This is something I wrote for Bike Rider Magazine about a recent fun event I organised. “They’re nothing but blue smoke and pedals!” would have been an oft-uttered refrain In the 1950s by riders of ‘proper’ bikes when disparagingly referring to the spindly two-wheeled devices ridden by the less-than-affluent.
Dear, dear me, what a torturous path all our lives have led over the last couple of years. Reading my last ‘Journey’ blog … which was way back in August 2021, I note that I’d already given up on a raft of exciting plans but still had an adventure in the wings which was exciting me. So how did that pan out?
When in doubt – zig zag! Sometimes you do have abandon a dream when the reality sinks in that the stars are just not aligning. The Covid world we now live in is impacting on all of us, often directing our aspirations in directions not previously considered. My riding around Australia on Penelope was to come to a wonderful climax in October and November 2021. The timing was such that I was going to be able to progressively attend the Australian MotoGP at Phillip Island, be part of grandson Arthur's seventh birthday celebrations, attend the Australian Panther Owners' rally near Bendigo, before going to Tasmania to explore and hopefully track down The Plastics (Mark and Pete) who featured so prominently in our No One Said It Would Be Easy saga of 45 years ago.
It is not often that the arrival of a bill is good news. Not usually a moment to savour or celebrate. However, let me share my joy. My next book to be released records the re-enactment of Robert Pirsig’s 1968 ride across the northern states of the US that spawned his best-selling book ‘Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. After sourcing the correct period Honda and BMW motorbikes my little crew of daughter Kitty and mate Myles did our best to follow in the wheel tracks of our predecessors and put down our experiences and thoughts. Trying to marry Pirsig’s deep-and-meaningful thoughts, which through his alter-ego Phaedrus challenged thinking back to Socrates, and my often shallow and immature ones was difficult. Clearly he had a lot to say and much of it is very interesting.
It’s a funny old time. The world is in the grip of a pandemic which has been affecting us all in different and often very personal ways. Some countries have gone brutally hard through having authoritarian regimes demand compliance to restrictive protocols.
It is always prudent to reflect when you suffer a reversal on your ‘pathway’. Is it really that bad? Do you still have your health? Can you picture people in worse situations? … and always you can.
Back in December, I announced that my little publishing initiative would be producing George Lockyer’s book Tales and Trails Down Under, a typically-superb account of his ride around Australia interviewing interesting people. It has been a head-wind ever since.
The gestation has been bumpy and the birth timing appalling, but Kahuku Publishing is proud to announce the arrival of not one but two publications. Due to the intrusion of the Covid 19 coronavirus, at this point in time both will be available as ebooks only.
Every year, at the beginning of January, the Nelson Classic Motorcycle Club in New Zealand puts on a two-day show in the Stoke Community Hall. This is always an interesting presentation of club-members’ bikes. I’ve been to a few over the years and never has the content been the same as the previous year. The organising committee makes an effort to maintain that variety.
I reckon Kahuku has landed the big one here. Well-known and respected motorcycling writer George Lockyer has decided that his third book should be under our wing. How great is that?
Wow, so what a day! The weather Goddess was extremely kind and the day was a stunner. Ultimately 55 motos lined up in our top paddock for the ride-in motorcycle show. BMWs bumbled in … in their inimitable way. Several Triumphs rattled in, with their tappets gently clattering, three Honda CT110 ‘Postie’ bikes and two mopeds (Mobylette and DKW Hummel) upheld the ‘tiddlers’ reputation.
The title of my book is proving to be an apt description of the publication pathway. There have been so many minor hurdles and issues to solve, the latest being neither the books nor the beer turning up when they should.
Recently, I and my mostly-faithful 1965 Panther M120 Penelope completed a circumambulation of Australia ... or as the Aussies say "A full lap". This was done over a period of four years, usually in either the spring or winter.
A rambling summary of the last week
My journey to the publication of No One Said It Would Be Easy has been almost as exciting as the journey itself and now as the book is being released around the world, Penelope, Steph and I are once more thudding our way through an adventure, just as we did in 1977.