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« Along For The Ride

7 - Fashion Hits the Big Time


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Simon Morton’s epic cycle tour through time and space is coming to a close. His first stop is the tiny town of  Otorohanga, where cute Kiwiana is on display, and the local constable Ben Parsonage is actually a bobby on a bike. So Simon heads out on patrol to learn the secrets of hot fuzz from…well, the fuzz. Turns out, cops on bikes is not a new idea, but triple backflips are no quite fashionable.

On a nearby farm, Simon finds a pit of foam, a shipping container ramp, and a local Maori lad named Jed Mildon with a dream job. He jumps BMX bikes for a living….starting 60m in the air, and landing 200m away. (Oh, and Jed has a world record.) Heading toward his final destination in the Queen’s City, Simon is sidetracked in the city of Hamilton where he meets Neil Vanner, the inventor of a cycle powered canoe-type-creation. And asks the burning question, ‘why?’ And ‘wtf?’ (Secretly he loves it…and naturally, they have crossed Cook Strait on one, so that makes it almost a national icon here.)

From Hamilton, its time to bring this baby home, in the most populous city of them all. Auckland should be a cycling mecca, but really is a cycling mess.  On his way in, Simon synchronises with the Velociteers, a group of riders who enjoy interpretive dance and the danger of wheels. He learns the ‘uber-spoke’, and the ‘drug-deal’, before getting real and heading off to the refugee centre where the freedom of the city is given to new migrants on reclaimed bikes that truly are a joy to ride. He investigates why lycra is out but skirts are in (as if we didn’t know) by riding with the Frocks of Bikes ladies. You can be ‘frockalicious’, but not with Simon. He decides to take on world cycle messenger champion, 24 year-old Jenna Makgill, in a death defying ‘alley cat’ race.  Before bring the whole series to a close by pulling out that 1866 photo from Temuka. This first ever photo of a velocipede… not only has the country changed, so has Simon. And the bike? Well, the bike has changed everything….