How a Canadian found herself surrounded by 3000km of red dust in every direction
It was the spring of 2015. I sat in my tiny unit in Vancouver, Canada, clutching a one-way ticket to Melbourne in my hand. It was really only meant to be a holiday, a distraction from the cyclical life I was leading.
Fast forward to the end of my 2 year working-holiday visa. The Australian Government hadn't given me a clear 'yes' or 'no'. Flying Solo Gear Co had just celebrated its first birthday, and I still hadn't properly travelled outside of Victoria.
Fearing that I'd be forced to leave, I strapped two Kriega 30L tailbags full of clothes and camping gear to the back of my GSXR600 and began the classic Big Lap through the wet season and banged out 18,000km in 40 days.
The ride was also to test an early prototype of The Ashvault Backpack, but to be honest, it was just a way to see the country in the only way I know how.
It wasn't an easy ride, with lots of crazy tales and complications - most of it involving either dust or water. Australia prides itself on being a hard and rugged country - even the weather tries to kill you. The dry heat of the desert is ironically the first inspiration of our Tully Tailbags.
The Outback Experience
The Australian Outback is an amazing place. Imagine skyscrapers and noise, then imagine the opposite. Unless you're in an air conditioned caravan, you know right away that shade is sparse and supplies are few and far between.
I mention all of this backstory to describe one scene:
I'm pulled over on the side of the road near Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles, Northern Territory. The ambient temperature is 45°C, I'm in a singlet and Kevlar jeans, and my hair is pasted to my scalp with a mixture of sweat, sunscreen, dust, and frustration. All I wanted was a quick drink of water, which was in a 1L plastic bottle from Woolies.
It's taken me 20 days of strapping and unstrapping my gear to find out what was working the best to keep a mound of gear balanced on the subframe of a Gixxer. I had to undo the ocky straps and unclip the Kreiga in 3 places to get the water bottle out. When I attempted to put it back in, everything inside had shifted. Beads of sweat brought sunscreen into my already stinging eyes.
I unclip the top Kriega entirely and remove its contents. I neatly roll up my clothes again, put all the water bottles back in their place, and stuff my rolled up clothes back into the tailbag. I'm trying to work fast as the heat from the ground was starting to take hold of my sanity. Fine red dust was collecting in every orifice. Yes, all of them.
This entire debacle was the most removed from being Canadian I've ever been.
Clip, clip, clip, clip, clip... Sweet. We're ready to rock. Let's go back to nature's air conditioning please! (That's moto speak for Let's ride)
I climb back on the bike and am about to take off, when I realise my chain lube was sitting patiently by my kickstand.
Too tired to cry, I start undoing the clips....
"Someone's gotta fix this someday."
Check out our TULLY Tailbags
3 years later, here we are. A waterproof, dustproof, flat topped, stackable, and wearable tailbag that was created in memory of all times any rider has been caught out in the elements.
TULLY was named after arguably the wettest town in Australia, and was created with the toughness of our terrain in mind.
You can check out our full TULLY range here.
By the way, you can open the bag without unclipping it.