Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wolves of the road book

Wolves of the road
The Wisemans and Dulux six day tours 1953-1985
the book project
About 18 months ago I sold my screen printing business and decided to write a book on the New Zealand Wiseman's and Dulux six day cycle tours 1953-1985, this is the story so far....

These races were New Zealands own Tour de France, and were the proving grounds for pretty much all of our top road men over this period,and as such should be, in my opinion, documented in a beautiful book.

As far as I could see, that wasn't going to happen any time soon.
So I decided to write the book that I wanted to read.

The first thing that I did was to introduce myself to Neil Robinson, Neil (Robbie) had won the Dulux Tour in 1964. He was also the first rider to take the purple King of the Mountains and Maillot Jaune jerseys in the same year, during the Dulux years.
Fortunately he only lived three hours away in Gisbourne.
I drove up,and armed with a tiny tape recorder and plenty of enthusiasm, I proceeded to conduct my first interview for the book.
Robbie turned out to be the nicest guy one could meet, and also had a excellent memory, great scrap books (something which I have come to love), and all his old jerseys (something else I have come to love),but wait there's more...a couple of his old bikes (something I already loved!).

It was in hindsight the perfect interview, Robbie had all the things that I needed to make this book match what was in my minds eye, cool woolen jerseys,good information, great photos and most of all great stories.
The 1964 year was in the bag!

I realized at about this point, that to make this book work I would need to make sure that enough of the memorabilia, photos and riders were still around to fill a book with the stories and accompanying images needed to fill the tomb I had in mind.
So the next mission was to start tracking down as many of the earliest riders as I could and start piecing together the history, stories, memorabilia etc.

I am still in this process, but I now know there is enough history surviving to finish the project.

I have also put together a sample of the book using a bookbinder (featured below) with about 30 pages actually printed (the rest blank) to show prospective publishers the look and size, about 350 pages, that I have in mind.

This part was done with designer Fane Flaws and photographer Brian Culy.

Book Sample
Tino Taback on the attack Front piece, Brain 'Happy" Howlett winning last stage at Western Springs, Auckland
Wisemans six day tour 1954Spread page for the 1964 year1964 year with Neil Robinson and his purple King of the Mountains jersey.
As you can see every one of the six days is covered every year, giving the reader a first hand account of all the action and drama that took place.

This is why I am spending so much time, travelling and talking to as many of the riders involved as I can find, to get behind the headlines and find out the real stories, and believe me, there are some beauties.

A section on Hills Cycle Works.
There will be sections throughout the book that will cover the main New Zealand cycle shops, period magazines, cycle clothing manufactures, in fact anyone or anything that played a significant part in this wonderful history.

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