Davo was an excellent distance rider, covering thousands of KM with ease. A close friend of The Bear, here is one of his last articles, written 15-years ago... Words: David Jones & The Bear.

It has been 15 years since David “Davo” Jones wrote this story for me. He had ridden a Kawasaki GTR1400 across Australia and back in five days. Davo passed away not much later after hitting a deer while on an Iron Butt ride in the US. Here’s his Australian “cannonball run”.

Davo with the GTR 1400 that Kawasaki Australia lent him for the across-country ride. He bought it on his return.

Davo with the GTR 1400 that Kawasaki Australia lent him for the across-country ride. He bought it on his return.

There are questions about that crash on the Iron Butt ride in the US, that will never be answered, like what was a determined advocate of “ATGATT” (All The Gear All The Time) doing riding at night, in a known deer area, without his helmet on? Whatever; I thought it was appropriate to honour his memory on this anniversary.


Keep up with The Bear’s travels here…


Davo’s Ride
It’s almost 11pm, I left home at midnight. That was Queensland and I am now almost to Adelaide SA. The road through Burra twists and weaves and there are people on the verandah of the hotel as I slide by, they in their world and I in mine.

I feel good, it’s been a regular ride for me apart from a mix up on fuel at 5:30am this morning… OK, so the 1400 GTR will not run on diesel, heck who would have guessed. It’s good but not that good. A three hour mistake, got distracted by a fellow at Goondiwindi. I have been giving some thought on the ride, as I do, about something commonly asked of me – in this case by the Bear. How, and why? The why is hard to answer, so maybe the how. 

"Bad weather should not affect long-distance riders. Just adapt." said Davo who was used to getting smashed by heavy rain.

“Bad weather should not affect long-distance riders. Just adapt.” said Davo who was used to getting smashed by rain.

Let’s start with clothing. I wear a product called LDcomfort which is a pair of firm fitted riding shorts and top made from some material that “wicks” away the moisture and helps me with the changing temperatures on a ride. They also have limited seams, so no chafing. Over those, I wear jeans on the lower half and Joe Rocket Ballistic7 gear top and bottom over my other clothes. I have tried a number of options for this, but so far I am more than pleased with the JR gear. I choose to wear a front opening helmet by Shoei and rarely remove it during the day, just open the front.


“If you do not feel comfortable, you are limiting your range. There is an oft quoted saying amongst distance riders: find whatever made you stop, and fix it…”


This is basic gear, I am sure, not much different from what many of you would use. But it’s an important part of the armory of a long-distance rider. If you do not feel comfortable, you are limiting your range. There is an oft quoted saying amongst distance riders: find whatever made you stop, and fix it.

Davo flips up his helmet for some fresh air on his long ride across Australia.

Davo flips up his helmet for some fresh air on his long ride across Australia.

I move about on the bike, never allowing myself to get stiff or sore. It’s a matter of rotating your shoulders, moving your arms, changing the seating position and stretching your legs. Do it often, before you need to. Moving your feet to alternate right foot on the front peg and left on the rear peg and so on from time to time. Movement, get that body moving and increase circulation. Many riders get a sore butt, but that’s because they sit in one place for too long. I do not use an AirHawk seat pad any more these days. I did early on. Practice anything long enough and it becomes second nature.

Being efficient, I have ridden an efficient day today apart from that brain freeze this morning. Get into a habit, pull up on the right-hand side of the pump and do the exact same routine every time. Right, because that brings the side of the bike the sidestand is on closest to the pump. Therefore it’s the side you get off, why waste time walking around the bike? Little things add up during a big day.

South Australia’s main east-west road after dark. Watch for kangaroos out here.

South Australia’s main east-west road after dark. Watch for kangaroos out here.

Eating and drinking are a personal thing, I can no more give you advice on you how to manage yours than I can advise you which bike to buy. I choose a large powerful faired tourer, I feel comfortable on it and it’s what I like. I eat very little during a big ride day, but I drink more than I would while doing a regular workday. I use either a CamelBak or a version of one, connected to my bike.

I am nearing Gepps Cross now, the day is almost over. But it’s potentially a sad day tomorrow as I have ridden down to help support the MRA SA, who have organised a ride for a young 11year old lad dying of cancer. But that’s what motorcycle riders do, isn’t it, biggest hearted people I know.


“I find it helps me remain focused and on my game knowing the family are with me in spirit, plus the occasional 2am phone call when I have a brain wave…”


I took two Panadol this morning before I left, this kept my muscles relaxed while I got into the ride. US mates take aspirin but my wife says no way, that stuff will kill you. Who knows, but as the main supporter of my travels I take notice of her. Most of the time. I find it helps me remain focused and on my game knowing the family are with me in spirit, plus the occasional 2am phone call when I have a brain wave. Well, to me it was earth shattering at the time, so I wanted to share the moment.

The Overlander Roadhouse at the turnoff to Shark Bay and Australia’s westernmost point.

The Overlander Roadhouse at the turnoff to Shark Bay and Australia’s westernmost point.

Stretching my feet, wriggling my toes and rotating my ankles. Comfortable light weight boots, another sometimes overlooked part of the kit. Someone once told me to buy boots you can walk in, then you will be good all day. My mind works all the time on the bike. How about before I leave? I have often been asked about the lead up. I know I am jumping about here, but hey, it’s my head.


Now, why do I do it ? Like the wise man said, “if you need to ask you will never understand”. 


Two weeks before a big ride, and I am mainly talking multi-day rides now as on a mere 24 hour ride you can always rest the next day. But a multi-day needs to be thought about if you want to come out of the other end safe and healthy. So back to it, about two weeks out I stop drinking alcohol completely. No real scientific reason for this, but for me it works. I also take better notice of my food intake, eating healthily which is no fun at all but something that must be done for my peace of mind and body. I also try to get plenty of sleep. Sleep is not something you can bank for when you need it, but you can make sure you start well rested. That’s a small insight into how I do what I do. 

It’s dusk out on the Nullarbor, and the big Kawasaki’s headlights are ready for their job.

It’s dusk out on the Nullarbor, and the big Kawasaki’s headlights are ready for their job.

Now, why do I do it ? Like the wise man said, “if you need to ask you will never understand”. I sought to enlarge my playground, Australia is now my playground. Over 300 riders turned out for the ride in Adelaide that next day, I managed 4 hours sleep before fronting up. It was a top day, young Jayden had a great day and I was glad I made the diversion to attend on my way to the BMWMCC VIC Icicle Ride in Melbourne later that night. Sadly, he passed away a few days later. So young. 

Why do what I do? Because getting out and following your dreams is what matters. People talk of thinking outside the box. The problem with that is they placed themselves in that box. To be able to ride 2200km to see a young man smile, and be a small part of his life, that’s not in anybody’s box. 


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