I didn’t cross riding a Vespa in Italy off my Be Brave list. It got switched to riding a motorbike in Thailand. I assessed the situation when I arrived and decided that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity. I didn’t want to be one more bruised and broken backpacker statistic, so it didn’t get crossed off there either.
When I booked my epic east coast tour, I arranged for a few must-dos and left the rest up to my travel agent. A few of those surprises have been less-than-stellar, while others have greatly exceeded my expectations. Scooteroo falls into the second category. This chopper tour is ranked in the top 5 tours of the east coast, but many travelers miss it since it’s located in Agnes Water 1770, an off-the-beaten-path town on Australia’s east coast.
What I knew before:
- If I could ride a bike, I could (probably) ride Scooteroo’s mini Harley-style choppers.
- I didn’t need a motorcycle license.
- We’d make a stop for some famous potato wedges at the 1770 Marina Café. (That actually made it onto my itinerary which has neglected quite a few other important things… but that’s a rant for another day.)
I went in with a good attitude, some biker-chick red lipstick and a prayer for better balance than my last biking experience. We were fitted with helmets and leather jackets and took photos on a full-sized motorcycle which were FREE. Y’all… this might be the first tour I’ve taken where they take photos and let you have them for free. Exciting times for this backpacker chick!
The Scooteroo team sent us out to the test track to test our coordination and ability to turn in circles on a motorbike. I might have failed a time or two (or five). Eventually, though, I got the hang of turning the bike and our group got the ok to head out on the open road.
The greatest part about Scooteroo is the staff. Our lead biker, Eddy, is the most energetic person I’ve ever met. Whether we were stopping for potato wedges or getting ready to turn a corner, his enthusiasm was contagious. And our biker-mom cruised up and down the row of bikers making sure we were doing ok. When it was time to make a turn, she’d speed to the front of the group, park her bike and watch for traffic, letting us know when it was safe to turn. Trying not to fall off the bike took enough concentration. Also trying to not get hit by a car? That’s a lot of multitasking.
We took our first break for a walk along the Paperbark Forest boardwalk. This forest is full of Melaleuca (tea tree) paperbark trees with strangely soft bark and cool creeping vines. It’s also home to giant cockroaches… we’re talking 3+ inches. I’ve never been more thankful that cockroaches are nocturnal than the 15 minutes we were in the forest.
Fun fact: a group of kangaroos is referred to as a troop or a mob. As we cruised the streets of Agnes Water 1770, we passed by several mobs of kangaroos who all seemed to hop away as we approached. Was it the noise of the bikes or our less-than-professional driving? We’ll never know.
Our final stop for the day was at the 1770 Marina Café for those famous potato wedges which were enjoyed with four (free!) sauces as the sun began to set over the water.
I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out to buy a Harley anytime soon. I’ve got lots of things to learn… like how to switch gears and look out for traffic on my own. But this experience took me one step closer to being a biker chick!