As you know the 2015 ride did not happen, due to lack of sponsorships.

2016 is another year and I have made a commitment to do this again, no matter what.

I'm looking at the months of May or June.

I have no wish to do this again in wet, windy and hazardous conditions and will await the most appropriate weather forecast to set off, again from Squires Cafe.

This time, the journey will be split into 2 stages.

Stage 1

Yorks - John O'Groats and back to Yorks.

Stage 2

Yorkshire - Land's End and back to Yorks

Details to follow as soon as possible.

I look forward to your continuing support.

WATCH THIS SPACE.

JOIN THE FIGHT 

GET INVOLVED 

My best Regards

Roger

MEMORABLE  RIDE 

 

Brisbane to Noosa Sept/Oct 2015

Having recently returned from Queensland, I am trying to interest a few UK bikers in making a return trip with me down under next year, Sept/Oct 2016 and to incorporate this particular ride across Queensland, which has a great mixture of mountains, open roads and beautiful scenery. 

The ride starts in Brisbane and then goes through winding roads up Mt Glorious, through D’Aguilar National Park. From Mt Glorious down the mountain towards Somerset Dam and onto Kilcoy. Then onwards to Maleny and Montville and from there, down the mountain towards Noosa.

For me the ride was challenging, awesome, scary, fantastic, difficult, yet, it was the most enjoyable ride I have ever experienced in my biking life. 

I like riding out in the early hours of the morning and leaving early is the key to being able to properly enjoy this trip. The Sat Nav indicated that it would take about 4 or so hours. Forget that nonsense. Allow 8 hrs. I left Brisbane at 08.00 hrs and arrived at Noosa around 18.00 hrs. Such is the beauty of Queensland, that I would have otherwise missed the most amazing sights and breathtaking vistas, that is the wilderness of Oz. 

I stopped on numerous occasions to take pictures, interact with other tourists, meet with local bikers on the road and soak in the earthy environment that is Oz. My recommendation is to therefore allow all day to get to Noosa and stay overnight. Give yourself a chance to enjoy the fantastic beaches the next day, then do the return journey along the same route again.

Crossing over Mount Glorious.

There are numerous long and sweeping roads in Oz, but this is not one of those. If you are in any doubt about your riding skills, you must not do this ride. There is a more direct route out of Brisbane to Noosa via the M5, but if you are a novice rider, going over Mt Glorious, will otherwise put you into the paths of danger and might seriously injure you. 

No sooner that you've negotiated a chicane and a horseshoe bend, that there will be another and another and yet another, back to back. The most dangerous hazards being oncoming cars and trucks occupying the centre position! Be prepared to pull over and stop. Let them pass, because seriously, they will not care about your solitary existence. 

I quickly developed an instinct about the hills of Mount Glorious. It was more dangerous and difficult uphill, but I could always smell the burning brakes of the trucks coming downhill. It tested my ability to concentrate, stay focused and ride with due diligence and show respect for my immediate surroundings.

I stopped at the Mount Glorious Cafe for coffee and a slice of moist carrot cake. The cafe is owned and by an Irishman who’d been in Oz for 35 years, but not a trace of Ozzie in his accent!  I also met Tristan Holland, a local biker, who was riding a Triumph Triple. He didn’t seem to understand that I was riding for pleasure and was not racing. He gladly offered to ride with me, but when we set off, he just raced ahead and I couldn't keep up with him. Eventually, I caught up again with him at Somerset Dam. 

My bike’s right wing mirror had loosened and it needed fixing. I waved goodbye to Tristan and after sorting out the mirror, I decided to carry on at my own pace to Kilcoy. The idea was to enjoy this ride, not to race through it. I kept to an average of 60 mph.

I must say that, before undertaking this, my first ride in Australia, I suffered from a serious case of doubt and fear. What if something went wrong, like the mirror loosening and the ABS playing up, a puncture or an accident. 

My Uncle and Auntie, with whom I was staying in Brisbane, are deeply religious people and never mind therefore that they had laid their hands on my head and prayed for me on the morning of my departure. I still felt that God’s guarding angels would not be enough to protect me from all the dangers of the open and rough outback trails. But, I need not have worried. 

The greatest thing about the Australian people is their unconditional willingness to help strangers to their shores, which I found refreshing. When I stopped at the General Store, aptly named The Dam Shed, in on the Esk-Kilcoy Road, Somerset Dam, despite being very busy, the ladies there, moved heaven and earth to sort me out with the necessary tools to fix my mirror issue. I can’t see that happening in the UK. On a different ride to Stanthorpe, in the South Eastern region, I pulled up at a remote farm and asked if I could have a cup of tea. I was cold and dehydrated. The farmers were genuinely pleased to see me, invited me into their home and fed me. That’s hospitality. 

Obi Obi

The Obi Obi Road to Mapleton is long and winding. I followed it all the way until it veered left over the Obi Obi Creek, just before Lower Suses Pocket Road. At some point and before Baxter Creek Road, which is a cul-de-sac, the Obi Obi Road divides into a one way system and becomes the George Wyer Scenic Drive, which eventually rejoins the main Obi Obi Road. Beware. It’s a dirt track and managing its 2/3 km descent will test your scrambling and braking skills. If you harshly apply your brakes, you will skid and come off the very steep and unprotected embankment. I slipped into second gear and allowed the bike to carry me down with the most gentle pressure on the front brake. The bike’s ABS helped too. Boy, was I glad to see tarmac again! 

(The Bike - Triumph Tiger 800i XCx)

By the time I arrived at Noosa Heads, I had mastered the full capabilities of the Tiger. What a bike! It took me about an hour or so to get to know its limitations and strengths and it must truly be rated among one of the best all rounder adventure bikes around. It managed to stay controlled at the bends and was also able to keep up with the more powerful bikes on a straight run.

The most useful gadget on the bike for me was the gear change display. I ride a 1992 Honda CBR600FN in the UK, which does not have a gear change indicator. I found this standard visual aid extremely useful on the Tiger, not having to worry about which gear I was in. The ABS issue which I thought would be problematic, wasn’t. Not being familiar with the bike’s electronics, when the lights kept flashing on start up, I panicked, but realised after speaking to Brett, the “Guy” from Brismoto, that it would stop as soon as I set off, which it did.

(Return Journey)

It’s marvelous to have friends all over the world. I have a mate from Grassington who now lives in Queensland. We arranged to meet and I spent the night in his company and that of his family. It was like being back in England again, surrounded by familiar faces. In the morning we took his dog for a walk along Surfers Paradise Beach and I was blessed, for the first time in my life, to see a couple of whales, about a 1/4 mile off the coast. It was truly an amazing experience.

(Observations)

From the first occasion that ever I visited Oz in 2006, I’ve carried and harboured the sentiment that the Aussie breakfast was the best in the world, but I never wished to admit to this startling fact. After all, the English breakfast reigns supreme and during my time as a Chef, I’ve eaten and probably cooked more breakfasts than the average Joe in England. It therefore pains me to say this and I’ll say it again - The Aussie breakfast is the best. Whether you elect to have the big full English or whatever other variation. 

My earlier suspicions were finally confirmed when, after our early morning walk, my mate, Jon and I, decided to have an early tucker at a local beach cafe. I tucked into what can be described as the best omelette, served with avocado, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and fried bread. The closest I can describe it, is that the Aussie breakfast is more vibrant. This particular fuel generator tasted better, looked fresher and livelier on the plate, than those many pale sausages and bacon and insipid omelettes made from powder and generally served in the chain hotels in the UK. Hey Ho.

I would have normally returned to Brisbane along the same route, but decided to take the M1/A3/M3/M5 instead, and for this I apologise and regret not doing it. Riding out of Noosa, I followed the coastal road with the beautiful view of the beaches to my left, until I hit the M1. I hadn’t realised until the next morning how much the outbound ride had taken out of me. I was tired and therefore eager to get back to Brisbane for some rest and delicious ethnic foods at my uncle’s.

I have the feeling that I may have picked up a speeding ticket of two. It took me ages to adjust to the speed limits in kph and my head invariably didn’t manage to accurately convert into mph. It’s a strange thing. Australia also drives on the left. So, why adopt the metric system on the highways? Doesn’t make sense to me.

(Grateful Thanks)

I’d like to thank the 2 ladies (I recall one of them was called Anne) at the “Dam Shed” who helped me out with a spanner to fix my mirror and allowed me to use their landline phone to contact Brett, about the ABS light which kept flashing. See u ladies again next year.

G’day mates.

Blimey! Just when you think that you’ve done something extraordinary, someone else comes along and reduces your own achievements into mere insignificance. 

In life, this is always the case. There is always someone better than you around the corner, which makes a mockery of those who think that we are all equal. Not so. Given an equal opportunity of succeeding at something great, there will still be others who will be better than you and of course those who will also achieve  lesser results. Whether you choose to believe in the absolutely equality of mankind, that’s your choice, but for me, it’s about trying, but not necessarily achieving. Win and/or fail, that’s the stark reality of competing and the sooner we teach our kids that life is unfair and unequal, the sooner they will accept their limitations and be happier bunnies. We are not all destined to become Prime Minister, Chefs, Teachers, Formula 1 and MotoGP Champions.

Equality is only in the eyes of God. In human terms, we are not equal at all and never will be. No matter what politicians and those liberal, Guardian reading, middle-class educationalists tell you.

So, there I was on a Friday afternoon in Helmsley, face to face with Nick Gilroy, a complete, stranger standing next to his BMW GS1200 and I was telling him about my recent trip to Australia. I had just returned from a biking tour of Queensland and was pretty chuffed about my experiences. Oi!Oi!Oi! What a country and what rides! They were awesome and challenging. 

And, then he pulls out a book, aptly named “Talking to Strangers” which was all about his own travels across America. Hang on. It wasn’t just about doing Route 66, which is on the bucket list of most bikers, but he had covered all the 50 States! Not just one or two, but I’ll say it again, all FIFTY! 

Stone the crows mate! I was stunned and a sense of underachievement began to creep into my psyche. I’m not normally intimidated by other people and their superior skill - after all, I had met and mingle with Ali for a month in Zaire and never once felt overwhelmed by his presence. I know it’s all relative, but this time I was seriously lost for words and wanted to end the conversation quickly, get back to my caravan and disappear. Even my John O’Groats to Land’s End trip in 2014 paled into insignificance.

However, it was not to be. Nick was one of the most humble, unassuming and modest biker I have ever met. True, he’d done America, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe and much more and was planning a trip across Canada, but he was reassuring in his demeanor and complimented me on my own experiences and my initial sense of underdevelopment as a biking adventurer quickly dissipated. 

I’ve spent enough time with bikers to know that most are self-centered individuals and all they can talk about is how fast, how clever, how far and how low they manage to get their knee down to scratch the tarmac. Not so with Nick. He was respectful of my achievements, and his own prowess was never arrogantly inflicted on me. 

Unlike some other adventurers, who shall remain nameless, he did it all without the help of sponsors or a film crew to carry his luggage for him. He did it Solo and in aid of the Wounded Warrior Project - USA & Help for Heroes - UK.

I would therefore place Nick Gilroy and his epic novel amongst the greatest adventure stories ever told. I take my hat off to him and to other bikers such as a guy called David  from North Yorkshire, who is a senior rider who with his dog Scamp and has travelled over 77,000 miles.

All bikers should buy this book and use it as an inspirational tool to get out there and live the dream.
‘TALKING TO STRANGERS’ – A motorcycle 25,500 mile solo journey through the 50 states & state capital cities of the USA is available from YPDBOOKS.COM

Thank you Nicholas. It was a pleasure. I’m sure we’ll meet again. 

www.brismoto.com.au

Arrived in Brisbane, Queensland and attending the Lions TT at Kyogle 18th Sept 2015.

Bike in use Triumph Tiger 800XCX.

 

 

UPDATE AND LATEST NEWS 05/09/2015

I am leaving for Oz on the 6th Sept to visit my favourite Uncle Yves Auguste who is not so well. I love him like a Dad and owe him, perhaps this last visit.

It's his 89th birthday on the 9th Sept.

Whilst there, I shall be attending the Lions TT meeting in Kyogle and also do some riding around Queensland with my new friends from Brismoto Adventure in Brisbane. 

My chosen bike is the Triumph Tiger 800 and I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares to my Honda CBR. 

I've been 'Down Under' many times over the past 10 years and they have the added advantage of also driving on the same side of the road as in the UK. I should feel right at home on the bike.

I will take this opportunity to fly the flag for Prostate Cancer UK by wearing their official T-Shirt and hopefully meeting up with local cancer groups.

Prostate Cancer is a worldwide problem and it will also be interesting to see how the people of Oz deal with their own men's issues. 

G'day

 

justgiving