Friday, December 01, 2006

Harley Rides Video

People sometimes hav a hard time coming to grips with exactly what it is that we do. Quite often they confuse our service with Motorcycle Hire, where they actually ride the bike. But, that's not what we do. When you go on a Harley Ride, you are the passenger - we do the riding - you don't need a motorcycle licence - you don't even need any prior experience (in fact the ones who have never sat on the back of a motorcycle before make the best passengers!).

We hope you enjoy this video clip:

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Manx Radio Interview

One of the many things we do is to get involved doing work for Tourism Victoria as part of their Visiting Jounalists Program.
This week we had the pleasure of taking the Crew from Manx Radio out for a ride around Melbourne.
Producer Alex Brindley sat on the back of my bike and interviewed me as we rode along.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Summer is on the Way

Things are starting to heat up, and I'm not just talking about the weather here in Melbourne. I'm talking about how the demand for Harley Rides starts to build at this time of year.

As always, there is one weekend every December when the supply of Sidecars runs dry. This year that weekend is the 3rd and 4th December. This is the weekend when all the Corporates hold their Family Christmas parties. I have already had to reject a few bookings - even after trying a few avenues.

The first weekend in November always sees us at the Whittlesea Show. This year the weather was perfect, as we got rained out two years ago and it wasn't much better last year, and we were flat out on both days.

Last weekend saw us at the first of this years Family Chistmas Parties and the following day I spent six hours doing rides with my sidecar at a local School Fete.

On Monday we had the pleasure of taking two very nice people from Cornwall out for a 5 hour Tour of the Yarra Valley Wineries. The weather was a little inclement - but they took it all in their stride. We managed to dodge most of the rain and all had a great time.

To top everything off, I went to the Billy Joel Concert at Rod Laver Arena last Friday night. We had the best seat in the house. My life is now complete.....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Get Noticed?

One of my other passions, when not taking people for a Harley Ride is in the area of Motorcycle Safety and related issues. This video came to my attention yesterday and I encourage everyone to have a look at it. You can view it at:

Its always a pleasure to share ones's love of motorcycles with others - especially when they are in the planning stages decidinh how to get started and which bike they should get. I had just that experience yesterday. A woman booked a 3 hour Dandenong Ranges Tour for her husbands birthday and it just so happens that, after a 20 year break, he is planning to go out and purchase a H-D as soon as he can.

Its surprising just how much you can talk to each other during a Harley Ride. I was able to give him lots of hints and tips. The important thing is to get them focussed. That is why their freinds book a Harley Ride . Got a wife who won't ket you get one? Give them just one hour with me and they will come back "demanding that you get one." Trust me, I have seen it happen all too often.

The other factor that I always stress is motorcycle safety. Its not the motorcycle which is dangerous - its what's between the ears of the person riding the motorcycle which is really dangerous. Fortunately, there is a lot of good information about for "learners" and "return to riding motorcyclists".

The best source of information can be found at . I was involved in some of the content of this site. Have a look at the Riders Hints and Tips - I have two articles published.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What a Week!

Thank god its Monday! As the weather starts to warm here in Melbourne, the workload soon heats up and demand for Harley Rides begins in earnest.
This past week has certainly proven that year in year out the story remains the same.
Just to give you some idea of what we get up to, I'll detail several of the rides underatken over the last week:

On Thursday, we took two girls for a half day ride up into the Yarra Valley. It was for a 25th Birthday surprise gift, which certainly made its impact. First we rode from Cheltenham out to Emerald and then on to Healesville where we stopped for a coffe break. Needless to say the girls certainly had a big smile on their faces when we stopped. My passenger kept saying, "How cool is this!". Yes, we get paid to make people happy.

On Friday, it was off down the Great Ocean Road to Apollo Bay. This stretch of road never gets boring and is always spectacular. The weather was magnificent and there wasn't much traffic on the road, so we didn't get held up. But, we also didn't break any speed limits, this is a treacherous piece of winding road which I treat with considerable respect. But, I do love it...

The weekend saw me working with my sidecar at the Stringybark Festival. October is "Festival Season" in Melbourne. Here I was taking people - 3 at a time - kids and their parents mainly - for short rides. It was round and round the same circuit for two long days. On Saturday I did 40 laps and on Sunday I did over 55 laps. Needless to say there were many photos taken and many smiles all round. On Sunday night I went to bed very early - pushing a sidecar around all weekend is exhausting...

On Monday morning I took my bike in for a service. The service interval is 8000 km and I like to make sure that my bike is kept in perfect condition - I can't afford to have it break down - so I look after it. After all it is my "tool of trade". The bike goes in for a service about every 6 weeks and I cover around 60,000 kms each year. I'll be replacing this one with a new one at the end of next year!

While the bike was being serviced, I received a call from a girl who wanted to give a friend a surprise ride. She decided that she need to do it that afternoon. She even came in and paid me at the dealership where my bike was being serviced and off I went to end the day by making another woman happy..... Its a hard life!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Visions of Melbourne

I stumbled over an excellent Video Page on the Visit Victoria web site the other day.

It contains four magnificent Video Clips that showcase magnificent Melbourne.

Group Rides - Incentive Rewards

We frequently get asked top take large groups for a Harley Ride and as can be seen from this photograph, these can involve quite a few bikes.

On this occassion we picked the group up from the Crown Promenade Hotel in downtown Melbourne and transported them out to the Calder Thunderdome, where they were scheduled to spend the afternoon driving Nascars at high speed around the dome.

This group was part of an Incentive/Reward activity organized by their parent company, and one similar to which we are often called to be part of.

What better way to get your staff excited. It is always a surprise and it is always a hit!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Fathers' Day

The weather in Melbourne has been perfect over the last week and the demand for Harley Rides on Father's Day for this year, 3rd September 2006, as a consequence was high. But, then as Sunday dawned the weather deteriorated and it looked like it was going to be a wet day.

Our first customers took it all in their stride as we kitted them out in "head to toe" protective gear that included the obligatory windproof/waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers. We did strike a couple of showers along the way, but at the end of the hour they were dry and had hardly noticed the rain.

The next booking saw Melbourne's weather change for the better - the sun came out! Good old Melbourne - four seasons in one day. It stayed like this for much of the rest of the day. Quite enjoyable really.

But, as fate would have it Melbourne's weather had a sting in its tail. The last booking fort the day, pick up at 5.15pm - weather still looking OK. As we headed towards the Westgate Bridge I could see a band of dark clouds off to the southwest. Then as we rode up onto the bridge, the rain set in. Thankfully, I had remembered to fit a screen to my bike as I left home at 8am, as now it was providing excellent protection from the rain - which is something like having someone throw gravel at you as you ride into it.

I turned to mention the weather to my passenger, and to my surprise he exclaimed that he couldn't care less and was enjoying the experience. Anyway, I was dropping him back home and he could change clothes there.... Hmm, I think to myself, before the ride they panic about the rain, but when we get hit by the rain in the middle of the ride it just doesn't bother them.

Rain can cost a lost booking when it threatens, but strangely when it hits without warning the customer doesn't notice it. People - its why I love what I do....

Monday, August 21, 2006

The guy sitting on the bike in this photo is a big TV Star in Malaysia

Possibly one of the best things about introducing someone to the joy of riding as a pillion on the back of a Harley Davidson is the people you meet. Most are quite often amazed to find out how easy it is to talk with each other as we cruise around Melbourne.
I have met some very interesting people over the years. Its fascinating to get to know people and find out about what they do for a living and a little about where they live. If you are a "people
person" then, as the rider/chauffeur, taking someone for a Harley Ride becomes a very rewarding experience - and it adds to the level of enjoyment gained by one's passenger.
Occassionally a booking may lead to something quite unexpected. This was what happened to me only a week or so ago. A family visiting from Northern Ireland booked me to take their oldest son out for a one hour tour. It turnes out that Drew, who made the booking, shares my love of photography. After the ride we talked at length, and have since been exchanged many photograhy tips.
I have lost count of the number of celebrities I have had on the back of my bike. Many have been from overseas, organized by Tourism Victoria for whom I do a considerable amount of Familiarizion Rides, and sometimes I am quite oblivious to their fame "back home" until after I have asked a few subtle questions.
Possibly, one of the most interesting jobs I do each year is for a local television network at their annual Family Christmas Day. Its here that one sees television personalities in a different light. One well known celebrity, who shall remain nameless, runs around with a video camera. Last year I asked is he ever watch the footage he was taking. He replied, "Not really, but it will be good for a laugh at his 21st." All are very approachable and very friendly - certainly not anything like they appear in the press.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Too Cold to go for a Ride? You must be joking!
For some bizarre reason, winter is the time when things go quiet and I start to question my sanity as to why I operate a Harley Rides business. But, then along comes someone who isn't afraid of the cold, someone who wants to have an experience. That one person and I ventured down the Great Ocean Road together last Wednesday.
When I arrived to pick up Michele at 8.30am, the clouds to the west of Melbourne were looking pretty black. I quickly thought to myself, make sure she will be warm and keep her dry. I suggested she wear an extra jumper, pulled out the waterproof/windproof jacket and made sure she put on the pair of waterproof trousers I carry - just for such an occasion.
And I was right. No sooner had we set off than down came the rain. Not too much to be painful, but certainly enough to get one wet if they weren't properly dressed.
Fortunately, by the time we got out of Melbourne and were half way down the freeway to Geelong, the rain had stopped. The sun came out and reminded us that the experience was going to be worth the effort.
After we stopped for coffee and a relaxing leg stretch in Torquay, the Great Ocean Road demonstrated its splendor. We cruised past a crowd of tourists climbing out of a cramped bus at the Archway that marks the official start of the Great Ocean Road. I turned to Michele and remarked, "That's the boring way to see the Great Ocean Road." She responded in enthusiastic agreement. Those poor people were just missing out on seeing so much. From our vantage point on the bike, we didn't need to stop and look. Our view wasn't cramped by windows like in their bus. We could take it all in just by looking around. Needless to say, I was concentrating on where the bike was going.
The road on the other side of Lorne is my favorite part of the Great Ocean Road. Midweek, in the winter there are few cars to hold us up. No sooner have I set the bike up for one corner than the engine screams out loud as I accelerate out, ready to get set for the next. It goes on like this for the next 45mins, change down, set the speed as we go in, lean, roll through the corner, then as soon as I see a clear line out of the corner roll on the throttle, accelerate up through the gears and seconds later repeat the whole sequence over again. I am in heaven - this is why I ride.
There is a spot called "Shrapnel Gully" about half way from Lorne to Apollo Bay. There is a colony of Koalas here. We stop for a minute or two and I show Michele some Koalas in their natural habitat.
About 20 minutes later, we roll into Apollo Bay. The pub is surprisingly busy as we walk in. A guy walking down the street greets us and engages us in enthusiastic/envious conversation about what it was like to be out on the Harley that day.
Over a relaxing luck, Michele enthuses as to how lucky she has been to be able to come down the Great Oocean Road on the Harley. "I'm going to tell all my friends about this when I get back to the UK," she exclaims.
I quietly sit back and have an internal laugh. Even I enjoyed the ride. The best reward was to see the excitement in my passengers eyes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

SEEing Life Differently

Our customers are a pretty diverse bunch. Whenever I tell people about what we do, they immediately assume that only motorcycle enthusiasts would want to go for a Harley Ride. The truth is - anyone who has a motorcycle licence isn't actually in our "target market".

Take a look at this accompanying photo. Notice the number of people wearing "suits"? Would you believe that most of the people in this photo (not the tough looking ones in leather) have actually never even thought about riding or even owning a motorcycle before this photo was taken.

What we did here was to take these people outside their comfort zone. We showed them that everything they thought they knew about motorcycles up until now was wrong.

The company for who we did this job (actually for who we do many jobs) is called SEE Life Differently .

I'm constantly amazed by what People say before we take them out on one of our Harley Rides. Here are just a few classic lines (guaranteed to offend guys who have more kms and experience that you can imagine):

  1. "Do I need to hang on? I think I'm going to fall off. I'm scared." Lesson one - it is impossible to fall off a motorcycle when it is in motion. The bike leans over to counteract the effect of gravity and centrifugal force.
  2. "Are you going to kill me?" Somehow people have a strong association between motorcycles and imminent death. My answer is that I care more about scratching my bike and I don't plan to do anything that will bring me anywhere near such an experience.
  3. "How fast have you ridden this?" Actually, Harleys are designed to be ridden at legal speeds. Riding too fast means you get less attention. Personally, speed isn't something that interest me, but I can make them think I am going fast by accelerationg hard at the lights and then when I reach 60 kph I turn to them and say is that fast enough. They usually get the point by then. I really don't know how fast my bike can go - because I have never tried to push it outside what I consider to be the safe limit.
  4. "Cars must be a real problem." Well, no really. the cars are a threat that I can see - beacuase I don't have any "blindspots". I can see more than them - so I can see the danger long before its going to cause me a problem.
  5. Friends of people about to go for a ride often tell me "I know someone who died/was injured in a bike accident. I would never get on a bike." I ask them if they know someone who has had a serious car accident and ask them if they apply the same rule to car driving.

Yes, we try our hardest to make people See their lives differently. They certainly understand the significance of going for a Harley Ride, by the time we have finished with them.

You can go for a tour in a car or a bus. But you have to get out of the car or bus to see the sights. But, on a Harley Ride you don't need to stop - you can see everything. Think about it!