Fraserburgh charity worker completes US bike challenge

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A Fraserburgh charity worker has completed a mammoth motorbike ride across the USA to help a campaign by a Buchan recovery centre.

Gordon Cruden had set himself a goal of travelling across all 50 US states in 30 days to raise money for the Buy Benaiah campaign – but completed the task in just 28.

Mr Cruden travelled around 500 miles a day on his ride, clocking up 15,000 miles by the end of his journey.

He said: “I was up every morning at about 4 or 4.30 am just as the sun was coming up.”

Mr Cruden, area manager of addiction recovery charity Teen Challenge North East Scotland, set off from Kalamazoo, Michigan, on Saturday, June 18.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his trip stateside was visiting one of the Teen Challenge centre in Alabama.

Mr Cruden said: “They have 70 girls there and it was quite a contrast between the two and interesting to see how they have developed the rehabilitation centre.”

He added: “The reason why I did this task was to raise money and awareness for Benaiah.

“Just yesterday morning I got a text from a girl who said she was going into Benaiah with her child - and that’s what it’s all about.”

During the fundraising mission Mr Cruden took in the sights all across the US.

The journey involved a 2,000-mile trip through Canada to Hyder in the American state of Alaska and seeing the Indians in Wyoming.

Also, adding a Hawaiian twist to the challenge, Mr Cruden flew the 5,000-mile round-trip from Los Angeles on mainland USA to Honolulu, after a sponsor pledged to cover the costs involved.

Mr Cruden also recalled some experiences that he is less fond of, namely getting overtaken by 18-wheeler trucks going 90 mph and other road based issues.

He said: “In New York State I was nearly run off the road five times.”

The Buy Benaiah campaign fund now stands at £355,000 raised, with people from both sides of the Atlantic donating to the campaign.

One man in America sold his motorbike for £5,000 for the cause while a Christian TV channel on which Mr Cruden appeared donated £10,000.

Mr Cruden said: “It’s phenomenal, not just how people in the north east are getting behind it but also how the people in America are getting behind it too.”

Despite having only completed the USA challenge, and having ridden across Europe last year, Mr Cruden hasn’t ruled out getting back in the saddle again for the cause.

He said: “I’ve been offered a bike to do it in Australia next year, so who knows.”

He added: “It’s about raising awareness for Benaiah and about raising money but it’s also for the adventure as well.”