20 February 2018

Suzuki Adventure Ride with V-Strom and friends




I’ve been on a few so-called ‘shop rides’ now with Harley-Heaven and Victory and I can’t help thinking what a great idea they are for brand and community-building. It’s all well and good to swap yarns and happy snaps on Facebook, but nothing replaces a good ride in the fresh air with like-minded guys and gals.

As fortune would have it, I was in Adelaide for Suzuki’s now annual Adventure Ride where riders of all bikes were invited to Wirrina Cove down the coast almost to Cape Jervis.

Adelaide Hills roads have to be some of the best in the country for bikes

All the Suzuki bigwigs were there and I found myself chatting to the GM of motorcycles, the urbane Paul Vandenberg, quite by accident at dinner as well as state manager, Vivienne Hoffmann (we went to the same schools!) and National Marketing manager, Lewis Croft.

Just the right amount of dirt 

“Some brands like to try and make a profit from these sort of rides,” Lewis told me as we waited for our steaks, “but I like to see them as a value-add for customers and a way to keep them in touch with our brand.”

Riders paid for their own meals, fuel and accommodation, but the legwork, route planning, guiding and support was provided by Suzuki, making the whole event feel very professional.

En route to Wirrina Cove

Of course, product placement was a key feature and a fleet of new V-Strom XTs in both 650 and 1000 models joined the entourage, with test rides for all out of Wirrina Cove to Second Valley.

The 2017 ‘Standard’ V-Strom 650 (right) comes with cast wheels, while the V-Strom 650XT (left) gets tubeless wire-spoked wheels, hand guards with larger bar-end weights and a protective lower engine cowl as standard equipment.

I joined the fray on a brutish Triumph Tiger 1200 Adventure and swapping to the lighter V-Strom for the test ride showed me how light and easy to ride these bikes were. For anyone wanting a jumpstart into proper adventure riding, the 650XT has what you need for under $12k and the big 1000 is less than $19k. Japanese reliability, adequate power and torque, selectable ABS and away you go. The 650s also come in LAMS-approved guise and can later be re-mapped.

Stu taking a break on his V-Strom 650 somewhere in the wilds of Laos.

Riding pal Stu, who lives in northern Thailand, has been singing the praises of his 650 for the last 18 months, taunting me with snaps from his rides in Burma and Laos.

Our ride through the glorious Adelaide Hills stopped at the Collectable Classic Car showroom in Strathalbyn as well as the popular bike pullover at Mount Compass on the way down and the surf club at historic Sellicks Beach and fun little schoolhouse cafe at Meadows on the way back. All the while, the route was mixed with just the right amount of sealed and unsealed roads to let us experience a taste of adventure.

In a forthcoming issue of Australian Road Rider, I will detail the Fleurieu Peninsula and its many attractions for motorcycle touring enthusiasts. Stay tuned.

12 February 2018

Get Out on the Highway




As published in The CEO Magazine

[media kit]

Anyone who has owned one, ridden one, or even just admired one will tell you there is a special allure about the all-American Harley-Davidson machine.






27 January 2018

Travelling Around Australia Mick’s Way


When six-times Olympic coach Mick Miller discovered a lump on the side of his neck after a swim at his favourite beach in Sydney, little did he know that his life was about to take a dramatic twist.

Following the diagnosis of throat and neck cancer, Mick was facing one of the biggest challenges of his life. During a 70-day stay in hospital, he lost a total of 24 kg, as he was unable to eat apart from a feeding tube and unable to speak.

In hospital, Mick realised that he had been given a wake-up call. Having travelled extensively around the globe with various athletes and sporting teams, Mick decided it was time to see more of his own beautiful country. Wanting to keep his journey as simple as possible, he decided to travel around Australia in his 1968 sky blue Volkswagen Beetle named “The Rocket”.

Mick and 'The Rocket'
When he had gained some strength back, Mick’s journey of discovery and recovery began. He packed the Rocket with a 2-man tent, an esky, a sleeping bag, a blender and a few clothes; took a quick look at the map (turned it up the right way), found highway one and then he was off.

Mick spent 15 months on the road and recorded his journey along the way. Every couple of weeks he would send a video clip and a bunch of photos to his friend Robbyn Ford, who transcribed these into Mick’s blog.

From Bulahdelah to Bruny Island, Travelling Around Australia Mick’s Way follows his journey and captures Mick’s daily adventures in the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Australian landscape. His story and his photography are real, heartfelt and inspiring.

To find out more about Mick Miller go to http://www.mickmiller.com.au

To read and hear more of Mick Miller

http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/people/mick-miller-webinar