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Letter of the issue | Columns | Gassit Garage

Seventies longhairs

Regular AMCN correspondent Mark Heinrich (pictured in 1975) and I were Hamish Cooper’s typical ’70s longhairs. Mark especially so, with hair down to the middle of his back.

We both bought our first bikes, 250cc two-strokes, in the early ’70s when we were students travelling daily from the Adelaide Hills to the city.  Bikes had an appealing quality of being cheap to buy and cheap to run; they also offered excitement and a sense of rebellion. 

I can still remember riding up the Mount Barker Road towards Devils Elbow flat strap and not being able to see anything in the mirrors because of the haze of blue smoke.  Ah, the good old days!

As the ’70s progressed we had a variety of bikes, culminating with Mark being on a 900SS Ducati and me with a Kawasaki Z1B (above right).

I used to have trouble keeping up with Mark until one day we switched bikes for a ride along the fabled Gorge Road. It was only then that I realised that the Italians could make a motorcycle without a hinge in the middle of the frame, that didn’t wallow alarmingly if you hit a bump mid-corner.

The 900SS was such a sweet bike in the twisties. Mark probably was the faster rider, but at least I could feel justified for blaming my tools after that.

I finally sold my Kwaka for family reasons, but Mark continued to ride bikes.

I bought a new bike several years ago when I retired, and we now both ride R1200R Beemers. Interestingly, they still have the same things going for them today as they did when we bought our first bikes in the ’70s.

Who would have thought when we decided to buy motorbikes when we were ’70s longhairs they’d have such a profound influence on our lives and we would still be riding them as we hurtle towards our 70s as no-hairs!

Brenton Erdmann

Magill, SA

Keep living the dream, boys. My highlight of 1976 was building (with the help of a few friends) and riding a lowrider Triumph chopper. Our Seventies bikes, long hair and flared jeans may have gone out of fashion,
but our love of motorcycles and riding never will. Hamish

As appeared in (AMCN Vol 68 No 05)