T H E P U R P O S E
For those of you who don't know me, I am Doc Robinson - the Associate and Technical Editor of Heavy Duty magazine.
On the 20th January 1997 my 26 year old son, Dr Scott Robinson BMBS, committed suicide. He was working as a Registrar in the Wollongong Hospital in New South Wales. Unbeknownst to his family, he was suffering from severe clinical depression. Looking back, there were signs. But being unaware of his illness, we didn’t pick them up.
The day he graduated medicine Scott told me that when he turned 40 he would buy a Harley-Davidson and in company with a mate ride it around Australia.
I am very sad to say, he never made it. However, in order to honour his memory and to raise both awareness of and money to fight against this terrible disease, I resolved to ride a Southern Cross route on a 1970 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead, a bike that was built the year he was born.
T H E B I K E
Last year while riding back from the Cairns HOG rally Jane and I came across this bike (affectionately now known as "Electra Betty") in the showroom of Gladstone Harley dealership Harbour City Harley-Davidson. Upon laying eyes on this bike, my eyes moistened….but at the same time my heart leapt. The ride was now more of a reality. When I mentioned to Mark Harris, Dealer Principal, the background of my search and my proposed Southern Cross ride, Mark was only too pleased to be the first to kick off support for my ride by giving me a price reduction.
T H E S P O N S O R S
However, in order to ensure 100% reliability for this long ride I decided a new motor and gearbox were in order. Enter S&S Cycle. While discussing this ride I found out that the daughter of one of their valued employees, Carla Langyel-Mathews, had recently lost her only daughter, Lisa, to suicide. Carla asked if I would incorporate Lisa into the ride and of course, I was more than happy to do so.
For the gearbox, I turned to the guru of drivetrains, Bert Baker of Baker Drivetrain who, along with his lovely wife Lisa, were extremely generous in supporting this project.
Further generosity was proffered by Adelaide's own Hyperformance Cycles/SA Choppers whose proprietor, Andy, is a top-shelf custom bike fabricator and Harley-Davidson technician and has a lot of experience with Shovels. To view the articles that appeared in Heavy Duty magazine click on Part 1 and Part 2 of the rebuild.
Lisa's Mom Carla says: "Linking Scott and Lisa on the journey brings joy to my heart. Two young, wonderful adults, from no fault of their own, suffered with depression. We have to make some sense of their lives and the calling is to try and help other families so they do not have to suffer as our families have."