Tuesday, August 19, 2008



That title wasn’t meant to grab your attention it’s just one of those things that come up as you get an idea and then another one comes in at the same time and then they kind of intersect and that makes you think of the other thing and then it comes together as a catchy title which will probably grab your attention. D’ Oh!

I was cleaning the other day.

I could probably just leave it at that and you’d be fairly impressed, I imagine. Or, more truthfully your wife/girlfriend/partner/mum/special friend would be impressed that a bloke was doing something more domestic than homebrewing. Regular visitors will be aware that this is not the first time that this has happened – see Brew Update Sept 2007 – but this effort was more in the interests of family harmony than creating more space for beer.

And during the cleaning process I stumbled upon a forgotten treasure of mine. A little bottle top motorbike. For the benefit of those under the age of about thirty, back in the olden days beer stubbies came with a rip off tab style lid – tear tabs I think they were called – and despite being a hazard to the fingers of ‘affected’ drinkers due to the sharp inside edges, they were a boon to creative types who saw the tops’ potential. Taking four of these tops had a twin benefit. First, you could manipulate and twist and conjoin the tops to make little vehicles and, second, you got to drink four stubbies in the name of art. An extra advantage was that you got to partake in arts and crafts without being labelled as a nana or a poofter.

In my youth I learned how to make these heirloom treasures from an older mate in our group named Macca. We couldn’t make enough of them and when we had made so many that the mantelpiece was as full as a fat lady’s sock with the things we soon discovered that you could keep making them and give them as gifts to impress girls. Easily impressed girls, granted, but impressed nonetheless. The Professor has more than a few conquests under the belt as a consequence of drinking lots and lots of beer and making bottle top motorbikes. At least that’s how I remember it. Certainly the bit about drinking beer.

I even had a mini sub collection of motorbikes that were made for special occasions or in special circumstances. There were New Years Eve bikes, Cup Day bikes, birthday bikes and Christmas bikes. There was one I made sitting on top of Uluru – it was Ayres Rock back then - and one I made in hospital on that same trip after knocking myself out jumping a pool fence on New Years Eve in 83. Happy days. Happy days.

What follows is a step by step instructional on the fine yet fading art of bottle top motorbikes.

Find four beers with olden days bottle tops. Use a suitable time machine or matter transporter and set coordinates for around 1980. Alternatively, Amstel (Holland) and Mac’s (NZ) beers have them in the present as do Bundaberg Ginger Beer. But beware, ginger beer is not beer made for redheads and it is also not like real beer. Dan Murphy’s and Coles Liquorland should have one or the other.

Open the first stubby. Drink contents. If you have bought cans instead of stubbies, sit in the corner, give yourself an uppercut and start again.

The first section to make is the seat and handle bar assembly. Carefully wiggle the side bits off each side taking care not to tear off any finger skin and then even more carefully bend the circular pull tab bit into itself and back a few times until it snaps at the furtherest point from the other bit, you know, away from the body of the tab at the far end. Not near the body of the tab. Oh, stuff it, here’s some pictures.

Sorry to give you the hardest part first. You’ll see why in a second.

Open second stubby. Drink. Do the same thing you did with the last one – the ring pull, not the stubby - but this time squeeze the ring bit and leave it squished in a bendy-bow kind of shape. And don’t rip off the tabs this time. Just open them out to form the front and rear mudguards. Wrap this whole bit around the centre of the first bit until it looks like a petrol tank and a kickstand. Yeah, yeah here’s a picture.

STEP THREE. Can you guess? Yep, that’s right. Open stubby ... da-dah da-dah. But there’s a catch, smarty pants. The last section is the wheel so go ahead and rip into the last stubby and make two. Wheels. Wrap the tab around the mudguards and gently push the ring part into the rounded other part. Well done. With care and a little luck it should look something like this;

and if you weren’t concentrating it might look like this;

and if you got really frustrated or you drank all the stubbies first and then tried the assembly it might look just a little like this;

and if, at step one, you bought cans instead of stubbies, try your hand at this;

I thought about getting a video instruction guide made and whacking it on to You Tube but I just reckon there’s enough crap on that thing already without me adding to it. Besides, it’d probably make me more famous than the bloke who came third on the fifth season of Big Brother – Shannon Noll? – and then I’d never have time to write this drivel for you blokes and blokettes.

Prof. Pilsner.


Anonymous said...

What kind of mileage per gallon are you seeing out of these cycles?

I've lost my licence and I'm not sure whether I am allowed to be in charge of ringpull motorcycles.

Can you show me how to build a sidecar for one of these so that I can be a passenger whilst someone else rides the bike?

Tim said...

What other hidden talents do you have Prof. Pils?

Beer Blokes said...

The short answer is I get 1 bike to the 1320mls but on a good night, if I make two or three bikes in a session I can get up to four arguments, three tittie perves and a nudie run to the gallon.

Funny you should ask! I am just completing a post about a time in my youth when we collected all the empty cans we drank and turned them into a two metre tall monument! We made page four of the paper so it wasn't really a 'hidden' talent.

Prof. Pilsner

a beer sort of girl said...

Thank you for including photos. A video might have been a stretch for my short attention span, but the pics are perfect. You amaze.

Beer Blokes said...

Thanks Beer Girl,
I guess I'm just not a You Tube kinda bloke and you're right - sober these things still take five minutes to make - too long. That's some god drinkin' time we'd be wasting!

Prof. PIlsner

CallMeJesusBruh said...

hey boss, i think macs have changed their caps now.. they are exactly like the left and right bundaberg caps in the first photo.. ratshit as my bike came out munted because the seat was too fat and te kickstand couldnt be wrapped around it tidily. have you mastered the newer model yet?? show us

Anonymous said...

I got it going by foldin the fat bits in to slim down the seat before lifting the seat up. Still doable but bit more work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks man! Yep unsurprisingly mine did turn out a bit shit but still if anything it was a fun read!

Unknown said...

Well that's a pussy version of a true stubby bike. I have made dozens of awesome trikes over the years and they still rock. Extended forks, sissy bar., v twin engine complete with pipes. Good attempt and credit to you but very basic.