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SBS’ Julia Zemiro to ride the Riesling Trail with iconic Johnny

Photo – Johnny Haysman enjoys a cuppa at Cogwebs Cafe with SBS Director, Helen Barrow.

Parading around in nothing but a pair of Gumboots, a Mankini and a fluffy Koala backpack – Johnny Hayman has been an SA icon for years – known for his bold fashion sense and spontaneous public appearances.

Now in his 50’s, the unashamed fashionista has traded the busy streets of Adelaide for more leisurely-paced rides along the magnificent Riesling Trail, in his beloved home, the Clare Valley.

On an e-bike he picked up second-hand through the Bikes for Refugees program at the old bus station on Franklin Street, Johnny rides 35 kilometres from his home in Auburn, along the Riesling Trail to Clare, where he visits his dad, Trevor, a resident at Carinya, the town’s aged care home.

Riding through the picturesque wine region, on his $750 e-bike, has been a bit of a game-changer for the colourful character, as he does his best to navigate cost of living increases and do his bit for the environment.

He says riding along the well-designed Riesling Trail, which officially opened to the public 25 years ago, past the Valley’s many cellar doors and other attractions, has given him a chance to relax and take in the beauty around him.


Clare Valley Riesling Trail. PHOTO- South Australian Tourism Commission – Adam Bruzzone.

In fact he loves the beauty and tranquility of the trail so much, he’ll be taking SBS presenter, Julia Zemiro for a tandem bike ride in March, for the filming of a special episode of Great Australian Walks.

Zemiro, best known as host of the SBS hit TV program RocKwiz, explores some of the greatest places in Australia during a series of one-day walks (or chauffeured tandem rides) and shares a treasure trove of untold stories. And what a vastly unique combination of stories she’s sure to find as she cycles through the Clare Valley with one of SA’s best-known local characters.

Fifty-four-year-old Haysman, started turning heads in the 90’s, when he strutted into a Test Match at Adelaide Oval wearing only snug Speedos and a pair of Gumboots. Even cricket’s most iconic man, Richie Benaud, was asking “who is this guy?”

“The girls in bikinis would walk in front of the scoreboard and the guys would go crazy. So I thought I’d do it in my Speedos and Gumboots, and you should’ve heard the roar of the crowd,” he said.

And as the World’s eyes were on their Johnny, his parents, watching the match from home in Clare, were “not surprised”, according to Johnny.

“As a kid I would dress up in the living room and create my own little cheer squad when I watched SANFL games,” he said.

“I’ve always had a unique fashion sense about me. Everyone’s different. But the Planet’s here for everyone”.

His biggest claim to fame is being the subject of one of the very first websites to come out of Adelaide – the fan-based, Johnny Haysman Appreciation Society!

Filming for Great Australian Walks is scheduled for March 2024.


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