The Black Dog Ride to Red Centre had a brief stopover in Mudgee on Saturday en route to Alice Springs with the aim of raising awareness of depression and mental health issues.
Around 220 motorcyclists left Castle Hill on Saturday morning to begin the journey and riders from across Australia left their respective state capital cities to meet up in Port Augusta, South Australia, and travel on to Alice Springs.
National Nine News reporter Simon Bouda was along for the ride.
“It’s our way of making a noise and getting people talking about depression and mental health issues,” he said.
“When we arrive in towns like this to make people aware that you can talk about depression,” he said.
“It’s not a sin - it’s an illness and people should start talking about it.
“The statistics are shocking: There are about a million Australians who have got some sort of mental illness - 100,000 of them would be young people - and only about half of them get treatment because they are embarrassed to talk about it.
“There are people from all walks of life here. This pulls people together with one common theme and one common aim, because it can effect anyone.”
The Black Dog Ride also raises money for Lifeline and Mental Health First Aid.
As of Saturday morning it had already collected around $280,000.
The Mudgee Lions Club provided lunch for the riders as they headed to Nyngan to complete the first leg of the journey.
The Black Dog Ride began in 2009 when Perth motorcyclist Steve Andrews took to the road after his friend’s wife took her own life.
The support he received along the way prompted him to start the ride as a way of bringing these issues to the forefront of the communities’ consciousness.