When a few hundred motorbikes roll into a town, people tend to sit up and take notice.
And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday when the annual Black Dog Ride One Dayer took 292 riders from Dubbo to Wellington and back through Elong Elong and Geurie – all in aid of suicide prevention.
The previous record for the number of registered riders at the event was 268.
Dubbo and NSW ride coordinator Wayne Amor said people had lined the streets to wave as the bikes rumbled through town.
“The aim of the Black Dog Ride is to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention,” he said.
“Even getting family members to recognise the signs or just ask the question ‘are you okay?’ or say ‘we need to talk’.
“And that’s our slogan for this year’s ride – ‘we need to talk’ and we hope that’s what we can get people to do moving forward.”
Removing the stigma around depression and suicide may have been the primary aim of the Black Dog Ride, but for one rider this year’s event went a step further.
It gave them a reason to get out of bed.
“One of the people that attended today, they had been unable to really get out bed before midday for the last five or six weeks,” Mr Amor said.
“But they were really keen to get out of bed at six this morning to come and see us all.
“People can just get it off their chest or at least realise that there’s somebody else out there that’s going to listen. It’s not just their problem, it’s a community problem.”
Other riders came from Canberra, Central Coast, Coonamble, the Hunter Valley, Nyngan, Peak Hill, Sydney, Trangie, Queanbeyan and even Walgett, Mr Amor said, while one person travelled all the way from Toowoomba.
The money from rider registrations will go to Lifeline, while additional funds raised through donations and a raffle will be directed to Lifeline Central West.
The funds had yet to calculated, but Mr Amor said 2017’s fundraising had gone well.
He thanked the Dubbo community and businesses for their support.
For more information about Black Dog Ride, or for details on upcoming rides, visit www.blackdogride.com.au/