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Action in the Antipodes

A couple of interesting letters from fellow cyclemotorists in Australia & New Zealand have landed on the Editorial desk.  These merited more space than was available in the 'Letters' section so are reproduced below.

From Gary Arps, Christchurch, NZ

Here are some photos of one of our more notorious regular runs.  Ten years ago Syd (one of the Vintage Car Club characters from way back) organised a social run for a few mopeds and clip-ons to celebrate his 70th birthday.  So this year was the 10th celebration ogf Syd's 70th birthday!  It's a fun day out but one hell of a run for an underpowered tiddler.

The course starts south of the city at the foot of the Port Hills and follows around the base of the hills for a few miles, before a long uphill drag to the road tunnel entrance.  In normal circumstances cycles and mopeds are banned from the tunnel but Syd pulled some strings.  We waited for the tail-enders to catch up, the tunnel staff held the traffic while we pedalled furiously in a big cloud of smoke into the entrance.  The tunnel is about a mile long and downhill, making for a fun run!

From the tunnel the road twists and turns around the harbour, with a couple of stiff climbs before we reach the Wheatsheaf.  Gebbies Pass is the supreme test, with a rise of close to 600ft in about 2 miles, some chose to hitch a ride on the backup but most give it a go.  Roller-drives can usually get to within 500 metres of the summit, a bit more if you pedal hard enough, whereas a good Puch or Zündapp can make it to the top.  After that it's all downhill to the finish at TaiTapu, about 50 miles all told plus 15 to get home.  One day I will make the hill without having to get off and push!

Around 180 bikes took part, everything from autocycles, mopeds and cyclemotors to later machines.  There was even a Villiers-powered invalid trike which just made it to the top.

The assembled throng before the off
The assembled throng before the off

Extra power for hill-climbing
Extra power for hill-climbing...

Fine tuning before tackling Gebbies Pass
Fine tuning before tackling Gebbies Pass

NSU Quickly with a Honda C100 engine
NSU Quickly with Honda C100 power!

From Andrew Joyce via Graham Marshall, Victoria, Australia

Dear Graham,

How you going of late?  I've been going fine and I did ride to Melbourne from Inverloch on the blue Mongoose Sachs motor-assisted bicycle.  I took the Burwood Highway via Spring Vale, Yarra Glen, Woori Yallack, Cockatoo, Beaconsfield, Packenham, Koo-Wee-Rup and home to Inverloch.  I covered 387kms in 22 hours riding time, with stops for rest now and again.  Had a couple of breakdowns due to electrical problems, had a fall off the bike in the dark due to hitting a hidden ditch on a country road in order to let a car pass.

Andrew Joyce at Melbourne GPO during his 387km journey
Andrew Joyce briefly stops at Melbourne GPO during the course of his 387km journey.

The bike's handy when you want to get about, especially if you can't get public transport.  It's slow (23-25kph) and yes, it's tedious, especially if you're travelling without a wireless, CD or tape deck.  I keep timings and each kilometre takes 2½ to 2¾ minutes, sometimes it can even take three minutes to cover a kilometre.

I had to get the Sachs carburettor fixed at a bike shop in East Burwood, at Ray Thompson's down in the city, it's a long wait because Ray gets so much work.

Well, must close for now, God Bless You,

Andrew Joyce

First published, April 2006

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