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Reima Miezitis' bicycle

Reima Miezitis' bike is on show in the exhibition Freewheeling: Cycling in Australia.

Restored Roadmaster

Tasmanian woman Reima Miezitis and her brother restored this bicycle in 1945, adding Malvern Star wheels, painting the frame and replating the chrome finish on the handlebars.

Ladies refurbished 'Roadmaster' bicycle. The frame is handpainted in turquoise and navy blue enamel paint, and the mudguards are white. It has a brown leather seat and a silver rack attached to the rear end. Both of the wheels are from a Malvern Star. The rear wheel has lengths of red, white and blue fine cord attached through the mudguard and gathering just above the centre of the wheel; on both sides of the rear wheel. Small reflector on rear wheel guard. Large black bell on right side of the handlebar.
Modified Roadmaster bicycle belonging to Reima Miezitis, about 1945. National Museum of Australia. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Cycling adventures

At the age of 15, Miezitis rode the bike most days to Hobart Technical College from her home at Moonah, a journey of some seven kilometres.  After she completed her studies, Miezitis took her bike on the train to work so she could ride regularly at lunchtime. From her early 20s, she rode it on day trips around Hobart, and took longer tours to Bruny Island to go riding for the weekend.

Photographs

  • Ladies refurbished 'Roadmaster' bicycle. The frame is handpainted in turquoise and navy blue enamel paint, and the mudguards are white. It has a brown leather seat and a silver rack attached to the rear end. Both of the wheels are from a Malvern Star. The rear wheel has lengths of red, white and blue fine cord attached through the mudguard and gathering just above the centre of the wheel; on both sides of the rear wheel. Small reflector on rear wheel guard. Large black bell on right side of the handlebar.
    Modified Roadmaster bicycle
  • Reima Miezitis
    Reima Miezitis, about 1953
  • Large black bell on right side of the handlebar and frame painted in two shades of blue.
    Frame
  • The rear wheel has lengths of red, white and blue fine cord attached through the mudguard and gathering just above the centre of the wheel; on both sides of the rear wheel.
    Rear wheel
  • Close up shot of the frame which is handpainted in turquoise and navy blue enamel paint
    Fork and head tube
  • Brown leather seat
    Seat and rack
  • A bike chain and pedal
    Crank and pedal
  • Underside of the large black bell on right side of the handlebar.
    Handlebar and bell

Restoration work

In a 1993 interview with the Museum, Miezitis explained the history of her bike:

There were very few bikes at schools during the 30s and 40s. I knew only one family where all four children had bikes. My bike was restored by my brother and myself after the Second World War. We used a Roadmaster frame and my brother's Malvern Star wheels, which had been up in our loft waiting for him to come home after the war, with me wanting to ride so badly.

My brother bought a brand new bike and we got to work on mine. I did the masking with brown paper and Clag [glue] and spray-painted it with two blue enamels using the old tin fly spray. The fine lines were difficult on the round surface. I saved up one-pound twice, as the first lot was stolen, but eventually I was able to get the handlebars replaced.

Background

Reima Miezitis (1931–1995) was born and educated in Tasmania. She graduated from Hobart Technical College in 1949 and worked as a commercial artist at Cadbury-Fry-Pascall.

Miezitis was was keenly involved in outdoor recreational activities, including bushwalking and snow skiing, in the 1950s.

The Museum's collection includes Meizitis' snow goggles, Tasmanian YHA (Youth Hostels Association) membership card and her diaries from 1950 to 1954. The diaries include sketches of people, plants and scenes she observed while travelling in Tasmania and New Zealand.