Jacqui Kennedy

Jacqui Kennedy – or Jax – is an Australian motorcyclist who rides a “Postie” – a Honda CT110 traditionally used in Australia and New Zealand for mail delivery. She has ridden her Postie 42,000 km all over Australia. [Rashmi Tambe, Editor]

Women Who Ride: Jacqui Kennedy with her Postie

Jacqui Kennedy with her Postie

Name: Jacqui Kennedy
Age: 51
Country: Australia
Languages: English
Years Riding: 30
Height: 165 cm
Inseam:72 cm
Current motorcycles: Honda CT110 Postie bike, Aprilia Sportcity 250cc
Past motorcycles: Kawasaki 250, Honda 125, Yamaha 175
Average Kms Per Year: 20,000


Please introduce yourself. I’m Jacqui and I’m a travel junkie. My mother passed on her love of travel and discovery to me and I have infected my daughter with it.

I like natural history and I have a fondness for high mountain passes and distant horizons. I don’t go much for cities or museums but I like reading about pioneers – particularly Australian female pioneers. Coping with adversity and making the best out of a situation is the real challenge.

Describe your path to how you got to where you are with motorcycling today. It’s hard for me to remember a time when I wasn’t either packing or unpacking for a trip. My grounding came with a Kombi van tour of Europe when I was nine years old. My mother, as a single parent in 1973, took me and my two older brothers around Europe for a year living in a Kombi. We learned to be very resilient and co-operative on that trip.

I bought my first bike when I was eighteen as it was a cheaper option than a car. I didn’t have a passion for bikes – I just had a need for adrenalin in general. I was learning to fly aerobatics at the time and the two activities just seemed to go hand in glove.

I swapped two wheels for a baby for about 11 years but as soon as she could reach the pillion pegs, we were back on two wheels. Together we hit the road and did a tour up the Swiss Alps on a scooter and explored all of Western Europe for five months. As soon as she was old enough, she also got her licence.

When my daughter was independent, I left home and hit the road semi-permanently. I did a second tour of Europe on a scooter and then embarked on the Postie Bike tour of Australia. I expected to be gone for a year, but now as I approach my third year on the road, I can’t imagine stopping.

Describe your current motorcycle. My current bike is called Mo. He is an ex-Australia Post bike with a cruising speed of 70 kmph and steers like a washing machine. I like a challenge and I didn’t want to just whizz around Australia seeing bitumen and racking up the miles. I wanted a bike that forces you to reconsider how you approach travelling; forces you to slow down and absorb the scenery not simply pass through it.

Women Who Ride: Jacqui Kennedy taking it slow

Jacqui Kennedy taking it slow

Mo is a tough little bugger. He conquers anything I throw at him and has never let me down. Fully loaded, he is a pain to ride on gravel but lots of fun when unloaded. I don’t have to be precious about breaking him as he’s cheap to maintain and parts are readily accessible all over Australia. I’ve ridden him 42, 000 km around Australia so far.

Women Who Ride: The Honda CT 110 - Postie - in Australia

The Honda CT 110 – Postie – in Australia

Tell us more about the Postie bikes. The Postie Bike is a Honda CT 110 cc single and basically it has the reputation of being unbreakable. Everything is exposed so they are really easy to work on and because AusPost bought so many, parts are readily available either from Honda or aftermarket. They can be purchased from auction for under $1000 so it’s not a huge investment if you are going to take it on a hardcore rally and trash it. They are easy to adapt so they’ve been turned into choppers, cafe racers, long range tourers and speed racers – and painted every colour of the rainbow.

AusPost has now moved on to a more modern version so the CTs will be phased out over the next year or so. They will be snapped up at auction and then they will become classics. They took on cult status when people started taking them to extreme paces and NOT breaking them. There are a lot of charity rides which test the mettle of the riders – but that’s the whole point of riding a Postie – to challenge your comfort zone.

Got a good story from your travels? After travelling most of the major roads in Oz including the Stuart Hwy and the Nullarbor, which are notorious for big trucks (or road-trains, as we call them) I have developed a strategy which works well for dealing with trucks. Mutual respect.

Because of the nature of our roads, you usually have clear vision for many kilometres so trucks can see me and I can see them. I have never had an issue when trucks overtake me as I try to move into the verge if I can – or if the road is busy I’ll pull off completely. Trucks take a long distance to get their speed back up again whereas Mo and I are really not in a hurry at all.

I arrived in Dingo after a long stretch with many trucks and I moved over whenever it was safe for me. As I was filling up with petrol one of the drivers came over and said I was “the hot topic on the truckie airwaves”… everyone appreciating how polite I was being. When I went into the shop to pay for my fuel, the lady said it had “been taken care of”. One of the truckies had paid for my my petrol.

To me this represents the karma of the road – you put positive energy out there and it comes back to you tenfold.


Is there any other kind of motorcycling that you’d like to try your hand at? I would like to get much more confident about riding Mo on gravel. I’m still too timid. I plan to tackle Cape York next year – 700 km each way of rough, corrugated dirt tracks and river crossings.

Riding off-road in Australia

Riding off-road in Australia

Have you made any close female friendships due to motorcycling? I met Linda Bootherstone at a Horizons Unlimited meeting and we instantly clicked as having the same approach to riding and life in general. We traveled together for a while in Western Australia and plan more trips in the future.

Do you have any motorcycling heroes? Michael and Nita Marriot who travelled UK to Australia in 1956 two up on a 150cc scooter. Ruth Blayne who also did UK to Australia on a Lambretta in 1959. And Linda Bootherstone, who is still riding as she approaches 70.

Do you do maintenance and repairs on your bike? I check oil, tyres, and chain – that’s about it. I’m not very mechanical and although I’ve been shown the theory of changing a tyre, I’ve never needed to put it into practice. I send Mo to the mechanic to keep him in tip-top condition and don’t scrimp or shortcut on repairs.

If you could change one thing about the world of motorcycling, what would it be?
The attitude that you have to have a big bike with all the fancy bling to have an adventure.

What’s your dream bike? 
I have my dream bike. He suits exactly the way I want to travel at the moment. Maybe better suspension for the corrugated Cape York roads.


Women Who Ride: Jacqui Kennedy on Australia's longest straight road

Jacqui Kennedy on Australia’s longest straight road

If I were to visit you and we went riding for one short morning ride, where would you take me? I would show you all the hidden gems of Sydney. We’d go across Sydney Harbour Bridge out to North Head, up to Pittwater and West Head. We’d have coffee at Pie in the Sky and ride the Old Road with hundreds of other bikers ending with a pizza at Road Warriors.

What’s the best part about riding in Australia? Oh, it’s Australia – you name, we’ve got it! On the eastern seaboard we have the Great Dividing Range which would satisfy nearly everyone’s definition of twisties. Everything west of there is mostly flat with wide horizons and wonderful open countryside. We have wild deserts, huge sand dunes, tropical rain forests and lots of bloody red dirt.

Red dirt roads in Australia

Red dirt roads in Australia

Women Who Ride: Linda Bootherstone at the Questa Casa in Australia

Linda Bootherstone at the Questa Casa in Australia

What kind of food can riders expect to stop for on the way? We have easy access to lots of fresh fruit and veggies all over Oz and there are lots of roadside stalls selling fruit straight from the farms. But as soon as you leave the cities, you’ll live on a diet of hamburgers and roadhouse grub.


What are the top rides you would recommend? All of Tasmania, anywhere in the Flinders Ranges, all the dirt tracks through the outback, the Snowy Mountains region in NSW and far north Queensland.

Women Who Ride: Jacqui Kennedy on Nullarbor Plain

Jacqui Kennedy on Nullarbor Plain

How does the topography of the place you live in affect the kind of motorcycling people choose to do? Most people have big bikes for the big distances. Most people tour for one week covering huge miles, camping out in swags and eating in pubs.

I’m not like most people.

Is it safe to ride at night where you live? It’s safe anywhere in Australia unless you have just watched the movie Wolf Creek. Then you won’t want to leave the house.

Is motorcycle theft a problem? Only in the cities. In the country I often leave my helmet on the bike. My panniers are not lockable. I have even left the key in the ignition by mistake. Nothing has ever been touched.

Are there any motorcycle specific laws? Australian laws are the more ridiculous on the planet. We have eight states and territories and they all have different motorcycle rules. In some states you can ride a 50 cc scooter without any licence and in some you have to have a car licence for one year before you can hop on a bike (it should be the other way around). The tests are different for each state and the inconsistencies make it dangerous for everyone. We have a lot of returning riders (think twenty years off with a mortgage and kids) who jump on a big bike with no re-training and get themselves into all sorts of trouble.

Are there any motorcycling related political issues that affect your ability to riding?
Non-riding politicians are our biggest roadblock. They keep making foolish laws without any proper consultation with riders.

Do you have access to high quality women’s motorcycling gear in your part of the world? We have total rubbish gear for women in Australia. The manufacturers believe we are all skinny stick figures and mostly just adapt men’s jackets and pants to pink. If you can get comfortable jackets to go over your chest, they’ll have big loose arms. I’d like to see less black and less pink.

What kinds of motorcycling events are held regularly? There is a bike rally or multiple club events every single weekend. We have lots of charity rides as well. My favourites are the Pink Ribbon Ride and the Toy Run at Christmas. I’m not really one for sitting around, drinking, and talking bikes. I like to talk travel. I like the Horizons Unlimited events as the presentations are brilliant and educational.

How are women motorcycle riders treated by most people and by male motorcyclists? As a novelty. I get sick of hearing women describe themselves as “just a pillion”. I’d like to see more of them encouraged to get a bike of their own.The most repeated conversation in the last five years on the road:
“You’re riding…. by yourself?”

“On your own?”

“Without a support vehicle?”

“Isn’t it dangerous?”

Do female and male motorcyclists have the same amount of freedom to pursue motorcycling activities? Yes, they do.

Women Who Ride: Jacqui Kennedy for Naked Tuesday

Jacqui Kennedy for Naked Tuesday


Books:  Two Up by Scooter, Scooting Through, Three Wandering Poms, Where Angels Fear to Tread, Two for the Road
Movies: Ed March C90 Adventures
Magazine: Australian Motorcyclist
Blogs: Ed March and Rachel Lasham – Wander on a Honda
Web Forums: Horizons Unlimited
Female Motorcyclist: Linda Bootherstone