Forget the quaint old reindeer and sleigh, these days Santa rides a Goldwing. Complete with white beard and red suit, Reg Woods has played Father Christmas ever since 1964 and his space-themed trike ‘Fantasy’ is a regular at the BRONZ Auckland Toy Run each year.
6 cylinders and 1500ccs make much more noise than sleigh bells, hands down. Then there’s the cassette player, Reg’s favourite feature on the bike. Whether he’s in the mood for classical chinese music or some traditional Christmas carols, the ample storage space near the dash means the tape is always at his fingertips to provide a surround sound soundtrack to his ride.
No stranger to distance, Reg has two vests dripping with badges from rallies and rides all over the country. A member of Ulysses and Kiwitriker, he rates the longer events such as the Kiwitriker thousand miler as the most memorable.
The longest ride he has done is the Southern Cross rally that took him to all four corners of the country, covering over 6000km over 4 days. This was the epitome of motorcycling, representing the freedom to ‘do what you like, when you like’. Reg is no fair weather rider either, having survived cyclone Bola enroute from Auckland to New Plymouth, although he admits that trip was ‘a bit tricky’.
For most of the year Reg goes incognito, leaving the red suit at home. Still, his Goldwing trike is rather hard to miss with the yellow trimming and custom Bruce Rule galaxy paintjob. Reg bought his first Goldwing in 1978 and has owned various versions of the Honda ever since. This is his first trike and has been 3 wheeled since the early 1990s. After several close calls riding through the Haast pass Reg decided to take the plunge and order a kitset from the states, reasoning that while a bike tends to ‘slide and fall’ a trike would only do the former. The 2 day conversion took place in Whakatane and has done wonders for its handling, particularly on gravel where it ‘cleans up Harleys’.
These days the conversions take place in own backyard and Santa’s workshop is everything a grease monkey could wish for. A home built trike chassis takes pride of place in the middle of the garage, alongside the Jaguar back end that will eventually power the machine. Reg has already built four trikes from scratch – three VWs and one Ford Prefect – so the assembly line is a well oiled machine and no elves are needed. Come December he will once again don his red coat and swap grease for gifts. You can catch Reg at the BRONZ Auckland Toy Run on December 3 2011.
Originally published in KiwiRider Magazine