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About Steele

Steele Bishop, OAM

Steele was born in 1953 in the hill district of Kalamunda, 35 minutes east of Perth, Western Australia. As the youngest of four children, he was often left to play alone as his nearest sibling was four years older. He played in the family garden kicking a footy and his imagination always had him kicking the winning goal in the last seconds of a game. Always the hero.

At age 6, his brother introduced him to the perils and fun of riding a bicycle. He found this absolutely exhilarating and spent the next few years working out how he could get his own bike. 

Despite loving and playing all sports, he couldn’t shake the passion of riding a bike. After winning his first State championship at 15 years old, he abandoned all other sports to concentrate on becoming “the best cyclist in the world”. 

He moved states and countries to gain experience mixing with the elite cyclists in the world. At 19 Steele was the youngest cyclist to be selected for the 1972 Munich Olympics. In 1973, he rode the World Championships in Spain.

He joined the WA Fire Brigade in 1974 and worked frontline in fire and rescue for the next 31 years. His cycling successes afforded him the title of “The Flying Fireman”.

Despite his desire to be the best cyclist in the world, he gave up cycling at 21 because the rewards in Australia were dismal compared to Europe, where good cyclists were treated like and paid like gods. His good fortune was when a local coach, Ken Benson, recognised that “too much talent” was going to waste in Kalamunda.

His career spanned nearly 18 years, nine as an amateur and nine as a professional. His achievements and recognitions during this time include:

  • First West Australian to win a World Championship
  • First cyclist to win the WA Sports Start of the Year Title
  • First Australian to break six minutes in the 5000m Pursuit
  • Youngest cyclist to be selected for the Munich Olympics
  • Holder of 13 Australian Professional Cycling Titles
  • A Record Six Wins of The Westral Wheel Race

Find out more about Steele's achievements