Posted On 09 May 2024
Comment: Off
This entry is part 8 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#31


It’s so nice to be insane No one asks you to explain… Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby”

Yes, it definitely helps to be a bit crazy to join the Bear Army.

There is a reason why the Army manoeuvres are in winter, you see. It takes an extra bit of effort to get out there on the bike, and it’s not just a doddle to reach the venue.

So here’s a report on the Northern manoeuvres. I rode an Indian Roadmaster to the event, which will make a story in itself. Amazing touring bike! We met for dinner at the Globe Hotel in Rylstone, near… well, it’s not really near anything. This was also an opportunity to distribute the first of the brass Army badges, and they were pretty well received too.

We were particularly honoured by the attendance of our Trooper #1, Pat, who is not as well as he might be and who made a really special effort to be there. Wonderful to see you, Pat.

I thought I’d just give those of you who have not joined up those basics, and then let the comments from troopers who were there tell the story. (I’ve omitted names because some of them might just get into trouble if it was known back home that they weren’t at grandma’s funeral over the weekend after all…)

One attendee had a flat tyre on the way, but it didn’t put him off.

There is nothing like being with a bunch of motorcyclists who have travelled widely. Non-travellers talk about their trip to the next town, but travellers talk about last weekend in Marrakesh. It’s nice to be able to relate and listen to stories from all over, without being bored, or boring. I love it. I hope your Indian (ie, with a feather, not a dot) ride home was uneventful and enjoyable.

My sick rear tyre held its air 100%, so we had no further dramas.

A similar reaction came from another trooper.

G’day Bear and all other Troopers, While you thanked us for our involvement in the Northern Manoeuvres, I would like to thank you for the time, effort and stretching of the grey matter it took to come up with “The Bear Army” and the Northern Manoeuvres.

Like any group we met as strangers and left as friends & that is due to those that attended.

I like the magazine & you, Stuart & the team should be proud of the quality of articles, stories etc.

As for “The Northern Manoeuvres”, I agree – It was indeed a good night with GREAT PEOPLE. We all have different yet similar stories, it was good to hear from others.

In fact, the name comes from a brisk debate on the ADVRider website, but thanks anyway!

One bloke was taken by the bikes.

Thanks so much for organising the Northern Manoeuvre. What a great night with a great group of people. I didn’t know a soul when I rolled up, but I’ve made new friends and I hope to be able to catch up with the entire mob again…sooner rather than later.

Amongst a number of things I took away with me, was the variety of bikes parked out the back were as interesting as their owners! I think that all the food groups were included. Thanks again for a brilliant get-together.

Another was taken by the attitude of the troopers.

Thanks again for a great weekend Peter. It’s been ages since I have been able to talk to such a great bunch of people, freely, without people being judgemental!

Long may this continue. It’s a credit to you, in bringing such people together. BEST night I have had in many years!

Troopers were by no means just from close by.

Well blokes, I only arrived home this afternoon after leaving Rylstone and spending Sunday night with friends in Scone. Yesterday I had an uneventful run up the New England Hwy to the bike-friendly Great Central Hotel Glen Innes. This morning rode the much under-rated Gwydir Hwy to Grafton before heading north and home.

Yes we had a great meet up and I can only endorse what has already been said by others – thanks Bear. Sorry but I’m bad with names – thanks Ian(?) that fortified cabernet was a unique treat. Cheers ’till next time.

It does look as if the Bear Army is catching on…

Good Evening Troopers, and General Bear, I would like to add my thanks to those whose company I thoroughly enjoyed. I was lucky enough to be seated across from Pat, a thorough gentleman, with great stories, and, yes Pat, on the way home (to Newcastle), I saw your tree on the piece of road between Jerrys Plains and Denman, and my thoughts were of you… take care good sir.

I’ve already told (asked?) the Minister for Finance and War that I would like to attend future ‘Northern Manoeuvres’, she is in amicable to this.

Thanks to all for creating, and being a part of this ‘community’ and I look forward to catching up again. Be Good.

And finally, from someone who didn’t make it…

You guys have made me very jealous with all the details in your emails.

I couldn’t attend because an overseas motorcycling buddy suddenly turned up at my house with his family and I couldn’t leave them alone. I am sure you guys will accept my predicament and non attendance.

At least I hope someone used the room I had booked.

Hopefully I can attend the next gathering.

You can still join the Bear Army.

Membership of the 1st Company is limited to 250 troopers, but there’s plenty of room yet. To join, drop me or Stuart a line at and ask for the membership form. It costs $250, which gets you a two year subscription to Australian MOTORCYCLIST Magazine, a numbered T-shirt, a brass badge with your number on it and a few stickers. Membership is free after that (for the time being, anyway) and permanent, unless you want to leave or you give me the pips.

And listen – thank you, troopers, for making the Bear Army such a terrific force! PT

Series Navigation<< READERS’ RIDEREADERS’ RIDES >>
About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
Page Scroller Supported By Bottom to Top