In 2013 Greg and his friend Roger Gottlob undertook an epic three month motorcycle tour of Australia on their BMW R1200GS motorbikes. This trip could have been seen as a bit of a mid-life crisis get away, but it wasn’t. It was about seeing the beauty of this country and experiencing life on the road for 3 months. Roger and Greg did not come across any other riders from Canberra, where they live while, on their trip much to their surprise.
Why did we do it?
Regional Australia has always fascinated Roger and the tales told by all that have returned from trips to locations both far and near around the country has led to envious tales of seeing and experiencing things unlike any other. Roger says that he planned this trip was planned 25 years ago. From a young age, he wanted to travel around Australia himself one day to experience the rich tapestry of history and culture and combine it with his other keen interest of motorcycling. After talking to many groups of people about the ride around Australia, Roger was surprised to find out how many people had done it and/or were about to do it.
It appears that like the “Grey Nomads” in Winnebago’s and Caravans, there is an annual exodus from the cooler regions to the warmer of Australia by many avid motorcycle riders. Roger wasn’t aware if this was a positive effect from the adventure documentaries undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, but good on them if it was. The “Long Way Around” lads are legendary for breaking new ground and undertaking a lot of good through their humanitarian activities.
Greg and Roger both live in Canberra, so that’s where the trip started. The choice of traversing the country clockwise was arbitrary, but ultimately driven by a commitment Greg had in Perth in May. The timing of the trip was driven by seasonal considerations – namely the Australian Winter. Canberra is in South Eastern Australia and a typical day Winter’s day could be -5 to 10 degrees with a thick blanket of fog during most of the morning. At the same time in the West and North of Australia, it is much warmer albeit with cool nights.
This was not just a ride for the hell of it, if it was you could do it in 6 weeks. It was a holiday and sightseeing tour of Australia. Greg lived in Darwin for 3 years while in the Navy and during that time travelled throughout the Northern Territory, Northern Queensland and Northern Western Australia. His knowledge of these areas made it relatively easy to decide where to go and what to see in the northern part of Australia.
Roger had always been a big fan of the R series BMW because of their comfort and handling from a low centre of gravity and their upright sitting position. They are also very reliable and ideal for long range trips. Roger chose the Adventure in the main for its large capacity tank: 33 litres/700km range. Greg also chose the GS Adventure following Roger’s enthusiastic endorsement of this bike.