May 31, 2024 6 min read

The King of the Cape Chronicles: Unveiling Ultimate Motorcycle Adventures - Chapter 2

Roy when he was a Sand Python.
Roy when he was a Sand Python.

Have you ever dreamed of hopping onto a motorcycle and venturing into the great unknown? Are you ready to check off a major bucket list item and explore Australia or the world on two wheels? While many dream of such adventures, most never take that leap.

But my husband, Roy Kunda, has lived this dream for nearly 40 years. As a professional motorcycle tour guide for over 30 years, he has countless tales to tell. Imagine this—he has ridden the equivalent of 15 times around the world, 41 times around Australia, or 152 times along Route 66.

He has guided over 5,000 riders, from beginners to motocross experts and Grand Prix winners. His legacy, Cape York Motorcycle Adventures in Far North Queensland, has been a haven for riders for three decades.

Writing the book with Roy was eye-opening. He initially felt embarrassed reading his own words, worried about seeming boastful. Despite his private nature and self-doubt, he pursued this project at my insistence. Roy’s journey taught him, and now me, to be courageous despite fear.

Sharing his story wasn't easy for him, but it’s a testament to his humble heart and incredible experiences. Just as we all fear judgment, Roy’s miles on the road taught him to persevere and when one is traveling you need those moments of strength and self-assurance to keep going.

Every story has given Roy a profound lesson, and through these lessons, he has gained the expertise that fuels his passion for riding. We both hope that these stories will help you understand the dangers and obstacles that come with adventure riding.

By sharing his journey, we hope to provide a vivid picture of how these challenges can arise and be managed. If any of these stories stay with you and give you that crucial moment to anticipate and avoid danger in your own rides, we will consider it a success.

It’s not all about the riding though – Roy says that some of the best times are spent sitting around a campfire. Meeting new people along the way and finding the things that everyone has in common is what develops lifelong friendships.

The idea of meeting people from all over the world, is a real buzz, especially if you get to watch them take in what they’re doing for the first time. Some of the individuals that Roy has met have never been outside of a big city.

They’re out of their depth in those first couple of days on the tour and then the wonder creeps up slowly on their faces as they relax into the quiet moments, take in the scenery and realise how far from home they really are.

They’ve never camped or slept out under the stars; they’ve never bathed in a creek or taken a spa in a waterfall. They’ve never caught their own food and seen it cooked on a fire. They’ve definitely never had to worry about the ice melting in the esky and the drinks going warm.

They’ve never been outside of their comfort zone and he loves to watch their whole perception of the world change. He speaks about the change in people romantically even after three decades it’s the best part of the job and that’s what keeps him going back – the people.

Roy has given his people experiences nicknames that keep it all straight in his head so let’s reflect on ‘Sandy, The Sand Python’ and the embedded lesson.

Excerpt, "I came up with this saying when I was riding out in the middle of a remote part of Cape York, in that sweet humming zone, just me and the bike. I was enjoying the sceneries that settled before me when the sharp point of a tail carved in the trail caught my eye. Just as I started to find the zone again I noticed a shoe, just one, and that’s kind of odd out there.

A little further along and a single, curved belly print formed in the sand. It was quickly followed by a sleeping bag in the grass alongside the trail. My attention was starting to focus on the unfolding treasure hunt. Another big ‘S’ in the sand that looked like a python just slid through here moments earlier and boy was he a big one. Another odd item. This went on until the creature appeared – he was exhausted, dehydrated and laying on the ground in the shade. His motorcycle lay close by and he appeared to have no intention of picking up that lump of metal in the middle of the trail. It was heavy that’s for sure, way too heavy for this track. It was over packed and top heavy – no wonder he was weaving his way like a python through the sand.

So I helped Sandy up, checked him over for injuries, offered him water and a few words of encouragement. He slowly came to life and I found out that he bought the bike in Sydney and had ridden about 3000 km’s to where I found him, out in the middle of nowhere. He was a smaller guy and had the bike loaded up to the hilt with enough gear to build a house but nothing that was practical for his survival in this remote area. The little army bottle of water he had on board probably held a litre, if that.

Sandy hadn’t done any maintenance since departing Sydney, had travelled most of his kilometres on the road and was heading for the tip of Cape York. His chain was that loose that it was nearly dragging on the ground, his tyre pressure was rock hard and his gearing was stock standard and totally wrong for these conditions. He had everything going against him because he hadn’t set up the bike to personalise and maximise his ride experience and it’s these small things that people overlook all the time. Sandy just didn’t know any better and he’d taken on a really big adventure ride without the experience to achieve his goal.  

Let me point out a few things here. Adjusting your chain on a regular basis will ensure a smoother power delivery and ride and it minimises the wear and tear on the chain and sprockets. If you have it too tight, you will run the risk of excess wear leading to an inevitable link breakage. If you have it too loose, the response becomes jerky and the chain is more likely to derail off the sprockets.

 Along with all these errors on the machine the Sandy was also a very green off-road rider who hadn’t done any research on the area that he wanted to go to! He’d looked at a map that would take him from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ and it all looked easy enough – but that map didn’t explain the condition differences between travelling on the highway from Sydney to Cairns as opposed to the matching kilometres of remoteness between Cairns and the tip of Cape York.

Make sure you know your facts and factors about the area you want to travel. The map doesn’t explain the road conditions, it doesn’t tell you the rain expectations for the time of year you are travelling, or what the likely temperatures will be. It will tell you where you can buy fuel but it won’t tell you the variation differences that you will use between on-road highway riding and weaving your way through the trails like a sand python. The economy you would get out of a motorcycle on a wide open highway is vastly different to what you will achieve on a sandy Cape York Trail but they both look the same on that map. Now I am not saying that you have to be an expert to enjoy adventure riding but you do have to set yourself up for success and design your challenges so that they are achievable."

Every adventure Roy embarks on is not just a story in itself but a chapter in an ever-evolving journey. As we delve deeper into the intricacies of his memories, stay tuned for more tales and invaluable insights in the next chapter.

Whether you're a seasoned rider or a curious novice, there's more to come that will ignite your passion for adventure and deepen your appreciation for the world of motorcycle touring.

Thank you for reading and make sure to subscribe. We're constantly exploring new destinations and share our stories, tips, and the beauty we discover along the way.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to The Traveler.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.