Riverside Riders Poker Run

There were certainly some ‘hot’ bikes, but the scorching 36-plus degrees ensured riders taking part in the annual Riverside Riders Poker Run were hot too...

THE BITUMEN was melting, shade and water were at a premium, but let’s face it, most of the participants in thel Riverside Riders’ Poker Run were used to it.

Mildura’s known to be hot… and also for its year-round riding weather so it was a case of grin and bear it. 

This year was a record-breaker with more than 220 motorcycles and 240 people swelled by riders from as far afield as Adelaide.

The Croweaters joined a host of regular faces for a ride that, despite the heat, provided plenty of smiles.

“It was a great day,” Riverside Riders President, Phil Shaw, said. “We made the ride a bit shorter than usual due to the heat… and we made the rest stops a little longer!”

Always a well organised event, a ute loaded down with a couple of big Eskies full of cool, liquid refreshments made sure the thirsty riders could follow doctor’s orders to remain hydrated.

The traditional starting point for the ride is Gavin Walker’s Quick-Fix Motorcycles where the bikes — predominantly Harleys — lined the street for 500 metres on either side.

Bikes started arriving for the 1 pm departure about 9 am, as the pre-ride get-together has become the place to catch up with old friends, make some new ones, and to check out the bikes.

Scattered amongst a sea a gleaming Harleys were some real gems. A bright yellow Panhead rigid chopper with black flames, for example, stood out… as much for its rarity as its bright paint job. So too did the late 1960s slab-sided Shovel named Gene with its bitchin’ skull and flames paint job. Then there were a couple of the big buck modern choppers with their impossibly wide rear tyres, jaw-dropping frame forms and outlandish paint with swathes of chrome and billet.

There were some genuine surprises too. A beautifully restored, bright red Mark 1 Moto Guzzi Le Mans from the 1970s for one, and a black Suzuki GT750 water bottle!

One o’clock came and it was time to mount up for the first section of the ride, out through the vines to the farming hamlet of Nangiloc. ‘Nangy’ has become a popular stop for the Poker Run. The tall, shady gums along eastern side of the roadway proved a God-send, with the bikes stretching off into the distance in the welcome shade.

Meanwhile, those manning the Eskies did a brisk trade.

From Nangiloc the ride headed for its second stopover, this time just over the Murray River via the Abbotsford Bridge for a stop at Curlwaa by the river.

Once again it was the gums, this time the ones that lined the riverbank, providing the welcome relief from the scorching sun, while there was more than one remark about how inviting the cool waters of the Murray looked but I didn’t see anyone take a dip.

The Curlwaa stop was another chance for the riders and their pillions to have a chat, and take a leisurely stroll amongst the bikes parked in the shade and looking like they were enjoying the break too!

The organisers were in no hurry to move, and the stop was a long one… for hydration purposes once again.

But eventually it was time to mount up again for the ride back into Mildura via Dareton.

Over the George Chaffey Bridge, the bikes took the scenic route home to the Riverside Riders clubhouse for a few more coldies, a feed and the traditional after-ride party.

Well done to all those involved and next year is set to be even bigger with the Adelaide contingent promising to bring back more of their friends.

article submitted by Grant Maynard

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