Freedom at heart of highway adventure says chapter president
JOHN Nielson has been growing old disgracefully for 10 years now.
Astride his Kawasaki 1600cc Vulcan, Nielson was proud as punch of the Gladstone Ulysses Club chapter as it and its supporters as it embarked on this year's toy run from Toondoon Gardens.
"The companionship of everyone in the club is great," Mr Nielson said.
"Everyone's pitched in…it's not easy but it really does help ... It makes everything else easier."
He's been taking part in toy runs for 10 years - two as chapter president, after moving to Gladstone in 1980 to take up a position with Queensland Alumina.
"I tell you what, this is my second full-time job. Me and the wife like being part of the Ulysses (club) and going away on trips when we can," Mr Nielson said.
He says the freedom of cruising down the highways of Australia on motorbikes, drew him in from a relatively early age.
"Ever since school I've had trail bikes and started on the trail bike and then moved up to a road bike and now I've joined Ulysses and got myself a bigger bike," he said.
He says no matter how restrictive laws on bike clubs may get, no government could hope to take away the thrill of freedom getting on a chopper and taking off down the highway, or the desire of the Ulysses Club to do the right thing by the less fortunate.
"Things have changed, but some things don't change like the freedom," Mr Nielson said.
"They can't really take that off us. You do the right thing and hopefully everything else falls into place."