Update 14.1.12

An area rich in cultural and historic heritage greeted the wheelman on his journey between Tokoroa and Hamilton this week. Between heavy almost tropical downpours, good mileage was made, albeit with a combination of sweat and rain combined. First into view was the New Zealand Timber Museum in Putaruru. The museum was established in 1972, and is currently being expanded and upgraded. It was established to celebrate and preserve the timber industry particularly in the South Waikato District. Many fine displays tell the stories of the primeval native rain forest prior to colonisation; the harvesting and milling of much of that forest; and the rise of the plantation forest industry in New Zealand as supplies of native wood ran out. Further heavy rain had me scuttling for shelter under a shop verandah in the main street of Putaruru, where local shop owners bought a table out onto the footpath and treated me to a fine cup of tea amidst stories of Oamaru’s fine work with the restoration of the Victorian Precinct. A break in the weather and the wheel was underway to Cambridge, arriving just on nightfall. Cambridge is a pretty tree lined town, with many historic buildings standing handsomely restored.With much anticipation, I met Steam Vehicle specialist Nigel Weber with his 19th century Roper steam bicycle, a copy of the only other one in existance. The bicycle has a coal fired boiler and takes about half an hour to go from cold to a full 200 lb head of steam.Also in Nigels collection is his 1897 Stanley steam car. The 3 1/2 horsepower car was manufactured in Washington USA, and was the fourth ever produced. Capable of 50 MPH, the restoration work is immaculate. Remounting, and it was onto Hamilton, and a most warm and welcome reception by members of the Karamu Cycle Club, meeting me on the highway into the city. After media work, I had the great pleasure of staying in an old house truck belonging to Graeme Cairns. Pioneer Spirit required further maintenance work on the saddle and front carrier, and this was carried out at no charge by retired engineer Richard Butler, who just happened to have a Model ‘T’ under restoration in his workshop. The next leg of the ride is up to Auckland.ENDS


Photos. 116 Under the verandah cup of tea break during torrential downpour in Putaruru

114 Cambridge Steam vehicle specialist Nigel Webber with his 19th century Roper Steam Bicycle under repair

116 1897 Stanley steam car 104 New Zealand Timber Museum entrance

139 Arrival into Hamilton with Karamu Cycle Club welcoming group

178 House truck accommodation Hamilton

184 Pioneer Spirit seat repairs in Model A workshop Hamilton


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