ALBANY VINTAGE & CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE CLUB

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June 2007 Club News

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Inaugural Old Bike Ride

By Raelene Blake

It was an eager and excited group of riders that gathered on Saturday 14th April for the first AVCMC “Old Bike Ride”. All looking forward to a week of riding their beloved old bikes, not anticipating any breakdowns, testament to this, were the 3 backup vehicles!Old bikes at Leeuwin Lighthouse

On arrival in Denmark, we were joined by Mike & Gloria Hyland with their 1956 BSA B31 also trailering to Pemberton. With an uneventful start to our trip, everyone headed off for the next stop, lunch at Walpole. Lunch & coffees finished, bikes were checked over & “nuts tightened”, Northcliffe was to be the next rendezvous.

Twenty minutes later we had our first casualty. Garry had been tightening nuts & bolts at each stop but his bike had developed an “unfamiliar “noise! We stopped & investigated and found the engine mounting bolt had lost its retaining nut, so to be safe we loaded the Ariel into the trailer and continued on.

We regrouped at the turnoff to Northcliffe. Bob & Chris’s grandchildren, Zak & Hannah, put on their “leathers” and helmets & cuddled up in Bob’s sidecar for the remaining 24 kilometers of the journey to Northcliffe. There were ice creams all round on arrival.

The ever-resourceful Bob enquired at the shop whether there was anyone in the town that had old bikes and would you believe it, they gave him the name of a regular “just around the corner” who was able to help with the nut that Garry had lost! He also had the screw missing from the dynamo, which he very kindly removed from a bike he had in the shed. Country hospitality doesn’t get much better than that!

We booked into the Pemberton Caravan Park mid-afternoon. Everyone proceeded to set up their tents and get organized for an evening of relaxation. Mike & Gloria, Jan & John went on to stay with Mike & Gloria’s daughter Gail, who has an avocado farm out of Pemberton.  We all enjoyed a BBQ for dinner & retired early.

Clive shared his latest camping innovation with us before retiring. He has a “golden cup” and it stops him having to get out of the tent during the night. We all decided to give his tent a wide berth if walking around the camp site after lights out.

The heavens opened during the night and Pemberton had a downfall of approximately 36mm of rain during the night. Consequently the camping ground was very wet in the morning. Reg & his son Dave had placed their tent in the path of the run-off and all their gear was totally waterlogged. They booked into a cabin to try and dry things out but their spirits were totally dampened and they headed for home Monday morning.

Jan & John had also had a few leaks in their camper during the night and had a very wet mattress, so also headed for home, as did Mary & Bob Sutcliffe who had ridden from Boyup Brook on their sidecar to join us but encountered a lot of rain on the way and were very waterlogged.

We discovered an undercover area near the BBQ’s on Sunday morning, a great place to get together. The boys had other ideas and thought it looked a great place to park their bikes out of the rain! We had exciting news when we awoke on Sunday morning: Clive was a grandfather! Of course he “took it all in his stride” but there was a definite air of excitement about the arrival of little Henry Smith.

Garry’s bike repairs were on the agenda and the brains trust gathered around to lend a helping hand to play with his nuts and put some air put in the back tyre, which seemed to be going down slowly. By mid morning it looked like the rain had eased so the consensus was to go for a short ride. Mike’s daughter led the way in her car along some lovely winding scenic roads. No sooner had we left and the rain started again and didn’t ease up. Betty, Chris & I were very snug in the backup vehicle.

Matt, Alex, Zak & Hannah made a wise choice to take a trip on the tram for a scenic ride through the forest.
Everyone had a lazy remainder of the day, then celebrated Matt’s birthday with coffee and delicious fruit cake courtesy of Alex. You will know what Matt got for his birthday when you see him riding on the next club ride! Very nice too.

Later that afternoon, the bikes were moved out of the “camper’s kitchen” to make room for everyone to sit around for drinks & nibbles in front of the fire we had got going. Clive kept us entertained with some of his great jokes. One in particular captivated Zak & Hannah’s attention. It was Red Riding Hood with an untraditional ending. Hopefully Zak won’t remember it for pre-school news! (Yes he did - Bob.)

Monday morning and Alex and Matt had to head back to Albany. Garry’s Ariel was back on the trailer as the back tyre definitely had a leak and it was decided to sort it out on arrival in Margaret River. Bob Jackson had been phoned to please collect a new tube for Garry’s bike and see if Ronnie and Antoinet’s tent had arrived at the camping shop as their zip had broken on their old one. Big thanks to Bob.

Twenty kms from Pemberton heading towards Nannup for morning tea, Des had broken down. Clive stopped and helped Des unload his gear from the ute, load the bike, reload the gear!

After leaving Nannup, we came across Chris on the side of the road at Alexander Bridge, our next stop. She couldn’t get her bike to change down gear, Bob got on & of course it went fine, so we gave the bridge a miss and continued on. Des wasn’t too happy as he had spent many hours getting his bike ready. But as always with so many willing helpers a solution wasn’t far away.

We arrived at Margaret River Caravan Park and set up the tents and settled into cabins. Jan, Colin, Yvonne, and Bob with ALL the shopping he had done were there waiting for us, while Ronnie and Antoinet got working and set up their new tent. Nigel Jefford who lives in Margaret River and is a club member kindly offered his workshop complete with bike hoist for anyone’s use.

It was definitely in demand! First up was Garry’s Ariel to have the tube fitted. Should have been a simple job with the brains trust in attendance but it wasn’t to be. . . and the job was completed next morning and the nuts were all tightened again!

Next up was Des’s DKW, part of the contact points  assembly had broken, Nigel suggested he take it to Brasso’s motorcycle repair shop. They very kindly did the job and it was ready next morning, they had refitted the points and timed it for him - great service.

Some of the ladies went into town for coffee and a very speedy look around the shops, when the news was received that all repairs were complete. We were to meet at Nigel’s and then he would lead the way to Augusta.

We took the lovely scenic drive to the lighthouse, had photos taken by locals & tourists and then headed back into town to the bakery with a reputation for great food, it lived up to it and we sat on the deck and enjoyed pies, cakes and coffee.

We then headed back to Margaret River on the old coast road. At the Hamelin Bay intersection Chris encountered the same problem with her Sunbeam, she couldn’t change gears! Once again Bob got on the bike and all was well. Mmmmmmmm.

Back to Nigel’s workshop again! Once again the “brains trust” was in full flight and within minutes of being on the hoist the gear box was in a 100 pieces. With many ideas flowing and a can or two, no solution had been reached and they were all prised from the shed to return to the problem in the morning.

Nigel and his wife Willy had kindly invited us all for a BBQ. Donation of $5 a head. This wasn’t to be a sausage in a bun BBQ! An absolute gourmet spread had been prepared with soup & savoury bread for starters, followed by chicken, sausages, steak, salad and vegetable bake. It was delicious and a most enjoyable night. A big thank you from us all. Nigel entertained us with some favourite old songs and Bob got the guitar warmed up.

Wednesday morning and the boys were hankering to get back and solve the problem with Chris’s gear box, while the girls had a leisurely morning having coffee & shopping and taking coffees back to the workers.

Problem solved, the spring was broken in the gear box. A new one was manufactured out of a bandsaw blade (looked as good as a bought one!) and by 12:15 Chris’ bike was back on the road! The plan was to meet at the Bootleg Brewery for a nice relaxing lunch. Willy rode pillion with Nigel and Georgie, their daughter, rode in Bob’s sidecar.

The brewery is a great spot and as the sun was shining we were able to sit outside and enjoy the warmth. The meals were excellent and everyone tried one of the locally brewed beers, regretting having to limit themselves to one.

Then it was off to Simmos ice cream factory via Canal Rocks, a very convoluted trip for some, with the moral of the story being, “wait on the corner”, I think that’s a song!

Betty and I were in the back-up vehicle and saw a lot more of the countryside than anyone else on this particular day. They were a difficult group to keep together . . . it must have been the sunshine, they were very free-spirited and going in all directions.

The ice-creams went down really well when we finally found Simmos and then it was back to Margaret River. Georgie, in Bob’s sidecar, was fast asleep on return, but seemed to have enjoyed her ride. She looked gorgeous in her little biker jacket too.

Jan and Yvonne had gone bargain hunting to the many local galleries today but to the great relief of Bob & Colin there were no bargains to be found this trip. Everyone gathered in Des and Betty’s cabin for a drink and to discuss plans for our departure Thursday morning.

When it came time to leave the caravan park, Bob needed a push to get the BMW going, the big strong Harley rider came to his rescue and wasn’t going to let Bob forget it!

We called past to collect Nigel, as he was riding with us to Busselton. First stop though was Terry Germaine’s “Aladdin’s cave” of bike parts and bikes. Money quickly changed hands on arrival as he had parts that were being sought after by some of the riders on this trip.

Terry had coffee and biscuits for us and we had a great time looking around. He has a fascinating place with endless sheds and a bunker that houses his restoration projects. Ronnie purchased two wooden wheels that he assured us is the start to the bike he is building for Antoinet, will we see you on the next ladies ride Antoinet?

After we all dragged ourselves away from Terry’s we went on the short distance to Busselton and down to the beach for lunch. Bob was waiting in line for coffee and observed a little boy staring intently at him, he then announced to Bob that “he was going to grow a beard like that when he got old! “

Well Bob has just had a birthday but we’re wondering just how old his little idol thought he was! We decided to take the coastal road when we left Busselton and travel through the Tuart forrest. This is a beautiful drive and ride and the weather was perfect.

Andrew had a couple of short stops, but repairs were soon carried out and we all regrouped at the turn off to Capel where Betty and Garry had befriended and were being nuzzled by some horses grazing in a neighboring paddock.

Next stop was Balingup for coffee, then on to Nannup. This is a lovely ride along the river and there were a few kangaroos out as usual on this road. Garry thought he may need two knee replacements by the time he reached Nannup as the road is very rough and the Ariel not very forgiving.

Nannup has a great camping ground and everyone set up camp and settled into cabins and vans etc. The camper’s kitchen was a great asset and we had soon made ourselves at home, ready for a relaxing night. Bob got his guitar out and entertained us all evening with some great old favourites and there was no shortage of back-up vocalists to accompany him.

Bob got his revenge on the the gloating big strong Harley rider and sang him a love song! Friday was a lazy day to go for a ride, wander around the town or whatever took your fancy. Wendy decided to learn to ride Andrew's BMW 250cc. This was a very brave thing to do, as there were at least 6 onlookers at any one time.

She did brilliantly and was only seen doing one wheelstand when Andrew was looking the other way! Andrew got his exercise running alongside Wendy giving her instructions. Des & Betty had booked an onsite van at Nannup but after just a few hours Des had decided that having to remember the code to access the ablution block was definitely NOT ON so I think they will be booking a cabin in future!

Friday night was quiz night. This had been prepared by Jan and John, who unfortunately had to return home but can be assured it went very well, with not too much dissension and our quiz masters Gloria and Mike managing to keep everyone in control. Andrew and Wendy were the winners with Ronnie and Antoinet claiming the wooden spoon. (I think this position would have been closely contested).

Saturday morning and it was time to pack up and head home. We were going to Boyup Brook, as Bob and Mary had invited us all for morning tea. We arrived at 10.30am and had a tour of their lovely new home and Bob’s sheds followed by morning tea. They had been working very hard and had made an amazing transformation to the house and the garden in the 9 months since they moved in. It looked wonderful.

On leaving Boyup Brook, we headed to Frankland River. This road is sealed and a great road for bike riding. Kathy and Glen at the service station had stayed open for us to get lunch and fuel for anyone that needed it.

On our arrival in Mt Barker, the force was out and we were all breathalised. No one was reading over the limit of course, so it was on to the service station and by this time Clive was getting very eager to get back to Albany and see his new grandson so we sent him on his way.

I think everyone felt the “Old Bike Ride” was very successful and will be eagerly getting their bikes ready to do it again next year.

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