Black Dog Ride starts this weekend

This weekend marks the start of the 2013 Black Dog Ride to the Red Centre, where motorcyclists from all over Australia will join together to ride to Alice Springs in a week and raise funds and awareness about suicide and depression. 

Since its inception in 2009, the Black Dog Ride has raised more than $1 million for a number of mental health organisations including the Suicide Call Back Service, Mental Health First Aid and Lifeline Australia. 

This year the event has 300 people taking part in the full week-long ride, and another 357 people joining in for a day or several nights.

The South Australian group, who will travel from Adelaide and various locations on the Eyre Peninsula, will meet up with riders from the other states in Port Augusta next Tuesday, August 20. 

They will be hosted by the Lions Club of Port Augusta for a dinner at West Augusta Football Club, where local suicide prevention specialists Chez Curnow and Vanessa Boully will be speaking to 250 riders from around the country about dealing with depression and other mental illnesses.

There are 94 riders from South Australia participating in the 2013 Black Dog Ride, the largest number yet, and about a dozen from around the Port Augusta region. 

Rural communities are one of the areas most affected by suicide, and on average, around 40 Australians take their lives each week. 

The aim of Black Dog Ride is to generate community awareness around depression and mental illness to encourage sufferers to seek help.

The riders will finish up in Alice Springs on Thursday, August 22 after the week-long ride through the outback.

RIDING FOR DEPRESSION: A Black Dog Rider on his journey to Alice Springs in the 2012 Black Dog Ride, which raises awareness and funds for depression and mental illness. The 2013 event kicks off this weekend, and will pass through Port Augusta next Tuesday. Photo by Noel Taylor.

RIDING FOR DEPRESSION: A Black Dog Rider on his journey to Alice Springs in the 2012 Black Dog Ride, which raises awareness and funds for depression and mental illness. The 2013 event kicks off this weekend, and will pass through Port Augusta next Tuesday. Photo by Noel Taylor.