Never Ride Without it – Robbie Morris

Words by Kath Bicknell | Images by Robbie Morris & Damian Breach

A self-described 24 hour solo rider on sabbatical, Robbie ‘Gibbon’ Morris, calls Canberra home. He has four bikes, two of them without gears. A tried and true Mongoose Canaan is his preference for long rides.

Robbie ‘Gibbon’ Morris has that special one thing he never rides without.

After 11 years of enjoying the trails, the Gibbon is more into the ride than owning the sweetest parts. This is a rider who finds satisfaction in performing thrifty repairs on a trusted fave. [private]

Repairs don’t always work out though. During his first 24 solo, Gib destroyed the bolt that held his seatpost clamp together. It was 3am, part way up a climb at a time in the race when even the strongest riders struggle to stay positive.

He fully expected himself to sit on the side of the track and cry. After a 100m push, he put the saddle in his jersey pocket, got back on the bike, reached the crest and thoroughly enjoyed the descent instead.

The product the Gibbon takes with him on every ride offered no assistance at all on this occasion. But it would have if he was stung by a bee?

What is the product or thing that you always take with you on the mountain bike?

An old school antihistamine. Old school meaning the type that makes you drowsy.

Showing the wear from many a ride Gibbon is probably more than happy they look old rather then new.

What elevates this thing to ‘never ride without it’ status?

My intolerance to bee stings. As a child I learnt that out of any group of kids, the one allergic to bee stings is the one that’ll get stung.  Lucky for me I don’t get an anaphylactic reaction, but I can get a strong reaction.

What led you to discovering this product in the first place?

On a training ride I rode out to Stromlo, did a few laps, then rode to work. I was just leaving the bike cage at work when a bee managed to get under my jersey and sting my shoulder. I hadn’t been stung for a long time and thought I’d be fine. But it didn’t take too long before I had to find an antihistamine and get a lift home with the bike. Then I fell asleep on the couch.

Has an antihistamine ever saved a great ride from turning into a less-great one?

I was out on a road loop with a friend once when we had the pleasant surprise to share the road with members of the Australian road team – just before the Geelong World Champs. After that excitement had faded, the ride wore on and I noticed a bee land on my thigh. As I thought about how not to aggravate the bee, the bugger stung me. I had 20km to get home, but luckily I had an antihistamine with me so I took it and was able to get back by myself.

If you could tweak this product, is there anything you would change?

It would be great if the non-drowsy ones worked! Then I might be able to finish my ride with bit more enjoyment!

A pre-work group ride on the local trails is the Gibbon’s current favourite hit out, especially if it goes for a few hours and finishes at the café. We hope he doesn’t need the antihistamine ever again. Falling asleep at work is not good for the CV. [/private]