Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Xmas Toy Ride - 2005

All year long we pass each other like ships in the night - not a nod, wink or a glance gets exchanged. But on that one day in December, the Geelong Harley Owners Group welcomes bikes of all makes and sizes to ride with them in the annual Xmas Toy Ride.
It’s a great event and to see those bikes laden with toys makes you feel very privileged to belong to this very unique group of people. Credit must be given to the Geelong Chapter of HOG for their great enthusiasm and the organisation and effort involved in this great event.

As we lined up in Mercer Street it was eerie to see all the Triumphs that had come out of the woodwork – where had they all come from? The Triumph brand had the second largest display of bikes after Harley and yet only a small number of those were from the Geelong Group. Somehow it made us think about the Triumph RAT ideology - maybe we’re the last of a dying breed!
The loudhailer called us all to attention and gave us a quick briefing & an order to fire up our bikes & get on the starting grid. The noise of those Harleys firing up always makes the hairs stand and we were quickly jostling for position.
Then just as they do in the marathons - we were off! As we thundered thorough the centre of Geelong the Xmas shopping stopped briefly as traders and shoppers alike stopped to recognise the efforts of this mighty charitable machine.
Portarlington was our first stop and as we snaked our way through the suburbs on the way the support from the community on the road sides was inspiring. Families waved and clapped as we passed by – some even holding out toys for us to add to our collection. A shady tree was found for our first stop at Portarlington.

It must be the only time of the year that The Rebels and The Black Uhlans can be seen drinking in the same pub less than a few feet away from one another!

A short break and then it was off again around the Bellarine Peninsula and on to Queenscliff for lunch. Bruce was riding his Harley and was spotted at one of the roundabouts clearing the path for the procession of bikes. I don’t think many car drivers would want to try and get past him!
As we rode into Queenscliff it was heart-warming to see all the kids from “Cottage By the Sea” on the roadside excitedly waving and showing support. They were getting a preview of some of the toys & gifts they would be receiving from Santa! After all, how else would they get them if Santa’s little (some big ones too) helpers weren’t riding along giving him a hand! Only difference is – these reindeers have two wheels!
The Geelong Triumphs quickly found another shady tree and set up camp.
Walking around it was great to see some old faces.There was no luck in the ticket raffle and after a quick bite to eat we were off again – back to Geelong via Ocean Grove & Barwon Heads. As the Trumps pulled out through a back entrance we ended up merging with the leaders of the Toy Ride. There we were in the middle of a HOG Chapter with the Harleys and Triumphs riding side by side – a line of Harleys on the left and Triumphs on the right!

Back in Geelong the Trumps departed to their usual meeting place at the Wharfshed while the Harleys kept going to the Charles Hotham Hotel.
It was a relaxing end to the day, sitting outside the Wharfshed Cafe with drinks and good food, reflecting on the ways of the world and Triumph RAT - the Harley Owners Groups had given us an eye opener.

Maybe it was the sun, the heat of the day, fatigue or maybe the emotions stirred up on the ride, but the same question was on many minds… this blonde waitress chick ain’t really gonna take up Paul’s offer is she…!
Oh and one other thing I almost forgot – PJ came up with a great idea for raising money for charity next year – a nude calendar. So 12 willing participants required – better start pumping!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Last Official Ride Day for 2005

There was a good turnout for the last official ride of 2005 with 13 of us rocking up at the Wharfshed on 10 bikes. It was great to see Ollie come along and even better when he set the agenda for the day with the suggestion of a ride to Apollo Bay for lunch via Forrest and the Otway Ranges.

It was a beautiful day – what more could we want for the last ride of the year. Getting out of Geelong had its usual hazards and the traffic lights were unkind to the few at the back of the group.

But a quick squirt through Ceres and we were back as a group heading into Moriac and well on our way. Approaching Deans Marsh the view of Martians Café and the mention of the word coffee had a couple of the addicts trembling but we persisted and with great strength dragged ourself onward towards Forrest and on through the Otway Ranges to Wye River and Apollo bay.
With the police 4x4 pulled up on the roadside at Forrest the group kept a steady pace through the town and it was lucky as a few of the keen eyed among us spotted a cash camera just out of town.
We descend through the forests of gum trees and tree ferns to the blue/green waters of Bass Straits and everyone looks knackered when we pull up on the roadside. The road down through the Otways is twisty and looks exciting but we found the surface very unpredictable and on some corners dangerous with corrugation and raised bitumen.

Being driven bonkers by flies we quickly remounted and rode into Apollo Bay for a coffee stop & thoughts of Lavers Hill for lunch. The coffee was good and the fags were flowing! Cheryl had to be warned about the influence of the menthol smoking threesome and to be careful they didn’t get her to start smoking too! A spit of rain and a quick decision was made – back to Deans Marsh and our favourite café for lunch – good ole Martians!

The road from Apollo Bay to Lorne is one of the best stretches and especially since they have laid new bitumen approaching Lorne. Everyone enjoyed a brisk ride along the coast and back up through the Otways to Deans Marsh with only brief shower that barely wet the visor.

The food was good at Martians and we were all relaxed until suddenly we were hit with a huge squall that felt like it was going to rip the tin roof off the rafters. Dust was flying everywhere, through the doors of the café knocking chairs over and sending everyone heading for cover! It ended as quickly as it arrived and as we looked out the window a miracle – good ole Trumps were still standing proud!
Some helmet damage for Pete was the only casualty we thought until Paul went to start the Thruxton! The clutch was jammed tight and there was no way the lever could be pulled in to disengage the gearbox. Something was badly wrong – but the bike hadn’t moved off its side stand!
After much debating Charlie’s business card was produced (Turn One Motorcycles) – who else could help in this situation on a Sunday afternoon?

A quick call to his mobile and Charlie gave Paul the advice he needed to get the bike back to Geelong. Everyone was well impressed with the service from Charlie and I think he’s just won over another few customers!

So that was it for 2005. Another great days riding with awesome company – we all look forward to an even more exciting 2006 starting with the trip at the end of February to the East Coast and Alpine region. Then who knows – Isle of Man TT races 100th anniversary trip in 2007 maybe!!

Might see you at the Geelong Xmas Toy Ride on Sunday 11th December 05

Monday, December 05, 2005

Xmas Toy Run Update from Bruce

The Geelong Xmas Toy Run is organised by the Geelong Harley Owners Group and is being held next Sunday 11th December 2005.

Details as follows:

Leaving Geelong at 10.30 from Geelong Harley-Davidson, 72 Mercer Street, Geelong then follow the following route:

  1. Portarlington 11am to 11.30am
  2. Lunch at Queenscliff Foreshore Noon to 1.00pm
  3. Then via Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads arriving at the Sir Charles Hotham Hotel, 3 Brougham Street approx 2.30pm

Toy badges $10

Toys and Food will be collected and distributed to:

  • Geelong Hospital Children’s Ward
  • Bethany Family Services
  • The Wishing Tree at K-Mart
  • Local Geelong Charities

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Apollo Bay Trip - Update by Tina & Graeme

Not a lot to report about Apollo Bay except to say that it was a very relaxing time.

There was Tina and Graeme, Leonie and Murray, Janine and Leroy, Malcom, Sam and John.
John was the "hostess with the mostess" making us feel comfortable and organizing all the sleeping arrangments.
The only incident of the week-end was coming home when we came across some tourists blocking the Great Ocean Road just before Lorne. They had decided to stop and look at a koala on the side of the road - Graeme, Malcolm and Janine all had to dodge these wallies by going on the gravel but Janine fixed their little red wagon by telling them what she thought of them.
We turned off just after Lorne and stopped at Deans Marsh for a well earned coffee. John kept us entertained with his knowlegde of the local area and Graeme kept us entertained with his snoring. Leroy kept us entertained with his strip show.