On Me Bike: Cycling around New Zealand 80 years ago by Lloyd Geering (Steele Roberts, $24.99)
Reviewed by Judith Morrell Nathan
At 97 years of age, Emeritus Professor Sir Lloyd Geering has produced another book. But this is a shorter, less formal work than his previous books. As its title implies it is reminiscences about bike rides that he undertook in the 1930s and early 1940s in various parts of both the South and North Islands, often getting to his chosen starting point by train (and ferry from Christchurch if was heading to the North Island). It was during one of the early rides that he decided to apply to be a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry. Some early rides were to reach summer holiday jobs, for example in Central Otago and South Westland while later ones were mostly to and from national conferences of the Student Christian Movement; one was following a visit to Government House for an interview for a Rhodes Scholarship. Excellent maps show the extent of the area he covered, from Invercargill to Nelson to Napier to Hamilton.
The book begins with a brief account of how the first ride with a school friend came about at the end of his last year at Otago Boys’ High School. Living in somewhat straitened circumstances in a small Mosgiel farmhouse without electricity or phone, Geering found his first challenge was to afford the cost of a suitable bike.