The Sydney Classic Bicycle Show has now been running for four years. Last weekend, once again, fans of the custom, classic and handmade bicycle congregated at the Canterbury Velodrome to ogle, admire and discuss some very fine riding machines.
For the last few years, the weather has also come out to play. Last Saturday was, again, hot and humid. The regular contingent of Sydney bike couriers smartly brought along an Esky full of ice-cold beers for themselves, but if Young Henrys or the Hendricks Tent was installed on a regular basis, their presence definitely would’ve been applauded.
It’s been interesting to watch the show’s progress over those years, and hear everyone’s feedback about the day. Everyone shares the same sentiment — that it could be so much bigger and better — and by now we’re aware that Sydney has the community and culture to support it.
This year saw a fresh influx of rare bikes to the concours d’elegance many with cult classic status, and there were twice as many unusual and unheard-of machines. There was even a couple of modern custom frames, like a travelling bike by Oregon’s English Cycles, including the wheel-sized case it can fit inside.
Maybe the organisers should rename it the ‘Sydney Classic And Modern Bicycle Show’, as the number of new custom bikes in Sydney — and frame builders in Australia — increases. It was good to see John Kitchen again, although he seems to specialise in penny farthings these days.
The variety of bikes on display is truly astounding, and it’s not just two-wheeled vehicles that are on the rise; there were also a couple of Lambretta mopeds and an immaculate Daihatsu 55 Wide minivan. Someone really needs to have a word in the ear of the organisers about the potential resting in the middle of their velodrome.
One of the most prolific exhibitors actually built most of his bikes, and half of them have won medals for Australian and New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games cyclists. The number of frames Geoff Scott has built probably runs into the thousands, so it was awe-inspiring to see this one: the first he ever made, with its ‘spotted dog’ paint.
A few Queenslanders travelled all the way down specifically for the show, both to observe and to sell their wares. Petey is a permanent fixture at Brisbane’s Pushies Galore shows and No Frills Swap Meets, and brought some of his rare spares down with him.
Unfortunately, the Sydney Classic Bicycle Show is a cash-only event, so the many stallholders at the swap meet returned home with as much gear as they came with. Another thing for the organisers to keep in mind for next year’s event.
I’m very proud of the Sydney custom and classic bicycle scene. And nothing makes me happier than to stand in the middle of that velodrome every year and commune with other passionate cyclists. There’s a lot of consternation regarding cycling in Sydney these days, and the Sydney Classic Bicycle Show could make a hugely positive influence on those who criticise riders and commuters. Not only that, it could be a great day out for the whole family, with a bit of organising, not just the cyclist.
Until that day, we’ll continue to enjoy the Sydney Classic Bicycle Show for what it is: an enjoyable day in the sun for a small and exclusive audience. See you next year!
Head to the Cycle EXIF flickr album for more shots from the day.