Feed the Simon the Wonderful Cat,
give Henriette and Eggbert a little
laying mash, shower, thermals, leathers, starter button, and off to the
Mobil Service Station in Norwood. Kev Schulz was already there, not this
day on his 1100 Sport but on his home-made BMW, and Adrian was on his BMW
R80. Then there Bob plus pillion on his new yellow Cali, and Jack on his
immaculately presented V50. Antony happened to drive past in his white
sedan and said, "Hang on, I'll get my bike," and he scooted off and was
back in a few minutes aboard his FJ1100. Steve had his Le Mans 3, and
Trevor was on his brand new Triumph Bonneville, his T5 spending the day in
We all brightly said hello.
Except Trevor's pillion. She said
hello darkly. "It's not like we live
together," she accuses me. " We don't spend a lot of Sunday mornings in
bed. Then you ring up at half past eight and he wants to go for a bike ride."
I shrugged. I had sympathy, of course. But not very much.
Up past the Toll Gate. We were 10
minutes from the city centre but already
out of town. The new highway and tunnel bypasses Devil's Elbow but we
didn't. Up the Mountain on the now-forgotten four-lane road, Jack's V50
roaring past, then we all rejoin the freeway to Harndorf deep in the
Adelaide Hills. There's Bob Bott, a FRAT from way back, and he sees us and
Many years ago, before the southeast
freeway was built, the road out of
Adelaide went through half a dozen villages like Harndorf and Callington,
and while the Old Road is now neglected and bumpy, it's lightly-trafficked
and very scenic. We rode through Murray Bridge, across the Mighty Murray on
the old iron bridge, and then north following the river on its eastern bank
until we could see the former river port of Mannum. Paddle steamers once
unloaded their wool and wheat here from towns along this river and the
Darling, Murrumbidgee, and the Lachlan.
We met Lynton on his 1000S, cross
the river on the punt, bought takeways
and ate in the sun on the river's edge. There was an expo of houseboats
here this day, a pneumatic slippery slide for the kids, a display of 1920's
farm engines, St John's ambulance, and families parading their well-behaved
children. We fitted in like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
Then back on the bikes and up the
range which forms the easternmost part of
the Adelaide Hills. Here huge granite outcrops lie exposed, and overgrazing
and clearfelling means the land looks like a folded yellow tablecloth as we
roar through. Around Mt Torrens and the country gets more prosperous -
leaves curling on the grapevines as autumn sends them to sleep, and the
late afternoon sun paints white bark on the River Redgums a succulent
orange. Half a dozen two-cylinder bikes shake the magpies. Then comes
Lobethal with its usual collection of bikes parked outside the pub. And now
the twisty bit - the Lobie Road to Norton Summit. This is V50 territory,
all tight changing apexes, but Lynton's not letting go and he passes me
with Kev wanting to hammer his BM in pursuit. I wave Kev and he overtakes,
and the three of us pull up at the Scenic Hotel with the others further
We drank some then, in moderation,
and talked about BMW conversions and the
unreliability of Sport 1100's, of people we knew and those we didn't. It
got darkish. It was time to go. After all, there was a bike race about to
start at the Rex Hotel back in town. The Spanish Grand Prix. Which is where
a few of us headed next.
Not Trevor and his pillion, though. They said they were going to the movies.
Although she gave me a triumphant wink as the Bonnie pulled away.
V50 - no need to exaggerate