Brian is my father. He doesn’t ride bikes, but he owns more of them than I do. Most are rare, some are pristine, others litter the workshop in various states of disrepair or rebirth. Sometimes he finds some gems that I just have to commandeer for my own stable, like the MBK road bike with Campagnolo gruppo and wheels that he bought from a mate for $10. Others, I’ve never heard of or new existed, like this Triumph mixte that has recently been brought back to life.
In 1962 or thereabouts Catherine McIlwraith was driving down a street in Whanganui East when she came across a property where the owners were relocating. In front of the premises was a large skip bin which Catherine proceeded to investigate. Like my Dad she is a bit of a bower bird and she noticed a couple of old pushbikes in amongst the rubbish. Upon closer scrutiny she discovered they were a 1950s Triumph Roadster and a Raleigh.
She approached the owners and asked them if she could have them. But ultimately (and sadly) only took the Triumph.
In 2016 my parents relocated to NZ and rented a house in Carterton. One morning Dad was collecting the mail as Catherine was walking by and stopped to introduce herself and they struck up an ongoing friendship.
As it has turned out they share similar interests as collectors and Catherine mentioned that she had an old bike in her shed. It was disassembled and had been painted with “silverfrost”. Asked if he would like it of course Brian said yes. What you see here is the result of many hours of rust removal, sanding, painting and swearing.
While not completely original, it still retains a lot of patina from its glory days, and has definitely got some riding to be done ahead of it. It would be rude not to release the old girl onto the roads or the Wairarapa once again.
Mum and Dad were living in Whanganui at the same time as Catherine all those years ago, but didn’t meet up until 53 years later, with a serendipitous result in the form of a bicycle.