Archive for October 2011



(Victoria, Australia)

October 21, 2011

I presented my submission to extend the club permit scheme to all road riding recreational motorcyclist, to the Victorian Government Committee for the Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety on 19 October 2011.

Times have changed - traffic is moving faster, there's more of it and more distracations for car drivers - it is obvious that present government policies relating to motorcycle safety and registrations are out-dated.



October 14, 2011

 If you own and ride motorcycle/s, I’m probably ‘preaching to the converted’, but if you are new to motorcycles then read on…

To explain 'the bond thing'-  think of it as the feeling you feel towards something you care a lot about. This feeling is like a form of energy and as such is a wave action that affects particles and also creates different tensions amongst these particles and this makes the atoms of that something (such as a motorcycle) vibrate in a harmonious way.

For further explanation search Quantum Physics  and String Theory

 In the case of a machine, there is less friction and wear and tear.  But it is more than just the uninterrupted running of the bike’s engine such as my TT600 for 34,000kms in Africa.  After an engine rebuild by Yamaha Straubel in Germany and paid for by Mobil, the TT600 did another 31,000kms motorcycle couriering in London with very little maintenance (the eventual cause of big end failure).

These aren’t big kilometers for a motorcycle you say. But the TT600 is an enduro bike - the last of its kind before the designers changed it to meet a growing demand in the on/off road market. The true enduro is the only kind of motorcycle that could be ridden on the roads and tracks that my TT600 did easily. It was also light enough to be hoisted on top of train wagons and trucks and also on to small wooden boats.

But even if I was enlightened to other motorcycles that could do it better, I would not want to travel on any other motorcycle but my Yamaha TT600 – the trip would not be the same on any other bike.

It has only been now, that as I sit down and write the final draft of my book, that I think about why it is, I feel this way towards my motorcycle - to all my motorcycles.

I recall in Turkey when I felt like giving up, but due to a stamp in my passport, could not leave the country without the TT600. My father told me: “just toss it in a big hole somewhere and tell um you lost it”. I was shocked and horrified. His words quickly snapped me out of my doldrums  and I was soon on my way to Georgia and into Central Asia.


From Wikipedia - and dowloaded from Jacqui Furneaux - one of the first 12 Jupiter's Travellers' awarded by The Ted Simon Foundation in 2011.

Robert M. Pirsig author of: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974). Pirsig contrasted the sense of connection experienced by motorcyclists with the isolation of drivers. The environment of the road engulfs the senses, and the need for constant awareness fills the mind. The total involvement in motorcycling leaves little room for worrying about tomorrow, or second-guessing yesterday. Many motorcyclists ride as a way to relieve stress, to "clear the mind." Despite the fact that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance speaks very little about motorcycle maintenance, or Zen, some enthusiasts believe the link to be a natural one. Zen is a branch of Mahayana Buddhism which strongly emphasizes the practice of moment-by-moment awareness and of "seeing deeply into the nature of things by direct experience." Motorcycling demands moment-by-moment awareness and, unlike driving, rewards the rider with direct experience.



But I have not just bonded with my Yamaha TT600, but with all motorcycles... and even all motorcyclists – even hairy ones! And so this is why I now find myself speaking at a Victorian Government parliamentary inquiry into motorcycle safety at 3:45pm next Wednesday (19/10/ 2011) in Melbourne. To Read more, see below.


For Immediate Release

14 October 2011

Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety

Submission to extend the club permit scheme to all motorcyclists who ride on-road recreationally

Independent motorcycling safety advocate Heather Ellis is calling for the Victorian Government to extend the club permit scheme to all motorcyclists who ride on-road recreationally.

Heather Ellis will be presenting her evidence to the Committee of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety at 3:45pm on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 in Melbourne.

An estimated 65%* of motorcyclists in Victoria ride on a recreational basis (weekends with dry weather), recreational club registration would make their recreation/lifestyle activity of riding motorcycles, particularly for novice riders, less expensive and more importantly, safer for the following reasons:

"Organised club rides are usually held on weekends, particularly on Sunday with departure at 9am or 10am, one of the safest times for a novice rider to be on the road and riding to the departure point. Novice riders can then use the ride to the meeting point when roads are quiet to gain experience and then participate in an organised ride to gain further riding experience," Heather said.

"By participating in an organised club ride, novice riders can concentrate on improving their riding skills and not on the route as they will be following other riders. By participating in an organised club ride, novice riders can also be mentored by experienced riders by receiving advice on road safety, particularly on awareness of potential dangers when riding. Most clubs also hold Service Days when riders can learn basic maintenance to further improve safety. The TAC could become involved in this using funding from the $60 motorcycle safety levy (indexed)", she said.

"The changing face of motorcycling is that the majority are recreational motorcyclists and most likely only ride their motorcycle approximately 60 times per year. These motorcyclists ride on dry weekends and a few other times when it is dry weather. Therefore an extended club permit scheme would have great appeal to these motorcyclists and then riding on organised club rides would offer increased safety", she said.

What is the VicRoads Club Permit Scheme:
Extending the club permit scheme would operate the same as the present system where
motorcycle and scooter riders would be required to join a VicRoads approved club that issues and oversees club permits.

Presently, VicRoads operates the club permit scheme to allow historic vehicles that are 25 years or older including motorcycles limited use on the road network. Permit holders are issued with a 45 day or 90 day permit over a 12 month period and record use of their vehicle/motorcycle in a log book. While permit holders must be a financial member of a club that is authorised by VicRoads, permit-holders are not restricted to club-sanctioned activities.
Vehicles/motorcycles with a club permit, display a club permit plate and registration label.

Once the club permit scheme is extended to include all road-riding recreational motorcyclists, the financial benefits for both citizens and business, especially small business owners will follow as a greater number of citizens will be able to afford to enjoy motorcycling as a their recreational/lifestyle activity, which will have flow on benefits to cafes, hotels, petrol stations, and of course, motorcycle retail. If car drivers, who only drive their car on-road recreationally (.ie senior citizens and inner city residents), and off-road car and motorcycle users also demand that the club plate scheme be extended for them, then this would call for a further enquiry as this presents environmental and residential noise issues that need to be considered.

What:     Public Hearings Oct 17 to 19* - Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety

When:   3:45pm on Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Where:  55 St Andrews Place, Melbourne.
Crn St Andrew’s Place and MacArthur St (behind old Treasury Building top of Collins St, Melbourne).


*members of the public and media are invited to attend the Open Forum on Tuesday, 18 October from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Public hearings will be held from Monday, 17 October to
Wednesday evening, 19 October. The Committee will also hold public hearings in regional areas including Ballarat, Bendigo, Wangaratta, Wodonga and Bairnesdale during November and December.The Road Safety Committee has received 67 submissions on various issues including training and licencing, the TAC bike safety tax, wire rope barriers and more. View the submissions at:

* As no research has been conducted on recreational on-road motorcycling in Australia, percentages are an estimate. However, the ABS motor vehicle Census 2011 found that 700,000 motorcycles were registered in Australia during 2011 and are the third largest group of road users after cars, light commercial vehicles and heavy rigid trucks.


Heather Ellis                

Heather Ellis is a journalist, writer, world motorcycle traveller, member of The 59 Club Australia, Moto Guzzi Club of Victoria, RACV club member, advisor on the VicRoads Motorcycle Advisory Group and a member of the IRG – an independent think tank on motorcycle safety.

October 11, 2011

I am very honoured to receive one of the first Jupiter's Traveller awards from The Ted Simon Foundation. Thank you.

The Ted Simon Foundation, which was officially launched in the UK on 6 October 2011, "encourages those who adventure into the world to go the extra mile and transform their experiences into something of value for the world to share".

(...back in 1992, when I first got the idea to travel by motorcycle, I had not heard of Ted Simon or his famous book Jupiter's Travels, which has now sold more than 400,000 copies. But soon after, a copy fell into my hands and I devoured every word.)

Heather Ellis - a Jupiter's Traveller


September 30, 2011

The redesign of goes live today. (It has been on the web since 1998). I hope you will find the new look both interesting and inspiring. I'd really like your feedback.Thank you. Please read my first blog.

caspian sea azerbiajan

Photo: Australian motorcycle traveller Heather Ellis with her Yamaha TT600 joins a family picnic at a Caspian Sea beach near Baku, Azerbiajan, Central Asia.




September 30, 2011

Welcome! I hope all those people who gave me their hospitality during my motorcycle travels through Africa and Asia have access to the internet and this blog. Thank you. The stories I share about my time with you and in your country will inspired and teach others well into the future. ... to read more scroll down below blog 2.

After nearly 15 years, it's a case of if this book doesn't get written now, it never will! You are probably wandering 'why bother, it's been so long anyway'.

Well, I feel my story needs to be told. If nothing else, my story is my legacy - it is part of my family's heritage long after I am gone. And it is also part of the heritage of great motorcycle travel journeys that both men and women motorcycle travellers have undertaken since the very first motorcycles were engineered.

As I'm only 165cm and weigh 62kgs, most people are amazed I was able to ride my fully loaded Yamaha TT600 weighing 200kgs half way around the world. After riding the TT600 nearly every day from February 1993 to September 1997, we became one. Yes, my motorcycle really did become its own entity but more about bonding with your bike in my next blog.


See you in two blog on 14 October 2011.

Thank you

Heather Ellis


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