Group to ride for mental health awareness

February 28, 2024 BY

Road to recognition: Black Dog Ride’s regional coordinator for Ballarat, Tejas Shah (left) took part in last year’s one day event that raised $6500 for mental health support services. Photo: SUPPLIED

MOTORCYLES engines are set to roar next month with Ballarat one of half a dozen regional areas to host Black Dog Ride’s annual one day event.

More than 100 motorcyclists are expected to converge at Buninyong to kick off a day-long ride with the aim of raising awareness for men’s mental health.

The event’s regional coordinator for Ballarat, Tejas Shah said the event has been a key initiative for Black Dog Ride since its establishment.

“Back in 2009, there was a guy Steve Andrews who lost his best friend’s wife through suicide. It affected him so he rode around the country raising awareness with a little soft toy black dog behind his bike,” he said.

“From there this has started all across Australia with the national event on the third weekend of every March and with the same voice and the same goal of raising awareness around mental health and depression.

“We raise money that goes into the Black Dog bucket for organisations like Lifeline and Beyond Blue where they can apply for grants for us for whatever projects they’re working on.”

Taking place on Sunday 17 March, the local event will begin at the Buninyong Men’s Shed with a breakfast.

Riders will head off at 10am towards Ballan before stopping at Meredith and continuing through the Brisbane Ranges and ending at Wyndham Harbour with a barbecue, raffle, and auction.

Mr Shah was one of 122 participants in the Ballarat event last year and said the initiative is making a difference.

“We’ve got thousands of people joining the ride each year and more than 2000 people involved in the event across the country,” he said.

“The ride started here probably about 10 years ago but was shut for about five years until I restarted it last year. It was a good success and this year I’m aiming for more.”

Early registration is $35 for riders and $20 for passengers and can be booked at bit.ly/3I2tQPZ.