By pillion to the pinnacle of delight
Until a few years ago, I hadn’t been on a motorbike since I was about 18, which feels like several lifetimes ago. But with a change of circumstances, my partner bought a Harley-Davidson. So there was I, in my mid-50s, becoming a pillion passenger again — and on something far bigger than that little trail bike of so long ago.
For the uninitiated, the attraction of riding along at about 100km/h with no control is hard to believe. After all, as the pillion passenger, you hand over all responsibility to your trusted driver. Do bikes really give you a different perspective? I’ll explain by way of an example. We are on a ride up Tasmania’s east coast that is beautiful on a warm and sunny day. From Orford to Bicheno, the road snakes its way north with some lovely coastal scenery, especially south of Swansea. But these early glimpses are just a taste of what is to come. North of Swansea as we sweep around a series of bends, heading downhill, we get to one of Tasmania’s most glorious views.
There, in all its technicolour glory, is a stunning panorama stretching over Moulting Lagoon to Freycinet Peninsula, home of Coles Bay. And without the limitations imposed by a car’s cocoon and its air-conditioned “climate control”, it is even more breathtaking.
It wraps itself around me — the smell of the Australian bush in summer with scent of fresh eucalyptus is pervasive; those same eucalypts give The Hazards, the rugged pink granite mountains that stand guard over Coles Bay, a soft purple hazy glow; and sunlight sparkles like a million dancing diamonds on the water. It is stunning. It engulfs me. I breathe deep and drink it in. Such beauty deserves to be hugged and held close.
Is “pillioning” a word? No matter if not — this is what being a motorbike passenger is all about. Try it. You might find the road you’ve travelled so often is even better than you think. Send your 400-word contribution to Follow the Reader: firstname.lastname@example.org. Columnists receive Nourishing Geranium and Lavender Hand Cream from Sodashi, enriched with avocado oil, shea butter and rosehip; in a 50ml tube ($85.50). More: sodashi.com.