Black dogs roar in on Sunday

Steve Andrews with the Black Dog Ride mascot.
Steve Andrews with the Black Dog Ride mascot.

DEPRESSION awareness initiative, the Black Dog Ride, will roar into Busselton on Sunday taking part in the inaugural National 1 Day Ride around Australia to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.

Motorbike riders from every state and territory, except Tasmania, will hit the highways for the locally coordinated rides on Sunday. Many will carry a black dog mascot on board, in an attempt to break the world record for most black dogs on motorbikes.

BDR founder and state organiser Steve Andrews said the response to the format of this year’s ride had been fantastic.

“Tasmania kicked off last Sunday, and despite poor weather the ride attracted 204 bikes,” Steve said.

“We are expecting up to 600 bikes on our ride and almost all the riders have purchased a black dog.”

The toy dog named Winston, after Winston Churchill, who referred to his bouts of depression as the ‘black dog on his back’, can be purchased for $35 and includes a ticket to participate in the ride. Tickets without Winston cost $20.

Steve’s inspiration to raise awareness of suicide and depression came about after losing his mother and several friends to suicide.

“Four weeks after the birth of my fourth child, my mother tragically took her own life. I did not understand why at the time, but have subsequently discovered that she had, for many years, battled depression,” he said.

“Depression is an illness, not a weakness, and effective treatments are available. If we talk about depression and work together we can make a difference.”

The ride will also raise money for Lifeline. The nationwide telephone crisis support service speaks to around 1400 callers a day, on average, 50 of those are at high risk of suicide.

The Western Australian event will start at 8am with breakfast and check-in at the Dardanup hall. Departing from there at 9.45am, riders will travel to Nannup, where they will take part in a mental health expo before heading to Busselton for lunch at the Goose Cafe. The car park at the Goose will be closed to the public in the morning.

All licensed and competent riders are invited to join in and make a difference in the community.

For information, including location and start times, go to www.blackdogride.com.au