A week ago today, the world lost a little bit of its light. My friend Peachie passed away; much too early.
David Peach came into my life as a surprise. I was surprised because life had not yet taught me to expect unconditional kindness, and that’s what I found in Peachie. At first, we were barely acquaintances through our Sydney riding group; Sundays would find us crossing the Great Dividing Range in the early coolness, to meet and ride together on twisty roads beyond the traffic. These were days of simple pleasure. We would leave our worries behind, and go ride.
But Peachie understood that we all have our shadows; everyone knows he spent years working with the Black Dog Ride to raise awareness and research funding for depression, but on a personal level, he was also there for us. For you, for me, for strangers. He could see your shadow, and he could see your light.
When I told everyone that I was going to ride around the world on my motorcycle on my own, most people told me that it was a terrible idea and that I would die. Peachie told me it was a wonderful idea, and that I would really live. He got it; and he was right. He was acutely conscious, even then, that life can pass us by so easily.
One day a couple of months before I rode out of Sydney and never came back, I met Peachie in a Surry Hills carpark and he gave me a set of spotlights that he had taken off his Triumph. I took them home and wired them onto my 690 Enduro, and in that way I took Peachie with me. Over the last four years, they have lighted my way and saved my life more times than I can recount. On misty nights in the mountains of Sulawesi, I picked out the edge of the mountain road in their white blaze; coming through the nighttime traffic across Lombok, I would flash those lights at oncoming vehicles to let them know that my loaded bike was much, much wider than your usual scooter. In Cambodia I would simply ride with spotlights blazing to let the traffic on Highway 6 know that I meant business – that running me off the road might have consequences – because riding in Cambodia is 80% Mad Max and 20% playing chicken I
And I lived. Peachie was right – he is still right. Over the years, he would send me a little petrol money, and always be there with an encouraging word and absolute honesty whenever I chose to check in. The last thing he told me was to stay inquisitive and to stay brave: go well, young lioness.
I will. Thank you, Peachie, for everything.