Posted On 23 Feb 2024
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This entry is part 21 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#23

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!


I was going to write that this month’s winner of the excellent and stylish (even if it won’t hold rain gear in the top flap) Andy Strapz AABagz made me eat crow – but then I thought that that’s probably animal cruelty too… my thanks to Izak for making all of us here more aware of how important our photos are, and I hope you get a lot of use out of your bag – without any animals in it! About that bag: if you’re reading this and are interested in setting up or upgrading your luggage system, you owe it to yourself to check out Andy’s website , where he has a lot of outstandingly clever touring accessories listed. PT


Bear, First I love your comments and articles in Australian Motorcyclist. I’m not a vegetarian but I’m an animal hugger.

I do eat them (and sell them; I own a restaurant in Manly) but I would never mistreat them.

Last year my son Pieter and I rode through North Vietnam. We were appalled by the general treatment of animals, especially the live pigs squashed in cages and tied to the back of mopeds and raced through the crazy traffic of Hanoi, not to even mention your namesakes locked in cages and having bile extracted from them. So please don’t post photos of animals suffering.

If you print this letter I will donate $100 to World Protection of Animals on your behalf. Or I will donate it to any animal charity of your choice.

Izak Lesh Manly NSW

Thank you for your letter, Izak, and for the thought – I agree with it, now that I’ve thought about it. You won’t see any more pictures like that in AMM unless we have a damn good reason. Thank you for your generosity, too; I’ve already had a note from World Protection of Animals that they’ve received your donation – The Bear


Thanks for the great dirt route pull-out in the latest issue (dirt roads around Bombala)! I have a road-biased Tiger 800 (all hail to the Hinckley God) that just loves well-formed dirt like that.


Tim Standen Worrigee NSW


Good afternoon , Bear.

Yes; sad but true; I seem to have strayed from the path of righteousness. Again.

There’s this new range road, see, between Moore and Blackbutt at the head of the Brisbane valley. Called, strangely enough, the Blackbutt Range. Quite an impressive engineering job, made necessary after the 2011 floods and it would pass muster with any racetrack anywhere. It’s wide, well banked, beautifully sealed and 3.5 km long. That’s not bad for a Qld range.

And some little safety-crat has earned all his KPIs at once by posting paradise at 60km/h ! If you thought the Beerwah Bends or Walli Esses were good you need to see this.

I was going down and giving the engineering all the respect it deserved, you know what I mean, when a Highway Patrol car went past going up. I reckon the driver will be seeing a chiropractor for a month, the way his head whipped around. But he was in a line of traffic and couldn’t do anything. I got out of there and then behaved impeccably all the way to the Coast. Came home sedately too, but was sorely tempted.

To other matters: Wyndham WA. Firstly there’s the Five Rivers Lookout; worth the trip on its own then when leaving town there’s a sign off to the right to a Prison Tree – about 30k, from memory. Another chapter in our glorious days of white settlement. If one continues inland from there you go onto the Karunje Stockroute. This will bring you out just west of El Questro, at the east bank of the Pentecost River. At one point you cross about 40km of dried mudfl at/flood plain where if you had your speedos you could unleash your inner Rollie Free.

One thing: There are a couple of rock bars which extend out from the land and it might be a good idea to have them pegged before you start. Having one loom up just as you’ve pulled top and assumed the position would probably do very little for the equanimity !


Ross Halpin


G’day Peter My oh my, that new Scout is a ripper and just $18k straight out of the crate and on the road, wow!

Mind you I haven’t yet perused the accessories list… mmmm. I’m not a cruiser kinda guy but this baby might just woo me to the fold.

Would make a lovely contrast to the Vespa 964 and with the V7 and big DR chook chaser in between, might be all a man needs to keep amused for some considerable time.

Decisions, delicious decisions.

While I’m blabbering on, I didn’t know John Galvin but I did have fun in an Isetta, including turning it on its side while over-enthusiastically attempting a left turn. That front opening door came in real handy, much to the astonishment of an elderly female onlooker. I just tipped it up the right way, borrowed the lady’s broom to sweep away the headlamp glass and went merrily on my way. Which is a long winded way of asking what that bike and front end is in the pic that accompanied Lester’s article, and I don’t mean the Honda. Pardon me, I keep asking tricky questions about your pics.

Finally, big service stars to Andy of Strapz fame. His gear is great and his service is terrific. I’m a very satisfied repeat customer.

Latest issue? Spot on as usual, ta.


Lester, what is that bike? – The Bear


Hi, Stuart.

Great weekend in Bombala guys, thanks for sponsoring our show. Got some amazing photos if you need any…

I missed meeting you fellas as I was looking after kids most the time, but thanks man, I think you may have saved our little show from ruin… I’ve been to every one, and that was the best one since Murray left… Thanks again…

Peter Niven



Good Afternoon, We wanted to touch base as The Big Ride 4 Parkinson’s is once again coming up on 14- 15 March 2015.

This year the event will be once again see our riders depart Sydney Olympic Park and make the 360km journey to Parkes. The Big Ride 4 Parkinson’s is raising funds towards supporting our free Counselling service and 1800 InfoLine for people associated with Parkinson’s disease. This service is used by patients, carers and medical professionals as well as people with general enquiries.

With media attention at a high recently with Billy Connolly and Robin Williams both having an early diagnosis it’s never been a more crucial time to discuss Parkinson’s disease as well as depression and anxiety which affects more than 50% of people with Parkinson’s.

Kind regards,

Claire Tester Parkinson’s NSW

Home Main


Hi Bear, You may be interested in the attached photo which is supposed to be a new style of hidden speed camera mounted in the guard rail on the road into Maryborough QLD.

Would be good if you could verify somehow.



Hi Al, this is not a camera being used in Australia. It is a European camera and this “image” has been doing the rounds for the last two-three years. Hope this clears things up for you, mate. Cheers, Stuart


Dear Bear, I’ve been watching for some time the spread of new control technology into the rider’s world. Starting with switchable ABS, we now see adaptable headlights, traction control, electronic adjustable suspension and engine mode control, to both improve on-road performance for specific conditions, as well as the plain old fun-factor.

Now I see so called ‘augmented reality’ in at least one new helmet about to be released onto the market that integrates the ‘normal’ phone/music/ intercom/Bluetooth. For good measure add internet, GPS, a rear view camera and so on. Done correctly, some of these features offer great advantages in improving the rider’s situation awareness. A better understanding of what’s going on around you, particularly behind, is a good thing in my book. But is there a limit? Is there a point beyond which the quest for packing more and more ‘aids’ into/onto bikes and riders actually creates problems that were never foreseen by the designer?

Take the concept of a ‘Heads Up Display’ (aka HUD) in an aircraft. Now put that idea into a motorcycle helmet by displaying the vision from a helmet mounted rear-view pin camera, via a ‘google glass-like’ device, into thin air in the lower right field of vision of the rider.

Chuck in some voice prompted GPS directions with associated symbols on the display – how good is that?

But there is a downside, and that is distraction and fixation. Aircraft pilots using a HUD have been known to fixate on the data in their display, to the extent that they haven’t ‘seen’ an aircraft blocking the runway they’re about to land on. This ‘channelling of attention’ is a well-known risk. There is a lesson here for us as well.

For the rider, we should take a balanced view to technology of this type. Don’t think that a semi-transparent picture projected in the air in front of you, means you can concentrate simultaneously on that data, as well as properly process the ever-changing road you’re riding – at any speed. More information isn’t necessarily going to make us safer, but don’t use that as a reason to reject new technology out of hand. Selectively using additional information in an informed, self-disciplined manner is the answer, along with a good understanding of the possible pitfalls, such as channelling of attention and distraction.


Tim Standen

Worrigee NSW

Thank you for such a balanced overview of this potential problem, Tim. I would probably go further than you and say that we ought to reduce distractions while we’re riding to an absolute minimum.

Yes, I quite often ride with a phone-linked intercom in my helmet, but I don’t use it much because I know it distracts me. And don’t get me started on the distractions car drivers have to cope with! – The Bear


Hi Peter Picked up my AM from the PO Box yesterday. Apart from Alice, I was interested to read about your pub of the month at Stuart Town. The town has some Crick history. My grandfather’s brother owned and ran the General Store there for many decades. See attached photo.

Also, having stayed at the Post Office Hotel in Dungog recently, they might win the prize for hospitality in safe guarding one’s bike for the night! See attached photo.

I came back from that trip via Bylong Valley. I’ve been through there a few times. A very nice ride. I thought at the time it would make a good article. Then I had a feeling that I had read recently something on motorcycling and Bylong. So my questions are: have you published recently on it? If not, would you like an article on it?

Robert Crick

Stirling ACT

Yes, Rob, we have run a story on the area and there is another one in preparation, partly because this is close to where the first of the Bear Army manoeuvres will be taking place – The Bear


“Editor – in – Chief?????” (GROAN……………)

Russell Spry,

Moruya, NSW

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