Riders are starting to return to regional Queensland tourist spots and cafés.
Rick Jamieson, owner of Rick’s Garage and Diner in Palmwoods on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is one of many whose trade suffered in the first few weeks after the Queensland Government introduced the self-proclaimed toughest anti-bikie laws in the world.
During those weeks, riders stayed home in droves for fear of police intimidation and harassment.
The Australian Motorcycle Business Chamber estimates the damage to have been more than $5m a week in loss of trade.
“We suffered a massive decrease in trade,” Rick says.
“There was a big noticeable drop in trade in the initial stages, but now riders have got over the fear factor and are returning to the roads.”
Rick says his diner is at the gateway to the bountiful motorcycle-friendly roads of the hinterland.
“It’s either the first or last stop for riders enjoying the open, flowing roads,” he says.
The 49-year-old Kiwi is a diesel fitter by trade, but now he spends most of his time making coffees for the growing number of riders.
He’s been here 27 years and spent the past 14 years building up trade in his garage.
Over the past two years he has developed the cafe, bar, retro room and beer garden upstairs which now attracts many regional motorcycle riders and classic car fans.
The garage has a ’50s retro theme with old number plates, photos, memorabilia and relics from Rick’s favourite era.
“I’ve always had a passion for classic bikes and cars,” he says.
That’s his $32,000 Big Bear Chopper Springer Harley welcoming guests at the front door.
“We found this place as an absolute fluke, but it’s in exactly the right place as the gateway to the hinterland,” he says.
“We get solo riders, husbands and wives, women’s riding clubs, a bit of everything. We cater for 18 to 80.”
Rick has refurbishment plans for February and he’s adding live bands on Sundays.
Rick’s Garage is one of many regional business that has suffered during the government’s war on bikies and now deserves a bit of your hard-earned dollar as riders start returning to the roads.
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