Canadian couple Diana and Loren Schroff of Brisbane are addicted to long distance motorcycle travel around Australia and their native North America.
They plan one major road trip every year and have just come back from a 64-day, 22,571km lap of Australia this year.
“We could spend the next 10 years riding around Australia and still not see it all,” Loren says.
They’re already planning their next big trip to the USA next year, possibly for their ninth visit to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Their tips for successful long-distance motorcycle travel is to pack light, buy a comfortable aftermarket seat and avoid the effort, discomfort and false economy of camping.
“The more trips you’ve done, the better you pack,” Diana says.
“Learn to leave with just a few changes of clothes. You don’t need to load up. Most hotels have washing machines.”
They also buy aftermarket Corbin seats to replace the standard saddles.
“After a long ride, my arse would be numb for a month,” Loren says.
He also asks “do you really want to camp every night?”
“We went down the east coast and up to Alice Springs and found we had camped just three days because it was too cold. We mailed our camping gear home,” he says.
Loren explains that a camping cabin costs $80-90 and a camping site about $30.
“But with a cabin you get cooking facilities so you can make your meals and save some money, so it works out about even.”
The Schroffs moved to Australia for work in 2006. Loren is now retired and Diana working part time, so they have plenty of time for travel on their Harleys.
The Springer has 175,000km on the odo and the Street Glide has 54,000km. Loren says he has also ridden another 50,000+km on rental bikes for a total of more than a quarter million kilometres.
Diana says she has ridden about 200,000km on long trips and seldom rides pillion, preferring to be in control.
She started riding dirt bikes in 1998, illegally rode her mother’s street bike as a teen before she got her licence and was 37 before she started riding road bikes seriously.
“We didn’t really ride much until the kids were in their late teens,” she says.
She bought her first Harley, a Sportster, in 1998 and the Low Rider is her fifth Harley.
Loren has only ever owned two Harleys and he’s still go them!
“I didn’t know there was another kind of bike,” he jokes.
Loren has no plans to sell the Springer.
“I’ve replaced the engine, the seat, the transmission; there’s not much Harley left, just the fork and frame,” he says.
Loren explains why he loves a Harley.
“A rider gets off his Harley and people want to come up and talk to to you. That never happens when you ride a Japanese bike,” he says.
“In Banff, a whole bus-load of Japanese tourists held us up for half an hour taking photos.
“Harley has that reputation. Everybody’s attracted to the bad boy image and the freedom.
“You also can’t beat that HD sound!”
Despite what the ubiquitous “Harley haters” say, Loren says Harleys are very reliable.
“The only ones who hate Harleys are those who haven’t had one,” he says.
“I only once had a breakdown and never had to pack one off the road.
“If something happens you can get them going again.
“There are lots of Harley dealers and you get good service.”
He says on their lap of Australia, they had a few little electrical problems and had to dock the bike at Albany Harley-Davidson with a failed taillight.
“They gave us a free cup of coffee and had us back on the road quickly, only charging for half an hour of labour,” he says.
However, they are now considering also getting adventure bikes to discover the many dirt roads around Australia.