If you can’t afford the time to do one of the state-based Black Dog Rides this year, you can become a Night Rider and join the riders for a couple of nights along the way.
This year the eighth annual ride to raise awareness of mental health issues will hold separate rides in each state and the Northern Territory.
Online registration is now live for all states and territories with NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria joining the others which opened in May.
However, not everyone can afford a week or two to do the whole ride, so BDR has added a Night Rider component. Riders will be able to choose to do one or more nights.
Registrations for Night Riders is now open for the NT, SA, Queensland and WA state rides. NSW, VIC and TAS won’t have a Night Rider option due to ride logistics.
There are several points along the route for each ride where night riders can join. Outside of those points, riders might be able to make arrangements with the organisers.
When they leave the group, they will have to find their own way home, but will need to alert the ride co-ordinator.
Registrations have now closed for the first state BDR is the NT ride from July 31 to August 5, from Alice Springs to Darwin.
It is followed by the Queensland ride from North Brisbane on August 13 lapping the state and returning on August 27. Registrations have been extended until the end of July.
The Western Australia ride leaves Perth and Busselton on August 18 and heads inland for 10 days. Registrations close July 18.
The rides in southern states are being held later in the year for warmer weather: NSW October 8-16 (registrations close September 8), Tasmania October 10-16 (closes September 10), South Australia October 22-29 (September 22) and Victoria October 22-30 (September 22).
It all started in 2009 when founder Steve Andrews rode around the country to raise awareness of suicide prevention after a friend’s suicide. Steve raised a lot of awareness and $34,000 for the Suicide Call Back Service.
Over the next four years, riders in each state left their capital city and headed to the Red Centre for annual Black Dog Rides.
In 2014, Steve shook up the usual formula with a lap around the continent. The BDR returned to the Red Centre last year and Steve threw in a special Harley ride across the USA as well!
This time, the Black Dog Ride will spread the message of hope and raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention into every corner of the continent with separate rides in each state and the NT.
Steve says last year’s ride to the Red Centre attracted about 350 riders and about 50 pillions who raised more than $300,00 to bring the seven-year total to more than $2 million.
Let’s hope this year’s state rides improves on that number of riders and raises even more funds for Lifeline’s Online Crisis Support chat service and Mental Health First Aid’s teen MHFA program in Australian Secondary Schools.
Next year’s Black Dog Ride will head to Tasmania.
“Poor old Tassie has been left out a bit,” Steve says.
“I didn’t go on my first ride because I was advised there would be black ice in winter and we didn’t go on our national lap for the same reasons, so we will go in 2017 in late October and early November.”