Anti-VLAD Freedom Ride

This Sunday, our ride was a little different – we didn’t hit the hills, or go looking for beautiful views. This weekend, we stood up for our rights to ride motorbikes and associate with whom we want, without fear of harassment from the police and Queensland Government.

If you’re unaware of the Vicious Lawlessness Association Disestablishment Act (VLAD), there is a pretty good explanation of what this means for the average Queenslander posted here by Guest Lawyers. The basic rundown [as taken from that blog post]:

The VLAD Act is an unprecedented mandatory sentencing regime. It provides that people who are defined as “vicious lawless associates” will automatically have to serve 15 years in prison in addition to their standard sentence.[2]  If they are deemed to be an officer bearer of the relevant association, they will automatically be required to serve 25 years in custody in addition to their standard sentence.[3] The mandatory additional sentence of 15 or 25 years imprisonment must be imposed even if the person is not sentenced to a period of imprisonment for the original offence.

Unless the person becomes an informer, they are not eligible for parole during the additional sentence and accordingly will have to serve the entire 15 or 25 years in custody.

What does this mean for the people of Queensland?

The recent anti-bikie legislation, including the VLAD Act, has been sold to the public as a necessary piece of legislative artillery in the Queensland Government’s “war on bikies”.  In the first week post the introduction of the Bills, the government has spent close to $800,000 on an extensive advertising campaign spreading the message that they have “drawn the line” on “Criminal Bikie Gangs.”

Contrary to the political spin, the extensive mandatory detention powers in the VLAD Act are not limited in any way to alleged “criminal bikie gangs”.  You do not have to be a member or associate of one of the 26 motorcycle clubs which have now been declared as criminal organisations to be classed as a vicious lawless associate. The declaration of these 26 clubs as criminal organisations and the resulting new criminal offences and increased penalties for their participants (such as the prohibition on 3 or more alleged bikies being together in a public place, an offence for which a person must now spend at least 6 months in custody if convicted) are part of a separate legislation scheme contained in the Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Act (“CLCOD”).  The ambit of the VLAD is in no way limited to members or associates of these clubs.

The blog then goes on to show how members of clubs in Queensland, who may have nothing to do with motorcycles at all, could be affected by these laws. I strongly suggest you check this post out ASAP.

So, about yesterday!

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We started in Redcliffe, getting there right on 9am, we were at the end of the pack. The sound was just incredible, and although the group was split by traffic lights coming out of Redcliffe, the show must have been amazing to passers-by. We waved at kids along the way and got thumbs-up from adults in cars – who says bikers are intimidating people?!

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When we got to Alice St, we barely made it halfway up before a copper came along to tell us to park our bikes where we were – they had run out of room to put us all. As we walked up the lines of bikes, there was a feeling of great camaraderie in the air. While there were obviously many club members in attendance (the overwhelming majority not being members of one of the 26 Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs), there were just as many like us, who aren’t involved with MCs in any way and just wanted to ensure our freedom to ride. I’ve heard some online commenters saying that ‘having thousands mass in leathers does more harm than good’ – to which I strongly disagree. While yes, the majority of bikes in attendance were Harleys, there was also a great number of sportsbikes, tourers, dirtbikes etc in the mix. There was even a scooter parked amongst the hogs (look for it in the video below)! It was excellent to see so many recreational riders – club members or not – dissatisfied with these new police powers, joined as brothers and sisters to make their voices heard outside Parliament House.

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Our lovely girl

There were some great outfits getting around amongst the usual leather, Slayer shirts and torn denim. Lots of customised t-shirts, ebroidered hot pink vests and my favourite: Campbell’s Clown. Pink was a common theme, in response to Newman’s statement that he would like to see prisoners charged under the VLAD Act to be forced to wear hot pink jumpsuits in prison.

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I won’t go into the speeches here, as motorbikewriter.com has already done a great write-up, and with the number of people there, it took Adam and I until halfway through to find a spot where we could hear them. Estimates are coming in at about 3000 people joining the rally, with plenty of non-riders coming along to support it as well!

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And here’s the video of the day – while we’re saving for an action cam, my little point and shoot will have to do… sorry for the shaky image!

News coverage:

See you round the next bend,

A & S

The Tamborine Tourist Trail

We decided to try another mountain this weekend, and hit the road to Mt Tamborine on a balmy Queensland morning – already 32° by 11am! Naturally, the Gold Coast-bound traffic on the M1 kept us at about at 40km/h until we hit Upper Coomera and peeled off towards the hinterland. Unfortunately, about a million other people had the same idea, so we didn’t have the clear road we had hoped for.

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The hill climb up to Eagle Heights through Wongawallan on Tamborine-Oxenford Rd was a nice piece of road as it was in impressive condition. All corners were positively cambered – a rarity on QLD roads, a fact Adam will no doubt bring up again – and barriers where required. Overall, he’d rate this section of road as Easy-Intermediate given the exceptional condition of the tarmac and clear corners. Sadly we didn’t get to test this stretch of road to the best of our ability as we were unfortunate enough to be stuck behind a line of traffic that seemed to interpret “Steep Ascent” signs as “you must drive 40km/h under the speed limit at all times”.

After making it to Eagle Heights (the main tourist drag), with the bike near overheating and a million tourists everywhere, we decided to check out the food options nearby.

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Eagle Heights

We took a short detour down to North Tamborine before heading back to Eagle Heights and settling on eating at the Mt Tamborine Brewery.

Mt Tamborine Brewery

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As you can probably see in the above photo – Adam was served the largest burger either of us have ever seen. And it defeated him… a very rare occurence indeed! Sarah had a pork belly salad with rocket, apple, celery, walnuts and a beautiful aioli… and the crackling, oh jeez, the crackling! We’ll definitely be making another trek to this place soon.

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I love this photo of Adam! – Sarah

After getting back on the road we headed for Tamborine proper down the hill from Eagle Heights. Much to our delight, the traffic cleared up and we finally got some clear road on Tamborine Mountain Rd (North) for the descent. This stretch of road looks to have been repaired in sections, so we had some sections of really average, poorly patched surface, and some exceptional parts, mostly through the twisties, where the whole road had been resurfaced. Intermediate.
This part of the trip was very interesting and mainly dense bush, with little touristy things like the Skywalk and Adventure Park available for visitors. But the strangest things we saw were some odd lone rocks… Some precariously standing upright, and others looked alien in the landscape. One nearly had us in a panic, thinking someone had dumped a piano on the side of a slope – that looked like it was going to fall down onto the road at any moment!

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Turning onto Beaudesert-Beenleigh Rd at Tamborine then onto Mundoolun Connection Rd soon after, we were headed for Wonglepong and Canungra. Down on the flat in the valley with some open road, looking at the surrounding mountains made for a nice relaxing cruise, albeit a bit short.
There was some pretty impressive property frontage gardens too. Seemed like this area had a bit of money and had no trouble showing it in parts, mixed in with the cattle grazing land.

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Wonglepong

After going through the small township of Canungra, we were Riding The Twisities again, back on Tamborine Mountain Rd this time climbing from the south. This road was at times quite narrow and had some really sharp drop offs on the side of the road, demanding our attention. The surface was in good condition but at some parts got a bit average. This part of Tamborine Mountain Rd had about a 900m stretch that was down to a one lane road, as there just was not any room to paste a second lane on the side of this part of the mountain. Although it was traffic light controlled, so it was reassuring that we had full use of the road and confidence there wasn’t a truck coming at us just around the corner.
We took our time up this steep ascent – though surprisingly there were no signs warning of the “Steep Ascent” even though this too was plainly obvious – making sure to stop and pull over whenever we saw a nice scenic view – and there was no shortage of these.

Upon reaching the peak of this road, we took the opportunity to go and check out Lahey’s Lookout Park. Now a word for those considering doing this trip, the lookouts often posted around the Scenic Rim may have once been wonderful lookouts, but most of the lookouts we came across were not so scenic due to the natural regeneration of the surrounding bush with no grazing animals coming through. Lahey’s was one of these.

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A bushfire-hazy view of the Gold Coast strip from the mountain

We continued on a slow cruise around the Mount Tamborine township, admiring beautifully landscaped gardens, all in bloom this time of year, and dreaming of which house we should buy. After a wrong turn here and there, and a few “whoa, look at that!”s, we found ourselves in need of a drink and another stretch of the legs.
On our rounds of the township, we passed a sign for St Bernard’s Hotel and turned back to check it out.

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It doesn’t look like much from the front… but WHAT A VIEW from the balcony!

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Overlooking Guanaba Gorge out towards Moreton Bay, the Gold Coast skyline and the Pacific Ocean.

Hitting the road again headed for Mount Nathan on Henri Robert Dr, we found some open road and enjoyed the ride down the mountain on very easy cruising, well groomed roads, catching breathtaking views of the Gold Coast skyline and water beyond along the way.
These last few sections of road (Henri Robert Dr/Beaudesert-Nerang Rd/Maudsland Rd) were a great way to complete the loop back to Oxenford before hitting the motorway for Brisbane. Enjoying it so much, upon reaching road works at the Coomera River crossing, we took a wrong turn and started the loop all over again. It wasn’t until Sarah pointed out a scenic view that we’d passed earlier that day, located halfway up the climb to Eagle Heights, did Adam’s internal navigation unit kick in. This however wasn’t all that bad, as we got to traverse a piece of road that was previously travelled at 20km/h in traffic. This time however, we had some fairly traffic free road to enjoy. Not a bad finish to a ride of the Scenic Rim district.

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The loop of the Scenic Rim/Tamborine area was a fantastic ride, however the motorway travel at either end of the round trip damped the overall enjoyment of the ride. Next time we might look at coming down through Jimboomba and turning south-east towards Tamborine to cut down on the motorway kms or through Logan or Luscome.

Catch ya round the next bend!

S & A

Sunday ride on the northside

We’ve had an exciting week! New helmets and jackets, Sarah’s first pillion ride, LLAMAS and all capped off by the arrival of our Sena intercoms – so we decided it was time for a longer ride.

Brisbane to Woodford loop

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Brisbane – Samford – Dayboro – Mt Mee – Woodford – Kilcoy – Somerset – Mt Glorious – Mt Nebo – The Gap – Brisbane

Leaving our place in the mid-morning, we were surprised to see how few bikes were out on such a spectacular day. We made our first stop at the Pitstop Cafe on Mt Mee, where we were just one of 3 bikes parked outside. It was kind of eerie, but not unexpected after the introduction of harsh new ‘anti-bikie’ legislation, which seeks to criminalise the use of two wheels, under the guise of ‘keeping the wider community safe’. I’ll be back to this subject as it continues, but be aware that I am a bit like a dog with a bone right now.

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View from the Pitstop Cafe

We stopped in at Woodford for lunch, before heading home via another stop at Maiala Teahouse on Mt Glorious. What turned from a simple pitstop for a drink and the loo became an interview when we were approached by a bloke from Brisbane Times looking for our thoughts on the new legislation and police response. You can read the article here. Luckily, he got a couple of photos for us – we managed to forget to take a photo of ourselves the entire day!

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Our red beast up front – photo credit Tony Moore

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Muppets at Maiala – photo credit Tony Moore

The first ride

After bringing home our new baby, waiting [im]patienly for our gear to arrive from revzilla.com, and Adam doing a couple of rides by himself to learn the bike; we took off on a mid-week trip for Sarah’s first pillion ride since the ZZR.

Brisbane – Mt Mee Lookout

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Brisbane – Samford – Dayboro – Mt Mee – return

It took a little while for Sarah to get used to being back on the pillion, but we were lucky to have the road almost entirely to ourselves for most of the trip. Weird highlight: seeing a cow butchered with a chainsaw in a field just outside Dayboro. They had finished by our return journey, leaving only the head facing the road. Creepy.

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Mt Mee Lookout

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Sarah saying g’day to the llamas at Dayboro Cottages

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Final stop: a beer at the Crown Hotel, Dayboro