An interview with 'Motorbike Writer' Creator, Mark Hinchcliffe | Johnny Reb Herald #004

Tell us a bit about yourself. I’m 63 and have been a professional journalist for more than 40 years, mainly in daily newspapers. I worked as motoring editor for The Courier-Mail for 12 years with a particular emphasis on motorcycles. In 2012 I left to write freelance articles for various motoring and motorcycle magazines and in May 2013 started my own blog/website. It now has more than 500,000 visitors a month and takes up most of my time although I do occasionally write motorcycling and travel articles for the RACQ and Heavy Duty magazine.

When did you start riding motorcycles and what made you start riding? Shhh! I started riding when I was a teen thanks to the inspiring trilogy of “The Great Escape” “On Any Sunday” and “Easy Rider”. I didn’t bother getting a licence until a friendly cop pulled me over on my CB250 and suggested I rectify that omission at the age of 24!
 
What made you start ‘Motorbike Writer’ www.motorbikewriter.com ? It was a showcase of my writing to try to get work on more motorcycle magazines, but it’s now taken over as my main work.
Motorbike Writer
What bike do you ride now? Ducati Scrambler 1100 Sport with Ohlins suspension. Only my third Ducati out of about 30 bikes I've owned, but it won't be my last from Borgo Panigale!

What was your first bike? Can’t recall. It was either a Honda 100cc-ish trail bike with a Yamaha tank or vice versa.

Where is your favorite place to ride? Mt Glorious which is nearby, challenging and quiet during week days.

Tell us your favorite riding story or fondest riding memory? Crossing the Simpson Desert on a combination of bikes (Yamaha, KTM and Suzuki) with family and friends, plus a backup ute to make it a bit easier. It’s as challenging as it is spectacular, especially at night strumming my guitar around a campfire on a salt lake under the Milky Way.

Who do you enjoy riding with? Myself. I never have to wait for me to go to the toilet or pay for fuel, there is no peer pressure to race and I have all my rock heroes to accompany me on my helmet intercom!

Name one dream place you’d love to ride that you haven’t been? Himalayas. I’ve had several offers from tour companies, but they never quite worked out with my schedule. I was all set to go this year with a Chinese tour company, but of course that became another victim of the pandemic.

Why do you ride motorcycles? If I said freedom, you (and I) might scream/yawn/puke, so I’ll say for the emotional and physical feelings I get as I swoop through a corner, blip the throttle just right to smoothly change down a cog, or nail a decent wheelie.

What do you wear when riding? When did you first hear of Johnny Reb? I’m lucky enough to have a bulging wardrobe of riding gear that has been sent for review over the years. I wear different combinations depending on what bike I’m riding, where I’m riding, the weather, or if I’m being photographed on a particular bike. I can’t remember where and when I first heard of Johnny Reb. They seem to have been around forever! 

Mark wears the 'Classic Short'
(Mark wears the 'Classic Short' Boots)

If you could go on a road trip with any 3 people in the world, who would they be and why?
My wife. My pillion-in-a-billion. She’s been on many trips around Australia and the world with me and I love her company, her comments in my helmet intercom and the fact that she charges my electronics at the end of each day so I can continue to update my website on the run. Second is Charley Boorman. Many people think he’s a nob, but I’ve been on a trip through the Outback to the Flinders Ranges with Charley and I enjoyed his humility, his stories, his road and off-road riding talents, plus his handy ability to fix a flat tyre in quick time. The third would actually be my third and fourth as I would love to travel with Guy Martin, but I would also need an interpreter because I can’t understand a lot of what he says!
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