May 14, 2016 - Posted by: Prickle

A Day of the Saints, Blessing of the Bikes 2016.

It all started on a sunny Saturday morning in the first week of May, must say these annual rides come around so fast these days, might have something to do with getting older. The start was at the BP Archerfield service station which is always good, so full tanks can be achieved.

With weather like this, one would be forgiven to think we were still in summer, not into the second month of autumn, the temp was rising and it was only 8.30 or so as we all looked for a shady spot. The bikes rolled in and the numbers grew, was an affordable ride at 10 dollars and you get a ticket in the raffle at the last stop, which is a good idea to try and entice folks to stick around to the end.  There were other raffle throughout the day, the first was just before the start, once that was drawn, Azza the President of the Saints Christian Motorcycle Club let us know where we would be heading and then proceeded to give thanks and Bless the Bikes, that was what the ride was all about. After that the 5 minute call was given, so all there proceeded to their bikes and our stands were up before you know it and we were away. My girl even started after being blessed I’m amazed, only joking Azza, it’s a long standing joke over the years.

The traffic on Ipswich road wasn’t too bad, and the large group of bikes was able to keep together as we were told in the briefing this would be a speed limit ride, well that’s what was said and I am sticking to it. The road that was taken was a typical Qld road, keep your wits about you, especially when riding in a group. There was plenty to see and hey being on your bike with blue skies above who could ask for better, before we knew it, we were all slowing into the town heading to the Tarampa Hotel. Good parking, plenty of room and a few of us found some shade for the bikes. As the bikes turned off which seemed one by one the voices began, as folks were sharing their stories of what had happened on the first leg of this journey, a few of us started to make our way into the pub to say g’day and get ourselves a refreshment.

About 10 minutes into the stop it was asked if we could all make our way to the front of the pub for a group photo, yeah it’s always the way, bikers find it hard to walk and talk and stop, but eventually everyone made it, and the photos were taken. Another drink and a bit more of a catch up and it was time to get under way. As the bikes pulled out from where they were parked, the pub owner’s took photos and thanked us for dropping in.

The lead riders kept it slow, then once we were all out on the road the lead riders then brought the pace up to speed, so as to not loose anybody on the ride. Which is a very considerate way to run a ride and shows they look after the people that partake in their event. The road from Tarampa to Forest Hill is a road you can find your place in the pack and relax and take in the scenery, well that’s what I do, and other folks are free to do whatever they want. Some like to have a play going from the back and making their way to the front sometimes solo or multiples and of course the corner markers make a game of it as well, but my view was exceptional from where I was and I was content on such a magnificent day, to enjoy the moment for what it was. The only thing to interrupt my thoughts were the occasional bike blasting past to get to the front but of cause if needed, to make room for a fellow rider if he needed to get back into the pack, looking for that clear bit of road, then when no one was coming, bouncing back out of the pack to regain their place upfront ready to mark that next corner.

A few corners more and you feel the pace slow which means we are nearly at the second stop just about at the T intersection and old Tec from Baca who was the bike in front of me looked as though he was running out of fuel, or had done a clutch cable, he managed to veer off to the garage at that intersection. Turns out it wasn’t a fuel problem but a clutch cable, the Saints CMC helped him out. Turned right at the stop sign, then a left over the train tracks and we were at the Lockyer Hotel ready for lunch and a laugh, as we say, life is what you make it.

Tucker was chicken or rib fillet burger and chips for 10 bucks, so as there was a crowd grabbing their drinks, I went through and ordered and payed for my rib fillet burger and took some photos, then made it back to the bar when the crowd had dispersed to grab a drink. Service is always good here, they really look after you, wasn’t long and the burgers started to stream out of the kitchen in an orderly fashion, best in best dressed we found out, they would say which type of burger and you would say yep over here, all good and everybody got feed, so that’s got to be a win, now doesn’t it?

It was looking like everyone was getting rather comfortable, there was plenty of laughter and smiles as the noise level, was at that level of folks enjoying themselves. The raffle tickets were being easily sold, even thou the raffle girls had beards this year, what’s going on fellas. So I took the opportunity to click some snaps, nothing staged, that’s just not my style on run days, just love to get folks relaxed and laid back. While I was doing that, the 5 minute call was sent out and everyone moseyed their way back to their bikes, walking and talking, and they say we can’t multitask...

One by one the sweet sounds of the many different engines started to reverb throughout the street, like an orchestra tuning up before the next performance. The lead riders took their places and awaited the rest of the motley crew to find their comfort spot, once all had joined the group we were off for the last leg, after a feed and break it seemed the pack was in the mood to hunt along at an enjoyable pace. Again this section heading back where some long straights and some wide sweepers, again the birdlife was having fun under this blue sky day. While watching the road and those birds doing acrobatic manoeuvers with no confinement, my well feed belly must have been feeding my thought processes, as seeing the freedom of those birds lead me to thinking of how there are just so many forms of freedom and your freedom is probably different to mine, yet we both enjoy our own freedoms, because we are in touch with our freedoms we are very aware when even the smallest freedom is taken away from us. Riding is a freedom that most don’t partake of, so they are not able to even imagine the awesomeness that we that ride the roads and feel the pace we travel. We fill our lungs with the smells of the road, from the flowering blooms, crops in farming country around harvest time, the insects that are doing their own acupressure when impacting and exploding on our faces, to the road kill, yes, even that road kill, for me it’s the smelling salts of the road, that makes me feel alive as it reminds me, I’m here alive, as if the only one on the road, with the freedom I make for myself and share with others, I think  the man, big brother ,govco whatever you would like to call them, can try and take our freedom, but they can’t take the freedom that is in our minds, if you take the time and look close enough, it lives in all of us, always remember the freedom that lives in our minds, as memories of life and experiences that we gather on the great ride called life. So with that said, it should give us all the strength to fight for the freedoms we want and never forget freedom is not free, it comes at a cost.

Well  where did those last miles go, when you get into that zone some call it zen the miles are just eaten up, now as we approach suburbia we regroup, some got through those set of lights while myself and others got caught at the redlight, but not to worry a couple of the organisers waited just ahead, just in case we were not familiar with the area they were not going to leave anyone behind, which is the way it has been in my history, this practice was being lost for a while there, but seems to be gaining favour  again as there was a feeling of unity on this ride, and that’s another thing, unity is just like freedom, unity, being united, needs to be worked at and here’s another thing, it can’t be given, unity like other words bantered around in the bike scene, takes a whole lot of work and sacrifice, but if you work hard enough, the payback you receive is absolutely priceless and its available to all if you are willing to put the hard work in, then you get to partake in what you have achieved.

By the time we arrived at the last stop, the first group that got through the lights were all parked up out the front of the Royal Mail Hotel or as us locals call it the “Old Wooden Pub”, they had started lining up for their refreshments, so as we parked up and joked around, the first thing you heard as the engines stopped, was a one man blues band bashing out a great sound,  the timing was great when we were ready to grab a drink, no line up and that sound coming from the muso was incredible, this pub is renowned for bands and solo and anything in between, want a great feed, cold liquid refreshments a brilliant atmosphere, look them up, you want be disappointed.

Well it was that time of the afternoon, the last of the raffles had started to be drawn, it took a little while as with these raffles for you to win you had to be there holding the winning ticket no phone calls on these raffles, which for me, that is great, ride all day put the effort in and get rewarded for your participation. The winners had huge smiles on their faces and the ones that didn’t win, looked just as happy to see others having a win. Then the Saints CMC awarded the pub with a certificate of appreciation for allowing us all to partake in their hospitality and the Saints CMC did that at each stop.

The president of the Saints Christian Motorcycle Club thanked us all for being part of the Blessing of the Bikes for 2016, the Saints were immediately thanked by the riders, that partook in the hospitality that was flowing on the day. The way we were all looked after on the day should be remembered and I know I am thankful for it, so if you are looking for a ride around this time of the year you truly can’t go past this ride, go on, and give it try, I bet you won’t be disappointed.

Well by now, the goodbyes were happening in an orderly fashion and with that the engines starting to warm and blast up the road, the crowd was getting smaller, as most had somewhere to be, the last three which I was one of, started our bikes, I was doing the clip on my helmet as they both rode out with a nod of the head. I took this moment to just listen to the disappearing sounds of those bikes, to the engine under my backside and the sound of the atmosphere and music coming from the Old Wooden Pub, and had a quick thought, it was an outstanding day spent with good folk, and at that moment I knew, I had freedom.

Write-up & Photos

By Steve Prickle Clancy

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