SORTING through his father's shed, Jamie Govan found some cycling gems that piqued his interest.
Mr Govan's father worked in the railways in an era where nearly everyone rode to work. This had Mr Govan wondering how many other people had magnificent vintage bikes hiding in their sheds.
So, Mr Govan and his fellow riders in The Saxons are calling out for people to share their finds in a special "show and shine" that will form part of the cycle group's major fundraiser to help fight motor neurone disease early next month.
It's sparked a lot of interest already. People have been coming up to me and telling me about old bikes they have.Jamie Govan
Mr Govan is convinced there must be some great stories in the community: Ballarat is billed as home of Australian road cycling now; this city was claimed to be the nation's bicycle-making metropolis at the turn of the century. By 1907, Ballarat boasted 11 bicycle manufacturers, according to Culture Victoria and The Gold Museum.
Gove, Quayle, Brazell, Spears, Leitch, New Holland and Malvern Star were all household names in Ballarat. Former metal workers and miners were moving into bicycle production at the decline of the mining and metal industry from the 1860s, making Ballarat one of the strongest bicycle manufacturing centres in Australia, according to Culture Victoria.
Davis-Franklin Cycling Company, with a shop based in Sturt Street, had the largest bicycle factory in Australia by 1904.
Mr Govan likened the surge of interest in vintage bikes to a similar enthusiasm for classic cars, delving into the past for treasure and beauties - and wanting to show them off.
"(The event has) sparked a lot of interest already. People have been coming up to me and telling me about old bikes they have," Mr Govan said. "We will have a buy, swap and sell for old gears or old seats. People are always looking for parts to do up their old bikes.
"...Some people would put their own stickers on bikes, some build their own. Women used to cover their spikes with mud guards to prevent their dresses from getting dirty. There will be a lot of side stories with these parts."
Some people would put their own stickers on bikes, some build their own. Women used to cover their spikes with mud guards to prevent their dresses from getting dirty.Jamie Govan, The Saxons
The Saxons' Ballarat Cycling Through History show and shine is open to all types of bicycles from iron and steel to aluminium, titanium and carbon.
Mr Govan hoped it would be a great introduction to the city's love for cycling, including a evolution of cycling manufacturing and development, including the move towards gears and modern electric bikes.
The Saxons' fundraising day will also feature a social ride by Lake Wendouree in honour of their friend and fellow Saxon Robert Pitman, who died mid-last year with motor neurone disease.
The club will also host a Walk to D'feet MND. All money raised will goes to the support and advocay work of MND Victoria.
But the Saxons also have a strong focus on first re-claiming their team title in Ballarat Cycle Classic on Sunday. The Classic is the major fundraiser for Fiona Elsey Cancer Research Institute.
Ballarat Cycling Through History and the ride and walk for MND Victoria is at Pleasant Street Primary School on March 1.
Anyone with a vintage bike to show or for more details, contact Mr Govan on 0438 626 066 or via email, email@example.com.
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