Bruce has been interested in the cycles for around 30 years and is a member of the Oamaru Ordinary Cycle Club (OOCC), which loaned the penny-farthing for the occasion.
Usually he restricts outings to trips around town but once made a 60km Omarama-Twizel return trip. “My backside needed a bit of rest but it was a good ride,” he says.
“Cars are very respectful. They go right to the other side of the road when they pass you, with cameras out of the window. With a normal bike they practically shave your legs.”
While many club members don appropriate Victorian-style gear, he says he prefers the modern comfort of Lycra.
Ordinary cycles were made between 1880 and the advent of gears in 1895. In penny-farthings the only hint of gearing came from the different wheel sizes, between 48 and 56 inches.
The cycle pictured is not an original: for some years they have been made locally by OOCC enthusiasts. Even so, one could set a buyer back thousands of dollars.
For Commissioner Bush‘s visit, Bruce added to the old-school vibe by wearing the black uniform he received on joining Police in 1973. “It still fits. That’s not bad, is it?”