Pedals yield to steam machine

19:58, Oct 18 2011
Owen Bennett
EXTRAORDINARY: Owen Bennett shows off the steam-powered bike he built this year.

If you are a regular traveller along the Bluff highway, get ready to see something out of the ordinary – a steam-powered bicycle.

Owen Bennett, 57, not only fuels his passion for engineering and mechanics as a career, but as a hobby and has designed and created a steam-powered bike.

The South Port engineer said he spent about a year of his free-time working in his garage on the bicycle, which is powered by a boiler from an old model steam train.

"I've just been doing it as a hobby sort of thing.

"There's a five-gear gearbox on the back but for an old fellow like myself I'd probably ride on a low gear."

The bike shows off his engineering ability, with the boiler behind the rider's seat and the bronze castings sculpted from scrap metal. At the bottom of the boiler is a small firebox where wood and coal generate the steam.

Mr Bennett's bike will be exhibited alongside other model creations this weekend at the Model Engineers Club's Great Little Train Show at Surrey Park.


The Southland Times