Dogged ef­forts

The Advertiser - Motoring - - TWO WHEELS - CRAIG DUFF

IT IS time to round up your mates and col­lar them for the an­nual Black Dog Ride.

The char­ity ride is in its sixth year and con­tin­ues to grow as a ve­hi­cle to raise aware­ness about de­pres­sion.

The event is so popular this year’s head­line ride — a seven day trip from each state to Uluru, from Au­gust 15 — is al­ready booked out.

That doesn’t ex­cuse rid­ers from tak­ing part in the state­based fundrais­ers, which run for two or three days.

The money raised to date — about $1.7 mil­lion — has helped Life­line dou­ble the op­er­at­ing hours of its on­line cri­sis sup­port con­tact lines and has led Men­tal Health First Aid de­velop a teen pro­gram for high schools.

Black Dog Ride founder Steve An­drews says the aim is to gen­er­ate con­ver­sa­tion about de­pres­sion and ed­u­cate the public that it’s an ill­ness that needs treat­ment, just like any other ail­ment.

The lat­est Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics anal­y­sis shows there were al­most 50 sui­cides a week in 2012, mak­ing it the lead­ing cause of death among Aus­tralians aged 15-49.

The char­ity takes its name from the “black dog of de­pres­sion” fa­mously noted by for­mer Bri­tish PM Win­ston Churchill.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the black dog mas­cot many rid­ers choose to carry has been dubbed “Win­ston”.

BMW Mo­tor­rad is back­ing the char­ity by do­nat­ing an R1200 RS adventure tour­ing bike, val­ued at al­most $29,000, as a fund-rais­ing prize. Tick­ets are $50 and there’s a one-in- 2000 chance to win the ma­chine .

Black Dog Ride events — there’s also an an­nual one-day ride — tap into the good­will and gen­eros­ity of the two-wheeled com­mu­nity both at home and over­seas.

For­eign ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the cause will launch the Black Dog Ride’s in­au­gu­ral US foray later this year.

The 21-day, 7000km cruise will put 65 rid­ers on the road from New York to LA, meet­ing com­mu­nity groups along the way.

Life­line 131 114

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