1985 - Gran Prix
We had a nice little surprise come in to the shop this week, as you can see above from the photo it is a bike that has Gran Prix stickers on it and originally came from our store a long time ago. After chatting to the proud owner of the bike I found out that he had indeed purchased it new from us in September of 1985 for his wif'e birthday. It has been kept indoors ever since coming out only on days of fine weather, it certainly shows. Further into the conversation it was let on that actually the owner was interested in a new bike and that's why he had come into the store that day. After much talk and a little riding of bikes a deal was struck and we had another happy customer with a shiny new bike, but more importantly we are now the proud owners of this lovely piece of history.
After only about an hour of cleaning and polishing I am proud to say it really looks like brand new, not that there was that much to do. It has taken its place proudly on our walls and will be there for many years to come.
In the past few days the previous owner of the above bike shot us an email to say that he had seen the above paragraphs about his old bike and it reminded him of an old poem that even I had learned in primary school, although the crashing part doesn't really apply.
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze;
He turned away the good old horse that served him many days;
He dressed himself in cycling clothes, resplendent to be seen;
He hurried off to town and bought a shining new machine;
And as he wheeled it through the door, with air of lordly pride,
The grinning shop assistant said, "Excuse me, can you ride?"
"See here, young man," said Mulga Bill, "from Walgett to the sea,
From Conroy's Gap to Castlereagh, there's none can ride like me.
I'm good all round at everything as everybody knows,
Although I'm not the one to talk - I hate a man that blows.
But riding is my special gift, my chiefest, sole delight;
Just ask a wild duck can it swim, a wildcat can it fight.
There's nothing clothed in hair or hide, or built of flesh or steel,
There's nothing walks or jumps, or runs, on axle, hoof, or wheel,
But what I'll sit, while hide will hold and girths and straps are tight:
I'll ride this here two-wheeled concern right straight away at sight."
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that sought his own abode,
That perched above Dead Man's Creek, beside the mountain road.
He turned the cycle down the hill and mounted for the fray,
But 'ere he'd gone a dozen yards it bolted clean away.
It left the track, and through the trees, just like a silver steak,
It whistled down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.
It shaved a stump by half an inch, it dodged a big white-box:
The very wallaroos in fright went scrambling up the rocks,
The wombats hiding in their caves dug deeper underground,
As Mulga Bill, as white as chalk, sat tight to every bound.
It struck a stone and gave a spring that cleared a fallen tree,
It raced beside a precipice as close as close could be;
And then as Mulga Bill let out one last despairing shriek
It made a leap of twenty feet into the Dean Man's Creek.
'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that slowly swam ashore:
He said, "I've had some narrer shaves and lively rides before;
I've rode a wild bull round a yard to win a five-pound bet,
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
I'll give that two-wheeled outlaw best; it's shaken all my nerve
To feel it whistle through the air and plunge and buck and swerve.
It's safe at rest in Dead Man's Creek, we'll leave it lying still;
A horse's back is good enough henceforth for Mulga Bill."
The Sydney Mail, 25 July 1896.