✦ Meet the trusty bikes that are taking visitors around the Mid North Coast and Hinterland, and keep visitors returning for more!
We've already met the owners of Epic Rides & Tours, Heff and Beth Williams in our Brilliant story on Taking a Magical Mystery Tour with a Difference, and today we turn the spotlight on two of their most beloved protagonists in their business - Dusty and Swampy.
Heff and Beth have been taking visitors out and about, exploring the beauty of the Mid North Coast and what makes them stand out are the motorcycles fitted with sidecars. Affectionately christened Dusty and Swampy, these vehicles allow people to literally feel the wind in their hair and fully experience the smells, temperatures and sights of their surroundings. It's a much more immediate and intimate way to experience a ride.
Hear it from Dusty and Swampy, and find out why they love what they do!
Dusty - a rarity in Australia
I'm the new kid on the block, otherwise known as a Ural Gear Up with a sidecar outfit. I'm quite a rare sight in Australia as a 2 wheel drive that can trundle through dirt tracks. Nothing's stopping me here!
I can carry one or two passengers, and what visitors love about me is I've got a large luggage rack with an integral 70 litre boot. You can easily pack everything you need in me.
Dusty's Curiosity Bits
What some people may not know is that I come equipped with a handy digging tool. Some bits of our local tracks can get a bit soft, so you're going to want to have a digging tool to make sure you never get stuck!
Oh, and did you know when Heff and Beth ordered me, I was held up by global logistics in Russia! Thankfully everything got sorted out in the end, but I have to say I was very anxious to be on my way to Heff and Beth and start on my Epic Rides & Tours!
Dusty's Favourite Stops
I love taking people outdoors, whether if it's for a 30-min ride or a 5-hour one to fully soak up the sights. One of my favourite stops is at Beechwood Cafe and Bar. They serve high quality food and the chefs are so generous with servings! After a long ride, we do get famished! Visitors have a great time chatting with Wayne and Nicole and the staff there. Be sure to try out their Chicken Snitty or Salt and Pepper Squid!
When visitors need a rest, I take them to Timbertown Motel located on the B56 Oxley Highway. It's just 7 minutes' walk from Timbertown and 3km from the Wauchope train station. It's a lovely little motel, clean and simple with everything you need for a good night's rest before you va-va-vroom your way to your next destination.
Swampy - the best camping companion
I've been travelling for quite a bit now with Heff and Beth, and have met so many amazing people who came for a ride to experience the Mid North Coast.
I'm a Ural Tourist vehicle that is fun to ride, and like Dusty, I can carry one or two passengers. I got really busy when Dusty was held up, and Heff and Beth enjoyed travelling with me so much they decided to keep me even when Dusty finally arrived. I'm glad they did! I think I'm really quite special... anyway, Heff and Beth always say I am "different"!
Swampy's Curiosity Bits
I'm fitted with a 110 Amp hour battery, which makes it useful for running lights, camping fridges etc. So for visitors who enjoy and want to do a bit of camping, I'm their go-to motorcycle! I've often taken visitors to some of the most amazing scenic views, and we always park and stop there to soak up the beautiful sights. This is one of my favourite moments, because visitors can stop to brew up some tea or coffee on the gas stove, and when you're in front of a view so magnificent, it somehow inspires some of the most interesting and memorable conversations there.
Swampy's Favourite Stops
I like taking visitors to A Classy Cafe & Espresso Bar where they can get quality homemade food that everyone enjoys. You have to try at least one of their homemade fresh bakes, they're to die for, and their homestyle cooking is going to make you want to make a second trip back. We were so proud to hear they won a lovely Excellence in Accommodation and Hospitality award recently at the 2023 Wauchope & Hinterland Business Awards!
When I find enchanting places, I simply want to share it with everyone. If you haven't been to Larrikins Lock-up, you need to jump in my passenger seat and take a ride there. It's a unique garden and old gaol, with beautiful trees and an expansive lawn. It's surrounded by the Thone River which gives the place its unique charm. Visitors can bring a picnic (you can pack something from A Classy Cafe!) and stroll around the grounds, or do a bit of shopping in their gift shop.
We love where we drive
As you can tell from Dusty and Swampy, they clearly love where they drive! For Beth and Heff, setting up Epic Rides & Tours allowed them to experience the warmth and support of local businesses.
"The shop owners in Wauchope are wonderful people, they know how to treat their customers and they will go out of their way to help find or sort things that you need. Local businesses are run by your neighbours, so there is incentive to do the right thing, and do it well." - Beth Williams
Beth recalls when they started their business, they were very clear they wanted to source locally, so they set out on an adventure to get PPE things like helmets, bike clothing and gloves. Wauchope Rural Centre was especially helpful when Beth needed some boots, and they bent over backwards to get the right item for her.
"We ride at dawn!"
Dusty and Swampy are always ready to go on an epic ride and tour around the Mid North Coast. Some good news to update here as well - Heff is recovering well from a surgery! It was quite a setback, as his recovery estimate was anything from 6 to 18 months, and when you're recovering, it can feel like it's taking forever. As a passionate bike lover, it was difficult for Heff not to be able to ride for so long. Those who know Heff well though, are not surprised by his determination to get back on his bike. He is working hard at his physiotherapy, and as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, so Heff modified Swampy with a gear stick and he has also managed to ride Dusty for a short distance!
Heff's love for motorcycle is what seeded the idea of Epic Rides & Tours. He wanted to earn a living riding his bike, and it was Beth who simply questioned him, "Why don't you do it then?"
And so, Epic Rides & Tours was born. That was in October 2021 and Beth and Heff are still riding strong in spite of the challenges that they and everyone in their communities have experienced. They have both literally ridden through floods and a pandemic, and faced other personal difficulties in their lives. One ride at a time, they simply keep moving forward and onward.
Small businesses with big hearts
One thing that makes small businesses in Australian communities stand out is how big a heart they have.
Beth and Heff were inspired to reach out to NDIS and Aged Care organisations to offer taking special needs people for a ride of a lifetime.
NDIS allows funding for recreational activities like bike riding, so they have the opportunity to book rides with Beth and Heff. The beauty of our lands is for everyone to enjoy, and being able to make this accessible to those who would otherwise miss out, is a privilege.
Epic Rides & Tours have organised NDIS rides which turned out to be a happy success. A support worker reached out to them late 2022, and that one ride has now turned into a monthly one! What clients appreciate about Epic Rides & Tours is how they can be flexible and adapt. Sometimes they stop for coffee, or they may want to stop for lunch. The simple fact of being able to be outdoors, feel the wind in your face and have random conversations with locals is in itself a wonderful therapy anyone can benefit from.
Another support worker Kim and her client Pamela were visiting from Tamworth, and by the time they finished the ride, they simply couldn't hide the joy they felt. It was clear they had tons of fun, and Kim left a wonderful voicemail for Beth and Heff, sounding like a little kid in a lolly shop! It's things like that that literally drive Beth and Heff to keep doing what they do. Imagine having a business where you bring joy to everyone!
Beth shares another funny story they had with a client:
"We also did a surprise 50th and 30th for two wonderful ladies which was organised by their mums. Tracy has Cerebral Palsy. She is able to get around town on an E-bike and is always up for an adventure. Lauren has learning difficulties and suffers from anxiety, so she was very apprehensive about it and her Mum called to explain. I suggested that they both come to our home and we would go through everything with Lauren, so she knew where they were going and what they would be doing. We even got Lauren to go for a short ride around the block with her Mum as a pillion passenger. I said to Lauren that we were happy for her Mum to tag along, and by the time they got back, Lauren was very adamant that she didn't want her Mum to tag along after the test run! We all had a laugh about it as Mum was relieved she didn't have to do it as a pillion passenger!"
"When it comes to booking a ride for someone on NDIS, or someone with special needs, we like to have a chat before booking it in. We like to make sure we understand their needs, and if it comes down to it, we are more than happy to meet up with a client and show them the bike and see if they are able to get in and out of the sidecar." - Beth Williams
To learn more about rides for people with special needs, check out their FAQ or contact Beth and Heff, who will be more than happy to assist. For Epic Rides & Tours, safety is always a priority and everyone's needs are taken into consideration to ensure an enjoyable ride.
A Ride of a Lifetime
Visitors who have gone on a ride with Dusty or Swampy agree that this was a ride of a lifetime, and a great experience they'll never forget. It certainly makes for a wonderful gift, when you run out of ideas for what to give to friends and family. Gifting an experience makes for a unique gift, and whether it's for birthdays or celebrations or for no specific reason, jumping in the passenger seat with Dusty and Swampy will give you lots of stories and memories to recount over the years.
With Father's Day coming up on September 3, why not surprise Dad with a ride to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the beautiful Mid North Coast? Call Beth and Heff at 0475 908 054 or book directly on their website!
Epic Rides & Tours
WAUCHOPE NSW 2446
Ph: 0475 908 054
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