Published on April 5th, 2016 | by Boris
2016 BIKEME! TUMBURUMBA TT – All things bright & dark & fast & loud & messy & beautiful
I always find it very difficult to write about what happens on BikeMe! events.
Primarily because different things happen to different people and I am not always there to witness these things.
So I can only tell you what happened to me and what I observed.
But I must also tell you some things in case you have never attended a BikeMe! event and require some context.
Firstly, BikeMe! is not a club. There are no leaders, office bearers, meetings, minutes, or rules.
Secondly, BikeMe! is not one of those Facebook-based riding groups that meets weekly to ride to various coffee houses, gelaterias, pizza shops and service stations in and around capital cities.
Thirdly, while I know what BikeMe! certainly isn’t, I’m no longer entirely sure exactly what it is.
It started life 10 years ago as a motorcycle DVD project, which had a forum attached to a website that was meant to promote the DVD that was going to be made.
The DVD thing never happened for various reasons mainly to do with everyone involved not actually having any idea about how to make DVDs.
But the forum kicked along and took on a life of its own, presumably because the forum members appreciated being treated like adults, and part of this treatment was to hold events that were unique.
The uniqueness lay in the how the events were presented and run.
It worked like this…
Forum members would be informed that a ride was taking place.
The information was presented thus:
MEET ON: Date.
MEET AT: Place.
DEPART AT: Time of departure – which was not negotiable and no-one ever waits for anyone who is not on time.
GOING TO: Destination (if available)
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND: Do not fucking fall off and do not be a dickhead.
That was pretty much it. And it worked. People who liked this kind of honest simplicity came along and enjoyed themselves, became repeat offenders and life-long friends, while people who wanted their food chewed, their hands held, needed corner markers, road captains and were unable to get from Point A to Point B without crashing, came once (or not at all) and never again.
Which was just fine. Not everyone likes or even wants what BikeMe! serves up. And thus has its dickhead-to-decent person ratio been kept very low.
It has hosted many events over the last decade, and it will doubtlessly host more, but the events are just a part of what BikeMe! does and is – and its other endeavours may be seen HERE, HERE and HERE.
And its members are everywhere and involved in every aspect of motorcycling.
Of course, one of the most glorious aspects of motorcycling is riding to some beaut place with like-minded individuals, and then…erm, riding some more.
Which is actually what an event like the Tumbarumba TT is all about.
Members came from all over Australia; from as far away as England, China, Tasmania, Adelaide and Brisbane, they loaded their bikes, and made for the Australian Alps, where some of the best riding in Australia is force-fed into their expectant blurters with vigour and purpose.
And while the destination is Tumbarumba and its caravan park, motorcyclists tend to view destinations as a means to an end – and that end is to ride fabulous roads as well as possible.
So that is pretty much what happened.
More than 100 steely-eyed road-beasts gathered on the caravan-park’s greensward, and I among them – many of whom had already spent days on the road, and would now spend a few more, while drinking themselves to sleep in fits of “Fuck it’s great to be alive!” each night.
Biffa, Bly, Daz, Rob, Mick and I had met in Cooma the night before. We had spent a bizarre evening waiting to be skinned and tortured in a motel run by Eastern European vampires, and the morning ignoring speed limits through grim mountain passes and verdant valleys. So you can just imagine the state of our nipples when we got to Tumbarumba.
The last cop I had seen was in Wollongong. The next cop I would see would be on the M2 just near my home. I am certainly not counting the two local constables who rolled into the caravan park on dusk to express their concern about safety.
“I am all about the safety,” I declared to them, a half-empty bottle of bourbon in one hand. “No-one is allowed to die, and we take a very dim view of people crashing, so that’s not allowed either. I will personally bring you the skin of anyone who crashes so that you may hang it outside your police station as an example to all.”
“Yeah, look, just take it easy tomorrow, OK?” the younger one said, while the older one chuckled in the passenger seat.
“I will make a speech about safety before we head off in the morning, and I promise I will not drag-race my very loud motorcycle up and down the main street tonight. I cannot speak for the booze-crazed stunter over there, or his off-tap Pom mate, but we have ex-Special Forces killers among us who do not sleep and have knives to keep such lunatics in line and safe. And that bloke over there is a lawyer, and he’s keen to answer any questions you might have about my exhaust pipe.”
Then I walked off.
It was, of course, impossible to speak at length and in-depth with everyone who was there. That’s the nature of these things. But since more than half of the attendees were already well known to me, I spent a little time addressing the wide-eyed new people who had questions.
“Where do we register?”
“No idea. Give me $20 and you may need to blow Sammo. He’s over there. Want a whiskey?”
“What happens tomorrow?”
“Everything. Want a whiskey?”
“Is there a set route?”
“No. Want a whiskey?”
“So where do we go?”
“Wherever you want. I do recommend Granya Gap and the Elliot Way, but you can ride to Perth if you like, as long as you’re back for dinner at six. Want a whiskey?”
Then there was singing, drinking and some dancing, and then an evil ranga cut the power cord to the jukebox with a knife and I became unconscious because that’s what happens when the whiskey runs out and one is forced to drink vodka with killers who punch you repeatedly in the chest.
The next morning, the nice people at the caravan park made us all breakfast. Then Bly, the False Boris and I headed out for our morning viewing of the surrounding countryside – which meant getting to Granya Gap before Team SCR (ShitCuntRacing) and making the Victory Magnum as wide as possible.
My machinations upon the vast bagger were of no consequence. I do not think I have ever been passed more ruthlessly or quickly as I was that morning. Canning and Benny (who really is faster than God and younger than most Asian hookers), followed by Bluey, Matticas, Harry, Ben and Pirate Hooker, were busily setting high sixes on the Granya Gap. Bly and the False Boris were doing eights, so they got smashed as well.
I caught them up at the Murray Valley Highway intersection, whereupon they went to race on other tracks, and Bly, the False Boris and I felt it was time to ride to Jingellic pub and sit by the river.
Of course, we decided to get there via the Walwa Road, which starts well, but ends up becoming ten-odd kays of hideous, corrugated dirt with rocks the size of children’s heads to bounce you off your line.
But we did not die and nothing fell of any bike, so we were able to eat our food in peace.
The Jingelic pub serves fine steaks and rather crap nachos, so I had both, since such a meal is an allegory for life, and by around three, I was back in Tumbarumba.
The caravan park fed us steaks and salads and homemade potato bake, and followed it up with homemade bread-and-butter pudding and ice cream. Bluey and Team SCR shouted everyone two cases of beer and a box of bourbon because they won everything, and winners always buy losers piss so that sorrows may be drowned appropriately.
Eventually, the sun went down and the wasps that had plagued us all, but only stung Guy because they hated him, went to sleep.
Prizes were handed out, raffles were drawn, and Ad was declared Grand Champion because he was simply the happiest bloke there, and that is why he won the perpetual trophy by popular acclaim.
Then songs were sung. Badly. I did briefly enjoy Swifty’s rendition of Marseilles by the Angels, which was sung as: “MARSEILLES BY THE ANGELS PLAYING NOW!” over and over because that was what the Karaoke machine offered up as lyrics.
At one stage, someone told me a fellow known only as Chris P Bacon had munted himself into the weeds, but was not dead or badly hurt, so I had no problem sleeping that evening.
I have since heard that many great and terrible things happened that night. Which is right and proper, but when I returned at dawn the following day, there were only two men sitting by the campfire.
Sammo and Mikey. They were hale and well and more smashed than Warsaw after the Germans left, but that is because they are 18 years old.
Then I went home.
My thanks to David Swift, who organised and ran an amazing event and raised some money for homeless people.
I am also grateful to our sponsors for their support and the great prizes they provided. You should and must support them as well.
The beaut Nugents for the priceless race-autographed T-shirt.
The amazing Adam Dunstone for the trophies
Oh and thanks to the people who came along and went for a ride with us.
I took some, and I stole the other images off my friends’ Facebook timelines.