Organisers of the Kangaroo Island Black Dog Ride One Dayer 2017 were overwhelmed by the support from riders and the community for their Sunday, March 19 event.
As the sun was rising on this glorious day, 83 riders, pillions and support vehicles gathered in front of the Old Police Station next to the Lions Playground.
Since 2010, Black Dog Ride's One Dayer has brought together Black Dog riders for an enjoyable and meaningful day of riding, uniting like minded people for a vital mission - raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention.
Black Dog Riders riding together under one banner with one voice aims to amplify a national message of mental health awareness to prevent the tragic loss of life to suicide. This year’s message was ‘We need to talk!’
The Blue Light Caravan was there serving yummy bacon and egg rolls with coffee to sustain participants for the 213 km ride ahead.
Ben Coll, Kieran Scott and Ben Walsh were kept very busy with the registration process, getting everyone checked in and details loaded onto the web site.
Black Dog Ride coordinator Ken Wright welcomed all and introduced Michael Pengilly MP, Member for Finniss, who has been a supporter of the Kangaroo Island Black Dog Ride One Dayer since the first Kangaroo Island Ride in 2013.
MR Pengilly spoke about the importance of raising awareness of mental illness and seeking help.
KI Council Deputy Mayor Graeme Ricketts was also in attendance and expressed the support of the Kangaroo Island Council for the Black Dog Ride.
Sandy Holmes gave the rider safety briefing before she got on her Ducati and joined the revving throng waiting for Michael and Graeme to wave them off.
The first stop was at Coralie and Smiley’s Rustic Blue Art Gallery Café on the South Coast Road where coffee and cake was available in the beautiful surrounds.
Smiley gave a brief talk about depression and getting help to treat it.
He particularly mentioned Fly In, Fly Out (FIFO) workers and recognising the signs and symptoms of depression.
Coralie spoke about the connection between Black Dog Riders across Australia and the importance of safety on the roads.
It was then time to get back on the bikes and head down to Flinders Chase Visitor Centre where the Lions Club of Western Districts had prepared a wonderful BBQ lunch.
Lions have been supporting the ride since 2013 and their generosity and support is very much appreciated by the riders.
The group photo was taken with the banner.
This year the banner was very special as the one from the Black Dog Ride organisation did not arrive in time and Ben Coll and Kieran Scott burned the midnight oil (and paint) to make the banner for the day.
The support of Department Of Environment, Water and Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, Flinders Chase Visitor Centre and The Chase café over the past five years is also much appreciated.
The afternoon was getting quite warm and riders were keen to get back on the road with the cooling breeze as they set off down the West End Highway.
This is a beautiful road with good bitumen, some nice curves and straight bits and great views of the national park to the west.
A right turn onto Playford Highway and head East until the Stokes Bay turnoff where riders had been warned to take care on the gravel on the corners.
Most riders headed down to the sea for a cool drink and ice cream while the organisers headed to the Parndana Hall to prepare for the finish.
After the ride concluded, most participants went into the cool of the Parndana Hotel where sponsors were thanked and prizes awarded.
Donations of over $730 were raised for the Men’s Shed and $600 for the Black Dog Ride.
The Kangaroo Island organising group thank all those who supported, sponsored and and helped make the ride such a success.