Michael R Williams
Ride West, a charity event that raised approximately $500,000, finally arrived in Longreach after a gruelling bike ride from Longreach.
Director of Ride West John Sloman said the team of riders were both tired and ecstatic.
“We just rode 1300 kilometres over eight days, there were a couple of windy days and a couple of rainy days; so yeah, there will be some people who will sleep very well tonight,” he said.
“There are 47 of us here, and most of us will be staying the weekend in Longreach.”
Ride West is the principal sponsor of the Royal Flying Doctors program, Wellness Out West which provides on-the-ground primary mental health services in western Queensland.
“From our point of view, it is an incredible team that they’ve built that delivers that program,” he said.
“We are very proud to fund that.
“There’s a big community in Brisbane that care for what happens in western Queensland, and Ride West is a part of that community.”
All of the money raised went directly to the RFDS, and this year they have far exceeded the benchmark laid last year of $430,000.
An impressive feat considering the team included Charleville in their trip this year making for an extra night on their journey.
“[Charleville] was great, the local council put a dinner on for us; we went to the war museum and the new cosmos centre,” Mr Sloman said.
“It’s a town that’s really getting its tourism industry going.”
This was also the first ride where the riders had to contend with storm rain.
“We were lucky to miss all the rain you guys got up here,” Mr Sloman said.
“But, riding from Mitchell to Charleville was a very wet day for us.
“Thankfully, no injuries.”
Royal Flying Doctors Service Chair Russell Postle said Ride West makes an enormous difference to the RFDS mental health programs.
“It allows us to deliver programs we otherwise may not be able to deliver at all,” he said.
“They’ve been able to provide us with seed capital to develop our new programs which we can go on to demonstrate the impact they have into the future.
“The commitment we made to Ride West matches theirs, every dollar we receive from Ride West goes into the RFDS, and every dollar from there is driven straight to our Wellbeing Out West programs.
“Ride West has allowed us to deliver our programs into new regions – its a very exciting relationship.”