Thursday, October 26, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Meet the infamous duo, Elmo and Chicken Man, two men creating smiles in the Mackay region with their funky motorcycle helmets and dance moves in traffic.
Ethan Grech, better known by his crew as ‘Grechy’, is a born and raised Mackay local with a strong love for his region.
Growing up, he always wanted his motorcycle license and had a strong passion for bikes.
Mr Grech has many reasons for taking on the Elmo alias, from making his rides around town more entertaining for himself, as well as receiving positive reactions from the wider community. He likes to stand apart from the crowd and dare to be different.
“I guess I use the helmet as a logo or icon to show that it’s that rider there, who does all these things.” He stated.
“A lot of reactions are positive, but when you do something different you expect some to judge.
“I find that anything you do in life, there is always one out of one hundred that would judge or have their own negative view.
“But when I ride every day, I get about ten photos or videos from people with a bright smile behind the camera, so I will never stop because it benefits people’s lives from laughing.
“I see it as I show an example of kindness on the bike and making people laugh, people can do the same.”
Mr Grech inspired his group of friends to join the helmet trend and hopes to one day get himself to the stage of making himself more well-known, to the point that he is able to start up a charity.
Ryan De Jager is a boilermaker by trade and is well-known by his alias as the ‘Chicken Man’. He loves to wear his helmet to ‘make people laugh and bring some joy to people and their kids.’
Mr De Jager commented that the reaction from the community has been ‘very positive’ and he loves to see the smiles and waving from people in traffic.
His favourite memory of his time doing this is when the group went for the first ride together, as well as being invited onto Star FM 101.9 radio station to be interviewed, in which he stated, “The interview was great, everyone was very kind, welcoming and very open and accepting of what we do.”
Mr De Jager was tossing and turning about his anonymity, but the effort and precautions required to stay anonymous would eventually become tedious, so he decided to just put a name to the face (or helmet).
The main thing he would like to address is that anyone is welcome to say hello and wave, take photos and videos and share them with him and the crew. However, it is important to always pay attention to the road and traffic around you.
Mr De Jager stated, “Don't get distracted by us and cause an accident, save saying hello for when you're stopped or at a red light.
“We would hate for our group of riders to be the cause of accidents.”
Elmo and Chicken Man aren’t the only riders taking part, with their group rocking a range of helmet covers, including a dragon, a unicorn and a bunny.
The pair love the special memories from people around the community, creating a positive atmosphere around Mackay and working hard to show how awesome the motorcycle community really is.
Chicken Man and Elmo with his Yamaha MT-07. Photo credit: Raylene’s Reflections
Elmo and Chicken Man with his Yamaha Virago 535. Photo credit: Ethan Grech