The Melburn Roobaix and Melburn Custom Bicycle Show happened last weekend. This was the 10th year that Fyxo has run the Roobaix and the first edition of the MCBS. I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne and soak up everything on offer.
Over the two days, as I was looking at bikes, or riding a bike, or looking at people riding bikes, one thing was brought home to me: bike events just don’t happen, somebody has to cause them. Without Andy and Melodie’s initiative (along with everyone else helping out) events like this just wouldn’t happen. It needs somebody to go from having a great idea to making it happen in the flesh.
The MCBS, held at DISC, continued the fine tradition of combining lawn bowls and bike shows. In the middle of the velodrome, there is an indoor bowling green, reminding me a little of home.
Being a Fyxo show, there were always going to be schmick bikes, but there was a smattering of eras and stories. I’ve always been impressed when people showing their bike include printed back stories. Talk about back stories, some of these machines had tales to tell. Obvious storytellers were the Brian Hayes-built Euro track and pursuit bikes, particularly one of the bikes used to set a world record in the team pursuit.
There was a good showing of trade, including firmly established Melbourne framebuilders like Baum and Ken Evans through to others building up their portfolio of bikes, some of which you’ll be able to see meet Pushies Galore 2015.
There weren’t any show bike categories, supporting a “one love” policy for anything on two wheels. There was, however, a prize given to the most photographed and tagged bike on Instagram. I had the job of quantifying the love and determining the winner. Short of collecting the volume of drool in front of each bike, it seemed a good way to establish the bike that got everyone talking.
The most popular bike was very place appropriate. Ben’s wild Perkins track frame, resplendent with Columbus Max, C-Record and more was built by Daryl Perkins, a Melbourne framebuilder (who I managed to do an interview with a few years ago.) Other highlights for me included a Cinelli road bike and an 1890s bamboo bike.
As I was walking around the track, I overheard a girl, probably no more than four, ask her father, “Dad, why isn’t anybody riding a bike.” It’s true, if all you did was just look at bikes, the world would be a sad, frustrated place. Luckily, the Melburn Roobaix would fulfil anyone’s desire to hop on a bike and cut sick laps. Riders on the Sunday for the Roobaix ranged from ex-pros (Stuart O’Grady, Phil Anderson to name but a few) to kids, and some adults, doing the longest ride of their lives.
It really is something you have to see in person to really appreciate, but the streets of Melbourne come alive with the Roobaix. Seeing hundreds and hundreds of people stream through cobbled back streets is a sight to behold. Also worth a mention were some of the outstanding outfits. Just the time and effort that people go to in getting kitted up astounds me: there were teams of astronauts in reflective suits, a zoo-full of animal suits and every superhero you could think of. A personal favourite was a group of people that all dressed as Forest Gump at different stages of life.
It was a huge weekend, with lots of fun, food and probably too much caffeine. I must admit it was a novelty to attend a bike event like this and not have to think about logistics. A big congrats to all involved.