Just as the Indian motorcycle has been revived in recent years, so to will be a historic gathering of the cult motoring classic.
Ninety years on from the first “Gyspy Ride” from Melbourne to Sydney, Indian motorcyclists of all ages are this weekend staging a full re-enactment of the tour, including a stopover in Bega.
On Christmas Eve 1927, 70 riders on 41 bikes left Melbourne and rode up the coast to Sydney.
Their journey was covered in the Sydney Morning Herald at the time when “what is believed to be the largest gypsy touring party of motorcyclists organised in any part of the world” arrived to set up camp at the Sydney Agricultural Showground.
To celebrate their forebears, this week will see numerous Indian owners and riders saddle up and take to the Princes Hwy one again.
Departing from Indian Motorcycles in Melbourne’s CBD on Thursday, April 20, riders will head along the coast following the exact route their Indian pioneers took 90 years ago.
One of the tour organisers, Johnny Gee from Antique Motorcycles in Cheltenham, said they are hoping Melbourne Mayor Sir Robert Doyle will wave them off as they head for Traralgon for the first night. Then it’s on to Sans Souci, Bega, Batemans Bay and Sydney.
The “Gypsy” idea is to make the riders entirely self-dependent, and with that objective they camp out at night as often as possible.
In Bega, the riders have booked out the Bega Showground for Saturday night.
The following morning visitors will be able to admire the Indian motorcycles – vintage and modern – as well as a gymkhana event on Sunday, April 23, from 9am until noon. Then it’s on to Batemans Bay.
The idea of the Gypsy Tour originated in America, where rides were often organised simultaneously in different cities and towns with the routes converging on one central rally location.
A previous Gypsy Tour travelled through Bega in 2013 heading in the opposite direction (Sydney to Melbourne) but the re-enactment is now planned to become an annual event.