Thursday, December 20, 2007

Harley Rides - Our Customers

These photos come from the official collection and show the diversity of people we take out for Harley Rides and some of the other things we get called upon to do...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Great Ocean Ride

The Great Ocean Road is probably one of my personal favourite Harley Rides. Anyone who books this tour with us never fails to come away feeling that they have just completed one of the all time great experiences of their life.

Recently, a Rider Safety DVD was produced by the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council (VMAC) aimed at riders taking on the Great Ocean Road Challenge. VMAC is the body which advises the Victorian State Government on motorcycle issues. It is made up of members representing various motorcycle bodies and Victorian Government Angencies. I currently represent the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia (MRAA) at VMAC meetings which are held quarterly.

If you want to get a good idea as to what the Great Ocean Road is really like and why it is my favourite ride, I sugest that you have a look at the Great Ocean Ride video here (note it is in two parts and includes some great footage of the Great Ocean Road):

Monday, October 01, 2007

AFL Footy Show

Its the big day - the last day in September - its Grand Final time in Melbourne. Every year the Nine Network holds the last episode of their AFL Footy Show at Rod Laver Arena.

This year HD Chauffeur Ride was on to supply a Harley Davidson to take a staring role in this years Player Revue.

The bike was needed for a skit involving ex-Geelong great Billy Brownless and the theme was Meatloaf's "Bat out of Hell. Here are some pics taken during rehearsal and during the show itself:

These ones were taken during the rehearsal on Thursday morning.

These ones were taken during the show.
Here is a clip of the entire AFL Footy Show Player Revue:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

You Tube Harley Ride Video Clips

In Australia a Harley Ride means taking someone, os a pillion passenger, for a joyride on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. In Australia, we don't refer to our machines as "our ride". We go for a ride with friends, and we take people for a ride on our bikes....

In Australia, we have a Harley Rides Industry - yes, people who have never been near a motorcycle in their lives, or have never thought of owning a bike, actually pay to be given a motorcycle experience. You would be amazed at who and what we have done with our H-Ds over the years.

A complete set of Harley Ride video clips, taken over the last few years are now on You Tube. Or you can view the best of them here (please rate them for me and let me know what you think):

Here is the first video clip I produced several years ago, on a Yarra Valley Wineries Tour:

This clip was one of the first ones I did with WIN TV about our Introduction to Melbourne Tour :

You can view all the other clips Here

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Qantas Phantom Opera New Zealand Visit

New Zealand represents by far and away the largest source of Harley Ride tourist customers here in Melbourne.

Last weekend, a group of New Zealand Travel Agents visited Melbourne as part of a trip sponsored by Australia's own airline Qantas. The trip coincided with the opening of the "Phantom of the Opera" which had its opening night last week.

As part of their visit, we were called upon by Tourism Victoria to take the Kiwis for a "familiarization tour" of Melbourne. Before we took off, two of the girls demanded to have their photo taken with John. They now understand what a Harley Ride is all about, and why it is an integral element of any visit to Melbourne - not only for the excitement/pleasure, but also for the way it helps to enhance any tourist's visit to Melbourne.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It Takes Two

For the second time in just over a month, we received another request from the Seven Network to supply a H-D for their latest TV series It Takes Two.

On this occassion the bike was required for Jo Stanley and Anthony Callea .

Needless to say, John's Harley was a great hit with all the crew who remembered him from last time when he took his bike in for Dancing With The Stars.

All told the bike was required for two days. It had to be positioned on stage using a forklift.

It Takes Two is very different to Dancing With The Stars. The celebrities, all of whom were not confident singers, displayed lot's of stress. What the viewer's saw of their reactions on screen was absolutely accurate - these guy's were (to some extent) "terrified". But, as the true professionals that they are the viewer's were given a great performance.

What's it really like to be involved in something like this. Well, to find out you will need to book a Harley Ride with John and he will tell you all about it......

Here is the clip. Enjoy.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Conference Surprise

Things we sometimes do may surprise many people. One request is to ride a H-D into a Conference, with the Master of Ceremonies seated on the back. The idea is to create an atmoshere of excetiment.

Last Saturday morning John was called for yet another Grand Entrace activity. But, this time there was a twist - John would not be riding the bike. This time the rider was TV personality Larry Emdur.

John tells Larry, "Give it heaps."

The venue for the activity was the Langham Hotel in Melbourne.

We had to get the Harley in early (6.30am), because both Larry and the bike were planned as a surprise and both had to be kept out of sight.

As it turns out Larry owns his own H-D and subsequently he and John were able to share experiences as they sat out of sight as the conference attendies filed in for the breakfast session.

As a general rule, John rarely allows anyone to ride his bike, but this time he quite happily made an exception.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ride to Gene's Wedding

Gene Harris Pre Wedding Ride

One of the many types of Harley Ride requests that we get is to transport the Groom and his party to a wedding.

In this case the call came from Gene's fiance Mellani who booked five bikes to take the boys for a ride in the hour before the wedding took place. You can view the whole trip by clicking on the image above which will take you to our Picassa Album to see some photos which were taken by one of Gene's groomsmen from the back of one of our bikes.

A couple of days after the ride I received this pleasant email:

Hello John,

I would just like to thank-you and your team for looking after my Husband and crew very much on Thursday the 12th of April (Our Wedding Day).
I did not get the chance to really thank-you on the day when you introduced yourself to me, my apologies my mind was else where of course.
Gene and the guys have not stopped talking about the ride since, It was the best thing that we could have done for them to calm the nerves an hour before our wedding. It really took Gene's mind away from stressing over his family on the day, to me this was priceless.
All of the boys commented on how wonderful you were all to them on the day, how much you chilled them out and yet how professional and experienced you all are.
I just wanted to let you know how happy we all are with what you did for us at such short notice.
Now its my turn to have a ride after our baby is born. I will be calling you so that gene and I can arrange a ride with you maybe down the great ocean road once our baby is born. I can not wait.

Once again, Can not thank you and your team enough.

CHEERS!!!!!!! Would love to see you again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dancing with the Stars

The request to provide a Harley for the local Melbourne production of Dancing With The Stars came through last week. This is one of the little "strange jobs" we get called upon to perform from time to time.

But, this week it wasn't me who was going to ride the bike - I had to allow someone else to ride my pride and joy. On this occassion it wasn't too difficult as Paul Green was a very experienced rider who actually owns a Honda Gold. So, he qualifies (sort of).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Air Show Downunder

Melbourne is forever alive with Major Events.

Over the last month or so, it has been one major event after another - Formula 1 Grand Prix, FINA World Swimming Championship, the Flower Show and my all time favourite the huge Airshow Downunder Spectaucular at Avalon Airport.

I took my camera down this year - and I managed to get some great photos, which I would like to share here:

Friday, March 02, 2007

After the Corporate Conference

Yet again, we were called upon to take a Corporate Group for a Harley Ride Experience yesterday (1st March 2007).

On this occassion it was as a surprise (yet again) for a Corporate group who were attending a sales conference at the Marylands Country House in Marysville, which is located about 90 km outside Melbourne up in the High Country at the foot of Lake Mountain.

The conference organizer had secretly organized special T-Shirts and Bandanas for everyone to wear on the ride. We were aked to provide 4 sidcars for the activity which involved taking two goups out for a 45 minute spin each down via Narbethong and Buxton.

As you can see from this group photo taken at the end of the activity, the Harleys once agin proved to be a big hit.

We left the group at the In Neutral Restaurant in Marysville at aroupd 7pm. As you can see from the smiles on their faces they were looking forward to having a "big relax" after a long hard couple of days work.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Interlude with Red Balloon Days

NB Since writing this article my company has ceased its association with Red Balloon Days. Red Balloon has, in my opinion lowered its standards in its desire to provide products at a "lowest price guarantee". Some of my competitors offer a similar product, but they do so with older motorcycles and maintain lower bike maintenance standards etc. When I started with Red Balloon Days, they chose my company based on high quality. I know that they haven't checked the company who they now use or assessed that company's standards or compared them to mine. Regretably, we have therefore ceased our association.

Last night I found myself spending an evening with several of my peers in the Melbourne Adventure experiences industry at a restuarant called
Interlude .

The evening was hosted by
Red Balloon Days for whom my company supplies but one of many Pleasure Experiences.

But, before I talk about Red Balloon, I feel that I must share my Interlude Dining experiene, because you see - Interlude is just a little bit different. It is what I would describe as a fantastic Taste Experience. We sat down for a five course meal, of which each dish was something to tantalize the pallette, but not so much as to be so filling that one couldn't get through it all. This restaurant must be experienced. Trust me it is Six Stars!!!

Back to
Red Balloon. To become a Red Balloon supplier one must be invited. That is what happened to me when they started in Australia 5 years ago. They put me through a quality assessment and judged that my Experience was good enough to be included in their listing of Pleasure Experiences.

And who were the others at Interlude last night? One runs a Tank Museum - where you can go and actually drive a Centurion Tank (we were able to share notes from my Army days when I actualy had a Tank Troop of Leopard Tanks way back in 1981), a Skydive Operator, a Balloon Company, a Sail and Spa from Sorrento, a Sailing School (big yachts) based at the Melbourne Docklands and an Adventure Event Specialist.

Last night I came to understand the term Pleasure Experience - as I shared notes with my peers. That is what we are all committed to doing - giving pleasure.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Team Building Melbourne Harley Tour

When you are leding a team of people in the workplace, there comes a time when you want to reward them in the form of a Team Building activity. A Harley Ride is an excellent Team Building activity - one which we are called upon to provide.

Yesterday, we took one such goup on a
Dandenong Ranges Tour in two sidecars on a 3 hour ride up into the mountains just outside Melbourne.

Felicity, the team leader, had organized for us to meet them all in the city at 1.30pm and we cruised down the Monash Freeway and out through Ferntree Gully to out first stop at the Observatory on the top of Mt Dandenong. The funniest thing was seeing all the irls wave at everyone we rode past.

The day ended as we got back to the city at 4.40pm. Here is photo of the group taken at the Observatory on top of Mt Dandenong:

Here is a note I received from Felicity today:

Hi John,
I just wanted to say again how fabulous the afternoon was yesterday. Everyone absolutely loved it and they were able to really relax and enjoy themselves. I will definitely be recommending you to our other divisions.
Felicity Stanley
Executive Manager
Select Appointments - Notting Hill

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Group Ride

We frequently get requests to take out large groups on a Harley Ride. Last Saturday we took out a group of guys from Queensland, who were out for a Boys's Weekend for a two hour jaunt.

The ride was organized as a surprise by Peter who led the group. His request, "Take us for a ride and include a stop at a Pub." So that is exactly what we did - picked them up at their hotel, and cruised across the Westgate Bridge to Williamstown where the boys went in to one of the local bars and had a beer, before we cruised back to the City and dropped them at the Belgian Beer Cafe.

Here are some pics we received by email:

Here we are briefing everyone on what is planned for the trip.

It was a hot day - so jackets were optional.

Here we are on the Westgate Freeway.

And, at Williamstown.

Finally, home via the Burnley Tunnel - 4 km long and 200 feet below the Yarra River.

Here is a note received from Peter:

G'day John and all the Bikie boys,
Just wanted to say thanks again for the great afternoon out on Saturday, My boys could'nt stop grinning and talking about the great feeling of the bikes on the road. You turned the weather on perfectly and some great pictures were taken. I have copied Mark(who was one of the boys) in to hopefully send through some photos that you can use for your website if you wish. And I am sure all of the boys will promote your services as they had a ball, but also the friendliness of your guys and the quality of the bikes was exellent. Mick could'nt shut up about the Trumpy in fact. We will make sure he get's a Harley next time.
If I am in Melbourne again I will look you up and hopefully go for a ride.
All the best and thanks very much!
Peter Bourke
Financial Planner
ANZ Financial Planning
Business Banking Sunshine Coast

Monday, January 29, 2007

In Heaven on The Great Ocean Road

One of the great pleasures/rewards about taking people for a Harley Ride is going down the Great Ocean Road. That was exactly what I did yesterday.
The Great Ocean Road is a motorcycle riders's heaven. Its where one can become engrossed in the real joy of riding a motorcycle along a challenging stretch of road that twists and turns. At one moment you are at sea level, the next you are 60 metres up above the oceans riding along the edge of a cliff.
Yep, that was me yesterday - my passenger on the back taking in the majestic panoramic views while I (at 110% concentration) charged along this fantastic stretch of road.
But, don't get me wrong - I wasn't going at breakneck speed. Actually, that's not the way to enjoy the Great Ocean Road. In fact you can't actually ride it at much above the speed limit, because the road doesn't let you.
Here is what its like. As we head into a bend you hear the engine howl as the brakes are applied and I go down a few gears. Then its off the brakes as we smoothly negotiate the bend and as we see a clear line out of the corner and the bike begins to straighten up the bike accelerate as the throttle is applied and the next corner races up towards us. You can now hear the scream of the "Harley sound", music to ones ears. Again the engine begins to howl as I brake and change down a few gears, getting the corner set up just right. Then its through the bend and off to the next - and so on for what seems like forever. Heaven - I love the Great Ocean Road.
What does it look like? Here are some images I took recently:

Here is a Youtube clip of the 45 minute trip from Lorne to Apollo bay compressed into less than 10 mins. No, we don't ride this fast, but this is the closest we can bring you to what it really feels like.

Melbourne on Google Earth via Panoramio

I discovered a great application last week - I now have images of Melbourne mapped on Google Earth via a handy new Google application called Panoramio.

You can view my photos of Melbourne (and some other places) via This Link

I took this picture of the Melbourne Skyline and inserted it into Google Earth, where hopefully others will see it soon.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

New Years Eve Melbourne

For the last 8 years or so I and several other Harley Riders have spent our time working on New Years Eve.

It all started back in 1998 when it was discovered that there were never enough taxis in Melbourne to service the enormous demand created by having 1/2 a million people descend on the Melbourne CBD for the night. Our solution? Supplement the taxi shortage with Harleys fitted with sidecars.

This year saw us back in the city again. However, this year we decided to do a "distinctive uniform" - so that people would be able to recognize us as legitimate transport. Before midnight we spent our time doing short joy rides from the Docklands precinct. After midnight, we got down the serious business of getting people home.

This photo was taken at the 2006 Albert Park F1 GP, which was where we first tested the new uniforms.

The uniform is not used all the time - only when we are working "off the street" where the public can come up to us and hail us like a taxi. I wore my uniform on Oaks Day at the Melboune Cup in November 2006, and from 4pm to 8pm worked "flat out" servicing the demand at the taxi queue at the end of the day. The window opens at 4pm as the supply of taxis is quickly drained and then slams shut at 8pm as the number of people wanting taxis subsides, and its over for another year....

How many people have we serviced this way over the last 10 years? Answer - tens of thousands.

Monday, January 01, 2007

What a Month

December is always a busy month for the Harley Rides industry, and 2006 was no exception.

The first weekend of the month saw the demand for sidecars stretched to the limit for Corporate Family Christmas parties. We had 3 on Saturday 3rd Dec and 4 on Sunday the following day. I started at 9 am on Sunday doing a 3 Sidecar job for Tourism Victoria, where we took a group of Travel Agents from New Zealand for a familiarization tour of Melbourne, then did several hundred short rides at the GTV 9 Family Christmas Party and ended the day taking an 80 year old and two of his grand children for a sidecar ride.

From time to time we get some pretty special requests. On Wed 6th December I received a call from the Herald Sun newspaper to take a special little boy for a ride. Tyler Fishlock lost his sight to cancer early in 2006. He is only 4 years old and had asked Santa for a Harley ride. The Herald Sun obliged and I was called upon to do the job. Tyler is an amazing child. But it was his parents Georgette and Brad who impressed me most. They have given up a lot this past year and are facing the challenge with amazing strength.

This is Tyler seated on John's Heritage Softail

Then not one week later I took another visually imapaired girl out for a Harley Ride. Krista loves Harleys and was given a Gift Voucher for a 1 hour ride by her friends as a birthday present. It was a pretty interesting experience for me as we cruised up into the hils and she took in the smells and felt the wind in her face.

The month ended as busy as it started after Christmas Day. There were a massive number of tourists in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Cricket Test. We picked up quite a bit of work from them and one afternoon after the match (and the game) was finished took Ian Botham away from the MCG to Pier 35 where a helicopter was waiting to fly him down to his home on the Mornington Peninsula.