Sunday, December 30, 2012

Where have all the tourists gone?

Things are very quiet in Melbourne right now. Maybe its the economic climate, or that people aren't travelling from the USA or Europe in as greater numbers as in the past. I wish I knew why more people aren't coming out for a Harley Ride with us.

The most common question I get asked when someone is sitting on the back of my Harley Davidson (a 2012 Heritage Softail BTW) is, "How many time a week do you take people for a ride John?" My answer is, "Not that often actually. If I was in this business for the money, then  I would have quit years ago." Interestingly, one of my peers in the Harley Rides industry just quit and stopped doing rides because he wasn't making any money doing it......

My situation differs a little from most. I have no debts and as a retired Army Officer I have a military pension that gives me more flexibility than most. For me riding a motorcycle is my passion. There is just nothing else that I would rather do - so taking people out for motorcycle joyrides is it : )

Maybe, its the cost of the ride. I'm the first to admit that its not cheap to come out for a ride with us. But, interestingly its been almost 3 years since we last raised our prices. If anything we have stayed a little behind inflation prices or the cost of living increases. Maintaining a Harley Davidson motorcycle is not cheap - and I am a stickler for keeping my bike in great condition (so it doesn't let me down at the most embarrassing time, like in the middle of a ride). Some of my peers in the Harley Rides industry service their own bikes to save money. Several own very old bikes to save money. So competing on price is not easy.

Or is it the Public Perception of the Motorcycle? According to certain Government Agencies, like the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), riding on a motorcycle is a very risky business. According to them if you get on a motorcycle you are guaranteed to have a accident. I haven't had an accident for over 30 years on my motorcycle. In fact I am highly aware of what to avoid and how to stay out of trouble whenever I am on my bike. In fact I am paranoid about making a mistake that will result in getting my bike scratched. If anything, sitting on the back of my motorcycle as a passenger is far safer that being in a bus or taxi or hire car in my biased opinion.

Is a fear of motorcycles stopping people from coming out for a ride with us? Many rides are a surprise for the person we are taking out. These rides are often booked as a surprise gift for their birthday, anniversary, fathers day or mothers day, even on their wedding day. The responses we get are diverse, and the frequent response is immediate apprehension - usually goaded by their friends with silly remarks like, "Now, don't fall off", said with a big smile and accompanying laughter.

After a person has been been sitting on the bike and have moved off, their apprehension quickly evaporates. I make a point of explaining why the bike stays upright when we are in motion, and demonstrate the physics that make it difficult to fall off the bike - unless we are stationary - or something hits us (which is very unlikely as long as I am in control).

By the end of the ride, our passengers have a new perspective as to why I ride a motorcycle - which as someone I know declares, "Is the most fun thing you can ever do." It is an addiction. I know the risks and I know how to manage them - I just wish people understood that fact.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Motorcycle Converts on Youtube

Most people have a negative attitude to motorcycles. Many think that as soon as you get on one that they will fall off, and that they need to cling on tight. Many are surprised to discover that their perceptions are 100% wrong after going for a Harley Ride as a pillion passenger. Yes, if you want to convert that someone you love to your way of thinking about motorcycles then give them an hour with us and we guarantee that we will change their minds, and that they will want you to get one - very soon!
The best way to do it is to organise a surprise Harley Ride, that way they won't have to think about it. If they have to think about it, then they will come up with 1000 excuses to get out of going. If its a surprise, then we don't give them time to think about it, and before they know it we rid them of their negative perceptions as we demonstrate why they can't fall off a moving motorbike, why there is nothing dangerous about an "inanimate piece of metal" and that staying out of the way of cars is easier on a motorcycle, that compared to driving a car (where the driver is actually almost blind to what is around them - i.e. they have many blind spots, on a motorcycle you have none).

Youtube Harley Rides on New Year's Eve

What do you do to make New Year's Eve just a little bit different? Organise a Harley Ride for your guests attending your themed party is one option chosen by one of our customers to celebrate the end of 2011 last year.

Or to waste a little time before the big night, on a visit to Melbourne two girls chose to take a ride to start their big day off, before partying the night away.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Down the Great Ocean Road on a Harley Davidson

What many people don't recognise is the fact that the Great Ocean Road needs to be experienced, and the best way to experience the Great ocean Road is by riding as a passenger on a Harley Davidson on a Harley Ride.

"But, I don't think I could take sitting on the back of a bike all day," I hear you say? Well, we don't actually ride continuously for hours at a time. we actually ride for an hour, stop relax, ride for another hour, stop relax have lunch etc. The experience comes from sitting on the back of the bike as a passenger and taking in all the views - which you wouldn't see from inside a tourist bus. Get it? You see everything, and we don't need to stop. Add the feeling you get from being on a Harley Davidson, the feel of the wind in your face, the looks of envy from other road users and you should soon understand why this is something that need's to be taken off one's Bucket List : )

Tanya's Harley Davidson Ride

As a reward for good work, Tanya was given a Harley Ride by her employer. The ride was for two people, so she took her partner out for the ride with us. This is but one of the many types of ride that we do. Staff rewards in the form of a Harley Ride are something that always goes down well.

On this occasion the ride started and finished in Williamstown. Lasting for an hour we went over the West gate Bridge to St Kilda and back.