For this month's edition of the 'Johnny Reb Herald', it was a pleasure to interview everyday rider & professional snake wrangler, Gunter Glaser. He gives us a taste of what it was like out on the road in the 70’s. Have a read of Gunter’s story below.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Gunter Glaser, born in Germany and arrived in Australia in 1954, with my parents, on my father’s refugee pass port. Grew up in Port Kembla NSW. I’ll be 72 in April. Currently living in Toowoomba QLD. I’ve been retired for a few years. Besides motorcycling, i spend my time relocating snakes and other reptiles, from properties as requested, 24/7. This is done under a permit system with the Dept. of Enviroment and Science. I ride the bike on call outs whenever I can. I can only take the basic catching tools on the bike. So if I need other tools, including a ladder, which I need occasionally, I take my ute.
When did you start riding motorcycles and what made you start riding? I got my learners permit to ride at 16 and 9 months, in January 1966. While growing up, I was always fascinated by the ‘rockers’ around my area riding Trumpies, Beezas, Matchies, Nortons and occasionally ex army WLA Harleys and BMWs. All my friends were into surfing. I needed transport to get to work as an apprentice Fitter & Turner at Kemira Colliery near Wollongong. You could ride a bike on a learners permit, but not a car. So was easy to talk my parents into getting a bike.
What bike do you ride now? Recently sold a Yamaha V - Max and now ride a Yamaha Bolt.
What was your first bike? Started on a Suzuki 80cc, road bike. Within a week I came off on a patch of oil on my way to work. Graduated to a Suzuki 250cc Hustler, within a month. Always pushing the limits, I’d crash on a weekly basis. Didn’t need helmets in those days. We were invincible. Skin always grew back by itself and the bike never had any major damage. September ’66. Had a serious accident. Hit a car with the Hustler. ( my fault). Wrote the car off. Bent forks on the bike. I sustained broken femur, plus other minor abrasions. Took three operations over twelve months to save the right leg. Lost two years of my apprenticeship, but they kept me on. Kept the hustler for a couple more years and kept crashing, but not as often. That was the pattern of most riders in the ’60/‘70s. Learn as you go. In those days there were a lot of motorcycle related funerals. In 1970, bought a ’68 BSA Spitfire Mk IV. This was a great bike. Just needed regular maintenance/ tuning. Never crashed that bike.
Where is your favourite place to ride? Any place is fine to ride. The mountain passes in far north Qld and the Oxley are amongst my favourites.
Tell us your favourite riding story or fondest riding memory? Best times were riding with the Wollongong Mob. Then got married and settled in Albion Park near Wollongong. Unlike many riders, I didn’t stop riding. My wife bought a Yamaha XJ 750. I bought a Yamaha XV 750. We went to rallies together. When my daughter was old enough to sit on the back, she came with us.
Who do you enjoy riding with? Occasionally ride with groups from Toowoomba. Although being available 24/7 for my business, means I usually ride on my own.
Name one dream place you’d love to ride that you haven’t been? Any of the great Victorian roads I’ve heard so much about.
Why do you ride motorcycles? No matter what mood I’m in. If it’s causing me stress, as soon as I get on the bike it all disappears. All my senses focus on the ride.
If you could go on a road trip with any 3 people in the world, who would they be? Don’t really have any motorcycling heroes, But Wayne Gardner, Mick Doohan and Toby Price would be good. I’d never keep up though.
What do you wear when riding? When did you first hear of Johnny Reb? I often get criticised for this. I always wear what’s comfortable at the time. I wear a lot in winter and a lot less in summer. I prefer open face helmets. Recently bought the Johnny Reb ‘Burke’ Helmet in gloss black. Very light and comfortable. Also have a modular helmet, mainly for long distance touring. Gives more weather protection. I have the ‘Classic Longs’ as foot water. They are the closest thing to the flying boots we wore in our youth. I’ll be getting the ‘Brutal' boots next. I’ve noticed ‘Johnny Reb’ products for years. Only recently decided to buy. Actually the fb ads helped me decide.
Gunter wears the Johnny Reb Classic Long Boots & Burke Helmet in gloss black.
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