An invitation to ride with The Scooter Division in Dunedin was met with trepidation.
The only instruction was to meet outside a central Dunedin shop at 10.30am on Sunday and to be riding a small motorcycle.
My weapon of choice was a 2009 Yamaha Jog.
A group of riders congregated at the meeting place in Crawford St. The pack was sporting stereotypical biker gear – a mix of patches, leather jackets and steel-cap boots – along with bushy beards.
The 14 riders – a mix of men and women – each had their own motorcycle, many of which were modified and looked like Mad Max vehicles.
My trepidation developed from reading the Hunter S. Thompson book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs
The book made it clear if a reporter got close to a motorcycle club and immersed themselves in its lifestyle, it ended in a savage beating.
Division founder Peter Brookland briefed the riders on the route.
As the pack roared down George St, shoppers turned to look.
When the baffle fell off the muffler of Wade Nicholson’s 1974 Honda XL175, the noise caused many cafe patrons to spill their drinks.
Mr Nicholson retrieved the baffle – which was left in the middle of George St smoking like a large Cuban cigar – and borrowed a bolt and spanner from a nearby business so he could rejoin the pack.
The riders headed down the coastal highway to Port Chalmers, smoke billowing from Marco Seifert-Simpson’s 1984 Yamaha Passola.
The pack then entered the mountain mist as it travelled over the hill to Waitati, its roar breaking the serenity at the ecosanctuary.
As the temperature plummeted, the performance of Mark Baxter’s Suzuki SJ50QT peaked.
“It goes best cold – buying this scooter was the best $50 I’ve ever spent.”
Then a short trip down a state highway to the final stop – a Blueskin Bay brewery – and that was that, run over, no lawlessness or brutalities, just a great group of like-minded riders.
Mr Brookland said he launched the division in 2017 because when runs were open to all motorcycles, scooters and mopeds got left behind.
“It’s too fast and the first stop is an hour and a-half up the road and they can’t keep up.”
The scooter scene in Auckland and Christchurch was active, so “I thought we needed to something down here”.
The riders on the next run – the Founders Day Ride – will meet outside the Outram Hotel in Holyhead St at 10.30am on Saturday, October 19.