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.

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