Marks barnacle bike is still a goer
IF HE wanted to, Mark Pate could literally choose from hundreds of good bicycles to ride around Byron Bay.
But the one he uses is a barnacle-encrusted model he fished from a metre of water in a Ballina creek a couple of years ago.
A quick clean-up and a couple of new tyres and it was ready to go.
For Mark, getting the bike ready for the road was easy. As the director of Australian Goodwill Bicycles Abroad Incorporated, it's something he has done thousands of times.
Over nearly 13 years he and his wife Jenny have collected and sent more than 10,000 unwanted bikes to developing countries including East Timor, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Nauru and also to remote Indigenous communities in Australia.
Their not-for-profit organisation's single aim is to "collect, store, repair and distribute as many bikes as possible to those in need".
"We have doing this every day for 12 years," said Mark.
"We are just trying to set an example.
"Somehow destiny plonked this on our plate and we are dealing with it."
They have recently shifted their headquarters from Bangalow to Byron Bay and are keen on getting local residents involved in the project.
Mark works on the bikes at a shed at Talofa where there are 400 stored.
There are 200 more stored in Sydney and there
are another 250 in a container ready to go to East Timor.
"We are always looking for volunteers to help with the bikes and to get involved in any way," he said.
It took 12 years to finalise, but Australian Goodwill Bicycles Abroad Incorporated is now a registered charity and can accept donations to help cover the costs of shipping the bikes.
If you want to get involved go to goodwill bicycles.com, or phone Mark and Jenny on 66808768.
Somehow destiny plonked this on our plate and
we are dealing with it.