Panigale Around Australia 2016: Day 25 – The ride back home to Sydney

Day 25: Live update – Odometer 62239km. I’m not very happy about this photo.. but why should that matter.. I was willing to give my life for this trip, but I’m glad I didn’t have to, because I have returned from the wilderness, all limbs and fairings intact, with a hell of a story to tell! Sydney, you are looking quite VIVID tonight… 😉 … Great to be back home!

Blues Point, Sydney, overlooking the Sydney Harbour.

So, this is the day. The day that I finally return home from this mission of taking one of the most unsuitable motorcycles that anybody could ever think of riding around Australia. The aim was to get back home on the most direct route, so this final journey was a simple run on the Pacific Highway from the Gold Coast to Sydney. If you wish to check out my past Brisbane to Sydney journey, they can be seen in my previous blog for Outback NSW and QLD series, in Day 3 (Brisbane to Byron Bay) and Day 4 (Byron Bay to Sydney). The rest of this blog will be a contemplative piece to herald the end of the last couple of months of documenting my 25-day trip on the Panigale around Australia.

Life is short. The world is constantly undergoing change, and the same applies to life itself. Before I know it, I may become preoccupied within the ever consuming responsibilities of a professional career or the dreaded stronghold of a marriage. Nobody can fully guarantee that their life will always follow one set direction, and it’s not uncommon for plans to change completely, for better or for worse. Who knows, this may be the last long motorcycle journey that I will ever undertake in my life. Most realisations, more often than not, happen with hindsight.

The purchase of this Panigale, in mid-2015 with 10000km on the clock, was part of a massive personal overhaul for what I was going through in life at the time. I wasn’t meant to go through a relationship breakdown and find that I was the one that was being screwed around. I wasn’t meant to allow that to funnel into academic downfall that prompted a deferment. I wasn’t meant to allow personal worries to affect my performance at work that inevitably led me to voluntarily resign to avoid further issues. I wasn’t meant to sell the much-loved Multistrada 1200S as a way of letting go of the past that I’d rather completely forget because that does nothing to alleviate practical issues. I never exactly had a Panigale, or any superbike, in my consideration as the replacement. But things in life had to happen in this manner; everything to be torn apart, and gradually rebuilt.

A fast food brekkie… like the countless other meals that I’ve had over this trip. McDonalds, you, the real MVP!

Ironically, apart from a single 5-day adventure stint across the Great Alpine Road and Kosciuszko National Park done on the Multistrada alongside my brother on his XT660Z Tenere, I’ve never been that keen for actual riding roads. Even Sydney’s most-popular riding road, the Old Pacific Highway, was still a very foreign place to me. I’ve mainly been a city commuter on the big touring bike, which didn’t really bother me because it was a brilliant all-round performer. Those who haven’t tried the Multistrada are missing out, big time. A matter of tough love, though, that I sold off the impeccably-maintained bike, and very impulsively set out and bought the Panigale.

The Panigale purchase wasn’t a logical thing to do, and an act that was very much out of my character. Somehow, despite everything mentioned, there was this substantial urge within me to exploit this bike. With just a few years of riding under my belt, I still felt (and still do in this present time) that I was too inexperienced to go and venture outside the big smoke on my own. However, I needed time on my own; my moment away from what I ever knew. From thereon, my intents brought forth the birth of a great zeal for travelling and seeing Australia on my new work horse.

Over a year later, I have managed to visit every Australian state and their capital cities. The positive vibes of moto-touring across huge distances over unknown territory is a sensation of euphoria. This trip felt like an incredible dream that had just passed, and I had just woken up from it. Without outright faith, it was hard to believe that I had lived through all of the journey. There was that itty-bitty ounce of scepticism that this wasn’t real, that this wasn’t the actual Dave. If I had not taken any photographs, recorded videos, published social media posts or made random notes throughout my trip, this could well have just been a very long and wishful dream that was just spontaneously running in my mortal, sleep-deprived head. There could have been every chance that I was living within the futuristic vortex of the realm and thoughts within a completely different life form, the sort of absurdity that never would have even seeped into the logical consideration of the apprehensive, office-bound Dave of just two years ago.

The bike will need more than a simple clean…

This must be exactly how it feels when an inept L-plater with 5 hours of actual road experience graduates up to P-plates. Even you, yourself, don’t agree that you’re ready for this intention and you don’t really understand how you’re going to do it. You haven’t fully planned on what to do if you fail, but you give this a crack anyway and subsequently go along with the program. You know that you’ve screwed up in parts, but the examiner probably had not noticed anything, and ultimately you’ve done just enough to scrape into a pass result. You made it back home from the exam all banged up, but without a single injury, to tell your family and friends that, contrary to expectations, you’ve succeeded and brought in a photo to prove that you haven’t failed. That’s me on the Panigale, but on a larger and more practical scale.

I’m not expecting to be trumpeting ads for companies any time soon or accepting any prize money for my efforts, nor am I anticipating recognition for best performance in the field of recklessly riding an Italian superbike. I’d actually probably get lambasted and hanged by purists for taking this bike across the country and treating it mercilessly like a budget-level Japanese commuter. But, for me, the reckless nature of this whole pursuit was the ensuing manifestation preceded by a collective societal and personal pressure, coming from left, right and centre, within my confined conscience; the growth and manifestation of suppressed madness that was waiting to be released out from an otherwise sensible but naive, politically correct, young adult. This was a personal journey that will always be remembered and cherished as a pivotal point of my mid 20s; my own little mid-life crisis.

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Looking at the bigger picture, it simply felt great to go on a motorcycle trip. It all just comes down to that simple sensation: it makes you feel better. You can take any bike you want, whatever that may be. It doesn’t really matter which particular bike you use, as long as it works. You can point that bike towards any direction in the country, return home after a big loop, and transform that long face into a bright smile. It’s not just a motorcycle that we ride; those who haven’t tried it will never totally understand. A motorcycle is a modern symbol of the open road transformed into your own personal space. Man does not live by bread alone, but by every drop of gas that passes through the pistons of a motorcycle. As long as you have a full tank of gas and a valid licence in your wallet, your very own world of freedom and salvation is just a throttle away… 🙂


Basic Statistics for the day:

  • Route: Coolangatta, Coffs Harbour, Macksville, Wyong, Sydney
  • Total distance: 935km
  • Range of temperature: 12°C to 24°C

Expenses for the day:

Day 25 - Expenses image.jpg

General map route:

Day 25 - Map - Gold Coast to Sydney.jpg