We caught up with Matt and Adam from The Coo Wee Ride - a charity bike ride from Barmera South Australia to Beechworth RSL in Victoria.
The boys are cycling to raise much needed funds for returned servicemen and women. To take them on this epic journey, they were in need of a serious road bike. We were proud to supply them each with a Reid Granite to tackle any terrain they may encounter.
Read on to find out more about their ride, the amazing cause and how you can help.
Tell us a bit about yourselves...where do you come from? What do you do with yourselves? What’s your favourite classic Aussie rock tune?
Matt: I'm a 29 years old, married with 4 kids, living in Seymour Victoria, I work on a thoroughbred farm. I really enjoy working with horses, sports especially AFL footy, and being outdoors. I love to get out on the bike and go for a ride,and spending time with friends and family.
At the moment a lot of my time is being put into The Coo-Wee Ride and making it as successful as possible. I love learning about Australian history. My favourite rock tune would have to be anything by AC/DC.
Adam: I’m 29 years old, married and living in an apartment in South Melbourne. I work at a few different hospitals around Melbourne as a Perfusionist. While my hobbies include seeing movies, snowboarding and rock climbing, my greatest passions are making music and cycling.
I grew up in the Dandenong ranges in Macclesfield, living only about a 3 km bike ride from Matt’s house. We would regularly get home from school and catch up again for a ride to the local store for some killer pythons.
Currently I’m helping Matt with the organising and planning of the Coo-Wee ride trying to get our cause out there, sorting out the logistics, and making the event as successful as possible. Classic aussie rock tune? I would also say ACDC - for those about to rock we salute you.
You’re both very passionate about your cause, what inspired you to raise funds for returned veterans?
Matt: Personally for me it was the statistics. To hear we have men and women, who served for our country, living on the streets, suffering from PTSD and very sadly committing suicide really shocked me. These very real issues were my motivation to help.
We’re a country with a really proud military history, and while I’m not in the military I wanted to think of a way try and help out. This 2-week bike ride was it. It's the Australian way to dig in and help your mates, so we're going to!
We're hoping to meet a lot of servicemen and women along the way and take motivation from hearing their stories, and have them involved. We're going to have veterans riding with us at different stages which will be amazing.
Doing it all for a these amazing men and women is a great driving force - helping them out with donations will be fantastic. All donations go directly to help support veterans.
Adam: I saw a TV special involving Hamish Blake and Cadel Evans riding the Trois Etapes Giro in Italy for a veternas support charity. At the time I didn't know too much about it, but after further research I thought what a fantastic cause!
And what a wonderful way to get involved and contribute.
About 6 months later I got talking to Matt and he was telling me how bad the statistics were involving returned veterans who have PTSD, debilitating wounds or who have sadly committed suicide. He mentioned that we should do a fundraising bike ride to raise awareness and help out. I jumped on board straight away - I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to do some good for those who truly deserve it.
How much experience do you have in cycling? Why did you decide to raise money through a charity bike ride?
Matt: Adam and I grew up down the road from each other, and from a young age, we would be getting on our bikes and riding to each other's houses. We would ride around the district on weekends for some fun, finding different tracks to cruise around. We both did scouts together and actually won a 24 hour bikeathon working together for the Macclesfield Scouts.
We both do a fair bit of riding now for fun, and now even more for our ride next year. We chose to do a charity bike ride because we can challenge ourselves mentally and physically. While organising the ride and en-route, we're excited to meet a lot of awesome people and make new friends in all the different towns we go through.
It’s all driven by the spirit of helping out all our servicemen and women.
Adam: Back in april 2013 I cycled solo from Melbourne to Sydney covering 886km in 8 days. I rode to raise awareness and money for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. It was a really tough but incredible experience. It pushed both my physical and mental limits, but each day getting closer to the Sydney Harbour Bridge was enough to dig that bit deeper.
I still try and get out for a ride most weekends (especially when the weather is a bit warmer). I am normally found down Beach Road, but my favourite ride is in the Dandenong Ranges.
When Matt said we should do a charity ride, the answer was always going to be yes.
You’re going to be covering a lot of distance. What are you doing to prepare for the bike ride?
Matt: At the moment I'm training 6 days a week, varying from long and short bike rides, running, gym and swimming. As we get closer I'll mainly be riding just to get the body in tune with being in the saddle for long periods of time and in all types of conditions.
Adam: At the moment I’m training about 5 days a week, doing various types of exercise, such as running, swimming, and rock climbing. Once the weather gets warmer I’ll be on the bike as many days as possible, covering all sorts of terrain and increasing the rides to longer distances.
Once we’re a few months out, there is a cool altitude training place nearby where I will do indoor cycling training at a lower oxygen level, to increase my fitness as best I can. We are also making sure we are well prepared, with plenty of supplies and tools to fix and problems that might come up on the way. As well as lots and lots of puncture repair kits.
What are your biggest fears undertaking this journey?
Matt: Bad weather is my biggest fear, and setbacks that slow us up, but we should be organised enough to overcome those problems. So if we get lucky with the weather it will make everything a lot easier.
Adam: Punctures. I hate punctures it just slows the momentum so much. But we will have great support and plenty of time to get out of any situation.
What are you most excited about seeing and doing along the route?
Matt: For me starting the ride at my wife's great-grandfather's grave in the Barmera cemetery will be really special. I've spent a lot of time studying his time in the military. William John Dickens was a military cross winner in WWI, where sadly he had a brother die. He then went to the WWII and became a Major.
His story has really inspired me for this ride.
I'm also really excited about seeing absolutely everything to be honest. We plan on stopping in at a lot of RSLs along the way and I'm really hoping to meet veterans. I’d love the chance to thank them and just have a good old chat.
Our route takes us along The Great Ocean Road which will be really nice, and rolling into Beechworth to cross the finish line will be a great thing to see I’m sure. But as a whole I'm really excited about the entire ride in general.
Adam: I'm really looking forward to seeing all of the beautiful countryside and all the variation of terrain, especially South Australia. I haven't spent much time there so it will be really exciting to see.
The Great Ocean Road will be another highlight as well as riding up Mt Buller. That will be a fantastic challenge and I’m sure the view will be worth it.
But I would imagine that after two weeks of non-stop cycling, seeing the finish line in Beechworth will be special as well!
How can people help support your amazing cause?
Matt: We have a Coo-Wee Ride Facebook page and Instagram for people to follow us through. So chuck us a like on there - it will really help us out. Plus you’ll be able to follow along with our journey.
Adam: You can help support The Coo-Wee Ride by making a donation on our website. All proceeds go directly to support veterans.