RIDING a motorbike with a black dog soft toy on the fuel tank might look strange but Heather Muskee says it’s been a great way to get people talking about the problem of depression.
The black dog soft toys are mascots for the Black Dog Institute which is a world leader in the treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.
Mrs Muskee, of Penshurst, is encouraging others to also raise awareness about depression by taking part in a Black Dog motorbike ride from Penshurst to Port Fairy tomorrow.
She said participants did not have to decorate their motorbikes with a black dog soft toy for the ride but the toys will be available.
The black dog was the metaphor given to depression by former British prime minister Winston Churchill who suffered from the illness.
The soft toys are named Winston in honour of Mr Churchill.
Mrs Muskee said the ride would raise money for Lifeline which counselled people with depression.
Mrs Muskee suffered from depression at one stage and had found riding motorbikes good therapy.
She has taken part in Black Dog motorbike rides through central Australia and said the black dog mascots were great catalysts for conversations about depression and suicide with members of the public at stopovers.
Mrs Muskee said the Black Dog ride from Penshurst would be one of three such rides held in Victoria.
Registrations for the Penshurst ride will be taken from 9am at the town’s gardens off Cox Street or can be filled out online.
The Penshurst Lions Club will provide a breakfast from 9am at the Penshurst gardens and the Port Fairy-Belfast Lions Club will provide a lunch at the ride’s end at the Village Green at the corner of Sackville and Bank streets in Port Fairy.
The ride will leave Penshurst at 10.30am, stop for morning tea at the Tower Hill visitor centre before proceeding to Port Fairy.
Entry costs are $45, which includes a black dog soft toy, or $25 without the mascot. For more information, ring Mrs Muskee on 0448 208 305.