After riding their mountain bikes for more than 550 kilometres from Woolgoolga last Sunday, the participants in the 2017 Alive and Well Ride for the Chopper partied hard in Walcha on Thursday night at the local bowling club before tackling the final 90 kilometres of the seven-day event.
The gathering outside Carlo’s IGA in Walcha on Friday morning was a little worse for wear from both a week of arduous riding and the previous nights socialising. However, they headed back to Tamworth knowing that the night before more than $7,000 was raised at the fancy dress dinner auction.
Event Coordinator Mick Wilson said the reception they received in Walcha was the best he’s ever experienced.
“We had a police escort, a truck convoy and a great crowd in the main street when we arrived,” he said.
The group are winding their way to Tamworth from Woolgoolga to raise money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
After leaving Woolgoolga on Sunday, the crew have had overnight stops in Grafton, Dalmorton, Guyra, Armidale and Walcha before finishing in Tamworth this afternoon.
The 65 plus mountain bikers and their support team of 12 have raised more than $83,000 for the rescue service, climbing more than 4,000m and peddling over 450km, most of the time off the beaten track.
The Alive and Well Ride for the Chopper is an annual seven-day fundraising charity mountain bike ride for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, and 2017 is the 17th year the ride has been undertaken. Since inception, the ride has raised over on $1,000, 000 with over 650 riders taking part and thousands of kilometres ridden. The most important message put out to those participating is that it’s not a race but an introduction to mountain bike riding over distance. The challenge is to ride every “Km” every day, with awards, themed nights, games and activities along the way for all to enjoy.