Monday, 19 March 2007

Bicycle collecting in New Zealand


I not sure when the collecting of bicycles really took off in NZ but I would say there was a lot more interest in vintage/ antique bicycles once Oamaru ( Oamaru a town in the South Island ) started including races for penny farthing's at their annual Victorian fete which has now extended into a full week of Victorian heritage celebrations. Around the same time as Oamaru held their 1st penny farthing race, a track race was held at English park in Christchurch & it was at this race that many of bicycle collectors & restorers came together for the 1st time. English park was one of the oldest concrete tracks left in Christchurch and was slated for demolition , so before the track was ripped up and transformed into a soccer park a vintage bicycle met was held. With Oamaru riders racing around the track on their replica penny farthing's and fixed wheel race bikes battling it out in a 3 lap race it was a lot of fun. The infield was full of early racing bikes with wood rims, shop delivery bikes, motorized bicycles ( there was even a race for them with lots of blue smoke involved ) . After this event I noticed more interest in general bicycle collecting and restoring. Now there are several groups throughout New Zealand who enjoy riding and restoring vintage/antique bicycles of all descriptions. In Oamaru the interest is mainly centered on ordinaries ( penny farthings ) but in recent years many ladies have joined the annual penny farthing tour riding restored loop frame bicycles from the 1930s etc and dressed in period costume . Also the other groups have put together period uniforms such as the Antique bicycle group in Christchurch who ride a wide variety of bicycles. I think for most people the collecting of vintage bicycles remains relativity easy and inexpensive compared to motorcycles and cars and there are still a vast number of vintage bicycles to be found rusting away under some farmers hedge throughout the countryside. But through the hard work of New Zealand's collectors many fine bicycles have been saved from the landfill and have been lovingly restored. If it weren't for these collectors future generations would never have the chance to see some of the bicycles of yesteryear. The photo in this post shows member's of the annual penny farthing & antique bicycle tour after departing from the train at the start of their tour last Nov.

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