RARE TREASURE: One of the producers of the Bike Town exhibition, Sammy Lovejoy, with a circa 1862 velocipede a Sydney collector has donated for the exhibition.
RARE TREASURE: One of the producers of the Bike Town exhibition, Sammy Lovejoy, with a circa 1862 velocipede a Sydney collector has donated for the exhibition. Tim Howard

Exhibition to recall when Jacaranda City was 'Bike Town'

A RARE 1860s velocipede - aka boneshaker - will be a centrepiece of a multi-media bicycle exhibition opening in Grafton next week.

And in commercial news the predecessor of the modern bicycle is for sale, probably for offers starting at a mere $10,000.

Local production company Cast Net Productions has been collating items for the exhibition, which will include at least 15 antique bicycles, since last year.

Called Bike Town, the exhibition will open at the Grafton Regional Art Gallery on March 28.

Cast Net partner Sammy Lovejoy said the extensive role bicycles had played in the history of Grafton had been the major inspiration for the exhibition.

"Whenever you see old photos of Prince St, you see bikes everywhere,” she said. "There's bike racks everywhere in the street and people riding them everywhere.”

She said cycling was also an important sport in Grafton from the end of the 19th century.

"There were actually two cycling clubs - Grafton and South Grafton - in 1892, with tracks at McKittrick Park and Fisher Park.

"A cycling event at McKittrick in 1938 with some of the big names of world cycling had more than 1000 people come through the gate. It was big time.”

Ms Lovejoy said her partner, Danny Loyden, had also tracked down interesting film of cycling in Grafton, which would be part of the exhibition.

But she said tracking down the velocipede, which belonged to Sydney couple Rod and Robyn Maclure, had been a highlight of their bike research.

"Danny found Rod when he came across a site with penny-farthings for sale,” Ms Lovejoy said.

"He told us he had this old velocipede and when Danny asked him if we could get it on loan for the exhibition, he was really excited to help out.”

Ms Lovejoy said the saga of getting the bike to Grafton was a story in itself.

"Grafton Cycle Club member David Hislop told us he could get the bike from the Maclures' home, but when he drove down there, found the bike would not fit into his car.

"Luckily he was able to get local removalists S&D Welch to help out and put it on a backload to Grafton.”

The lovingly restored bike is an example of the velocipede made around 1862.

They were mass produced by French company Michaux from 1867 to 1869.

"They were called 'boneshakers' because of the extremely uncomfortable ride caused by the wrought iron frame and wood wheels surrounded by tyres made of iron,” Ms Lovejoy said.

She said the Bike Town exhibition will run from March 28 to May 19 and take in The Festival of the Bike celebrations in May, culminating with the start of the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic on May 11.



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