Beef cattle farmer John Turnbull from Hernani had swapped his wide-brimmed Akubra for a black helmet adorned with a pink mohawk, his horse for a postie bike with cushion zip-tied to the seat's back, and wore an aged Driza-bone jacket.
He was one of over 120 fundraisers and riders in the 2023 Variety Postie Bike Dash which took participants from Goulburn to Ulladulla, down the coast to Mogo and Narooma, before they arrived to Merimbula on Wednesday, November 8.
The Wascally Wabbits wore hairy helmets with different coloured ears, The Postie Dogs wore helmets in a whole spectrum of colours though all with flappy ears, eyes, and noses, while their bikes had matching tails of man's best friend, a pirate crew had skeleton parts mounted to their handlebars and black flags that waved in the coastal wind.
Two men wore yellow jumpsuits with blue overalls, one with a single eye, the other with two, only Gru was missing from their Minion themed group, and the Animals group had a whole host of colourful, big-teeth and eyed monster helmets.
Alan Craig sat among riders who were consuming the "breakfast of legends", he smiled as he shared his story as a gentleman who had embodied the spirit of all things bikes for decades, and was one of the first stores to service postie motorbikes in the Newcastle area from his shop of 42 years.
Now at 87, he said the 10th anniversary of the Postie Dash could be his last ride, though he was participating in the mechanic car helping with any breakdowns during the six-day, 1130km ride throughout NSW.
Standing alone at the front of the posties was Postman Pat and his black-and-white cat, a yellow postbox was mounted to the back of his red bike so he could collect hundreds of hand-written letters from Merimbula Public School students.
Students at the primary school were in awe and amazement as the loud rumbling engines of close to 120 bikes entered the gates and drove up to the oval with horns blaring intermittently, before the Variety Postie Bike Dash delivered a $5000 cheque to support the 380 students with maths resources.
School principal Michelle Huddleston said the children had written Christmas cards and letters to give to Postman Pat who will deliver the envelopes to Ronald McDonald House and the children's hospital in Newcastle.
"This is the second time we've hosted Variety the children's charity at Merimbula Public School, I was privileged to be principal nine years ago when we had the Variety Bash cars that came," Ms Huddleston said.
Manda Hensman, a teacher at Merimbula and organiser of the grant application, said all the classrooms would be receiving a trolley, filled with essential hands-on measurement and geometry equipment, and was thankful to Variety for helping to support the students.
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