There is no better way to experience all the region's hinterland has to offer than on a 1950s-style motorbike, or kicking back in its sidecar, according to Stuart Topp.
And he should know — he and his Indian Chief Vintage model with a DMC sidecar are regulars on the roads to Mount Mee, Dayboro, Samford, Mount Glorious, D’Aguilar and Woodford.
“The thing I love about motorcycles in general is you’re part of the landscape, unlike a car, when you’re in a cocoon,” Stuart says.
It is a passion which the Burpengary resident has shared with others since purchasing the bike last year.
Stuart says that the motorcycle was formally owned by a retired fireman in Gosford, who had purchased it in 2017 and was awaiting the arrival of the bike's matching sidecar when he passed away. His widow sold the motorcycle to Stuart.
As a tribute to the bike' former owner, Stuart displays two badges on it - one featuring the word Firefighter and the second reads You Can't Buy Brotherhood.
He purchased the bike in August 2019, before fitting the side car in October as well as stating his business, Topp Adventures in November that year. The lover of motorcycles explains that he has always wanted to do what he's now doing - taking people for joy rides on a beautiful bike.
“What I like about this is I can share that experience with other people,” he says.
“You can talk to the person, when you’re not on the highway, and I can see when they’re obviously enjoying it, it adds to the enjoyment I have.”
He loves seeing smiles on people’s faces and seeing them wave to others as they pass.
The bike, which he refers to as The Chief, is a head-turner, with many people taking photos of it as they pass by on the highway.
So how does it feel to ride? "It's different to riding a motorcycle. You don't lean in to corners.
“You drive the bike, not ride it,” he says.
There’s also careful acceleration required when taking corners to avoid “flying the chair” — when the sidecar lifts off the road.
To counter this, Stuart has placed 30kg of small weights under the seat to stabilise it, and takes it easy around corners.
He says he’s relatively new to riding motorcycles — only starting out about 19 years ago.
“I came into it later in life compared to others that do it from the day they can walk,” he says with a grin. His other motorcycles are for “dirt-orientated” adventure riding.
“That’s exploring the country without going crazy,” he says.
He’s heading to Cape York this month for a six-week ride with friends, ticking an experience off his “bucket list”.
It follows a similar three-week ride to Alice Springs in 2014.
After his North Queensland adventure, it’s back to the roads he knows best — the ones close to home — on a machine that truly belongs on the silver screen.
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