Cruising the Wimmera
There is something special, as well as being more than a tad ‘cool’ about the idea of climbing onto the saddle of a comfortable motorcycle and simply cruising.
It represents a romantic dream for many people who either never get to or fail to seize the opportunity to don the leathers and helmet to pursue highway adventures.
But Horsham business couple Stuart and Tracey Hobbs refused to leave it as a notion locked away in a mental wish-list and are busy exploring the idea.
Now the hard-working pair, desperate to make the most of any rare spare time away from their Breuers United Tools and Breuers Hire businesses, are motorcycle converts.
With both saddling up on glistening Harley Davidson motorcycles, the armchairs of the two-wheel motoring world with all the mod-cons in modern communication, Stuart and Tracey hit the road to take in all the Wimmera, Mallee and Grampians have to offer.
Stuart was the first to take the plunge, buying his Harley in 2010 and rekindling experiences of riding his brother’s motorcycle from the farm into town before he had his car licence.
“I’d never owned a motorbike but I suppose the passion was always there to have my own,” he said.
“Call it a midlife crisis or whatever, but we had worked hard to get the business to a certain point and it was about finding something to do beyond sport and work.”
Tracey tagged along as a pillion for a while but in typically independent fashion declared she would one day get her own licence. And she did.
“I had never ridden a motorbike at all and was quite apprehensive about it. Even now I’m very safety-conscious. I started with a Yamaha and then bought a Harley as Stuart updated his bike,” she said.
“We now have regular Sunday rides over the Grampians but also go on all sorts of rides. We’ve done some weekend trips to places such as Bendigo but you don’t have to do long trips to get the enjoyment out of it.
“A trip from Horsham to Noradjuha or Natimuk, or across to Minyip or Warracknabeal is enjoyable. You drive there, perhaps stop for a coffee somewhere or some fuel, and come home. There is a lot to see, especially on a motorcycle.”
Stuart said they had not done an interstate trip yet, but that’s coming.
“We want to get to perhaps the Gold Coast or somewhere similar in the future,” he said.
“We’re fully blue-tooth connected and constantly talk to each other which helps. When I’m out the front and there is anything ahead I can talk Tracey through it. It’s great because you really have another set of eyes. ”
Stuart, with tongue firmly in cheek, said there was only the odd occasion when communications became awkward, such as when Tracey started singing while riding.
The pair agreed the motorcycling experiences provided them a way to do something together that was also ‘different’.
“Anything that gives time to think is enjoyable. It is a great pressure release. And on the beautiful days it is gorgeous,” Tracey said.
“You’re more alert and you tend to experience more than you usually do – the sights, sounds and smells,” Stuart added.
Both agreed the region was ideal for motorcycle cruising, but added that people needed to be vigilant with safety.
“If it is something you’re just starting go steady and get the hours up. You need to have a greater awareness on a motorbike and there is a lot more double-checking. Be safe and be responsible. It’s not a pushbike,” Stuart said.
“There are plenty of places to start riding and the Wimmera is a great place to learn. There are also places to help people get started and the support and advice we’ve had from Horsham Harley Davidson has been excellent.”
Stuart and Tracey Hobbs of Horsham spend much of their spare time on motorcycle trips. Picture: KELLY LAIRD