Bye, bye bikers!

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

“Missing you already” is bound to be the message of Alice Springs to the departing members of the Ulysses Club for bikers over 40, determined to “grow old disgracefully”.

 

In fact that’s purely tongue-in-cheek as there was nothing disgraceful about the 2500 club members who livened up the town with their road trip yarns, their cherished bikes and love of their mates.

 

The oldest rider, at age 86, was Bruce Reid from Gunnedah, NSW.

 

The whole town enjoyed the visitors, says local event director Ross Geoghegan: “There were no issues, no dramas.”

 

They spent an estimated $5m here. They stayed at Blatherskite Park in 170 plus RVs and some 700 tents or bike-drawn camper trailers.

 

More than 400 locals worked as volunteers, cooking meals and providing entertainment, including a Henley on Todd “battleships” face-off. The volunteers did a fantastic job, says Mr Geoghegan, and so did the Convention Centre where 1350 people attended the annual club dinner and had their registration centre.

 

IGA set up a temporary store at the show grounds.

 

No monumental decisions were made at the AGM which is pretty well just an excuse for the mature bikers to travel up to 10,000 kilometers.

 

The club elected its first woman national president, Helena Gritton from Mount Gambier who, ironically, wasn’t riding because she was recovering from a spill.

 

It was the first Ulysses AGM in Alice in 20 years and, regrettably, it may be another 20 until they return. The next AGMs will be at Wodonga, Launceston and Lake Macquarie.

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Anthony Collins
    Posted May 23, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Matt Mulga:
    The “crazy figures” come from information supplied by grateful CoC at previous AGM events held around Australia.
    The $2000 may not all be spent directly by individual members but also comes from the tens of thousands of dollars spent on items like the hiring of Blatherskite Park, the Convention Centre, the Saturday dinner, the food and drink purchased in town by members, the numerous tours taken by members while in town, local entertainers, hard accommodation in local hotels and motels, car hire etc etc etc.
    All the money spent goes into the Alice Springs economy.
    Just ask the teams at Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge, to name a couple, how much of an impact the event had on their businesses.

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  2. Hal Duell
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 9:40 am

    It’s a pity that no helicopter was in the air taking pictures of the parade. Or was one?
    I was on the Tom Brown roundabout watching the bikes come through the Gap, and by the time the last was going past, the first was coming up to the roundabout on Gap Road. So the parade in its entirety looped the town – a photo would be good to see.

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  3. Erwin Chlanda
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Matt, that was the figure given to us by the event director quoted in the report.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor

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  4. Matt Mulga
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Erwin, where do these crazy figures come from? Five million dollars spent by 2,500 people means a lazy two grand was dropped by each middle aged biker. Can you spend 2000 bucks camping out at the show grounds, eating steak sandwiches and buying XXXX gold cans from a makeshift IGA bottle shop?

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  5. Tracie Hall
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    It sure was great to see so many visitors in town, and didn’t we put on the right weather for them!
    The town was a buzz and busy and felt alive!
    A great parade, plenty of shopping, dining and tours booked.
    Thanks Ulysses, for enjoying all what we love about Central Australia.
    Hope it’s not another 20 years for any of you to want to come back again, you are always Welcome to Central Australia!

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