Jun 7, 2017 - Posted by: Prickle

MANDATE RIDE for Andy


The start of this day began with a chilly morning, with frost on the ground, crispy yes!!!, it’s only the third day of winter, what the @#$%. Might be getting a normal winter for a change, whatever the climatologists mean by that. Just like you folks, I stick my head out the door and that is...

my weather forecast. Anyway, packed the cleaned camera gear into the still old saddle bags, but there was a little more room as I was wearing my quilted flannelette, that normally takes all the room up in these smaller bags, yes I hear you all, fit your new bags, I will when I get a minute spare to do some me time. I topped up the tank just down the hill from the Bunker and slid into the Vietnam Veterans & Veterans Motorcycle Club, that’s a mouthful, so anywhere else in this blog I will use the acronym V V & V MC. So parked up and unload the gear I needed and started the day of snapping shots, said the hellos and mornings greetings on the move. It wasn’t long before I ran into my mate Bad Baz, for the folks that don’t know, he is the President of this club and the all-important morning question was asked, Prickle you want a coffee?, never ask me that, I always want coffee, I run on the stuff, it’s my fuel. We made a couple of cups and sat down to catch up and watch the folks roll in, and roll in they did. What I did notice though and mentioned to the hosts of this event, most of these folks were not part of the usual crowd, that turn up to events like this. Yeah, there was a few of the usual mates that had made it, well altogether half a dozen of them, from B.A.C.A®,  MISFITS MCC, SOTSC SMC, and SINNERS MCC, all the rest were ordinary bikers and some were from the Indian Motorcycle Club which Ray the dealer from Indian asked them to come along. Hey, folks this the first ride and event, the young blokes have put together, oh, I suppose I should explain it to you guys and gals. The young blokes I speak of, are the blokes that make up the Veterans side of this club, you see Veterans was started so Casper, the name given to the skull with the slouch hat on all their backs, will continue to live and be shown even after the last of the Vietnam Veterans member passes on, hope that has enlightened some of you, to how it all came about.

While the crowd kept building and signing in at the Mandate tent, whats Mandate all about you might ask, it is as they say a movement to encourage us blokes to take ownership of our health and to come together just like we have todayBaz asked if I could take a shot for him, which was a shot of Baz VVMC and Doc VMC as they presented Ray the Indian Dealer with an honorary member’s patch, which was nice to be part of. I also got in early to get a picture of Baz and the Gentleman this day was put on for, a bloke by the name, Andrew Fields or Andy to his mates. A little about Andy, he is 63 years of age, he spent 26 long years in the military at Duntroon Officers Training. He was also awarded an OAM. He has just retired on Friday, the day before this ride. Now for something that none of us would like to get, a diagnosis like Andy’s, he has been diagnosed with Lung Cancer & Brain Tumours, but to look at him you couldn’t tell. This day came about, from a lovely lady by the name of Terri, asking is there anybody out there that would be able to take Andy for a ride on a Harley. Andy had good intentions to buy a Harley, but just never got around to it, so the blokes at the Veterans MC heard about this and before you knew it, there was a ride put together with an after party, with a band and the lovely volunteers from Mandate on duty. See the biker community is made up of people with some big-hearted buggers that come to the aid of anybody that has the strength to ask.

So while we waited for Andy’s ride which happens to be a Harley with sidecar outfit, that was being ridden by Meathead, a VVMC member he seemed to be running a little late, oh what’s that I hear you say, it is a Harley thing, hey enough of that, hahaha, no just traffic I’ve been told. It wasn’t long and he arrived and Andy was eager to get that helmet on and get himself into that sidecar and he looked the part wearing a traditional biker scarf, very chipper. A run down on the ride was given by Muzz and it was said we won’t be breaking any speed barriers, there’s a few I hear, that are low on license points and really it’s not good manners to lose the folks that come on these rides. Even with all the lights and roundabouts we had to navigate, we did alright, I did hear someone was lost, hmm well I can’t say lost, cause they did make it to the stop, we were making at the bearded dragon, with some simple instruction over the phone, so all was good with the world as we meandered our way down the highway to the oxenford turn off, onto I think it was tambourine oxenford road, it’s hard for me, I do apologise folks, as I know where I am most times, I just for the life of me, don’t know the names of the roads. After some nice roads leading us up Mt Tambourine once near the top, yep you guessed it some more top roads weaving and winding our way down the mountain and onto our destination at the Bearded Dragon pub. All the bikes parked up and I just sat for a moment and looked around, I must say to see all these people, most I wouldn’t know from Adam, all smiling and chatting and having a laugh was just inspirational, it really was, good people gathering for a great reason and given a bloke that has done so much for the people around him, getting a dream he has had for years to come true, just from it being asked for. So seeing this, it truly brings this saying to mind, that good things come to those who wait, but the best things come to those who do, that came true on this day.

Made my way around the parking lot and did a quick count, 84 bikes was the number, well-done folks. Once finished letting a couple of the Veterans know the number of bikes, it was time for me to get some water as this cooler air was drying my throat. Up to the bar I waited to be served, as I waited I noticed they had some balloons hanging, left over from the state of origin, so I touch one and it came loose, so I thought quick of an idea, of what to do with this balloon, so all I heard when I said keep it in the air, whoever lets it hit the floor… shouts the bar, well the Aussie spirit come to light as blokes were ordering all awhile keeping an eye on the whereabouts of that balloon, let me say it never did hit the floor. Got my water and started taking some good shots of blokes and ladies, in what looked like their natural environment, a watering hole, just like the animal kingdom, well are we not just an upright walking bipedal species whether beasts or birds they all congregate at the waterhole and whether they be friend or food, all is forgotten at the waterhole.

After a while I asked the lead riders, what time are they thinking of leaving, as I had a plan in my head for some more photos, they said 20 minutes, half hour at the latest they’d be leaving and heading back to the clubhouse, I responded with all good I will get going now as I wanted some action shots on a corner I had in mind. So as I was getting my gear on, Nifty asked, was I heading home, no way man I replied and explained where I was heading, he said, he and some others were headed to the Logan Village to have some tucker there, ok I replied, meet you back at the Bunker, got the bike started and warmed, then headed out of the Pub parking lot and headed towards Logan Village. I was clipping along at a good pace when I did a mirror check and noticed a bike back in the distance, but one I’ve seen on many occasions, hey you just can’t miss these ape hangers, no not the ones people talk about these days, these are the ones from when I rode back when I was pup of 18, what we described as looking like orangutans swinging through the jungle, real ape hangers, the ones that, now let me try and paint you a picture of the height of these real ape hangers, picture two blokes riding beside each other with these ape hangers and a smart arse Aussie larrikin that rode a Honda 4 between those two bikes and didn’t have to duck under their bars, yep I did just that years ago, what a buzz those are ape hangers are, but hey I digress. Yep as it got closer I knew who it was, a bloke I’ve known for quite a few years, my old mate Nifty and is wife Tina as pillion, we road along for some time until we come upon the Logan Village pub, I then gave a low wave as they slowed to park and I kept going on. Upon reaching the corner I was going to shoot from, I parked up and walked down trying to picture in my mind’s eye, of the shot I wanted and I decided on laying on the grass just out of the gutter on the footpath, laying this close to a gutter brought back some memories, wild gutter parties we use to have, geez I could tell you all some stories of gutter parties, but I will save that for another time maybe…. I could hear the bikes turn the corner onto Queens Rd, the camera was set to multiple shots or continuous shooting, as they lent over for this rather sharp corner of 90 degrees, I was able to capture all, not only them but at this angle of looking up at them, it was good to see the shots did come out quite well.

It took longer to set the shot up than actually shoot it, but that’s the photography game, as I got myself off the ground I could see the last of them turn into Meakin Rd to the clubhouse. As I made my way back to my bike a few more stragglers went by, with bike started, I got on my way by the time I got to the clubhouse they had all parked up. Made my way through them and parked in my usual spot under cover, then it was lunch time for me and quite a few others that must not have eaten at the pub. The people from Mandate had cooked up a feast and for a gold coin donation, we had a choice of either a steak sandwich with onions or a sausage sizzle, the steak went done of so well, it was rib fillet to boot, it just melted in your mouth and was downed with… yes, you guessed it a big mug of coffee. The usual group sat around the table with a nice breeze and proceeded to pull the piss out of each other, as we do so well.

Another fantastic part of this day was to have a Doctor there in the afternoon doing mole and skin lesion checkups, unreal that’s is so important and I say that from the heart, as earlier this year I had a scare with a stage 2 melanoma on my back which hadn’t seen much sunlight at all, but it just goes to show, please get a skin check, it's five minutes out of your life. A little trivia Bob Marley died from a brain tumor, the cause of this tumor was found to be a melanoma on his toe, so folks don’t put it off, personally I thought this being made available for us, was an awesome idea for all of us to get a checkup, well what excuse could you use it was right there. It was fantastic to see how many took up this offer, good on you all. See Andy…from you mate, many people have had I’m sure their first checkup, lives will be saved from this.

Andy was there taking it easy with his family and friends and I’m sure, at the end of the day Andy had a heap more friends than he started the day with. The band started and wow they were smashing out all the oldies and hits, the band’s name Guilty as Sin and their sound was fantastic, if you see advertising where they are playing, get along you will not be disappointed, that is for sure. I continued taking shots of the stayers you know the ones that will stay till stumps and good on them, they can camp there and I did see a few tents that were pitched, liquor license runs till late, so I’m sure there may have been a few sore heads, in the morning. The memories of the day will live on forever, as we speak of the first Mandate Ride day. I’m hoping this will be an annual ride, as it’s a way of getting blokes together, so a yearly checkup can take place. Cancer is no joke and it’s a, bigger killer than heart disease these days, most skin Cancers are curable if caught early enough, so have regular checks, now don’t leave it to long.

As the shadows lengthened the people left seated around the Bunker, looked like they were settling in for a long night, a bloke by the name of Tony come up to me, he is one of the many supporters of the VV&V MC, he said he never sees me in any of the photos cause I am always taken shots of others, I replied true to that, so he asked if he could take a couple of shots of me, sure I said, so I  handed him my camera with some instructions how to drive it and he got a couple of shots, hey I reckon that was just so good hey, again somebody thinking of others, cheers and thanks, Tony, really appreciate it. I then went and took some more shots of the band, I tried multiple shots of the band with no flash, as I have been playing around with manual settings lately, and they had just started this set, so took some nicely lighted shots, I looked around and decided it was time for me to say my goodbyes, as I was doing that, I heard they were taking orders for pizza and trying to find a sober driver. After saying hooray, I packed up the bike got the music playing in my headset and geared up for the coldish ride home, it makes you feel alive, with the growl out of the pipes I just know it is loving the cold thick air as well. Another great day spent with terrific folk of the same elk, you can’t beat it, and you really can’t! Well, Andy, I am sure you had a great day as the smile on your face gave it away, I bet you slept well that night, I know I did buddy. We wish you all the best, Andy keeps your chin up mate, you have a lot of folks sending their positive vibes your way.

Well folks that’s a day in the life of this old biker, getting out there meeting new people, catching up with ol’mates, riding two wheel machines, feeling the air rushing past, the vibrations of the machine and every bump in the road, smelling the seasons, embracing the life, we as riders are exposed to all elements and loving every minute of it, don’t waste a minute of your time it’s most precious.  As a couple of lines of an old Irish poem says, “may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back”. I think I will use this as it says it all.

So until we meet again, may the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, ride well and watch out for those damn cars.

Write-up by

Steve Prickle.

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