Ashley Blair rides his 1914 Humber motorcycle on Lammerlaw
Rd, Waipori, yesterday. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Ashley Blair is celebrating the birthday of his
100-year-old motorcycle by re-creating the journey his
grandfather made a century ago.
Mr Blair (67), of Pukerua Bay, near Wellington, said he
decided on the 877km journey when his uncle Jack Knight (88),
of Owaka, sent him a photo of his grandfather Eric Knight and
his friend Frank Russell on a trip from Waipori to Nelson on
Humbers in 1914.
''I thought: Oh, I'd like to re-create his journey,'' Mr
His grandfather, aged 19, made the journey on his 1912 Humber
motorcycle in eight days.
Mr Blair set off on his 1914 Humber motorcycle from Waipori
at 9.30am yesterday and stopped in Waikouaiti for the night
Eric Knight and Frank Russell on Humber motorcycles in
1914. Photo supplied.
The bike went well and used half a tank for the 111km
leg, he said.
The top speed yesterday was 55kmh and the average speed was
The gravel road from Waipori was ''violent'' to ride on, Mr
He has postcards his grandfather sent during his trip. They
talk of navigating uneven riverbeds and roads littered with
Mr Blair said the three-speed belt-driven motorcycle had a
wooden brake, a foot clutch and a hand-operated gear change.
The bike's weaknesses were being poor at travelling
downhill and stopping suddenly.
''Brakes on veteran bikes have nothing to do with stopping -
they have got a little bit to do with slowing down - and you
need a big pair of boots for the braking system.''
The hills of Dunedin were challenging and he was looking
forward to the easy riding of the Canterbury Plains.
Engine: 500cc single cylinder
Gears: Sturmey-Archer three-speed in rear hub
Journey: 877km in six days
• Waipori to Waikouaiti: 111km
• Waikouaiti to Timaru: 157km
• Timaru to Christchurch: 165km
• Christchurch to Kaikoura: 199km
• Kaikoura to Blenheim: 135km
• Blenheim to Nelson: 110km