19 March 2012

By Bi Lee 

THE loud roar of motorbikes’ exhaust pipes resonated around the Seaworks Maritime Precinct in Williamstown last Sunday.


Follow the screeching of the tyres into the warehouse beside the Seaworks Maritime Museum and you’ll be in for a treat. Since 9am, avid motorcyclists all around Victoria had displayed their bikes for public exhibition.


This annual event, Bikes by the Bay, organised by the Williamstown Motorcycle Club is in its tenth year of running. Entry by gold coin donation, this was their primary fund raising event of the year.


Lee Seriven and her husband, Danny Bower, made a quiet entry via the pier and took off the their leather jackets that bore the name of the motorcycle club they belong to, Ulysses Club, and its maxim: “Grow Old Disgracefully”.


Ulysses Club, established in 1983, only admits members over 40 years of age. One of its aims is to bring older riders together for companionship and mutual support. Both Ms Seriven, 68, and Mr Bower, 69, from Ferntree Gully has been members of this club since 2002. 

Ulysses Motorcycle Club only admits members over 45 years of age. 

Members of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club, Lee Seriven, 68 and Danny Bower, 69, at the Bikes by the Bay event in Williamstown.

The 1925 Melbourne-made Invincible JAP on display at the Bikes by the Bay event in Williamstown. 

Although Ms Seriven began riding when she was 22, she traded this hobby for the baby carriage. Pointing to her wrinkles behind the sunglasses, Ms Seriven said: “My children are all grown up now. I can ride freely again.”


Retired baby boomers now have the money and time to indulge in the carefree ways that they had to put aside as responsible parents. But the worrying statistics seem to suggest that motorcycling can be deadly for those with failing eyesight and slower reflexes.


Between 2000 and 2008, the Institute of Health and Welfare has found that the number of men between 45 and 64 with life-threatening injuries increased by 50 per cent, with motorbike riders and cyclists accounting for the largest increase in injuries.


Among the ripple of conversation, it was overheard that Chris Knoop will be taking his Melbourne-made 1925 Invincible JAP to Newburgh in New York during September to participate in the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance.


His wife, Christina, will follow him on a basket-work side car during this 2-week ride that ends in San Francisco.


“My Invincible is still missing some critical items, like the brakes and lights, that I’ll start making,” said Mr Knoop, 45.

Mr Knoop, from Newport, left his job as a metallurgist to complete this adventure.


“I’ve got no money now, only a bike and a dream,” said Mr Knoop.

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