Pelicans fly on postie bikes
DRIVING 20 postie bikes and a red mustang from Ballina to Darwin with your mates sounds like a fantastic trip. Add a fundraising target of $100,000 and the idea becomes an epic voyage.
Ballina social group The Pelicans formed last October when a group of friends agreed to travel to the Darwin Cup together.
Wanting to make it a worthy cause as well as fun, they agreed to raise funds for the Biala Special School in Ballina and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Bill McInerney from Ballina, one of the original Pelicans, explained that the group will depart from Ballina on July 20 to cross Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The group is formed by 20 Pelicans from the Northern Rivers, mostly from Ballina, Lismore and Byron Bay.
The journey will see them travel across 3600 km of bush and desert with only 15 stops on the way, arriving in Darwin by August 3. To make it even more fun, they decided to travel on postie bikes.
"One of the more challenging things was finding the postie bikes. Honda makes the postie bike model exclusively for Australia Post, therefore you cannot purchase a new postie bike," Mr McInerney said.
When Australia Post is done with the bikes they are auctioned. They are a much-sought-after bike for beginner riders.
"The search was on; it was almost a race for each Pelican to obtain a genuine postie bike."
Honda agreed to donate three postie bikes.
Two of them will be raffled before they leave Ballina and the third one will be auctioned in Darwin.
"Biala Social School in Ballina really needs help from the community," Mr McInerney said.
"Their funding was cut down again by the government this year and parents have to pay $5 a day for their kids to get access to the school. We want to get them back into the black with their funds."
The community will be able to follow up on the Pelican's progress via their website (pelicansonposties.com.au) and on their Facebook page.
"They can also sponsor one of us in there. We're confident that people's generosity will be on our side, as we have already raised $17,000 before we launched the campaign", Mr McInerney said.
A small support team will accompany the Pelicans on their trip, with their flagship being a 60s convert- ible red Mustang, "the pride and joy of the Shaws Bay Hotel (Pelican's headquarters) publican".
Mr McInerney explained that finding a bike to ride for this trip was only half of the battle for each Pelican as they all are required to have a current rider's licence.
"Many could ride a motorbike but not everyone was licensed and the process to get one is not that simple.
"To get your L plates you are required to take two half-day courses, usually over a weekend.
"On passing the course you are given a certificate of competency to take with you when you go to do your computer test of the road rules at the RTA. This test is a very educational experience, learning all the road rules you have forgotten or didn't know existed."