Donald (Don) Clive Blackman was born in New South Wales (N.S.W) in 1909 and by the 1930’s established himself as a championship rider.
It was a time in Australia where bicycles were at its peak with long distance events and track racing as a regular occurrence and sports-minded public were eager to read of the exploits of the bicycle racers, as races appeared in the front section of some newspapers Blackman became well known from Ashfield area.
Blackmans victories already included the Berala 54-miler, the Pratton Park carnival two year in succession and the Moss Valo-Enfleld open.
Among his fine victories there were also unlucky events, a fall in 1932 when Blackman collided with seven cyclists sustaining a fractured pelvis and in 1935 recovering from an appendicitis operation but still being included in the Ashfield team consisting of G. Nagy, R. Ewing, H. Wilson and A. Burton in which he made a return to good form during the second series of the Dunlop Interstate team’s premierships.
In 1936 Blackman partnered with H. Wilson and took out the N.S.W tandem championships, in the same year Blackman narrowly missed out on Olympic Games selection.
In 1938 Blackman defied the Empire Games council by competing at the Sports Arena, the rule that no Empire Games cyclist could compete at professional carnivals. The Secretary of the N.S.W Cyclists Union said that while cycling officials maintained that their riders did not come under the control of the Empire Games council they could not see any reason that they should not compete in any event.
The secretary added that state representatives were to experience all possible to prepare themselves for their events. Blackman went on to win the amateur mile handicap and the 3-mile scratch race and his actions were later discussed by the council.
Blackman had also began manufacturing bicycles under the ‘Blackbird’ name at his home before moving into production at his bicycle shop located at 186 Liverpool Road (Hume Highway) Ashfield, N.S.W around the 1930’s.
Blackbird cycles have the script “Blackbird” on down-tube and on the seat-tube the “built in Ashfield, denoting the shop name.
The letter “B” is usually brazed, some examples exist with two “B” on the front head-tube, hand done and examples of fancy line-work and paint/panels exist.
The bikes were built with parts dependent on the rider with usually high end components selected featuring Constrictor tyres which he rode upon himself.
In 1944 Blackman attended a bicycle picnic sponsored by a Combined cycling clubs of Newcastle area (N.S.W) and gave a masterly exhibition riding a Penny Farthing. Blackman was still operating in 1970, however died in 1979