Insane drift trike life electrifies Nelson crew

Paul "Chopper" Halsey says riding his electric drift trikes makes him feel 30 years younger.
Tim O'Connell

Paul "Chopper" Halsey says riding his electric drift trikes makes him feel 30 years younger.

To his 10-year-old son Sam, Paul Halsey is a fun dad.

Known as Chopper in reference to a missing thumb on his left hand, 47-year-old Halsey is a former national 12th scale radio control champion who also used to organise social Nerf gun wars around Nelson.

It was at the same time that Halsey was looking to throw in the toy guns that someone offered him his first electric trike. It was a life-changing experience.

"I didn't know what I was getting into - but that was it - I put a video camera on it, crashed it five or six times down Marybank and giggled the whole way down."

Hooked on his new hobby, Halsey built 15 trikes in the first three months. Even today, if he isn't riding, he is building. 

These days, he is the second-oldest drift triker in New Zealand and a familiar sight around the streets of Richmond, Christmas parades or sliding down the next big sloping road gradient. 

A founding member of the Insane Drift Trikers in 2014, Halsey and his mates, or "nutbars" as he refers to them, pride themselves on "having fun smashing around the Nelson and Tasman hills and hills of New Zealand". 

While health issues have slowed him down a little in recent months, Halsey said the thrill of getting sideways on a bike is always an invigorating experience.

"I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't party like I used to – this is my kick and when I'm on one of these things I'm a 17-year-old again." 

He said the network of drift trikers around the country and further afield has afforded him a broad social circle and the chance to test the different terrain.

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"The Dunedin guys are just legends. The further south you go the more friendly people are, I find. I went down there, bashed into a barrier, smashed the back axle and put a dent in the back pierced my kidney and peed blood for two weeks - it was still the best weekend I've ever had."

Halsey said shoes are a major casualty of his downhill excursions, while having a good supplier of PVC pipe to go over the wheels has made life easier for coping with the wear and tear that drift triking brings. 

"It's like currency for us," he said.  

As well as honing his electronics and welding skills, Halsey has also mastered the physics aspects associated with the activity.

"The distance between your arse and the front axle is quite critical – where you sit your weight in-between and whether you've got enough front traction – triads suited me down to the ground and made me look a lot better than I was."

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 - Stuff


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