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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.