Love of motorcycles undimmed 50 years on

Dunedin Motorcycle Club member Les Sherer spent about eight years restoring this 1954 Velocette...
Dunedin Motorcycle Club member Les Sherer spent about eight years restoring this 1954 Velocette Mac 350.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
It has been 50 years since a group of enthusiasts formed the Dunedin Motorcycle Club. While club members celebrated their anniversary with a reunion at the Kensington Hotel on Monday, The Star reporter Simon Henderson caught up with one of their early members. 

A love of "post-vintage" motorcycles manufactured in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s was the beginnings of the Dunedin Motorcycle Club.

An early member of the club is Les Sherer, who joined in 1974 when he was in his 20s.

However, most of the members were closer in age to his father, Bert Sherer.

"He would have been in his 50s."

The vintage car club at the time was really only interested in pre-1931 machinery, so the new club catered to people including his father who enjoyed motorcycles from later decades.

"They wanted to ride bikes of their youth, that’s really how the club sort of formed."

Many at that time learned to ride motorbikes in the army.

"And when they came out of the army they carried on riding."

One of Mr Sherer’s projects was giving a 1954 Velocette Mac 350 a new lease of life.

This English-made line of motorcycles were made by Veloce Ltd in Hall Green, Birmingham.

"They were quite a good-quality motorbike. They were probably up a bit from some of the other brands at the time."

The marque is still popular today, with some of the top of the range Velocettes worth about $20,000.

Mr Sherer rebuilt the electrical components and overhauled the whole mechanics before repainting it.

"To get it really sorted out it took me about eight years."

He mostly rides it now at club events, or at events run by the Otago Vintage Car Club.

"It goes really well; it putters along quite nicely."

While he still goes out riding, regular activities at the Dunedin Motorcycle Club are now generally at a more sedate pace, Mr Sherer said.

"There’s only probably three, four of us that are active riders.

"We are now more of a social club."

Club member Sandra Petersen said the group had taken part in some "lovely runs".

"We used to do a run that we called the Tea and Scone run.

"On this run the wives of the riders would meet us at our chosen destination, and we would have tea and scones there.

"Then we would vote for the nicest bike of the run and that motorcycle would win the trophy."

The group were planning to start that run up again to take place in March.

The club meets at the Otago Motorcycle Club rooms at 7.30pm on the second Wednesday night of the month.

"We only have 14 current members and all but two of us are over 65 years old."