Wednesday, 13 October 2010

My SOA moment

I spent much of yesterday walking like a crab. Ambling up and down the street with my legs splayed at an absurd angle. I expect most passers by must have assumed I was pretending to be a cowboy. I wasn’t. This was in fact due to having spent the previous day on the back of a Harley Davidson.

On my first full day in new Zealand I was privileged enough to be given a fairly extensive tour of the North Island on the back of some amazing bikes. I’ve always been an avid Harley enthusiast, but I’d never ridden one and now I was finally on one. Obviously I didn’t get to drive as I’d need a valid license which I still lack. That won’t last long though.

We were split into three and each of us rode pillion on a guides bike. Our guides were Baz, Divot and Donkey. I was riding with Donkey – who I can safely tell you, likes to go really fucking fast. I was slightly hesitant when I asked why they called him Donkey, but he said that it wasn’t what I was thinking – “I’ve disappointed a lot of ladies that way” he laughed. He never offered an explanation as to the real reason behind his name though, although he had various donkey related items about him and covering his bike so the name obviously pre-dates Shrek.

The day was spent exploring the beautiful scenery around the North island and generally scaring me randomly as we went round corners grinding the foot plate and making me think I was about to shoot over the side of a cliff. But I didn’t, quite obviously, and at one glorious moment we reached a little over 140kmph on a stretch of clear road. There is no greater feeling than feeling the wind in your face on the back of one of these glorious machines. The only negative thing I take away from me from the experience is this: What, exactly, is going on with the roads here?

There will be a sign that informs you of a winding road for the next two kilometres, and then you’ll get two kilometres down the road to find another sign telling you there will be a winding road for the next five. It never ends. There is always another sign waiting for you just when you think you’re free and safe. Why don’t they just admit that the road will be winding until you reach your destination?

As much as I enjoyed it, I never really appreciated just how much physical effort goes into riding. The position, stance, the weight on your feet…it all adds up. My legs felt like I’ve been doing squat thrusts for a month and my upper arms still ache today from holding on to the sissy grip for dear life, even though I was in safe and capable hands. To make my day even better, we were joined by a journalist from a New Zealand magazine called Bikerider which we will be in next issue. This also gave me the opportunity to film from the back of the bike for some footage which will be going up on their site.

All in all, I can advice this as something to do if you’ve got a thing for bikes. We were taken around by Harley Tours New Zealand. I suggest you check out their website, cause they gave me a day I’ll always remember, as well as the determination to get my bike license when I get home. Well nice.

Oh yeah, this is Baz, Donkey, and Divot.


  1. Hi Joe

    Ali here - I know the reason Pete is called Donkey! That is because he was always single on group rides and so carried everyones extra stuff! Hence he was a packhorse/donkey!! I was always disappointed with this story as expected another reason - as many women do of course!!!

    Keep having a wonderful trip!

    Be safe.

    Ali and Baz

  2. Good one Joe,

    It was a privilege to have you as a pillion. You're a natural on the bike which made you an easy pillion. In fact I had to check the mirrors periodically to make sure you were still there?

    So I guess your next step is to get your full license, fly back out to NZ, hire a Harley off Baz and Ali and cruise the South Island with us.

    I trust the rest of your trip is going well?

    Regards to Jeff & Helen.


  3. Thank you =]

    That is indeed my next step. I think my mum having been back on a bike again is making her want to get her license too. But I'll be looking into getting a full license as soon as I'm home and then I'll be back.

    The rest of the trip is going great thanks, I managed a 15,000 foot skydive yesterday which was pretty amazing. Harley riding seems like a slightly better hobby though...