Matt Aldridge’s Coo-Wee Ride has come to an end as he and his accompanying group of veterans rolled into town of Beechworth on May 20.
The Mangalore resident had been riding his bike from Barmera in South Australia to Beechworth to raise awareness and money for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Eleven veterans joined Mr Aldridge on the course of the ride and they were met by an enthusiastic crowd in Beechworth waiting to clap them in.
‘‘You know, we walked into the dark with this and thought if we could just raise awareness and get from A to B, then we would be happy,’’ Mr Aldridge said.
But upon arriving in Beechworth and tallying up the donations they’d received over the 15 days of riding, Mr Aldridge couldn’t be happier.
‘‘We probably raised about $4500 on Saturday in Beechworth and about $15000 all up,’’ he said.
He intends to use that money now to plan activities to help get veterans involved and engaged with their peers and communities.
Despite some unkind weather along the way, Mr Aldridge said that planning is already under way for next year’s ride.
‘‘Now that we’ve met a bunch of veterans and what not along the way we can start thinking about doing a bunch of different things along the way too,’’ Mr Aldridge said.
Mountain biking, horse riding and camping trips aren’t out of the question depending on interest and engagement from veterans living in those communities.
The Coo-Wee Ride organisers are still accepting donations via their website and Go Fund Me page. For more information, visit www.cooweeride.org.au