Motorbikes are not typically for the faint of heart. They can be dangerous, loud, and erratic, but Simon Croce seems to have mastered his behemoth of a machine.
Sitting atop, one easily recalls Arnold Schwarzenegger’s days as the Terminator, and perhaps may even expect Mr Croce to repeat the classic line, “I’ll be back” as he takes to the road on his Harley.
This is Mr Croce’s passion: motorbikes.
Mr Croce said he’s wanted a Harley “for a fair while”.
“I got to about 40 years old and I thought, ‘Well, if I don’t buy one soon I’ll probably never buy one’,” Mr Croce said.
“So, I bought one.”
When asked what the greatest part of being a motorcyclist is, Mr Croce said, “It’s the feeling of freedom”.
“Sometimes you take off and you think, ‘What am I doing wrong here? I haven’t got a seat belt, I haven’t got this, I haven’t got that’, but you do feel free.
“You’ve got the wind in your face, bugs in your teeth.”
Which led to the next question, ‘What is the least favourite aspect of being a motorcycle rider and enthusiast?’
“For me probably dangerous car drivers – that’s the dangerous side of it – and the extremes in the weather.”
He said, while motorcycles are more dangerous than a car, it means having to be more road-conscious and wary of other drivers.
“You have to assume that no one can see you – you have to take precautions and be safe.”
“There’s no doubt [motorcycles] are more dangerous than a car, but you have to live too – you may not be here tomorrow.”
Yet, the danger element or persona doesn’t quite fit Mr Croce, who occasionally participates in rides for charity such as the nationwide Toyrun events.
He rides simply for joy, but if he happens to look like a bad arse while doing it, well, that’s just a bonus.
And, he encourages the community to give him a beep or a wave if they see him about on his bike.
Coming from a working class family, Mr Croce said he prides himself on being approachable.
“People get wealth and success mixed up, but they’re not the same thing.
“You just have to enjoy life and be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you, probably – that’s my ethos.”
Mr Croce said if he had the money he would expand his collection and get a custom built motorbike.
“Not a chopper, but a chopper/bobber – something not too beautiful, but not quite a rat bike.
“I wouldn’t like a ‘bought-everything-off-the-shelf’ type look about it.”
Mr Croce may be spotted about town or heading to Council meetings on his motorcycle.