Sector News Stigma Reduction — 08 September 2015

CHARLES Linsley keeps his “black dog” on a short chain these days.

That’s a feat he attributes to the Black Dog Ride, and on Thursday the Mackay man will head to the USA for the organisation’s first international event.

“I didn’t talk about my own journey for years,” Mr Linsley said.

“I had a suicide in the family and have been living with the impact since that day.

“Telling people how I felt made me feel so much better, I keep my own black dog on a short chain these days.”

The Black Dog Ride began in 2009 to heightened awareness about depression and suicide.

It has raised more than $2 million for mental health first aid and Lifeline.

Mr Linsley attributes the ride’s huge success to its laid-back nature.

“People often don’t talk about it because they are embarrassed,” Mr Linsley said.

“But this provides men the chance to ride bikes and talk about why they are doing the ride.

“It’s like any injury or illness, it can be managed.”

On Thursday Mr Linsley would join more than 60 Australian riders in New York.

After renting motorbikes, the group would embark on a 7000 journey to Los Angeles.

“Lots of it will be along Route 66,” he said.

“I’ve never ridden a Harley before but if you’re going to ride across America, you’ve really only got one choice.”

Six years ago, Mr Linsley hadn’t ridden any sort of motorbike.

“I just started riding one as a cheap transport to work,” he said.

“Little did I dream this would ever happen. It’s a really special thing to take over there.”

He has since ridden a bike to Alice Springs and back, and around Australia.

“But it’s going to be interesting in America, on the wrong side of the road,” he said.

This article first appeared on ‘Daily Mercury’ on 8 September 2015.

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