Gavin Kleinhans has circumnavigated Australia on a 110cc postie bike

Gavin Kleinhans has circumnavigated Australia on a 110cc postie bike


little bike big adventure
little bike big adventure

WE ALL know Australia is big. Humongous even. But veteran motorcyclist Gavin Kleinhans has a special feeling about its size: he’s just circumnavigated the continent on a tiny 110cc postie’s bike.

The Sydneysider completed the epic odyssey in late July after three months on the road, relying on his wits and optimism to defy the elements, mechanical problems and odd wayward vehicle.

“It was everything I hoped it would be, and more. It was a great adventure,” said Gavin, 66, who took on the challenge to test himself and raise funds for MSF/Doctors Without Borders.

He’s still in awe of what he found.

“Places like the Nullarbor give you a sense of how insignificant you are. It’s just you and the landscape. If I was on my Ducati I’d just breeze through it. But on a little postie bike, you just immerse yourself in it.”

Gavin said expected for things to go wrong mechanically, and they did – about eight times.

“But I got very lucky on each of those occasions. I was able to address them, overcome them and move on.”

Gavin said his version of Murphy’s Law is that everything you take, you never use.

“I took gaskets, spark plugs, clutch cable, speed brake cable, you name it. And all those things lasted the whole time.

“The things that went wrong were a bit more serious. And I couldn’t carry the spares for them in every instance.”

Before he left went over the bike time and again, “tightening all the bolts, putting Loctite on everything”.

But he said hours and hours of vibration can cause the most inaccessible parts to work themselves loose.

That is what happened. Outside Coonabarabran, one of the screws that holds the bowl on to the carburettor fell out, causing the bike to leak petrol.

And carburettor screws, especially, have very specific diameters and threads.

But ingenuity won the day. He scavenged around on the bike and found a screw on the air feeder hose he could use as a substitute.

Another time, he lost a bolt on the exhaust, which sagged and almost melted his right indicator. “So I just used a bit of fencing wire to tie it up as an interim fix until I could find a new bolt.”

“I’ll tell you something: Never travel without cable ties, gaffer tape and fencing wire. Those are the three essentials.”

Gavin managed to stick to his plan to stay off the highways all the way through NSW and as far as Maroochydore in Queensland. And right up to Cairns he ducked off the roads quite a lot.

But he said that west of Cairns, it’s not that busy so he mostly stayed on the main road – not least because carrying all that load at the rear made the bike “horrible” to handle on gravel.

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