Monday, May 11, 2009

Christchurch Cycling Craze #15 - Lancaster Park - Grandfather Was A Bikie

Ten mile championship of New Zealand (Jan. 1896) at Lancaster Park, Christchurch.
1st: C. H. Jones, N.Z.; 2nd: W. L. Kerr, N.S.W.; 3rd: Peterson. Christchurch City Libraries.

Paternal grandfather was a competitive amateur cyclist in the early 1900s during the days of the "cycling craze" in New Zealand. He was a card-carrying member of the Christchurch Cycling Club (est. 1891) in 1901/02 and competed in the New Zealand Wheel Race Meeting at Lancaster Park on 19 December, 1903 - at least that's what the programme states. I've not been able to trace whether he placed or not.

Grandfather's interest in cycling was obviously strong as he worked at Adams Ltd, a cycle sales company, before establishing his own Fern Cycle Works for what was probably a fairly short period before moving into the motor taxi business.

One wonders what Grandfather would think of the abomination that has become AMI stadium. Name aside, the ground has long since lost any suitability for cycling and cricket has been vanquished more recently, the grandstand configuration being useless for any decent spectating of the game. Perhaps though he would find solace in the fact that rugby still thrives.

Though he died just two weeks after I was born - and hence I never got to learn directly from him about his enthusiasm for cycling and his inevitable stories of his experiences, the cycling tradition lives on to the present day among his descendants as yet another example of one of those informal inheritances that often goes by unremarked.

No comments: