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Postie Bike wrap up

by Brad Halcrow
August 27, 2014
[caption id="attachment_15096" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Port Macquarie Port Macquarie[/caption]

The adventure

I must admit, the time away was a bit of a blur. It was a busy schedule of early mornings and many petrol stops but we made good use of the time each night for a meal, a drink and lots of laughter. We got back Tuesday last week but it's taken some time to catch up on some work and some rest. In this post I've jotted down in an informal journal-fashion the week that was. Various events were held along the way where members of the Laser Group network would donate their time to selling sausage sandwiches, tea and coffee to further raise funds for BeyondBlue. Wednesday 13. Down to Melbourne Alfie and I headed down early Wednesday morning from the Gold Coast to some brisk Melbourne weather. We used the day to get acquainted with the bikes and check the trackers. After all, Alfie had only got his licence a couple of days beforehand. After an afternoon of practise around the local streets we returned to join the growing crowd of blokes and bikes at Laser head office to share our excitement and speculate on the trip ahead. Besides the police escort into Queensland at the end of the trip we hadn't anticipated any unwarranted attention. As the crowd grew we had an unexpected visit by the local authorities.
“We’ve had a report of a group of bikies gathering in a car park drinking beer".
It was a comical moment to set the scene for the week ahead. [caption id="attachment_15096" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Troublesome bikies gathering Troublesome bikies gathering[/caption] A briefing was held that night to discuss some prelimenaries, off for a quick bite at the local before an early night ready for the early start. Thursday 14. Doncaster to Lakes Entrance - 317kms As BeyondBlue ambassador, Jeff Kennett addressed the crowd and reminded us all of the importance of the cause before we set off on our two thousand kilometre journey. We left Laser head quarters with a police escort to make the journey west toward Lakes Entrance.
Seven people a day die as a result of depression.
- Jeff Kennett
[caption id="attachment_15046" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Jeff Kennett. Beyond Blue ambassador Jeff Kennett, Beyond Blue ambassador[/caption] It was a reasonably smooth start to the trip despite a few partcipants getting lost early on, namely me. Being tracked by simTRAC meant as soon as I pulled over to figure our my direction, texts from head office came flooding in to ask why I'd taken an 'alternate route'. Damn trackers. Issues on the first day gave us a chance to identify how we could smooth out the remainder of the ride. [caption id="attachment_15112" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Fund raising in Sale, Victoria Fund raising in Sale, Victoria[/caption] Friday 15. Lakes Entrance to Canberra - 421kms The ride from Lakes Entrance to Orbost was one of our more challenging stretches. It wasn’t just cold, but foggy. The visors were fogging up, the mirrors fogged up and there seemed to be a number of obstacles on the road, particularly roadkill. [caption id="attachment_15109" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Alfie & Halcrow Alfie & Halcrow. Bairnsdale, Victoria. [/caption] The day progressed to reveal stunning scenery and great country roads as we made our way to Canberra. Weather predictions warned of imminent rain. A visit to Canberra for such an iconic event couldn't go without a quick snapshot with an equally iconic backdrop. [caption id="attachment_15044" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Parliment House, Canberra Parliment House, Canberra.[/caption] Saturday 16. Canberra to Bondi - 288kms Sitting on a highway and riding country roads is one thing but taking these things into a city and trying to keep together as a bunch was another. The support vehicles were brilliant. All the while steering us in the right direction and making sure everyone at the back of the pack was accounted for. As we meandered into Bondi, every block or so fellow Aussies identifying with the bikes would cheer on from the footpath or verandah. Together with the high-vis vests we were spotted a mile away. Sunday 17. Bondi to Port Macquarie. 391kms The day the rain came. We woke up to the wet weather we'd been dreading. Here it was, a steady drizzle. No matter, all part of the 'challenge'. Away we went. No breakfast, let's just get on the road and get out of the city. All agreed. With our eye on the lead vehicle we headed north as directly as possible, taking extra care on the slippery roads. Pointing north, the bikes carried us through the northern suburbs until we hit the freeway. Then it came. A solid, steady shower fell as we rode the freeway amongst the cars, trucks and buses. [caption id="attachment_15054" align="alignnone" width="1000"] BondiBondi Surf Club, Sydney.[/caption] By the time we'd pulled in for fuel at Bulahdelah the rain had eased but not before most of us were drenched. With puddles in our boots and wringing the water out of our gloves we were all looking to the sky to assess what may lie ahead. As luck would have it, we rode dry all the way to Port Macquarie where surprisingly most of us had dried off. It was the end of the rain. Monday 18. Port Macquarie to Lismore. 370kms Lots of highway riding. Good time to kick back and enjoy the scenery, reflect and watch the world go by. A huge thanks to Steve and Karen Campbell of Laser Plumbing Lismore for their amazing hospitality that night. All those beds, with sheets, quilts, towels, big portable bathroom, catered dinner and drinks, the view, the ham and cheese croisants for breakfast. Amazing how much people contributed to support the cause. Tuesday 19. Lismore to the Gold Coast. 120kms The morning the bikes went missing. With a much shorter route ahead there was no rush to head off. Luckily, because the bikes had decided to go on an adventure of their own overnight. [caption id="attachment_15103" align="alignnone" width="1000"]Missing bikes The morning the bikes went missing[/caption] Next stop, fundraising at Laser Plumbing Tweed Heads. Now with our police escort in the lead we headed off on our last leg into the Gold Coast for our final destination, the Sheraton Mirage. Met by much fanfare there were mixed feelings by all. Relieved to give the bikes a rest, to see our families and chuffed knowing just how successful the ride had been for BeyondBlue. [caption id="attachment_15054" align="alignnone" width="1000"]We made it! We made it! Sheraton Mirage, Gold Coast.[/caption]

The charity, BeyondBlue

The Laser Group chose BeyondBlue as the charity to whom they would donate the funds. Mark Hailes, brainchild of the event from Laser Electrical Lilydale, originally set the target for our chosen charity at $25,000. At the time of writing this post the target has reached $120,032.79!

Social media

Raising funds wasn't the only aim of the trip. We wanted to raise awareness of the issues surrounding depression and the great work BeyondBlue do. Along the way we also wanted to keep colleagues, friends and family up to date with our progress. Brad Couper asked for a 'Postie Bike Challenge tracking page' web page to be built. I used Instagram to post regular updates from on the road. Instagram includes the option to post to Facebook and Twitter as well. It's a great way of engaging your audience with both short bursts of text and pictures from in the field with minimal fuss. The tracking page pulled updates from the simTRAC trackers, images from Instagram and updates from Twitter. We gained a lot media attention along the way so of course the likes of the ABC also used social media to promote their coverage of the event...
Well done Laser Group, an enormous success. Thankyou for having us along for the ride.

Lover of strong coffee, craft beer and retro motorcycles. Sharing stories as Journey Partnership Manager for simPRO Software.

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