Magical mystery tour

“Growing old disgracefully” is something the members of the Gippsland Central Branch of Ulysses pride themselves on so much so they made the phrase their motto.

For 20 years the branch has provided a place for older folk across the Latrobe Valley looking to share a common interest – motorcycles.

Next month the group will celebrate its 20th anniversary when the branch congregates in Traralgon to retrace the club’s first ride through Gippsland in 1997.

Branch president Bill Roberts said while the club would not disclose the destination of the ride, he urged riders to come prepared with a tank full of fuel.

“We’re going to keep our ride a secret because those who weren’t on the first ride won’t know where they’re going, it’ll be new to them,” Mr Roberts said.

The ride will be led by the club’s founder, Roger Vanstan, who took a group of riders who would later become members of the club on the same ride 20 years ago.

“Ulysses was organised for senior people who ride motorbikes and those who have a common interest and like to chew the fat I guess you could say,” Mr Roberts said.

“We try to keep up that image because we have members who are 80 and still riding and some of them consider themselves growing old disgracefully,” he joked.

The ride will conclude with a two-course buffet dinner at Morwell with the first 100 Ulysses members to receive a 20-year commemorative badge.

“We’re not a bike club, we’re a social club for older people who have an interest in motorcycles,” Mr Roberts said.

“That in itself is quite an achievement because our membership eligibility starts at 40 years which means we have a lot of people who are 60 and above in the club.”

Mr Roberts said the club had worked tirelessly over the years to volunteer its services on a number of events including the Gippsland Motorcyclists Toy Run, marshalling for Harriers events and scouting for a number of bike races across the region.

The dinner will feature Black Ice Racing team member Ken Robinson who currently holds five Australian land speed records across different classes on a motorcycle.

“We’re looking for former and current members to come and bring their friends or partner along for the occasion,” Mr Roberts said.

The 20th anniversary commemorative ride will take place on Saturday, 11 November from 10am at the Shell service station on the Princes Highway in Traralgon where the club met for the first time 20 years ago to that date.

The dinner will cost $44 and be held at the Italian Australian Club in Morwell.

The club meets at the Green Olive in Traralgon every Saturday from 1pm and encourages motorcyclists 40 years and older to join.

For more information, phone club president Bill Roberts on 0448 221 201.