This entry is part 26 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#25

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!


The winner of the AA Bagz from our mate, Andy at Andy Strapz is John Gould. We love that our readers are out there exploring great roads and letting us know of any changes to the “not so ridden roads”. Enjoy your bag, mate!


Hi Bear, Wife and I have just fi nished a one week, 3500km ride which included your Ride #128.

We went Menindee to Pooncarie.

I thought you might be interested to know that at about the 60km mark, there is now 20k of new bitumen, which makes for a nice rest after the previous stretch of sand, roos, emus and goats.

When we did it the last 40k was being graded carefully, to hide as many ruts and potholes as possible under deep, loose dirt. Made for interesting riding.

We use a 650Vee Strom, current model. What an underrated bike.

Despite 2 people, full Givi luggage, heads winds and occasional advanced touring speeds we still got an average fuel economy of 4.1 litres per 100k from the trip with good comfort for two tall people.

Hope this is of interest, regards
John Gould
Meeniyan Vic

It sure is of interest, John.
Unfortunately, Stuart thinks that tarring even part of the Pooncarie road takes a lot of the fun out of it! The Wee Strom is not underrated, you know. Lots of people swear by them, including me. Ours has been a terrific bike. It’s a shame that we have to sell it now.– The Bear


G’day Bear,
I was reading through AMM January edition #23 and Boris’s Island Evolution struck a chord.

I am old enough to remember great rides from Queensland to the Bathurst Easter races in the ’70s. The Hansford v Willing battle on the mighty 750 two stroke Yamahas in ’74 will live in the memory forever. Unfortunately generations of Australian Motorcyclists have been unable to enjoy the on and off track delights of those race meets due to the actions of a few – firstly some nongs who spoiled it with their outrageous behaviour and secondly the elected ‘leaders’ who over reacted and set the stormtroopers loose on the mountain for baton practice.

It was almost impossible to get into Bathurst through the Police blockades – we were no longer welcome. The meet was killed and the good burghers of Bathurst were left the poorer for its passing.

Fast forward to Phillip Island and the first World Championship race in 1989.

Could this be the ‘new Bathurst’? It certainly felt like that sitting in my wet tent at the campground after swapping tall stories with new mates and old.

1990 and the duel between Gardner with his damaged fairing flapping in the breeze and the new kid on the block,Doohan, revived memories of ’74. Yes this was the real deal. I refused on principle to attend Eastern Creek during the ‘dark years’ but I have been to most meets since the event returned to its rightful home, The Island.

Fast forward again to 2014. We hit the first Police blockade just outside Bruthen after a cold but exhilarating early morning ride over Hotham.

Then followed a procession of speed cameras, patrol cars and bikes along the highway. We hit our second Police blockade at Mirboo North and were definitely feeling unwelcome. Shades of Bathurst. The controls in Cowes which Boris so eloquently describes and our dodgem run home has definitely left a sour taste in the mouth and a large hole in the wallet for one our group who was slugged for being a few K over on a 100kph stretch of open road.

Sadly I (and many others I spoke to over the course of our trip) will no longer make the pilgrimage to The Island. It is clear we are not welcome by the elected ‘leaders’ of VicBloodyToria. The good burghers of Phillip Island will be left the poorer for its passing as were their contemporaries in Bathurst.

As a footnote I have never before been ‘fl ashed’ by so many oncoming ‘Mum & Dad’ car drivers, delivery van drivers and truckers as I was on the Victorian roads this October. Clearly the good people of Victoria are well and truly p—ed at the level of traffic policing in their home state.

Tony Gray Brisbane

It’s easier to cope with simple bastardry than with people who want to protect you for your own good, Tony, isn’t it? – The Bear


Hey Pete If I can afford this trip [The Bear’s Best of the West] which Harley should a bloke rent? I don’t want a huge luxo barge with big fairings & hot & cold running baby oil.

I want one that’s comfortable, actually has rear suspension, is a bit more on the agile side (for a Harley).

Only Harley I’ve ever ridden was an 883 when I went on a day’s guided ride in Ketchikan Alaska.

I’ll have a squiz at the models. Meantime your advice appreciated. I don’t know how they ride, but I kinda like the look of a Dyna glide custom. I’ve never known Harley model numbers, but have a vague recollection it might be an FLXD.

John Campbelltown

Well, John, I’ll be on the trip and I will be looking at either an XL1200C Custom (Sportsters are fairly light and easy to handle, and the Custom has the biggest tank) or an FLD Switchback, another relatively light bike and a Dyna. I would definitely suggest a Sportster or a Dyna, for handling. Take a look on the web; another bike may take your fancy? I look forward to seeing you on the ride! – The Bear


Dear Peter, I am a long time reader and subscriber of ARR and now Australian Motorcyclist, and love your work. As an academic with the privilege of spending a lot of time reading, and who still enjoys the feel of physical books and magazines, I loved the flat, matt finish on the Australian Motorcyclist, that seems to have ended with issue #19, replaced with a standard glossy cover. A minor aesthetic point I suppose, but if there was no economic imperative to change it, I write to call for a return to the original finish, which really added to the feel of the magazine, and its distinctiveness.

All the best,

Tom Griffiths

Well, Tom, you are in the majority here. Several other people wrote in, and our Facebook responses confirmed that most of you prefer the matt finish. So from the next issue – the gloss is gone! – The Bear


G’Day Pete, Just this morning I finished reading the January edition of AMM. Your bit about riding in the cold brought back some memories, not of riding in snow, never done that, never want to either. OK, OK, so I’m getting old—er. But the memories were of the late 1970s, of riding my old R60/2 BMW to and from work at Streets Ice Cream when they were situated in the Sydney suburb of Turrella. When I first started there I was living only about two miles away, but still chose to ride to and from wherein I had no time to get cold.

But 1979 came around and saw Mrs Chief and I move out to Milperra. Not too far you say, only eleven miles. As I recall, winter time can be quite cold in that neck of the woods, especially riding alongside the river in a thick mist around midnight.

Yep! I was working afternoon shift. Still, it was a ride with little traffic mid-afternoon back in those days and almost non that late at night.

Back in those far of good old days the clothing we had, as you so aptly described, was not the best for retaining body heat, even the long johns didn’t help the tank from being gripped so tightly by my knees that any moment I thought I would put an everlasting dent in both sides. Fortunately that didn’t happen. To this day, the black petrol tank is still in pristine condition, although it could do with a bit of a polish. Here in the beautiful wine growing region of the Southern Vales in South Australia it does get cold of course, but to my way of thinking it is a dry cold, not a wet cold like the lower east coast of Oz, so riding here any time of the year is always on the agenda and pleasant.

But yes, memories of the good old days surface from time to time, your latest scribing brought forth more. Having said that, may I also say that the good old days are still here, but with better clothing.

Happy new year to all at AMM and to all my fellow riders where ever you are.

Phil Lawton (Chief)

Hi, Chief. I wonder if anyone ever did put a permanent dent into his or her petrol tank by gripping it too tightly from cold or fear? Anyone out there? – The Bear


Hello Mr Bear,My vote is for matt covers, and not only because my name is Matt. But that’s not what this letter is about. It is about the dangers of sub-editing your own copy, which is obviously what you, Mr Bear,did in issue #24. If you don’t know what I’m on about, turn to page 47. How many “L”s are there in “functionality”? Two? I don’t think so…

But listen, I would rather have what is after all just a simple typo than the kind of thing I see every day in other magazines and in newspapers, where the writer doesn’t know the difference between “hoard” and “horde”, and definitely has no idea when to use “whom”. Split infinitives I can live with.

Matt Weston Dardanup, WA

Look, we had a few spare capital Ls and we didn’t want to waste them… – The Bear


Hi Peter A quick email to say thanks for the Australian Motorcyclist Magazine bandana (neck tube) I received in the mail today.

The new magazine is great, really like the layout & I will defi nitely be taking the bandanna with me on our Ferris Wheels trip in April to Turkey.

Graeme Fitzpatrick

Thank you, Graeme. For anyone who is not yet aware of this, you get a free neck tube with any subscription to MOTORCYCLIST – The Bear


Good evening, Bear. Just a couple of things. Firstly: That Scout on pages 44-5 really looks the goods. I’m not a cruiser fan but I’d have one of those. That is modern minimalist done well. I could believe that if Indian manage to put some real performance, and therefore get some street cred in those bikes they might well give HD a run for their money.

Secondly, nit-picking here: Customising.

Metric or AF? Rather Metric or Imperial, although the Americans hate that term so generally just call it American. AF is not a thread system like SAE, UNC or (shudder ) Whitworth – although as far as I know Sir Joseph did give the world the first standardised thread system. In fact it stands for “across the flats” being across the diametrically opposed flats of a spanner. One could in fact ask for a 12mm AF spanner. We just don’t.

Lastly I’ve just found an ancient copy of Camping Life and Leisure with articles on how to cook Mexican food and how not to get struck by lightning although disappointingly I could find no warranty for the advice. . . Never mind; I know where to find the author.

OK, Bear, that’ll do. Have a really good Christmas and gird the loins for another year.


Ross Halpin

Yeah, the problem is that there are measurements that differ between American and Imperial systems – take fluids, for example. You may be right, though. I will submit this to my tried and tested assessment system, namely my unconscious. In other words, if I remember what you say next time this comes up, I’ll change it. If not… well… Camping Life & Leisure, eh? I must do that lightning story again some time; more Australians are killed by lightning every year than by sharks, you know – The Bear

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