Snap Shot #33: Dam Motorbike


 My experience riding motorbikes is limited. As a teenager, a mate and I rode a couple of extremely low horse powered bikes on dirt tracks to his family’s West Australian property. We told ourselves that this was our ‘Easy Rider Trip’, despite the fact that, instead of choppers, we rode little postman bikes. We were laden with backpacks, which made it hard to balance. More than once my bike slid from beneath me, especially on the sandier tracks. It wasn’t until years later, in my early thirties, that I had another chance to try my luck on two wheels. Again it was on a rural property but this time in Victoria. My girlfriend and I had been invited by a friend whose stepfather happened to be one of Victoria’s richest men. The place had its own groundskeeper and he set us all up with bikes slightly bigger and faster than the one I had ridden years earlier. This one had more grunt to it and, no longer burdened by a pack on my back, I started to appreciate the thrill of such machines. My confidence grew, as did my speed. I was having fun gunning it up the embankments of the property’s several dams, riding along the top and then back down again. I had done this several times when, as I was speeding up a bank, I realised I was going way too fast. I got to the top and kept going, launching into the air and splashing down in the middle of the dam. By the time the others arrived, I was standing there, water up to my neck, face beet red. “Are you ok?” “Yeah.” The groundskeeper was a calm man. “Good. Now, we’ll need someone to tie a rope to the bike and then I’ll pull it out with the tractor.” I put my hand up. “I’ll do it.” Besides being eager to makes amends, I was the obvious candidate, practically standing on the mud embedded bike. So I dove down with the rope, unable to see a thing. I managed to tie it around a wheel. The tractor was brought in and the muddy machine was dragged out of the dam. And that was the last time I ever dared to ride a motorbike.    


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