Harley Davidson. Two words that evoke images of dusty highways across desert country, hirsute vagabonds in weathered leather jackets, rough and ready bars with Budweiser on tap. Harley Davidson. Two words that evoke a sense of freedom, adventure, nonconformist rebellion, living the dream. Harley Davidson. An iconoclastic icon. Harley Davidson. An American in Sydney. Nothing else will make you feel quite like the recipient of an experimental serum who has reached the peak of physical perfection and is embroiled in an epic battle to uphold American ideals against the perpetrators of injustice and cheap steel products.
Hmmmm, maybe not. What a Harley Davidson is, however, is one of the best ways to see Sydney. Sitting on the back of a Chopper 4 hurtling across the Harbour Bridge is quite an experience. But I’m getting ahead of myself here! I’ve lived in Sydney for over two and a half years now but I still feel like a tourist every time I see the Harbour or swim at Bondi or walk through the botanical gardens. I’ve done several tours of Sydney. It’s a must when you have visitors from overseas. And while Sydney is never boring it is difficult to find a novel way to see it. Well, I think we may have found the perfect tour.
Sylvio, our Hog rider and tour guide, picked us up from outside the office at lunchtime on Wednesday. I was joined on the day by Lastminute Lovely, Nihal. Stepping out of the office we could see Chopper 4, its hot pink body quite a sight amongst the grey suits in the CBD. It’s one of only 5 in New South Wales so we were definitely riding in style. We hopped on for a couple of photos and I have to say I fell a little bit in love with CHP44. Sylvio gave us a couple of jackets and helmets for the ride and Nihal and I jumped up on the back seats and put on our seatbelts (yes, there are seatbelts!) The back seats of the chopper are higher than the riders seat so they offer the perfect view. As Sylvio fired up the engine he asked us what kind of music we’d like to listen as a speaker behind us kicked into life with the roar of the engine and…Lady GaGa started singing about the Edge of Glory. Amazing! We’d also be treated to Hotel California, Highway to Hell, Born to be Wild and other such luminous hits. I could definitely get used to this!
As we pulled onto York St. I felt a little thrill on excitement. The chopper got quite a few smiles and even a couple of waves as we rode through the city. Our first major port of call was Jefferys St Wharf for a nice view of the bridge and the Opera House. We took a couple of quick snaps and set off again. Then we shot off back around some side streets and then we were on the bridge we had just seen from below. We were going at quite a clip and it was unusual to feel the wind on our faces and have an unobstructed view of the massive steel structure around us. And this is the best thing about the Chopper. The seats at the back are higher that the rider’s seat so it feels like there is nothing in front, above or at the sides to mar the view. And you get to engage your other senses, feel the elements on your face and smell the surrounds.
Sylvio drove us up around to Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister’s residence. “You’ll either want to pop in for tea or throw some eggs depending on your leanings”. I do like a nice cup of tea. We had a spin around the North Shore streets then we shot back over the bridge, through the city and up onto Oxford St. Heading towards Bondi we picked up the pace again. As we got closer we could spell the ocean air. We caught glimpses of the sea every now and then. “I never get tired of this drive” Sylvio was saying. We passed Bronte, Tamarama, Bondi and it’s not hard to see why. Each bend, each rise and fall in the road revealed a little bit more of Sydney’s breathtaking coastline.
On the way back in Sylvio told us about his family and how much they enjoyed taking out the chopper and discovering new places. He has two girls, 11 and 14. “The other day they told me that next time I get on the bike I should play track 10.” He switched it on. Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’. Clearly they share his sense of humour!
Back in the city our last spin was through the Botanical Gardens. Sylvio was telling us about different events he caters for. Weddings, hens, bucks, formals, birthdays. Any occasion somebody wants to make an entrance. I’m thinking of the next people I have coming to visit. I wonder how my Mam and Dad would feel getting picked up from Kingsford-Smith Airport on the back of a Chopper 4 named Pink Bits. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, don’t let on!
What’s the deal?
GoDo crew member Aisling is taking one for the team and taking on the challenge of Dry July. This July, Aisling is going to show you how to have a good time for a whole month, without alcohol, GoDo-style. To reward her commitment to the cause, and keep her focused, we’re sending her on a bunch of activities to show you the stack of alternatives to sitting in a dingy pub this winter. And, because it’s such a great initiative, GoDo is donating the value of each activity Aisling embarks on in cash to the Dry July cause.