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Cycling Canberra to Dubbo for mental health

Edwina Mason 6 March 2020
Zoo2Zoo ride

Participants in a previous Zoo2Zoo ride from Canberra to Dubbo making their way out of the nation’s capital enroute to Yass. Photo: Supplied.

If you’re out and about the South West Slopes this weekend, be aware of the scores of pedalling feet taking part in the Zoo2Zoo bike ride in aid of the Black Dog Institute.

With an increase of 22 riders this year, they have already exceeded their fundraising goal of $100,000 and are now just focused on getting to Dubbo safely, says spokesman Andrew McKay.

The 40 cyclists and their support crew of 12 will wheel out of Canberra this morning on the first of three days of cycling that will culminate at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo on Sunday.

Yass through to Young via Binalong and Harden is where you’ll see the riders today as they leave the big smoke behind in favour of a meander through the countryside.

They’ll be stopping in Yass for lunch and the ride will conclude in Young, with an overnight stay before the riders head north towards Cowra and Molong.

The Zoo2Zoo ride is in its 16th year and has raised vital funds for numerous causes.

But that’s not how it started.

In 2006, 12 friends set out to cycle from Taronga Zoo to the Western Plains Zoo with the simple goal of raising enough money to secure Dubbo a spot on the Charity Edition of Monopoly.

Arriving in Dubbo after 420km over three days of cycling, with Dubbo securely on the Monopoly board, the Zoo2Zoo was born.

Not wanting to let a good thing go, the challenge has grown each year with the riders in 2007 raising over $37,000 to purchase vital medical equipment for Dubbo Base Hospital.

In 2008 the Zoo2Zoo went on to raise over $50,000 for the endangered Tasmanian Devils held at Western Plains Zoo.

Since 2009 the Zoo2Zoo has raised in excess of $1,250,000 for the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility dedicated to understanding, preventing and treating mental illness.

Furthermore, since, its inception in 2006 the Zoo2Zoo has grown from that single three day ride from Sydney to Dubbo, to now offering five rides throughout each year.

Organisers say they are looking forward to this weekend’s ride.

“The weather is looking good, it’ll be good to get out of the city and into the countryside especially after all this rain,” said Andrew.

“The best part of this is the camaraderie during the event, it feels like a family reunion, great friends going for a ride,” he added.

While the group has support vehicles, motorists are urged to exercise caution around the cycling group who will travel the Federal Highway, Hume Highway from Yass to Binalong and then Burley Griffin Way through Harden-Murrumburrah to the Olympic Highway joining Wombat and Young.

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