A REPEAT offender. Brian Beesley smiled at the observation of his repeated participation in the The Great Postie Bike Ride.
Three rides since 2005 that cover thousands of kilometres and he now has plans to line-up for 2014 with his wife, Heather. Not that Heather has said yes, but Brian recently bought her a postie bike resistance, it would seem, is futile.
Brian recently returned home to Gloucester and his Taree business, Furniture One, after a ride of more than 3800 kilometres from Tasmania to Alice Springs via the Oodnadatta Track which is 620 kilometres of unsealed roads between Marree and Marlee via Oodnadatta in South Australia.
He was one of more than 50 riders who signed up to take part in the ride to raise funds for Rotary, but for Brian, the ride also held another attraction, another opportunity that was worth enduring the physical and mechanical challenges of travelling less than 78 kilometres an hour, all day, every day, for 10 days on a second-hand postie bike. It was Helmet Time.
"It's time to think. Time to think about your health, your life, your work, your family, your love life you get time in your helmet to think. It's not for everyone but it's for me," Brian said.
Helmet Time is just one of the attractions or challenges of the ride, depending on your perspective, but according to Brian, it is not the only one.
"Man-handling a postie bike over thousands of kilometres, travelling a maximum of 78.6 kilometres an hour, with one third of the journey being unsealed road, it is very physical. We didn't lose one bike, but we lost four riders to injury and 36 tyres," he said.
"Days start before dawn. You wake in the dark, pack your tent and kit, and have to have yourself and bike ready for the road by 7.30am and then ride all day until 4.30pm," he explained.
"You have to stop every 100 kilometres for fuel but that's it."
At day's end, the work continues with the need to give the unmodified Honda CT110 motorcycle a general service.
"We are responsible for our own bikes. If it fails your journey on the ride stops. So each night must include time for checks, repairs, oil and fuel," Brian said.
"No riders bring new bikes," explains Brian. "Each bike is stock-standard, with no modifications and has seen between 28,000 and 32,000 kilometres of road. They are exactly as the last postie had it.
"We each buy a bike to enter and then the bikes are auctioned at end of the ride to raise money for Rotary. This year our bikes went for $46,000."
It is a significant fundraising event on Rotary's annual calendar with more than $600,000 being raised over 13 years.
So with 2005, 2011 and 2013 rides to his name, Brian is keen to recruit more Manning Valley riders for 2014, in addition to his Heather.
This year Merv Gillies of Bunyah joined him but he hopes the lure of an unusual adventure and opportunity of Helmet Time will attract more people, and maybe even his Heather ... maybe.
For further information about The Great Postie Bike Ride call Brian on 0419 634 275.