Adventure in Australia from Perth to Sydney

It had been a challenging year. I had moved my family to a new country, set up a business completely different to what I had done in my ‘previous life’ and I had not been anywhere of interest for over a year. It was all a feeling a bit overwhelming and after the passing of my grandfather in April, I was most certainly feeling out of sorts. Not one who is content to sit and wallow in my own thoughts, I needed a bit of light and inspiration to kick start this new phase in my life.

Henry Crew first popped on my radar one afternoon when I was surfing through Bike Shed London’s Instagram page. This young guy was on his way to becoming the youngest person around the world on a motorcycle and he was doing it on an atypical motorcycle that wouldn’t normally be used for such a journey. Being a Scrambler Ducati fan myself, I was immediately intrigued. Upon finding out that he was raising money for a cause close to my heart, The Movember Foundation and he would be riding across nearby Australia in his journey, I was inspired. I had to get involved, I had to move.

Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack

A plan began forming in my head and after some phone calls, emails and advice seeking, I found myself signed up to join Henry for the entirety of his Journey across Australia. I too would be raising money for Movember and Riding a Scrambler Ducati Desert Sled for the journey. It was all a bit surreal, exciting and yet daunting at the same time.

One thing I realized right away was that great causes attract great people. In the lead up to the ride I was able to arrange some support from several generous companies, including the amazing team at Velomacchi. They ‘got it’ immediately and after discussing the trip with them they put together a pack of carry and storage solutions which would take me and my critical gear from Perth to Brisbane over some 7000 km of scorching pavement, jagged rocks, dirt, dunes and pristine beaches.

The centerpiece of this kit would be their 28L Speedway Backpack along with:

Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack and gear

My spirits lifting already as I touched down in Perth, I made my way to a friend’s house which would be base camp for a few days while Henry and I got our gear and bikes sorted for what was sure to be an epic. There waiting for me, was the Velomacchi support kit and like a 4 year-old on xmas day, I was tearing into it with gusto immediately. My first time seeing the gear in person, I was relieved to see the high quality material and design touches on each piece that not only looked great but were comfortable and functional. This would be critical as I would be living in/with this gear all day every day for the next 3 weeks.

Mike Gilbert with Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled

Our Desert Sleds all geared up and smiles on our faces, we kicked it off leaving the pounding rain in Perth, riding south through Margaret River and across some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen to a place called Esperance where we ‘tested’ the bikes out on the local beach.

Mike Gilbert ripping on the beach

From there it was a long day of high speed backcountry action as we took a short cut up to Balladonia before setting our tires on the sealed road again as we tackled the ubiquitous Nullarbor. Home to the longest piece of straight road in Australia and not much else, the Nullarbor became a blur of hot days days, mile after mile of emptiness, gas station lunches and Kangaroo Carcasses rotting on the road side. Greener pastures awaited us as we wound our way through a somewhat ‘stabby’ feeling Port Augusta and south again hitting some beaches near Robe and weaving through seemingly perfect forest trails near Mt.Gambier. After negotiating our steeds along an overcrowded Great Ocean Road, we arrived Melbourne where the bikes go some much needed TLC and we spent some time with the stellar team at Movember.

Mike Gilbert with Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack

With the big city feeling claustrophobic after only a couple of days I headed out on the final stage of the trip that would include an amazing high country gravel road through the Snowy River valley to the alpine town of Jindabyne before turning back to the coast with a days long freeway run to the best city in the world, Sydney. I could have stayed here for much longer but I managed to tear myself away from this great city and complete the final run up to Brisbane.

Mike Gilbert with a Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack

Through it all, I kept the Speedway Storage/Medic Pouches and Speedway Impact Storage Case in my tank bag with other essentials, so I could have quick access to my GoPros, chargers, hard drives and memory cards out on the road. No fussing around, all the good stuff you need to support gathering content well protected and organized.

The Velomacchi Speedway Tool Roll was equally as effective, well-proportioned and thoughtfully engineered for the task. It rode in the Ducati’s tail bag and came in very handy when we  had to ‘adjust’ my luggage racks after a fully loaded jump went a few feet past the intended landing ramp and for some trail side shifter ‘manipulating’ after some close encounters with the rust colored terra firma.

Velomacchi Impact Laptop Sleeve

 

The Impact Laptop Sleeve lived in the back pack for 3 weeks providing excellent protection as the whole assortment of gear and bike bounced over outback trails, got dragged in and out of hotel rooms and endured a few ‘bike naps’ for good measure.

Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack in the sand

 

The Velomacchi 28L Speedway Backpack was the star of the ‘gear entourage’ and performed extremely well throughout. All claims Velomacchi makes about its features and performance remain intact and its clever chest latching system and unique strap design got attention everywhere we went. I got so used to wearing it in fact that the couple of occasions when I made a quick run without it felt unnatural.

 

Mike Gilbert side of road in Australia

 

It was truly an amazing experience and even though I had found that bit of light and inspiration I was looking for, parting ways with my riding partner Henry and the trusty Desert Sled that Ducati Australia had been so kind to provide, was most certainly bitter sweet. Feeling a bit melancholy as I walked to my gate in Brisbane airport, I must say that the Speedway pack, slung over my shoulder made me smile as it I knew was coming along with me from now on and no doubt, it had plenty of room for more miles, smiles and memories yet to come.

Mike Gilbert is the Executive Director of Beatnik Motorsports in Blenheim New Zealand, and avid adventurer and a modern day beatnik.

Mike Gilbert selfie in Australia

28L Speedway Backpack Speedway Gloves Speedway Impact Laptop & Tablet Sleeves Speedway Impact Storage Case Speedway Tool/Medic Pouch

Comment


  • The adventure sculpts the rider and leaves him/her longing for more. My 28L speedway and 50L duffle has been my all star gear on long roads traveled. Can’t wait to test it on the European road leading up to Wheels & Waves 2019.

    Mark Gamo on

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