More than $30,000 has already been raised in the Melbourne to Dubbo Zoo2Zoo and more is on its way, says Andrew McKay.
The bike riding event started back in 2006 when 12 friends planned to cycle from Taronga Zoo in Sydney to Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The aim of riding the 420 kilometres was to raise money to see Dubbo on the charity edition of Monopoly.
Since then the group has raised money for the Dubbo Hospital and Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Since 2009 the ride has raised money for the Black Dog Institute.
Mr McKay, who is part of the support crew, said it was great for all the riders to cross the finish line on Sunday.
The ride was a combination of a core group who always took part and new riders, Mr McKay said.
“There’s some who ride because they like bike riding and others who join because they want to raise money for the Black Dog Institute,” he said.
While this ride alone has raised $30,000 for Black Dog Institute, Mr McKay said there would be another two before the end of the year: from Canberra to Mogo in September and from Sydney to Dubbo in October.
At the end of those rides, Mr McKay said he expected the group to have raised about $150,000.
One in five Australians between 16 and 85 years old will experience a mental illness in any year, according to the Black Dog Institute. Mental Illness is most prevalent in youth between 18 and 24 years old.
Donations to the Black Dog Institute help with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses. The money is also used in the development of clinical treatments, e-mental health tools, education and awareness programs.
Mr McKay said he had been overwhelmed by the generosity and hospitality of the towns the ride had been through from Young to Yeoval.
The biggest highlight along the way was meeting the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lynne Cosgrove, he said.
Other memorable moments along the way included staying at Bonnie Doon, in the house made famous in The Castle, and Dead Horse Gap, a track through the Snowy Mountains.
Mr McKay said the camaraderie was another aspect that made the ride so special.
Mr McKay said he was grateful to everyone involved in the ride, including the support crew.