Wednesday, April 6, 2011


My Aunt just sent me this photo dating all the way back to 1904. It is of a bunch of cyclists standing outside the Riverton bicycle shop that belonged to my Great-Great-Great Uncle Bob Murie, who truly was one of the earliest New Zealanders to really grasp the concept of the bicycle and all it could be.

Bob is mentioned a couple of times in the Kennett Brother's seminal volume "Ride - The Story of Cycling in New Zealand" as a pioneer bicycle racer, entertainer and stuntman. He was passionate about riding and this enthusiasm led him to creating a hugely successful bicycle importing and retail empire spread around the entire lower South Island, an empire which set him up for life.

His clever marketing came not only from success in racing (both his own and the riders that he sponsored) and newspaper advertisements, but also clever gimmicks - he was famed for owning one of, if not the, first hot air balloons in NZ, which he used for spreading the word by having the logo of his Phoenix Cycles company emblazoned upon it and flying it around the South Island to various fairs and track racing carnivals.

I believe he was also one of the first New Zealanders to own his own aircraft and, somewhat ironically, he was an early motoring enthusiast who imported several of NZ's first motor cars. In family circles he was also known as an adventurer and explorer - a lion's head and pelt prize from one of his African safaris that later used to decorate his hallway was in our possession until relatively recently, and I still have a scrap of the pelt to this day...


Anonymous said...

What a fabulous period photo, Oli.
To think - he would have been a major catalyst for bicycle appreciation in NZ.
Now, when you also mention that he was a stuntman...I see some similar traits in someone else - Top Tube Surfing for instance - Hahahahaha !!!

Get Well soon Bro !!


Oli Brooke-White said...

Hahaha! SHHH! I'm sure he was better at it than me too...

Davo said...

Thats so cool!