An Odyssey full of D’elight

Raising Men’s Mental Health Awareness

In the lead-up to Men’s Health Week 2022, Ben Humphries from Yamaha Dealership Two Wheel Obsession - located in West Gosford on the NSW Central Coast - persuaded 10 fellow local business owners to join him on a four-day road ride from the NSW Central Coast to Queensland’s Gold Coast. The goal was to raise funds and awareness for Men’s Health by supporting Ben’s local Men’s Shed which provides a friendly environment for men from all walks of life to come together and talk.

 

Adding a little spice and enjoyment to the trip, Ben’s choice of transport for the 11 willing participants was Yamaha’s legendary little urban commuter, the D’elight 125 scooter. 

“A long story short,” said Ben. “I ended up with 11 little D’elight scooters on my showroom floor, and while they are a great little thing, it was going to take a while to move 11 of them. One of my mechanics questioned whether it would be possible to ride a D’elight to the Gold Coast (800km away) on less than $50 of petrol. That quickly turned into an irresistible challenge, and from there the plans for a charity ride were born.”

Without hesitation, local business owners from Fine Form Transport, Hogs Breath Tuggerah, Anytime Fitness, Bellyfish Cafe - Terrigal, E.L.N. Ford, Principal Outdoor Living, and Goldy's Trailers jumped at the opportunity to join Ben on the open road scoot of a lifetime. The sparkling new D’elight scooters were prepped, and the stage was set for an epic four-day adventure. 

“We are all mates, so as soon as one or two were onboard with the idea, everyone wanted to come along,” Ben said.

The most affordable urban commuter in the Yamaha Motor Australia range, at just $3849(AUD) ride away, the D’elight scooter is powered by a 125cc single-cylinder engine with a twist-and-go gearbox, and ample storage under the comfy seat for four days on the road. With a 5.5-litre fuel capacity, and a top speed dependent on the weight, girth and aerodynamic efficiency of the rider, it was decided the scenic route would be the best option for the newly formed gang. As an added challenge, the team on the little bikes would visit as many big landmarks as they could find along the way, including the Big Banana (Coffs Harbour), the Big Prawn (Ballina), and the Big Guitar (Tamworth). 

Despite all the planning, Ben didn’t have an opportunity to ride his D’elight until the day before the ride. “Truth is, I’m not a small guy, and the D’elight is a small scooter,” said Ben. “So, there was a bit of a mismatch with sizing. At first, I thought I’d made a silly decision, but then I realised that the ride is meant to be a challenge. Men’s mental health is a challenge, and sometimes you need to be taken outside of your comfort zone to begin important discussions. So, from that point of view, the D’elight was a perfect choice.” 

Day 1 saw the fresh-faced team full of smiles and anticipation, ready to be waved off by a sizable crowd including family, friends and a few confused onlookers. As the team rolled out of town, the local community rallied behind the fundraiser. 

“We were on Triple M radio every morning leading up to the event,’ Explained Ben. “On the morning of departure, we had a large crowd at the store to see us off. Then, as we made our way out of town, people were jumping out of their cars at traffic lights and donating. The little D'elights attracted attention everywhere we went.”
 
The opening leg from West Gosford to Coffs Harbour took the team eight hours, with ample stops along the way for leg stretches and to exchange stories.  

“As soon as we hit the open road, the ride quickly developed into a slow-motion Moto3 race,” Ben laughed. “If you were not in the slipstream, you were going backwards. For the first 200km, I was cursing because my large frame was acting like a giant windsock. I could not keep up with the others.”

“Totally by accident, I discovered that leaning back instead of forward, improved my aerodynamic efficiency. It was like unlocking a secret cheat code for the bike,” Ben laughed. “It looked like the torque of the engine was pulling me off the back of the bike – but it worked.”
 

While a few woke a little stiff around the edges on day two, once back aboard their little bundles of D’elight, the smiles quickly returned. Starting from the famous Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the 11 riders tackled another eight hours in the saddle through Grafton, Casino, then onto Lismore where they dropped in to say G’day to Garry Lee from Lismore Motorcycles. Garry is still finding mud in places he didn’t think was possible following the recent floods – Read Garry’s amazing story.
 
The team finally arrived at their Gold Coast destination in the late afternoon of day two. Despite two solid days of open-road riding where the little D’elights had spent most of their time at full throttle and maximum velocity, the only issue experienced had been a comical mishap on wet grass by one rider that caused a lengthy delay in proceedings while everyone struggled to get their laughter under control. 
 
“The highlight of the day came as we departed Coffs Harbour,” said Ben. “We were waiting at a set of lights when a guy spotted us and jumped out of his car with a bag full of $2 coins which he donated on the spot. He was on his way to the bank to deposit the money, and even though he said he was doing it a bit tough; he hoped the money could do plenty of good for the men’s health cause.”
 
Day three saw the team point their noses for home via Ballina, Grafton and a very chilly Armidale, where sub-zero temperatures were experienced. With confidence and bravado among the group increasing, the little D’elight scooters were pushed well beyond their intended performance barriers. However, the little white Yamaha rockets powered on, proving to be unbreakable. 
 
The only time the smiles on the faces of all those involved began to diminish was when the team arrived at the finishing point to complete day four. Even before the group had departed for a comfortable night’s sleep in their own beds, talk was already underway about next year’s road trip, which is set to be bigger and better.
 
“We are looking at 50 D’elight scooters next year,” revealed Ben. “Whispers have already started about how an extra kW of power can be extracted from the little engines. Everyone has fallen in love with their little scoots and they are now being spotted buzzing around town on a regular basis.”
 
When donations closed on 5 August, the team had raised an impressive total just shy of $20,000. It was then decided the funds will be donated to not only the local Men’s Shed in West Gosford but to all Men’s Sheds in and around the Central Coast region.
 
Congratulations to everyone who took part in the event and thank you to all those who donated to the worthy cause.

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