Posted On 29 Apr 2024
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This entry is part 25 of 29 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#28

WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU, the letters are among the most keenly read parts of the magazine. Please try and keep letters down to no more than 300 words. Then you can read many, not just a couple. We do reserve the right to cut them and, unless you identify yourself and at least your town or suburb and state, we will print your email address instead. Please address letters to or Australian Motorcyclist Magazine, PO Box 2066, Boronia Park NSW 2111. All opinions published here are those of the writers and we do not vouch for their accuracy or even their sanity!


…not a motorcyclist, and the prize this month is not Andy Strapz’ excellent AA Bagz. Instead, a Shoulder Bagz (also of course from Andy) goes to Fiona Mackie from the NSW North Coast. You’ll see why when you read the letter below. And a special thanks to Bear Army trooper Jeff Edwards, as well.


Dear Peter and Stuart and Australian Motorcyclist staff, Today, I had the pleasure of meeting one of your subscribers, Jeff Edwards.

He was wearing your “Bear Army” tshirt (number 27) and I asked him where he got it as I knew my son would love one. He told me that it was a special shirt for people who have a two year subscription to your magazine.

Later that day, Jeff returned to my work and gave me the tshirt washed and dried. I didn’t want to take it because it is obviously a very special shirt, but he insisted. I have just brought it home to my son, and as you can see, he ADORES it!! The bear that is on his head is his best friend, Kola, who gets him through some tough times.

My son has cystic fibrosis and autism, and things are not easy for him a lot of the time. He is a tough kid and he puts up with an awful lot of treatments to keep well. He doesn’t ask for much, but when I see things he might like, I try to find them for him. Jeff’s kindness is very much appreciated and has already brought a big smile to my boy. It was a really awesome thing to do and I am very grateful.

I’m not a motorcyclist (yet), but I will definitely keep an eye on your website should you bring out more Bear Army things. And now I know about your magazine, it will be something to chat about with customers at work.

Also, is there any way I can buy a replacement shirt for Jeff? He really made our day, and it would be nice to replace his shirt for him.

Kind regards,
Fiona Mackie

Aww… Fiona, that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard of for a long time. You’d better do two things: send us your postal address, and the size of the t-shirt. We don’t keep a record of the shirt sizes our troopers wear, believe it or not! And don’t worry about paying for another shirt for Jeff; we’ll sort that out – The Bear


G’day Peter, Have been enjoying a chance to catch up on my magazines, your story about the snow around Luneberg with Mrs Bear brought back empathetic shivers.

About 10 years ago I entered a ride to donate money to the NRMA Careflight at Westmead Hospital. We started from the helicopter base at Westmead after a cheery breakfast of snags, bread and warming cups of tea/coffee. Beaut sunny day and a great ride until we got up on the Bells Line of Road, where a chilly wind harassed us at exposed locations. By the time we arrived at Tarana for lunch the sun was high but offering little heat.

The ride finished at Orange, where there was a dinner organised. I intended having dinner then riding back to Bathurst to stay overnight at a pub I’d used some years previously. The cold began to intensify as the sun sank lower. Great feed, not too much free red then on my way. I’d bought a “souvenir” polar fleece jacket that afternoon, it was under my bike jacket and I placed a handful of brochures under them to maintain some body warmth.

Ten minutes east of Orange I was thinking about going back to find a lodging. Out in the open with a clear sky overhead I could feel the cold slowly getting worse. But, by the time I got to Bathurst, I decided to press on to the Shell servo at Lithgow. Overnighting closer to Katoomba would give me a shorter run home next morning (there was a 60th birthday party to attend at midday). Bugger me, the servos at Lithgow were closed! Fuel was a bit of a worry by now, which took my mind off the shivering and numb hands and feet. The open servo at the top of Mount Victoria was most welcome indeed, I pulled up beside the bowser and managed to get off the bike to refuel but almost fell base-over apex as I tried to cross the driveway to the store. Somehow I managed to waddle inside though to settle up and purchase a hot pie and cup of coffee. That warmed me considerably, I called my wife (sound asleep by now) and told her where I was heading, would see her mid-morning.

Back on the bike and along to the first motel. It was closed but lit up, with a buzzer for late arrivals. I pressed it and waited, repeated same, and again . . .

Eventually I decided they didn’t want my custom (must have been midnight by then I suppose); back onto the bike and continued east. To my surprise it was quite a bit warmer along the Great Western Highway on top of the mountains than across the open land behind me.

Even comfortable. I might just as well continue all the way home. Once I descended to fl at country at Penrith the colder air was waiting, which caused me to chug along no faster than 75km/h, the wind chill being much reduced at that speed. I arrived home about 0215,very much to my wife’s surprise. Even after I got into bed, my teeth continued chattering for ages. I’ve no doubt your snowing temperatures were colder but my ride home under crystal clear sky across open country initiated a lasting commitment – – – “Don’t get caught again!”

Winston Hills

It looks like a discussion about the then-new Gearsack tank bag; that’s a while back…


Hi Peter, You thought you’d heard the last of me some time ago. Sorry! I’m still around, still riding, still writing [Brian is almost as big a pedant as I am – The Bear]. As someone deeply involved in the production of the BMWMCCVic’s BeeEm, I have been developing a four issue photo gallery to celebrate the four decades of our club’s life. (May 25 1975 – 2015) That’s how this picture came to light. I think that is Geoff Coat you are talking to. None of us is quite what we used to be, are we?

Best Regards,
Brian Macdonald

Speak for yourself, Brian. But yes, that’s Jeff. I wonder where he is now? – The Bear


Hi Stuart, My congratulations to AMM and Paradise Motorcycles Tours for probably the best motorcycling experience of my life. Nine days of riding through some of the best motorcycling roads in the world, with fantastic scenery and great company. The bike I selected, as part of my package, was a current model BMW 1200GS that was perfect for the tour and great fun to ride.

New Zealand’s “summer” weather included warm days, wet days, wet and very windy days, and even some snow and slush thrown in. Having never ridden through snow before, I kind of enjoyed the experience, although I was glad when I was out of it. On exiting the Homer Tunnel and seeing the snow I said “Oh dear!” (or something more profane than that) and then wondered “What do I do now?”. So I just put the bike into first, hands off the brakes and clutch, and let the bike do the work going downhill with some judicious steering through the tight bends until getting below the snow line.

Perhaps my experience can be summed up in the conversation I had with Trevor (Paradise MC Tours) after riding through the Lindis Pass. He said “Did you enjoy that?”, to which I responded “Can we go back and do it again?”.

Paul Cass


I have just got the April edition of Australian Motorcyclist and have started, as usual, by reading the editorial, written by the new editor, Stuart. I noted that Stuart starts with a disclaimer in regard to proof reading, which he says was entirely your responsibility.

Then I got to the second page where I read that a Ducati rider had crashed in testing at Phillip Island and “A replacement rider was sort…” It appears that the right sort of rider was sought.

A regular reader

We know who you are, Barry…
– The Bear

The white ST1100 on the right is mine (there is a woman with white hair behind the bike I am directly behind her).


P10 ‘sort’ should be ‘sought’. Cheers,
Pierre Le Bas

You make one little mistake…
– The Bear

Dear Bear,

I sought it with thimbles, I sought it with care (thanks to the Rev Dodgson) but I could not sort it anywhere! Not on page 10 of the April issue, or anywhere else…

Mark McGowan


I’m rather intrigued that Chief on his trip out of Adelaide, didn’t get on the old highway sooner down before the old Devils Elbow. It’s been a few years since I have been that way as far as I know you can still do it. Also originally being from Murray Bridge I’ve never heard of Wentworth; Wellington, hell yeah, used to be a top pub, many a good time had there, must go out there next time I go see the folks. Keep up the good work.

Craig Baxter

I guess the overwhelming response to this error shows that we don’t usually make spelling mistakes… The Bear Unless I’m seriously mistaken, the Devils Elbow section is a loop off the main road, Craig, so it doesn’t actually lead to the old road – The Bear

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