Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bikes: My happy life behind bars!

When I was around 40, Motor Bill Windsor and I were talking classic American cars. Somewhere into the conversation he said to me... “If it’s got wheels or tits, sooner or later it’s going to give you trouble!” To say I was stunned was an understatement. Although I had spent a long time in the motor trade, I had never heard that before. I must have led a sheltered life at MAX Instruments.

You see my experience with things on wheels (except my first car.. a clapped out Mini.. let’s not go there now) was always very positive.

I have always loved things with wheels... from my first toys to scooters, push bikes, motorcycles and cars. Even my coffee table has wheels. Debra tells people who visit that if they stay here long enough I will fit wheels to them! 

Aldi have wheels on special sometimes. I always buy a set of four.. never know when you might need them!

So why do wheels float my boat? Well back when I was at Mr’s Henzell’s Kindergarten in Nundah, David Lentz and I took off one afternoon... we did the Harold Holt and went exploring. As almost 4 year olds, our actions must have worried the life out of our parents. We ended up playing in the creek at Shaw Road when a motorcycle policeman came along and found us. My first trip on a motorcycle! Even if it was a side car! 

Well as I age I think about that day all those years ago and so have come to realize it is two wheels that really blow my hair back. But you see, the whole thing with (two) wheels is freedom. The ability to get away from where you are now to see something new! 

Whenever you want to! 

Being totally independent of public transport. 

God only knows how much I hate public transport! 

My early teenage years were spent on two wheels, a Cyclops Scooter with inflatable tyres, then a Massey 27” bicycle with a Nottingham made Sturmey Archer 3 speed geared hub. An ideal escape machine for a 13 year old. Trips to the airport, Clear Mountain, Sandgate, Nudgee Beach and often with my Chinese air rifle on board too! (The Chinese air rifle.. now that’s another story!)

But then all of a sudden you are 15 going on 16 and there is this girl you know who lives at Indooroopilly; and you realize that you need real horsepower. Enter QLD Rail. But what a pain! Trains only run when they want to! And never on time! As a smart mouthed 15 year old I told the Station Master at Eagle Junction that there was no point in them printing time tables (5 cents to buy in 1969)  as their trains were never on time! His response was to tell me that if they didn’t print timetables, I wouldn’t know how late the trains were!

Moving forward...

In 1970, at 17 I obtained my learner’s permit on July 4 (the day after my birthday) and my driver’s license on August 4. And it has been a life on wheels ever since. Now while I love and appreciate the motor car.. it is the mobile life behind bars that really brings me alive.

I love my bikes and 5 Yamahas, 1 Suzuki, 1 Kawasaki and 1 Honda later... I am still getting my kicks on 2 wheels. So 4 wheels can get you from A to B and often in a basic form, sometimes in a luxury form and sometimes in a speedy fashion. And over the years I have owned basic cars, luxury cars, fast cars, fast basic cars and fast luxury cars. All good fun... always!

But, on a magic good weather spring day... give me two wheels every time.

Go and look at a parked motorcycle! 

What you see before you is the ultimate freedom machine. 

The only point in its existence is to put a huge smile on your face and allow you to go out on Sunday mornings and buy a newspaper... in any town over 200 kilometres away!

So we riders take the long way round from Brisbane to Toowoomba on any Sunday.... to buy the Sunday Mail! 

Or in my case along the roads less travelled to places like Ripples near Kyogle for a Sunday brunch.

It’s not the destination... it’s the trip. 

Or perhaps a Sunday race!

Just ask Harvey Mushman.

I dream of this ride!

A motorcycle truly moves your soul as it banks around corners, accelerates like a super car and allows you to smell the environment as you travel through it.... often at a rapid rate of knots!

Go find a copy of “On Any Sunday” on DVD. It might help explain how I feel about bikes! 

And on any Sunday here at Clayfield, this sixty year old climbs onboard Fat Max and away he goes. As the odometer counts up the trip distance in kilometres my inbuilt human chronometer counts the years down. By lunch time I am 35, by trip's end I am 21.

Until I get off the bike at home after a 400+ k day.. Then the inbuilt chronometer reads 100 as I creak and groan my way to a hot shower, a scotch and a couple of Panadol!

Odometer reset back to 60!

Looking out the office window now... the sun is out the sky is blue... my helmet is at hand.. so long!