling pundits as a 'giant of a man', Alf Grenda was the start of a legendary cycling family in this State.

Born in the little North-East township of Pyengana in 1889, Grenda shattered many reputations and records during the halcyon days of early American and Australian cycling. Starting his career with a win in a local event at Scottsdale in 1907 then making forays in to the rich mainland cycling carnivals where crowds of 60,000 were not uncommon at the big Sydney six day events, Grenda came to the notice of American professional promoters.

Attracted to the even more lucrative American events centred around Newark Velodrome, he thrilled the crowds with his whirlwind finishes and became known as the greatest exponent of big gear cycling.

Alf was the first Tasmanian to compete in the world professional cycling championships and wrote his name into world cycling history when he and his USA team mate Walter de Mara took out the world tandem championship. In the individual sprint championship he finished second to Frank Kramer of the USA. He eventually won a further three world tandem titles.

Added to this impressive array were:

  • records for the USA five mile title
  • world records for the ten miles and half mile
  • wins in the Berlin and Madison Square Gardens six day events.

The six-day events were completed with his Victorian mate Alf Goullet. The pair set a distance record which has never been broken.

Grenda finally retired in 1927 after a remarkably successful career, married a local New Jersey girl and became an American citizen but was known as and proud to be a Tasmanian all his life. He died in 1983, aged 93 years.