Sunday, 19 July 2009
Today I received a photo from Capt Wilson of the OOCC - Oamaru ordinary cycle club a bicycle club in the town of Oamaru , New Zealand where I used to live. The photo was taken in several years ago when 4 OOCC riders including myself accompanied a stage coach pulled by a team of 4 horses from the old gold mining village of St Bathan's to Cylde in New Zealand's central otago. Even though it would be possible to complete the journey in a day our trip was spread over 3 days as it was part of an re enactment for the first postal service in the area.
Pictured above from left to right are Sub Capt Micheal O'Brien, Wheelmen Gerald lynch Blosse, ( Myself - Capt Don Speden ) the fat one on the right, I have thankfully lost weight since that photo was taken
Saturday, 11 July 2009
As I was nearing Gosen I cycled over a railway bridge and as I was looking at the railway line I realized that it was Sunday and the SL Steam locomotive - Banetsu monogatari would have already departed from Niigata station as on the weekends the train runs excursions from Niigata city to the city of Aizuwakamatu in neighbouring Fukushima. I knew that it departed Niigata city at 9.30am and I then rang my mate Mic Sano to confirm if it would be running or not, he seemed to think it would be running so I picked a spot by the tracks and waited. Not long after a couple of other steam train buffs pulled up in their cars and set up their camera's as well. I had often thought it would be nice to get a photo of the Humber with the steam train in the background and now was my chance. I did not have to wait long before I heard the trains whistle in the distance and managed to get off one photo as it quickly speed past. My father who used to own my bicycle was also a steam train driver in NZ so I'm sure he'll like this photo.
If you ever get to Niigata please take a trip on the Banetsu Monogatari SL as it's a fantastic trip as it follows the agano river through the mountain to Aizuwakamatu and the scenery is fantastic.
The ride I did this morning was only 5 hours but it was nice to get out on the bike while the weather was cool as cycling in August in Japan is really hot & humid and most people don't go cycling as it's just too hot.
Pictured above is the Humber with the Banetsu Monogatari steam train in the background
After heading further along the river I then had to cross another river leading towards Gosen and from there I just headed towards the foothills, I didn't really know where the fresh water spring was located but after heading slightly uphill I found myself in a very small village and as I was rounding a corner a old lady appeared in the middle of the road so I asked her for directions to Yoshi Shimizu. Soon after that I headed downhill and found the turnoff and then had to head back uphill again into a small village where everyone was hard at work harvesting vegetables, mainly potatoes and a little further on I saw a large group of cars parked on both sides of the road, I had found Yoshi Shimizu at last. Next to the fresh water spring was a covered shelter where I sat down for a bite to eat and watched as locals carried large 20 ltr water containers from their cars, trucks etc across the road to the spring. After eating I took a short walk along a forest path which lead out into the open to some kind of center where there was a sign for a cafe , but it appeared to be closed. Also around that time it started raining lightly so I decided not to hang around for long and lined up to fill my water bottle with some fantastic fresh spring water. While standing in line one lady informed me that there was a small outlet at the back of the spring for filling up small bottles of water. The water was very good and once I had sampled some and refilled my water bottle it was a quick downhill spin back towards Gosen.
Pictured above are some photos of Yoshi Shimizu and you can see how serious these people are by the amount of water bottles on the back of the truck.
Well as it was overcast this morning and it was forcasted to rain in the afternoon I decided to head inland towards the small city of Gosen where located in the foothills is a fresh water spring called Yoshi shimizu, I had heard about this place from a couple of my students and it sounded interesting. So at 7.30am I took off from from my house in Niigata City with my regular cycling partner Brian Southwick who was keen to cycle part of the way as he had to work in the afternoon. After heading out of the City we then rode paralell to the Agano river riding through several small villages and further along Brian turned back for the city and I carried on along side the river. While riding along the rather busy road I noticed a small side river where many local fisherman had set up chairs and fishing nets etc. I'm not really sure what type of fish you would catch here but going by the number of people fishing there must something worth catching.
Pictured above is a typical small Niigata village where we stopped for a photo ( Thanks Brian ) and the fishermen I saw in the side river
The scan above was taken from a 1938 issue of the british magazine " Cycling " if you really want to see what cycling was about back then, try searching for some " Cycling " magazines on E-Bay-uk as quite often they come up for auction and the articles, advertisements and art work with give you an insight into the early days of cycling in UK.
Friday, 10 July 2009
As I have just bought a Cannon MP480 scanner, printer & photocopier I've been trying out the fuctions that it has and I found a couple of older photos, one of them was taken back in the early 1990s on a MTB weekend up the side of lake Tekapo with Zane ( insane ) Smith, Tony ( Tomes ) King , Dereck Holmes & myself. Lake Tekapo is in the middle of the south Island and not that far from my home town Geraldine. We had a great trip and even managed to cycle along the beach of a Galicer feed lake with icebergs.
The other photo was scanned from a local history book on Niigata City and from what I can make out it's a track race in Hakusan park circa 1915 , check out the angles on those crazy fixies.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Pictured above is a scan of the add in the back of my 1947 Humber catalog, it shows the various types of Sturmey Archer hubs that were on offer in 1947. Many owners of new bikes , in this case 1947 Humber's would often upgrade to a Sturmey Archer hub which is what my father did by upgrading his Humber Sports with the ABC hub pictured above. I'm still using the original hub body although it has been rebuilt using a more modern 3 speed internal unit as the old internal gears were damaged and a larger cog has been fitted for pass storming.