Few people would dream of riding 1800km on a push bike, but for Matt Aldridge, who spends his days tending to racehorses, that’s the essence of the Anzac spirit.
The Coo-Wee Ride, organised by Mr Aldridge, is a 15-day charity bike ride, averaging a gruelling 107km each day, designed to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mr Aldridge said many PTSD victims suffer in silence, but bottling things up is probably the worst thing they can do.
Big charities have the ability to raise a lot of money but the Coo-Wee cause is much simpler.
‘‘What big charities can’t do is get in behind the scenes,’’ Mr Aldridge said.
‘‘If we can organise a bus trip for veterans to take them out to the footy for the day, then that’s what we’re about. We want to help people directly so that they’re physically and mentally active.’’
Now a registered charity, Mr Aldridge is hoping he can continue raising money after the ride and continue to help out veterans directly.
Mr Aldridge’s wife Emma has a personal connection to the cause too. Her great grandfather, William John Dickens, was a highly decorated soldier.
He fought in both world wars and lost his brother doing so too.
The ride, which begins in Barmera (William’s resting place) and ends in Beechworth at the town’s RSL, is open to any veterans who are prepared to take on the challenge.
The majority of riders though will join Mr Aldridge in Seymour.
‘‘We’re having a veterans ride from Seymour to Beechworth,’’ Mr Aldridge said.
‘‘Right now we’ve got about 10 veterans coming with us.’’
Prior to departing, a barbecue breakfast will be held in Seymour on May 17. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Donations can be made at the Coo-Wee ride website, cooweeride.org.au
For any veterans who want to join the ride, they can contact Mr Aldridge via the Coo-Wee Ride website or Facebook page.