"Torchy" Peden 1906-1980
Member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
William "Torchy" Peden (pea-den) born in Victoria, B.C. April 15,1906, acquired his nickname for his bright red hair. He was athletic playing baseball, hockey and as a swimmer. However, he became famous for bicycle racing. As a 20 year old he was a member of the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Team going on to win a number of races in Europe. In 1929 at age 23 he turned professional racing in North America and Europe. In his 19 year career between 1929 and 1948 he won races earning $50,000 a year at a time when hockey and baseball players got $10,000!
He was sponsored by CCM (Canada Cycle & Motor) of Weston, Ontario. In 1929 he set a world speed record of 81 mph! Later in his career he raced with his younger brother Douglas. He coached two Canadian Olympic Teams in 1932 and 1936. He retired in 1948 and died January 26, 1980 at age 73. Torchy Peden was third in the top 100 cyclists of the 20th. Century.