So What Happened to 2015?

We blinked and it was gone. And that wasn’t viewing it through a pint glass either. For those of you that are still visiting the site you would have seen bugger all. But never fear we are still here. As seen by the count the wheels are still turning albeit a little slower. Knobster is still playing Bob the Builder on his house however sometimes I think its more for Mrs Knobsters benefit cos she is amused by ‘the builders crack’ (if you know what I mean!). He is hoping to be riding something this summer. As for me, well things turned upside down last Christmas with the sudden passing of Mrs McS. A strong healthy woman in her prime capable of pushing my old Harley and sidecar (when required) dispatched into the highways of heaven due to a poor performing public health system. Always keen to provide Knob and me with bacon butties at 4am before we set of on a trip somewhere she was also a great bike polisher and supporter of anything on two wheels. She is definitely missed.

Part of the healing process requires changes in ones life and as ideas started to pop up serious consideration was being given to the possibility of utilising some of the space in the house for motorcycle rebuilds (never allowed when Mrs McS was housekeeper). I did try to initiate a discussion many years ago about swapping the marital mattress for a set of bunks, that way we could better utilise the space in the bedroom. She didn’t think that was a good idea and told me so. Even mentioning that she would have less vacuuming to do resulted in a rebuff that was hurtful even to my sensitive ears. My male practicality ideas were sunk without even a lifeboat to hang onto. You must realise that not everything needed to change in the castle, I would never take down Mrs McS’ photograph from the bedroom wall, I would just hang my engine rebuilding diagrams next to her. I think she would like that. However, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men (me being the mouse), would result in rumours spreading afar of planned changes. I think Master McS was spying on me. This all culminated in Jnr Miss McS having a conniption and zooming back from Ozstraya just to make sure I stayed on the straight and narrow (a calling from the beyond I say). Didn’t think I needed it really – I am quite good at making toast and clothes only need to be washed – well occasionally! Only really required when even the dog refuses to come anywhere near me.

To business, we are still collecting manuals and are half way through scanning a few new ones but we would really like some more photos of old riders, machines and events for Barnstormers Remembered. Also anything on dispatch riders from any of the wars. If writing is not your thing we can do that, just contact us and we can give you a call.

One such family that has allowed us to use some photographs is that of Roy Barker. Watch this space for a small piece with interesting photos of the Biking Barkers.

Did you know that New Zealand has a new motorcycle only museum? It is in Nelson and was officially opened last year by the Prime Minister (didn’t know he was a motorcyclist). Situated at 75 Haven Road it totals over 300 machines with the displays spanning the complete period of motorcycling, 1900s through to modern. I am quite impressed with the quality of early motorcycles, there are some real gems. They can be seen online at so you can view from the comfort of your armchair at home, on the beach, or with all of your mates at the pub whilst planning your next visit south. Definitely ‘a must see’ for the next time I head downtown.

There is of course Thomsons Motorcycle Museum in Rongopai just outside Palmerston North in the North Island. It is a little smaller and centers more around early motorcycles and motorcycling of NZ. The uniqueness of this collection is that it has been built up with motorcycles that were sourced locally, mainly from the lower half of the North Island and so carry a lot of local history with them. Accompanying the motorcycles is also an interesting collection of all those little curios that go with motorcycling nicely displayed in cabinets. The museum has been around for quite a few years having originally been started by Andy Thomson. It is now under the care of his son Peter.

One of the additives we use that really is the life blood for our older machines is the lead substitute that we have to use in our petrol tanks to stop valve recession. I used to use a product called NULON and found it very good, however even though the manufacturers say that it is sold in NZ I have been unable to locate any. SuperCheap have it advertised in Australia but evidently we are not important enough in NZ for them to sell it here. However Penrite have come to the party and produce a product called Valve Shield. Available from Repco (thanks guys) it comes in a 150ml bottle with graduations up the side to get your mix ratios correct and costs about $14.00. Click here to see the product.

Remember – to ignore valve recession in our older machines can result in cracks appearing in the valve seats which I have seen travel into the cast iron barrel rendering it useless. Something we all dread.

So with the New Year now upon us motorcycling activities start in earnest, first with the Kumeu Classic Car Show and Swapmeet in January, the NZ Classic Motorcycle Racing Registers 37th Classic Racing Festival at Pukekohe Park Raceway on Feb 6th and 7th, Pukekohe Swapmeet on March 5th and 6th at the A & P Showgrounds, and the Karaka Vintage Day at the Karaka Sports Complex on Sunday 20th March. And thats just local.

As for New Years resolutions – besides drinking more oops, less, mine might have to be BROADBAND (thats for Knobs benefit). The gerbil in my dial up lost a leg last month so is getting extremely tired and is only slightly faster than a wind up toy.

So from the Knobster and me take care for the New Year. We may see some of you out and about.


Postscript ramblings from the Knob…

Its been a odd year, with much going on elsewhere. We seem to have reached a time in our lives where there’s more goings than comings, although in my case these were not unexpected. Saddened by the passing of Mrs McS, great lady, great friend.

There’s many much more less borer ridden pieces of timber now holding up Chez Knobby, keeping the current Mrs K , and Jr in a whole new level of luxury. The good news is that 2015 was the year, and I’m not allowed to forget this, ever, that Mrs K agreed that I could have a motorcycle in the house. Not for restoration mind, the idea was sold on the premise of preservation ( and that I had to give up the spare room for her hobby, don’t ask what arcane dark arts go on that twisted reality, I find it safer just to keep the door closed. Bit like you do with teenage boys really, without the smell.)

I found some time to get out on my elderly flat-tanker had an awesome time then ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere. Fun times, haven’t done that for years. Looking forward to more miles and less frantic calls to Mrs K for assistance.

As McS said, have a great and safe New Year.