Tag Archives: mental health

Veterans tackle Finke Desert Race for mental health

Three veterans and one of their sons are this weekend competing in the gruelling Finke Desert Race in Australia’s Northern Territory to promote combat veterans’ mental heath issues.

The Swiss 8 team, Pursuit of Purpose Experience, will be filmed as part of an upcoming Veteran “Life After Service” mini-documentary. 

It consists of three veterans plus the 16-year-old son of one veteran who is the youngest rider in the Finke this year.

One of the riders, John Downie, is still a serving member of the Australian Army, currently a Sergeant in a training team at the School of Infantry near Newcastle NSW.

John Downie

He has always been interested in endurance racing but has never competed.

John lost his brother to suicide a few years ago and has found endurance riding has helped him move forward and given him a new purpose.

MBW does a wheelie in a private carpark Triumph Street Triple mojo

The team ride follows the recent announcement of The Royal Commission into defence and veteran suicide.

Swiss 8 will use the event and the documentary to showcase veteran lived experience and proactivity in overcoming mental health challenges. You can donate to help keep Swiss 8’s proactive mental health tools free, by visiting swiss8.org.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Vigil for returned servicemen and women

The announcement this week of an Australia Royal Commission into veteran and serving defence member suicides has prompted organisers of a motorcycle rally to amend their plans.

The planned rally on Saturday, 24 April at 11am on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne will now become a vigil to “show respect to those veterans who have taken their lives and the family and friends affected”.

Motorcycle riders have had a long association with the defence forces in many countries. In fact, it was returned servicemen fromWorld War II who sought adrenalin and started many motorcycle clubs which are still going strong today.

Many returned servicemen find the camaraderie, adrenalin and mindfulness of riding to be helpful in handling post traumatic stress disorder.

Hundreds of riders are expected to attend the Melbourne vigil organised by the Veterans MC Victoria Chapter.

Organisers say riders need to show the Federal Government that now that the Royal Commission is called they will be making sure “every stage is done properly including the follow-up of the terms of reference, recommendations followed up”.

It will begin with a free ride from the BP at the Southbound Service Centre in Scoresby from 9am on Saturday. All riders and supporters are invited to attend

Rider will head to the Shrine of Remembrance before leaving at 10.30am for Parliament House.

Veterans MC Victoria Chapter
(All images from Veterans MC Victoria Chapter Facebook page)

If you or anyone you know needs help:

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Black Dog Ride seeks board members

The Black Dog Ride Australia (BDRA) organisation which raises awareness and funds for mental health issues this year installed a new leader and now needs three new board members.

West Australian automotive marketer Lawson Dixon took over in February as general manager of the Perth-based organisation which hosts annual rides to raise awareness of mental health issues.

BDR boss Lawson DixonBDR boss Lawson Dixon
BDR boss Lawson Dixon

BDRA was started by Steve Andrews after his solo ride around Australia in 2009. His shock retirement in 2017 was followed by a series of changes in leadership, board membership and administrative staff that the organisation admitted in 2019 had left them “in a state of flux”.

Now the organisation is seeking to fill its board wth professionals who are “genuinely committed to raise the awareness of mental health issues and suicide prevention”.

In a press statement, the BDR says they are “committed to diversity in the make-up of the board as well as the role that diversity plays in driving high performing and sustainable organisations.

If you are interested, the board needs candidates with skills in risk and safety management; PR, marketing and media; or sponsorship and fundraising.

Skills and experience in sponsorship and fundraising will also be highly regarded.

Board members should be aware that they may be financially and legally liable for board decisions.Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer charity ride register agenda

To apply, send a covering letter detailing how you meet the criteria listed below and a copy of your resume no longer than three pages. 

Applications must be received by email to [email protected] before 4pm on Friday 30 April 2021.

Maritha Keyser Cyclist rule endangers motorcyclists

Board Criteria

General requirements:

  • Knowledge of corporate governance and board processes;
  • An understanding of the NFP environment and working with volunteers;
  • A willingness to join and/or lead board committees;
  • An ability to constructively engage and build strong relationships with diverse stakeholders;
  • Excellent communication skills and strategic thinking;
  • A strong corporate ethics foundation;
  • Sound judgement, influencing, negotiating and decision-making skills;
  • A strong sense of connection with the mission of the organisation;
  • A collegiate and inclusive style; and
  • An individual who will invest time with the organisation and key staff. It is important that they have the commitment and capacity to strongly participate in and contribute to the board and the organisation’s next stage of development, as well as alignment with its culture.

Essential skills required in one or all the following areas:

  • Risk and safety management planning and implementation; or
  • Organisational PR and marketing; or
  • Sponsorship and fundraising.

Highly desirable:

  • Previous experience as a non-executive director;
  • GAICD qualifications or similar.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Psychs on Bikes Delivers Mental Health Support Across Australia

Below is a press release from Psychs on Bikes, a group of mental health professionals who raise awareness in rural and remote communities. These professionals also have a passion for motorcycles and have been able to combine their passion for motorcycles with their profession of helping people while travelling to remote areas in Australia.

The outback may be a strange place to see a cavalcade of leather-clad, motorcycle-riding mental health professionals, but there’s nothing ordinary about Psychs on Bikes. It’s a group of mental health professionals who hit the road on motorbike rides aimed at improving awareness about mental health in rural and remote communities across Australia.

In May, psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses ditch the couch, for their motorcycles. Leaving Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane they will ride over 16,000 km around Australia over six weeks.

The trip will visit cattle stations in central Queensland and the Northern Territory where the psychs will engage with hundreds of staff in conversations about their emotional wellbeing.

Founder and Sydney psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Dunn highlights “Unfortunately depression and suicide rates are much higher in rural areas than urban ones. Our motorcycles are great conversation starters because people can be quite apprehensive about talking to a psychologist or psychiatrist”.
As well as speaking about mental health, the group offers free health checks to target what he calls the four silent killers: hypertension, diabetes, depression, and alcohol.

Tokyo Motor Show Yamaha Display

Bernadette Burke, from the Consolidated Pastoral Company, emphasizes the real need for mental health support in rural and remote regions “The isolation of a cattle station can compound mental health issues. Having Psychs on Bikes visit starts a conversation that our staff may not otherwise have”.
Psychs on Bikes would like to acknowledge and thank its foundation sponsor Ramsay Health Care.

For further information visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Black Dog Ride returns to Red Centre

After the 2020 Black Dog Ride was cancelled due to the pandemic for the first time in its 11-year history, the event will return to the Red Centre in 2021.

The BDR, which raises awareness and funds for mental health, was started by Steve Andrews after his solo ride around Australia in 2009.

Since then, most rides have been to the Red Centre with one ride around the country and even a ride across the USA.

For those who couldn’t make the epic annual trek, there were also one-day red events.

In its first decade, more than $3million has been raised by Black Dog Ride with funds passed on to organisations such as Lifeline, Mental Health First Aid Australia and the Black Dog Institute, as well as many many small community based volunteer groups and not-for-profits.

However, this year’s event in August was axed and registrations refunded in full.

Organisers say registrations are now open for the 2021 epic Red Centre ride.Black Dog Ride

“Of course, we want this ride to be all about mateship and fun, and of course, raising awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, as we stop and talk with people along the way,” they say.

The following ride groups are making the trek.

  • NSW/ACT through South Australia, and up the centre to Alice Springs.
  • WA through South Australia, and up the centre to Alice Springs.
  • SA around SA and up the centre to Alice Springs.
  • Vic/Tas through inland New South Wales and Queensland, then across to the Northern Territory and south to Alice Springs.
  • The Qld/NT ride group will travel through inland Queensland, then across to the Northern Territory, picking up Territorians before heading south to Alice Springs.

To find out more CLICK HERE to visit the Red Centre 2021 website. Black Dog Ride speed limit despite

From there you will also find links to the registration portal for each state/territory group.

Beyond 2021 the organisers say they have new destinations in mind for future years.

So the 2021 ride may be the last opportunity to travel with BDR to the Red Centre for some years to come. 

Registrations are limited, so get in early.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riding motorcycles makes you happy

Riding a motorcycle not makes you so happy some women can even orgasm while riding.

With the Black Dog 1 Dayer rides for depression awareness on 15 March 2020 and International Day of Happiness on 20 March, psychologist and reborn rider Sharon Ledger suggests going for a ride to feel happy.

She says it’s all got to do with chemicals in the brain.

“There are more than 10,000 chemical reactions going on in the brain every second,” she says.

“The chemicals that make you feel happy – oxytocin, dopamine, endorphin and serotonin – are produced by the endocrine system.

“Not all of these chemicals are released at the same time and each has a different outcome.

“However, more of these chemicals are produced when we look forward to doing something we enjoy, we get up early, we go outside in the sunshine and fresh air, we challenge ourselves, we meditate, we concentrate on an activity that requires skill and generally do things that motivate us.

“That pretty much sounds like motorcycling to me,” she says.

Sharon Ledger - divorce - born - happySharon Ledger

Happy signals

“So when you get up early anticipating a good ride, already dopamine is starting to send happy signals to the brain.”

Different combinations of the chemicals come into play as you ride, she says.

“Add a bit of adrenalin and it’s like a happy cocktail for the brain.”

Sharon says an increase in serotonin can also reduce depression.

“You can increase your serotonin levels with fresh air, mild exercise and even morning sunlight, all of which you get on a ride.

“It won’t cure depression, but will help people cope.”

Riding can not only make men and women happy, but also make women feel sexy.

Sex on wheels

- powerHarley-Davidson Forty-Eight - power - happySex on wheels?

American dating service, BikerKiss, says Harleys, in particular, can even give women an orgasm!

The Southern California online dating service asked about 3000 members (1900 men and 1100 women) “is Harley your favourite motorcycle brand” and 31% of women said yes, compared with 19% men.

The most common answer to the question was that Harley motorcycles are “gorgeous and expensive”. One dating club member said: ”I love it when I am on a Harley. It gives you all the attention you want.” Another said: “it’s not about being pretentious or anything, or like I’m doing it out of vanity. I just love it deep down.”

But here’s the thing that Harley-Davidson and makers of big-twin motorcycles will love the most: some women are able to orgasm while riding a bike with a big twin-cylinder engine because of the bike and seat vibrations.

Could you be any happier?

Black Dog Ride 1 DayerSunshine Coast Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer

The annual Black Dog Ride’s iconic annual 1 Dayer on 15 March aims to start a national conversation about depression and suicide prevention.

Click here to register for one of the 38 rides in all states and territories.

Black Dog Ride claim one in five Australians experience a mental health condition each year; three million Australians live with depression or anxiety and eight Australians take their lives each day.

The ride aims to build a community culture of awareness, inclusion, acceptance and breaking down the barrier of silence around mental illness.

If you are experiencing mental issues, we suggest going for a ride, joining the Black Dog Ride 1 Dayer, or calling Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or Lifeline Australia on 131114.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bike vibration may benefit health

Riding motorcycles has several proven mental and physical health benefits for riders and now we find the vibration of your motorcycle could also be beneficial to fighting mental illnesses.

Previously, medical research has found that riding can improve brain power, reduce stress, develop your core muscles and sharpen your focus.

Now, research by Dr Lee Bartel of the University of Toronto, has found that vibrations and sound can stimulate cells in your body and brain to reduce the impact of fibromyalgia pain, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, depression, and even increase blood flow.

“My research has been looking at how specific vibrations, frequencies and music can affect brain and body,” he says.

“I know of nothing specifically related to motorcycles, but in general it applies – both potentially the rhythmic firing of the cylinders as well as the vibration off the road,” Dr Bartel says.Ducati Scrambler 1100 vibration mental health depression anxiety

Good vibration

One of his recent studies looked at depression.

“The assumption behind this is that depression may be a result of brain waves that are our rhythmic sync – especially prefrontal cortex asynchrony and a thalamocortical dysrhythmia,” he says.

“If sound stimulation is at the right frequency these can be re-regulated.”

He also cites previous studies that show a connection between driving road vibration and treating Parkinson’s Disease.

Our viewDucati Scrambler 1100 vibration mental health depression anxiety

In our experience, the various vibes and sounds of different engine configurations and mufflers can have varying effects on our mood.

We certainly don’t need physicians and researchers to tell us that riding a motorcycle is good for us.

But it’s comforting to know that there is science behind that great feeling we get behind the bars of our bike.

If you are experiencing mental issues, we suggest going for a ride, calling Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, or Lifeline Australia on 131114.

Does the vibration and sound of your motorcycle affect your mood? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Black Dog Ride marks 10 year anniversary

Riders will return to the Red Centre in 2020 to celebrate 10 years since the establishment of the first Black Dog Ride in 2010.

This year’s Around Australia Ride celebrated founder Steve Andrew’s solo ride around Australia in 2009 to raise awareness for mental health issues.

Black Dog Ride around Australia 2014 Steve Andrews founder boss FUTURE
Black Dog Ride founder Steve Andrews

His epic ride was followed in 2010 by the first Black Dog Ride to the Red Centre.

Limited registrations are now open for the 10th Red Centre ride.

Richard Brown of Black Dog Ride Australia says they are “focussing heavily on making sure that people who come on the ride feel very welcomed, and that they have fun”.

“Positive social connection/social relationships are very important when it comes to maintaining our mental health,” he says.

“We want this experience to be a good example of the spirit of mateship for all who participate.”

10 years onHOG Rally - Black Dog Ride

Brian says the 10-year celebration dinner in Alice Springs should be “a real hoot”.

He says they don’t have the money for a “lavish” dinner, but participants will feel “a great sense of accomplishment for having made the journey”, formed “some really nice relationships” and “feel part of something really special”.

The following ride groups will join the Red Centre Ride:

  • The NSW/ACT ride group will travel through inland New South Wales, south through South Australia, and up the centre to Alice Springs. 
  • WA and SA ride groups will both travel through their respective states, then meet up in Port Augusta to travel the rest of the way to Alice Springs as a combined group.
  • The Vic/Tas ride group will be travelling north through inland New South Wales and Queensland, then across to the Northern Territory and south to Alice Springs.
  • The Qld/NT ride group will travel through inland Queensland, then across to the Northern Territory, picking up Territorians before heading south to Alice Springs.

To register, go to the Black Dog Ride Red Centre 2020 page and click on the state or territory group you’d like to join.

Primary focus

Black Dog Ride indian scout bobber
Black Dog Riders head north

“Our primary purpose is raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention, so we plan to focus heavily on this,” Richard says.

“That means riding into towns and either attending a pre-organised community events, or simply parking down a main street and talking with community. Often people wandering by will ask ‘what’s this all about?’ or ‘what’s with the stuffed dogs?’

“So our participants literally get talking about mental health. Between all our state groups there will be just over 160 different town stops along the way.”

There is no fundraising target and participants are not required to raise extra funds.

Over the past 10 years, more than $3million has been raised by Black Dog Ride with finds passed on to organisations such as Lifeline, Mental Health First Aid Australia and the Black Dog Institute, as well as many many small community based volunteer groups and not-for-profits.

Richard says they have new destinations in mind for future years, so 2020 could be the last opportunity to ride to the Red Centre for several years.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

World Superbikes ride to promote health issues

Tickets are now available for the third annual Black Dog Ride to the World Superbikes at Phillip Island in 2020 to promote mental health issues.

Black Dog Ride Australia Victoria co-ordinator Bernie Garvey says riders get to see some spectacular scenery, participate in a parade lap of the circuit and promote mental health issues.

World Superbikes 2019 Phillip Island WSBK Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP
2019 World Superbikes at Phillip Island (Image: Jamie Morris/Geebee Images/2SNAP)

In past years we had riders come from Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, WA, NT, QLD NSW and ACT,” Bernie says.

“Numbers build each year and we expect to offer 150 registered riders the experience this year.”

The Black Dog Ride started 10 years ago when Steve Andrews did a solo lap of the nation to raise awareness of depression and suicide prevention.

WSBK event

One of their more recent activities is the ride to the WSBK, costing $200-$440, depending on how many days you attend the event. Click here for the full details.

“There are two starting points at Marysville, Victoria, and Queanbeyan, ACT,” Bernie says.

World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues
Bikes line up in Marysville

Both ride groups leave the Tuesday before the weekend and meet in Sale for a group dinner the Wednesday night before our group ride to Philip Island Thursday.

“The NSW group, takes a route over Mt Kosciusko through to Wodonga for a group and community dinner, and then over Hotham down to Sale. A wicked ride with some of the best roads and scenery.

“The Victorian group comes around Eildon, down through the King Valley to Bright.World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues

“After a group and community dinner at Bright Hotel the next morning they head over the gap to Falls Creek, stopping at The Blue Duck Inn, before continuing down to Omeo, and then to Sale. Endless corners for the day.”

After lunch on Thursday at the Inline 4 Cafe, riders have exclusive access for a parade lap on the racetrack in the afternoon.

And who knows who they will meet!

World Superbikes BDR to promote health issues
Riders meet WSBK legend Troy Corser

Promote issues

Bernie says it is a “great mates’ escape” and fundraising is not their priority.

“Promoting a positive experience and facilitating an awesome group ride environment for riders is our goal,” he says.

“We also have a stand in the expo tent where we promote our rides and our charity message of raising awareness of depression and suicide prevention with positive messages and encouragement.

“We do a little tin rattling at the track over the weekend.

“Above all else, this ride’s priority is to promote positivity, an adrenaline injection, and a ride experience like no other.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Calling all riders for Aussie Ride Sunday

All riders on all types of bike are invited to take part in the third annual Ride Sunday on 10 November 2019 to raise funds and awareness for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health.

The event has been held in winter the past couple of years and had been scheduled for June, but it now moves to November which is apt since funds are collected on behalf of charity partner, the Movember Foundation.

The inaugural 2017 event, initiated by Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) founder Mark Hawwa attracted 1883 riders in 62 countries and raised more than $US65,000 for 55 charities.

Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride founder Mark Hawwa ride sunday
Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride and Ride Sunday founder Mark Hawwa

Last year, the event attracted 1300 riders to 239 events globally and raised almost $200,000 in funds for 59 charities.

Ride Sunday Pty Ltd kept 22% of donations as income in the first year, reducing to 0% over five years.

This year it focusses all fundraising efforts on the November Foundation and seems to be limited just to Australia.

Ride Sunday trebles charity funds
2018 Ride Sunday in London

DGR praise and criticism

DGR has been immensely popular, raising more than $US25m for Movember since it started in 2012 and this year attracted 115,000 classic and vintage styled motorcyclists in 678 cities.

However, it is not without its critics who claim it is elitist because it restricts the types of bikes for the event, although many organisers still allow them to ride.

So the organisers started Ride Sunday which allows riders on all types of bikes to attend.

Riders can either join one of the flagship rides, host their own ride, or joining an existing group ride via www.ridesunday.com.

Participants can use the Ride Sunday peer-to-peer fundraising platform to connect to local dealerships and riders, to create, share, and view ride maps, and join fellow riders.

Ride Sunday incentives

There are also significant prizes such as a Yamaha R1 for the best fundraising participants.Ride Sunday

Mark claims Ride Sunday helps to “positively change the global perceptions of motorcyclists by uniting motorcyclists around the world to collectively take to the streets for motorcycle awareness”.

He says the event “taps into the Australian passion for riding and is aimed to motivate those who own a bike to ride for a change”.

“Motorcycling is in our DNA. There is nothing else like it. No matter what riding niche you fall into, Ride Sunday is a day for you,” he says.

“Our vision is for every street in every major city to be packed with motorcycles. For one day, I want riders to be impossible to miss. For everyone in Australia to see our numbers, to notice us, and to see that there is more than just a rider beneath the helmet.”

To register to ride and make a donation, please visit the Ride Sunday website.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com