Inspiration: Interview

For the Friendships

Meet the Quake City Rumblers

The Quake City Rumblers are a group of mates from Christchurch, New Zealand who pine over modified classic Japanese mopeds.

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Q. Cool name. How did it all start off?

A. First you need to know that we’re based in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit by a massive earthquake in 2011. At that time, one of our friends bought an old scooter at a swap meet and then saw a photo of a modified one. We’d never seen anything so awesome before, so he started modifying his immediately. After the quakes it was impractical to drive our modified cars around the pothole-infested, flooded and cracked roads, so as soon as one person got something fun and new, others followed suit.

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Q. How many of you are there?

A. We have 22 members and we all ride. Not everyone can show up to everything as we’re all busy, but we usually get around 10 riders to most events. We join charity events like Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, the scooter safari challenge and ride with the local moped club, as well as organising our own.

Q. What kind of rides are there near you?

A. All sorts. Big charity rides, after-work rides around the local hills with pub stops, day trips around the bays on gravel roads. We do overnight rides where we sleep under the stars (no tents allowed). We have a bike night on Thursdays at our local bar, Smash Palace, and we also ride out to swap meets and bike shows. Largest ride we do is The South Island Scooter Safari from one side of New Zealand to the other, across the Southern Alps. It's a charity ride for cancer in the middle of winter, usually in atrocious weather. It usually takes around seven hours and there are about 300 scooters. Most are modern bikes but we take our old ones because they look awesome.

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Q. Best ride ever?

A. After the quake, most of the central city fell down and was cordoned off for about two years. When it finally opened it was completely dark – all the street lights had gone – and abandoned, apart from half-destroyed buildings. We used to ride there with all of QCR and race around the empty streets making as much noise and chaos as we pleased. There were no traffic lights, plenty of empty sections and lots to tear around on. This mayhem happened every Thursday for months until slowly the city started being populated again.

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Q. What’s all this about phallus-shaped trophies?

A. Ha, ha… yes, we run an event called Dirtmasters where we set out a rough course and have races throughout the day and night around jumps. Because it’s organised by us, there are no rules, which ensures ultimate carnage and entertainment. You must race on an old small bike though, no motocross bikes allowed. This keeps the racing close and the injuries to a minimum. The winners take home those unusual shaped trophies made out of engine parts.

Q. Who’s in?

A. We have fabricators, mechanics, engineers, plumbers, roofers, office workers, business owners. Most people are hands-on so that shows in their careers. There’s only one girl officially in QCR, but a few wives and girlfriends have started riding, which is awesome. Our rides can get pretty gnarly and out of control, so most of the time the girls leave us to it.

Q. How do I join?

A. You just have to build a sweet bike and come riding, and eventually we decide if you are QCR material. We are all good friends and it’s usually just another friend that joins.

Q. Where to next?

A. That’ll be the Little River swap meet, then going up over the peninsula, staying the night somewhere and riding a different way home.

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