Random Licence Checks

Road Tales By Stewie from Albury

FUNNY how something happens that triggers memories that had been lost for a while, like someone tells a joke and you remember a real funny one that a couple of minutes ago you couldn’t have remembered for love or money.

  1. And so it was on a recent trip south to Melbourne. It was my son’s birthday and I thought it would be a good little run from Albury to put some miles on the new Softail. Anyways, headed down the highway to the pub in Fitzroy and had a rum or three, catching up and chatting with some of his crew.

Decided to stay overnight and get out of Dodge early for a quick trip north to home. Slept in a bit (as you do) and found myself in the morning peak traffic crush outside the Art Gallery in Melbourne: four lanes of traffic trying to merge into one as they cross the bridge.

A cop on the curb holds up his hand stopping two lanes of traffic and comes over to me (in the third lane). I am stopped on a pedestrian crossing. So the scenario is three lanes of peak hour traffic stopped and pedestrians walking all over the place to avoid the cop and me!

Cop says, “Random licence check.” 

Says I, “That’d be about right” and hand him the licence.

He asks, “Is it your bike and how long are you staying in Victoria?”

I answer, “Yep” and “Heading north at the moment.”

He then proceeds to tell me, “You blokes always complain if your bike gets knocked off that we never do anything about it,” hands back my licence and tells me to, “Have a nice day.”

Now let’s think about this little gem for a minute or two. I’m wearing dark glasses and a bandana under my helmet which I don’t take off. So he’s got no idea if I’m the bloke on the licence: I could be Kamahl! He doesn’t do any computer checks to see if I’m the owner of the bike and doesn’t even go around the back to check the plate. I mean really, WTF was he on about?

I had plenty of time to mull over that classic on the way north back to Albury and a couple of other encounters recalled up out of the memory bank.

2. A few years back three of us thought we might pop over to Perth for New Year’s Eve. We’d been at it on the bikes for a few days and the arse had been broken in. Anyways, we were just heading west across the Nullarbor singing to ourselves the last song we’d heard. I think we’re on a long straight stretch out the other side of Eucla. You know how it goes, just humming along listening to the lullaby of the engine, sort of tranced out.

A cop walks out onto the road in the middle of the Nullarbor Highway and holds up his hand to stop.

“Random licence check!” says he.

I have a chuckle and duly comply, and while he’s looking at my licence, he asks, “Where are you guys going?”

Here we are on one of the longest straight stretches of road in the world out the back of bum fuck nowhere and heading west.

I look around and ask, “Is there a side road out here?”

He gives me a quizzical look, hands me my licence back and says the obligatory, “Have a nice day.”

Once again, helmet on, bandana on, dark glasses on, no computer check! He must have been a bit short of his quota? Or maybe it just gets lonely out there!

3. Four of us reckoned it would be a good idea to head up to Darwin, have a look around and take in Darwin River Rocks, the last one they had, as it turned out. The plan was to head up through New South Wales and Queensland and come home down the centre. 

We had stayed at a little pub at Ilfracombe for the night, having been distracted at  lunchtime the day before by a couple of Swedish backpackers behind the bar. Anyways, we fired the bikes up and had an early start, stopping in Mt Isa at an early opener pub for breakfast.

“You guys belong to the bikes in the carpark?” says a local. “There’s a bunch of cops and cars hanging around them. They said to send you out.”

We had a look out the pub door, and sure enough, two cars and some cops looking at the bikes in the empty carpark and writing stuff down.

Consensus was reached, so we had an hour and a half breakfast, but the cops were stubborn and waited us out!

“Random licence check,” says he.

“We’re on private property here,” says I.

“We can do it here or wait for you to come out on the road!”

Methinks he had lost his sense of humour waiting for us to have our third cup of coffee! And so it went: they were filling out data sheets on each one of us, copying down engine numbers and asked all sorts of silly stuff like how tall we were and who we were affiliated with, none of which got a sensible answer.

Then it was, “Have a nice day,” and they were off!

4. Same Darwin trip a bit further along. Quite a few bikes heading the same way as we got further north. Up ahead a big road block: witches hats, cops everywhere, cops cars, etc, the full ensemble. Surprise, surprise, the bikes were channelled into the left lane for a “Random licence check” and the cars waved through in the other lane.

The bike queue was long and we’d been riding for a while, so I hopped off to have a piss in the scrub.

“What are you doing,” says a big cop who runs in after me.

“Having a piss,” says I followed with, “Want to hold it for me?”

Cop wanders off muttering something about, “Getting rid of drugs.”

By the time I’d finished, the queue had moved along and the guys were waiting for me on the other side of the checkpoint. I pushed my bike through other bikes waiting and through the checkpoint without getting checked.

Really, why would you want to be a cop?

They must feel pretty stupid sometimes and no one likes them!

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