From outback cop to life on the city beat, Peter’s found a retirement plan that serves his love for motorbikes, country life and spinning a yarn.
When Peter tells me he loves a chat, he doesn’t have to labour the point. The vivacious semi-retiree is in his element telling me his life story over a picnic lunch of cheese and cold cuts beside the Macquarie River on the outskirts of Dubbo. It’s a lunch he’ll prepare for his customers on request, as he wizzes them around the town and its surrounds on a custom-built, ruby-red motorized trike. It’s the star piece of gear in Trike Adventures, the ‘retirement business’ Peter established with his wife, Lee, in 2010. The bike turns heads wherever it goes, but Peter is no shrinking violet. Indeed, his former life as a hard-boiled city cop working the bad streets of Sydney in plain clothes required stoicism and excellent people skills.
But it all started in the small country town of Yarrawonga, on the Victorian side of the Murray River, where Peter grew up. He would ride motorbikes as a kid on neighbouring properties and learnt a thing or two about working the land, too. As a young bloke he found employment working as a wool classer on properties in Western Queensland, but eventually realised the isolation of station life did not suit his sociable nature. So he moved to Sydney and joined the NSW Police Force.
“I loved the police – best job out,” Peter said. “Well, now I think it’s the second best job. It was such an interesting gig; I didn’t know what I’d be doing at the end of the day or where I’d be, even. I always had an overnight bag. I was challenged mentally every single day, with new problems to solve each day.”
But Peter’s dalliance with the outback wasn’t over; he was posted to Broken Hill – a town that remains close to his heart – for five years, before returning to the Big Smoke to work as a plain clothes officer in specialist units. But the appeal of country life became too much to ignore, so in 1992 Peter accepted a position in Dubbo, where he and Lee have lived ever since.
So how did he make the transition from coppa to trike tour guide? Peter says it was the perfect way to marry his ‘gift of the gab’ and sociability with his love for horsepower and anything with two – or in this case, three – wheels.
“I’ve always been interested in talking to people, something that wasn’t always pleasant with the police work, but I really enjoyed relating with people,” Peter said. “Retirement came up – I’m a lot older than you might think, you know – but I’ve always agreed with the idea that if you retire early you die early. So I was looking for an enjoyable work life where I could talk to people and give them information, and this was the perfect fit.”
Peter’s interpersonal prowess isn’t the only thing serving him in the role, either: he also possesses a fervent love for Dubbo and the surrounding region and, like any good tour guide, has a remarkable ability to remember specific details pertaining to the town’s history, culture and natural environment. A tour with Trike Adventures is never lacking in local knowledge and quirky anecdotes.
So will Peter and Lee eventually follow the hordes of retirees seeking a sea change to finish out their days? Hardly!
“I’ve got no plans to leave, definitely not. I absolutely love the place!”
And like any good tour guide, his love for Dubbo is nothing short of infectious.
For more information on Trike Adventures, click here.