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Auckland's Retro Ride
15 Apr, 2003
By Amy Mason

The retro ride is a new addition to the Auckland cycling calendar. Ridden once a month, it is the brainchild of Mr Retro, Dave Benson. The retro ride is a leisurely ride around the flat lands of south Auckland, with a unique twist: ride retro cycling equipment 1985 or earlier. This is a ride not about who is riding the strongest or who comes first. It's all about who's got the oldest, coolest cycling equipment – still in working order. Whether equipment or a bicycle, retro is where it's at. Recently I had the pleasure of attending the ride, quite an experience given I was riding a Healing Mini Max – with trainer wheels - in the years before 1985. While a bike of great pride and many hours of joy, it was no road bike, and while I don't have it anymore I knew I would not keep up with the pace, even if I did.

Now, you always know a group ride is going to be a goodie when it starts with Jungle coffee and donuts (cinnamon and chocolate coated!). The group was a small one on this day, including former New Zealand representatives Chris Tennent-Brown and Matt Sinton. Luckily the blue sky was clear enough for Tennent-Brown to bring out his 1983 Eddy Merckx with pristine Campagnolo Super Record, along with Eddy's picture on the head tube. After 12 months of procrastination from Tennent-Brown, Pam Molloy debuted her retro ferrari red Bottechia after it was completed by Dave in a mere 12 hours. Keighley Redshaw and Rick Woodward arrived on a non-retro tandem, wearing purple King of the Mountain jerseys from 1985 Under-17 tours, back when Under-17 Juniors were called Colts, and Rick was somewhat leaner and faster.

Woolen jerseys in tow we headed straight for coffee number two at the Ardmore Airport Café. Flat lands are a must considering our contemporary acquisition of the 39/53 chain ring combination making the legs soft, and heading out in the 42 is a little hard. Meanwhile, Matt re-kindled his fixed gear years, riding Dave's '56 Holdsworth Whirlwind fixie along with the leather Brooks saddle. It was made easier by a set of brakes only remembered later in the ride, given his last fixed wheel bike had none.

After a good break with a sterling view and the odd hot blast from a low flying aeroplane, we headed off (with the notable exception of Tennent-Brown, given he was pushing a corporate puku and needed to head home to refill it), it was time to cruise out the back of Clevedon and enjoy quiet roads with no traffic. The pace was pleasant enough to have a good conversation as we headed over Twilight hill and back up the great south road and home, wondering what retro pieces of cycling memorabilia will come out next time. With an Eric Vanderarden permed mullet, along with Oakley factory pilot's promised from a nameless rider sometime in the next 12 months, it's a must not miss and you'll have to be there to find out.

For details of the next retro-ride, call David Benson 021 2942888 or ,a href='mailto:bensondoc@hotmail.com'>email him.

Top Photo: Amy Mason (1978), Wayne Mason (Daccordi), Russell (Bianchi), Pam Molloy (still waiting for her Bottechia), CT-B (Colnago Master), David Benson, Donna Wynd (1992 Benson). Photo Rick Woodward

Bottom Photo: Bruce Benson (Raleigh Team), Richard Oddy (Ron Cooper), David Benson (Holdsworth Whirlwind) Chris Tennent-Brown (Colnago Master), Rob Wells (Thorn), photo Pam Molloy

More photo'scan be found here.

Click to enlarge...

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