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May have met Australia's oldest biker...

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Pawaqatsi, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Went out for a Sunday squirt in the northern hills of Melbourne this morning. Pretty empty roads south of Kinglake.

    Was winding through a favourite back road when I came across a cyclist on a bend grabbing at a downed KTM Duke 390. There was a Hilux pulling up and a big dude was jumping out. I can see a figure under the bike and they manage to stand it up as I park my bike to give a hand. This little bloke is being supported by the arm as I peel off my gear and ask how he is. "I'm okay" he says "just need to go for a bit of a walk to shake it off".

    Well it's high 20's and still warming up so I tell him to take his gloves and helmet off and get some fresh air before he cooks. He takes off the helmet and we all see that this guy is well beyond the 60 odd that his eyes have previously depicted. He unbuttons his coat to reveal an old school woolen jumper with checked shirt underneath. I look down to see he's just wearing thin pants and I'm starting to shake my head in disbelief at this guy's idea of safe riding wear! "How old are you mate?" I enquire. "87" he replies. "I've been riding for well over fifty years and I feel like a fool for losing concentration. My name is Bill and I'm really glad you guys stopped by to help me coz I couldn't get the damned thing off me. I've lost most of my core strength since I had a stroke six months ago".

    I look at the other guys and we all have the same WTF expression on our faces. This old fella is one part crazy and three parts legendary!! He shakes off his fall and says he'll be on his way but we all manage to talk him around. We suggest he heads home for a rest and recovery as his leg is probably going to swell up a bit where the bike had him pinned down. He begrudgingly agrees but I suspect he is just telling us what we want to hear. I tell him I'm going to follow him to make sure he's okay and he says thanks. We eventually get his bike going and he needs a little help to throw his leg over it. I'm seriously wondering how the funk he even got out this far into the sticks from his home in Reservoir. He looks so damn frail. He eases back onto the track and scoots off down the hill without waiting. He's doing a runner! I slam my lid on and head off in hot pursuit. I catch up to him a couple kays down the road and he spots me in his mirrors. This old coot is motoring along now that he's back on two wheels.

    He know's I'm not leaving him so I reckon he starts heading for home. He keeps leaving his indicator on and his lines are looking a little dodge to me. We go over a blind hill and he is way too far to the right which is concerning. I reckon he's still a bit rattled. He's certainly got some moves as I'm starting to think his break light isn't working. I can't remember seeing it come on until we hit the outer burbs and the freeway start at Greensborough. A few Kays of freeway and we are off at Dalton Road, heading south into Rezza. A few more kays and he pulls into his home driveway, scooting around back into his garage. I park on the footpath and wander on down to see him.

    He's very grateful for the escort and offers me a cup of tea for my trouble. I decline (as its pretty damn warm!) and tell him I just wanted to make sure he got home safe and is still around to get the Queen's letter in a few years time. "Oh yeah, I'll be getting one of those ....but nothing's gunna stop me riding!"

    We chat for a while and he tells me that he can't play golf any more as the walking is too much for him since the stroke. His wife wanders out and he whispers that she is senile and won't remember me once I'm gone. "You can tell her I came off but I'm glad you can't tell my two daughters in law. They've been wanting me to get off the bike for years!" He tells me he broke his leg five years ago while out dirtbike riding! WTF?! He's owned a hundred odd bikes over the years as he started riding at 15. He had previously bought a sportsbike at Peter Stevens but it was too heavy and too fast (could almost keep up with his son's Ducatis!) so he traded it back a month later and bought the lighter Duke. Said he was the oldest guy they ever sold a bike to. In the eighteen months he's had it he's put 17 thou on the clock. Heads out most days into the hills on his own. Doesn't carry a mobile phone "not really into that new technology stuff". Yes, this Bill is certainly one hell of a character.

    We stroll back out front and he has a good look over my Daytona. He tells me he's had quite a few Triumphs in his time. At least thirty years back anyway. "Nice old bikes they were". I tell him I'm gunna keep an eye out for him now that I've seen his Duke and he rides in my patch. I hope to stop him for another chat sometime. He thanks me again and I head back north to finish off my ride.

    So if you see a late model KTM Duke with its bright orange frame and wheels fanging around out Hurstbridge way on any given day, give the rider a wave as there's every chance it's an eighty seven years young legend who goes by the name of Bill. And he "aint stopping till it's over".

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  2. A great story and glad he is OK. Guys like that are an inspiration, every time I groan a bit getting off the bike after a couple of hundred k's I need to think "harden up ya woose".

    Keep riding Bill as long as you can. (y)
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  3. Nowhere near me but good on Bill for doing what he loves and congratulations to you for supporting
    another rider when he needed a bit of help.
  4. #4 titus, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
    Right, it's on! If he can make 87 not out, I've got another 30 years in me! :)
    I'm officially starting my campaign to break his record, starting today.
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  5. Great story, and well done PawaqatsiPawaqatsi for looking after the guy.
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  6. What a great tale PawaqatsiPawaqatsi
    Bill sounds like an absolute champ
  7. Sorry, but, just two weeks ago, the folk up at Pie in the Sky had a big celebration for "Old Jack"'s 90th birthday.

    He rode up, making a grand entrance, on his Ducati F1...... just one of his "stable".

    He rides pretty regularly, at least twice a week, often more.

    For me, the scary bit is that, even years ago, and more so now, I couldn't sit on that Duc never mind ride the bloody thing, my body, tho just over 20 years younger than Jack, is just too buggered. :-(
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  8. Great story and congrats for helping a brother in need PawaqatsiPawaqatsi, regularly ride with an 83 yo on a Bandit who apologizes for being slow as he cruises at 120, his son left the bike with him for storage, can't let a good bike go to waste (and his son gets the speeding tickets - try explaining that it was your 83 yo father speeding :banghead::banghead:
    titustitus, I'll give you a race :sneaky::sneaky: you being an old bugger you've got a head start on me
  9. truly inspiring to see these guys at that age still riding motorbikes. I am sure that is what keeps them young in mind and body and gives me something to aim for............
  10. Excellent.

    New research needed - "does biking contribute to mind and body wholesomeness in older citizens"?

    Maybe we can get a small government grant (thinking something modest like $135 million) and test this hypothesis over the next 30 years.
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  11. Many years ago, when I was still in the UK I looked in detail at the stats for motorcycle fatalities.

    It looked to me that there was a sort of "magic" age, and, if you got past that, and never got off the motorbike, you should live for ever.

    Back then the number looked to be above 70.

    Now, I'm not too far away from the number, I'm beginning to wonder........ do I really WANT to live forever?
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  12. Funny you say that Rus Ler. On one of the many times he thanked me I told him it's because "we are brothers (as riders), it's what we do. It's just that you're a much older brother!" :D

    Meeting Bill has truly been an inspirational experience for me. Changed my whole concept of age. If Bill at 87 and "Old Jack" at 90 can still be fanging around the hills, then why can't all of us aspire to do the same? Too many people "settle in" at a certain age and go quietly into their twilight years.

    Yeah, well if Bill can fight it.....so can I :finger:

    Challenge Accepted!
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  13. I ride with a group in the Hills ,, one of the lead riders is 74 is and our oldest rider Frank is 89 in March next year . Frank rides everywhere he doesnt have a car and commutes from the Mornington peninsula to see he daughters in Melbourne a few times a week ,, he only riding a little Soozook 250 cos he is only about 4 foot nothing tall , so there is plenty of riding left in my not so young body . On our SUnday arvo rides he comes upto Emerald then completes most of our rides before heading off home . Usually rides with his son along on Blackbird .
  14. I know that Grand Prix legend Jack Ahearn is well into his eighties & still rides on outings with the classic club up here on the Northern Rivers
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  15. Nice! Good to see people do still show respect!
  16. Fantastic story at 49 I'm just a young bloke I've got another 40yrs of riding yipee
  17. Cool story mate.
    I want to be just like him, but without the stroke.
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  18. awesome story I will keep a eye for him when next in the area(y)(y)
  19. Great story! No point stopping what you love doing as long as you feel up to it.

    When I went for my learners, the instructor was 82 or so I believe, he rode a Suzuki Boulevard every day to work as his wife drives his only car. He told me about a accident he had, had to have both his knees reconstructed. Doctors said he'd never ride again, but yet here he was.

    Best bit? When I went for my Ps test, the instructor's son had a motorcycle accident and the instructor had to leave early, so they called in the same old fella I went for my learners with. He rolled up on his immaculate boulevard and finished the lesson with us.
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  20. Great story & good on you for taking care of Bill. At 55 I was wondering how I'll go riding in 10 years or so. Hope I'll have as much get up & go as Bill. He is an inspiration.
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