Pulled from the scrapheap and cobbled together from odds and ends, a group of locals are putting together a unique collection of motorbikes for an altruistic adventure.
Each year, the Scrapheap Adventure Riders take up the challenge of buying a bike for less than $1000, doing whatever is needed to make it roadworthy and taking it through the outback; all while raising funds for Down Syndrome NSW.
“I’ve blown a few bikes up, but it’s all the enjoyment and fun of it,” rider Joe Bliss said.
Local Brendon Campbell said the ride meant a lot to his family, especially daughter Emi, who has down syndrome.
“Our family has benefitted from NSW Down Syndrome Association with support and events since Emi was born. Joining this is part of our way of helping to give back,” he said.
“It’s a good organisation which we recommend to people all the time.”
Emi said the ride was “so fun” and that she couldn’t wait to do it again and visit her bike-loving friends.
This year the adventure is coming here, with riders from as far afield as South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and Sydney making their way to Tingha this October.
“We went from 15 riders raising $25,000 (in the first year) to last year 101 riders, $97,500,” local organiser Col Meacham said.
“Now we’re getting families to come, hence Green Valley Farm - we’re running out of venues that will host everybody.”
With a fundraising goal of $10,000, the local riders aren’t slacking off. Their first event kicks off this Saturday, with a poker run.
Riding from Inverell’s Australian Cafe at 9am, players will draw cards at Moree, Narrabri and Bingara before heading home to compare hands. All registered bikes are welcome for a $20 entry fee.
Joe is keen to take his 1991 Kawasaki KLR 250 for another spin this year.
“I rode it last year. It never missed a beat. Hopefully it won’t this year either,” he said.
“Being an ex-farm bike, it’s always a lot of work. But I built two bikes out of three – they keep going. Currently my son’s riding the second one around and I told him he’s going to lose parts of it to keep mine going!”
Col was also squeezing as much life as he could out of his bike.
“That’s been to four or five (runs). It’s 40 years old,” he said.
“We rode it 10,000 kilometres last year, and we did a promotion run over the Simpson Desert and everything.”
Joe said the Adventure Ride was a great initiative for all involved.
“It improves relations with a couple of bike groups and seeing the kids with down syndrome and their smiles when you ride into venues and that, it’s all worthwhile,” he said.
“Those smiles on their faces stick in your mind for a long time.”