Who We Are - The Long Ride
The Long Ride is a group of individuals who participate in this charity event for many reasons. The main reason is to help make a difference in the lives of others by raising awareness of prostate cancer in all communities.
All riders will tell you that this ride has changed them in many ways. You quickly come to realise that whatever is troubling you, others have same problem and you realise that you are not alone.
You may know how ride a motorcycle, but do you really know the feeling of traveling for days with a group of other motorcycle riders? The whole atmosphere is different. When a motorcycle pulls into a new town, eyes turn toward it (you've seen it). But, when a group of motorcycle riders thunder into town, all attention within a half-mile focuses on the riders.
People are inspired by the freedom represented in these riders. The locals come from all over just to look at the bikes and chat with you, not strangers for long. You can be one of them.
All you have to do is choose to make this real and join the Long Ride. Live this dream. Many people never understand 'rider' culture, and all you have to do is choose to join the Long Ride and help our men help themselves.
Each night we stay in a different town; each day we see different sights in magnificent locations, meet new people and most important of all make new friends. This is the real thing, life on the road, without the dangers that follow a solo rider. Anyone can ride a bike, but this is a chance to make a difference in your life and in others.
Chris introduced the concept of the Long Ride as he was nearing compulsory retirement from the RAAF at age 55 in 2004. Since then he has run 9 successful Long Rides across Australia involving countless people. The Long Ride is a ride you should try to do even if just for yourself if not for others. You will meet some extraordinary people who will be friends for life. You will also interact with people across Australia who readily welcome you into their communities.
Long Ride Background
The first Long Ride was introduced in 2007 in support of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Australia. This event raised $50,000.00 and had approximately 300 riders involved at any one stage. On the ride into Darwin there was over 330 riders involved thundering into Darwin in a very emotional and historic ride after 8 days traveling across Australia. The Long Ride 2008 travelled to Perth, WA, in support of Prostate Cancer and over the length of the event, approximately 270 riders were involved throughout the ride which managed to raise $20,000.00 for a core of 33 riders (core riders who rode all the way).
All in all with 37 dedicated riders with an additional 70 day riders travelling across the Nullarbor was the highlight of this ride and staying at Madura Pass cemented this ride to once again go across at a later date.
In 2010, the Long Ride has become the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. This time there were 277 registered riders with an estimated 60 additional riders riding all the way to Darwin. With approximately 347 riders in the Long Ride 2010, we raised over $209,000.00. As the Long Ride regrouped at Coolalinga for the entry into Darwin, there were over 450 motorcycles lined up to ride into history.
The men and ladies who rode on this ride were once again the best, they are the Long Ride.
The Long Ride 2011 raised over $180,000 and the number of registered riders was 307 people. Riding from all parts of Australia and meeting up with all riders in Longreach we again became a family of riders roaring through the wide open lands, paddocks and hills to emerge west of Townsville from Hughenden and rode down from Port Douglass along the coastal road to Cairns. A majestic ride where all riders began to understand the freedom of riding a motorcycle through this wonderful country.
Riding to Sydney from all across this great Nation is a must if you use the roads we did. Riders came from all across Australia and all came together in Broken Hill. Riding down through the Clare Valley and along the Great Ocean Road is a mind clearing experience. Travelling along with such great people is a bonus as you too are one of them. From the deserts of central Australia to the Great Australian Bight, you will never experience such splendour of scenery and such changes in vegetation, not to mention the night time gatherings where new friendships are forged, friendships that last a lifetime.
In 2014 we rode to Uluru from all parts of Australia and some riders from Germany, USA and Hong Kong. All up there was over 457 riders who all had a wonderful time. They explored many places they had only ever read about. To travel from the city and then to cross deserts, and salt lakes, malley scrub and mountains is a feat not to be missed. To do so in the company of great people is a bonus.
2016 Margaret River
In 2016, 457 riders rode across the Nullarbor to Margaret River. This ride across the Nullarbor is one of the most emotional and insightful rides that a motorcyclist could ever do. The Nullarbor has a unique place in Australian folklore and with the Ranges on the right and the Ocean on your left, travelling across on a motorbike can make you feel part of your country and help you see things clearly.
2017 Tasmania Long Ride 2017
The departure from home for all riders began early in the morning, a quick shower and shave, for some, final look around the lounge room for any bit of kit left out, pick up the keys and off to start an adventure.
From the humid morning of the Northern Territory to a cooler morning in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Townsville and towns all in between, the riders began their journey towards Melbourne to catch the Spirit of Tasmania to Devonport. Some experienced torrential rain for a full days riding, others the chilliness of the Southern climates, but nothing would stop them from reaching the Port of Melbourne.
Once on board the Spirit of Tasmania with the overnight bag over the shoulder, up the stairs to either a cabin or a comfy recliner. The Spirit of Tasmania has a well-disciplined crew and everything one could need for the overnight sail can be found on the boat. Nice restaurant, a few bars, cinema and games room and viewing platforms for those venturing outside to farewell the coast.
At 0515 hrs a wakeup call and all hands on deck to dress, get a breakfast, gather all belongings before another announcement to get down to level 5 deck to unsecure your bike, and ride off the Spirit of Tasmania. Riding off is a study in concentration as each rider, heart in mouth, navigates the multitude of tie down points anchored in the deck, feet down to catch the bike should one inadvertently slip on these anchors. No problem except for one who had a flat tyre.
Riding from Devonport, after a very well deserved breakfast just off the ferry, towards Burnie you quickly start to understand the beauty of Tasmania. All along that coast, the road continues to serve up such beautiful scenery that you are constantly tempted to stop and take photographs. Along the coast further towards Stanley and the Nutt, the roads offer up nice cornering and sloping hills, short stretches of straight road but always ending in sweeping or very tight bends.
The ride from Burnie to Strahan begins with a gentle course in narrow roads with long corners before starting to teach the unwary that these roads must be respected and appreciated. You ride through some magnificent forests, across narrow bridges and culverts with adverse corners and switch back bends. This particular road must be travelled at least twice before you fully appreciate the area you are riding through. The road sweeps along towards Waratah or Roseberry with extra special coffee cafes, the gentle town of Zeehan where the whole town wanted to know all about what we were doing and by the way, was snow bound only two weeks previously.
Strahan is a beautiful town right on the water is such a picturesque place that you just want to sit there and soak it all in. From Strahan through Queenstown, you ride along the tops of hills looking down into cloud covered valleys, long corners with good bitumen. The closer you get to Queenstown the vegetation starts to disappear and suddenly there you are, right in the heart of this place and when you finally see the road ahead that you have to ride up, you are struck with awe and wonder as to how did they build a road up there. It is 99 bends from bottom to top, a full on ride and lesson in preparedness and whether or not you are good enough to tackle this section. Concentration supreme, superior riding ability or just slow down and let your bike do the work to get you to the top. Stop up the hill a bit and take a photograph of the road you have just travelled and later on you will still remember this road as the best bit of cornering you have ever done.
The ride to Hobart from Strahan may be only a 3.5hr ride but take all day there is so much to see. Stop and look at the mirror lakes, the Wall and various gorges, stop at the smaller towns and talk to the locals or just have a coffee, but take your time.
Hobart is nice, has some very fine restaurants and pubs, some great old buildings and the best seafood ever. There is also some great bike shops to repair your bike if you have dropped it on one of the many corners. The ride further up the Eastern coast is a delight in scenery with Coles Bay, Wine Glass Bay, Bicheno, St Helens and Bay of Fires, with some even greater riding roads along that North Eastern Coast.
The ride from St Helens towards Launceston with the Pub in the Paddock as an added attraction is a must do ride and stop at Scottsdale to experience the hospitality of that community, amazing. All too often the road trip of a lifetime starts to draw to a close with the ride from Launceston to Devonport looming very shortly. Take at least two full weeks to ride Tasmania and come back again to ride the roads you did not ride before.
The people who came on these rides, in my view, are the greatest people I have met. Friendly, funny, always ready to help another, nothing was too hard and above all everybody had a sense of humour. From the first meeting once strangers were now firm friends and long after the event last April, they all remain firm friends.
Since the Long Ride began in 2007, there has been approximately 2500 people registered for the ride. I could mention one or many of these people but to do so would not give due recognition to others I have not mentioned, but let me say that all the people on the Long Ride who I have had the honour of riding with are the greatest.
These are people who make a difference throughout their respective communities and who make the Long Ride the success it is. Many riders also conduct their own fund raising events prior to the start of the Long Ride and many individually raise over $5000.00 worth of donations each. Every night is a social event where new riders are readily welcomed into the whole group; no one is left on their own. To be able to ride with such wonderful people to me is special.
The memories of those 8 long Rides will always remain with me. To listen to riders say at the end of the ride, that Australia is a beautiful place and that they would do the ride all over again, but next time we'll bring our loved one was very emotional and special. To see such camaraderie throughout the ride, and especially at the end, is an amazing sight and feeling and one that we do not want to forget.
To see Australia in such an adventurous manner with like-minded people is a one off - don't miss the chance - we grabbed the chance and had the time of our lives. I said last time that if you never go you'll never know and how true that is.
Some statistics for the Long Ride 2007/08/10/11/13/14/16/17 are that collectively we rode some 4.5million Ks, 7 bookings for speeding, no motorcycle broke down, and only four people have filled their petrol tanks with diesel.
We wore out something like $3.8 mil dollars? worth of tyres, there were two dogs on the ride, there has been7 side cars, 25 trailers, 6 sets of family with father mother, daughter or son, one chap travelled all the way from England to ride, a lady and two gents came from the US of A, 3 people from Hong Kong.
4 bikes had a puncture, one road accident due to a kangaroo, 4 off road bikes bit the dust, and the oldest rider was 78 years old and rode longer and faster than many half his age. Grahame and son Toby (12yrs old) rode a 1954 panther side car from Sydney to Sydney over 4200Ks the best bonding ever for a father and son we are all proud of both of them.
Above all, is the friendships that were forged, the meeting of new people all the time, spreading the word about Prostate Cancer and helping our men and the sheer exhilaration of riding across this great nation, and in doing so you get to clear your demons and come out at the end, a better person. In 2017 the Long Ride, through the help of all riders, has totalled over $1.9m over its 8 events. Well done to all riders and groups involved.