In the beginning, I had a red motorcycle. It was plastic, with a silver painted headlight and engine. I can’t remember if it was leg or pedal-powered, but in my five year old mind it was the best, the genesis of my riding career. From the verandahs of the family home to the touring roads of the future, motorcycles have been in my blood.
There is something empowering about motorcycles. It’s not so much the sound of the engine, or the appearance, but more the way your arms stretch out and your legs sit just so. The lack of metal enclosures and the wide open spaces engender not only empowerment, but freedom and escape.
The graduation to larger bikes came swiftly, and for me there were no lessons or L plates or watchful instructors. My brother told me that there’s the brake and throttle and there’s the clutch and those down there are the gears, and you just let the clutch out slowly and pull the throttle towards you. Soon got the hang of it, but I had no idea how to turn the confounded thing off at the end of a ride. Stalling it worked, until I learned about “neutral” and “switching it off”. In western Queensland, we honed our motorcycling skills chasing sheep through thick scrub and roadless paddocks. It was an idyllic childhood, but that’s another story.
It was in adulthood, and two bikes later, that the touring began. There’s a fading picture of my first long road trip – Sydney to Roma, Queensland, which I will attempt to upload despite miniscule technological know-how.
I suppose the seeds of this trip were sown years ago and in another lifetime, when I flew over the Canadian Rockies. They seemed to go on forever, and I remember thinking how cool it would be to ride a motorcycle through there some day. Then, more recently, I read this forum and became increasingly inspired by stories of people who rode from the US to Canada and Alaska. It just so happened I was due for mega holidays, so got a second job and over the following two years researched, worked two jobs and, for once, saved some money.
The bike of choice is one popularly ridden by people doing these kinds of trips, which I purchased in August 2009. Here it is:
We’re not getting to my 3 Oceans Tour any faster, but I needed to set the scene. I have a problem with blogs, because you don’t get a beginning, middle and an end in one go, like normal stories. Also, they’re in reverse chronological order, which kind of twists the hemispheres of my brain around. So, whilst this is not a genre with which I’m familiar, so many people have nagged about doing a blog that I finally folded under the pressure. It might not be perfect, and alas the words are not flowing like they usually seem to, but here it is, if you’re interested.