Man and dog on charity ride adventure to support mental health

Gary Anderson and border collie Cairo are embarking on a charity ride for suicide awareness. Photo/Supplied

A man and his dog are about to set off on the adventure of a lifetime, making plenty of memories and hopefully raising plenty of money too.

Gary Anderson, from Kaponga, will travel across the North Island by motorbike, with his 11-year-old blue merle border collie Cairo in the sidecar seat of his 2001 Yamaha XJR 1300.

The trip will serve as a fundraiser as well as a fun trip, Gary says. Gary and Cairo are members of Taranaki Riders Against Teen Suicide (RATS), which supports mental health and spreads suicide awareness.

Cairo and his owner will keep people updated on their journey on Cairo’s Facebook page.

“It’s called Cairo’s Suicide Awareness Ride. He’ll make regular features to update people on where we are and how we’ve been doing.”

“We regularly support I Am Hope and Mike King’s Gumboot Friday. I thought it would be nice for Cairo and me to do our part in supporting these great causes. The RATS are putting on a garage sale as well.”

Gary says to raise funds for the trip, he sold all his belongings and is moving out of his house.

“All we’ll have is what fits on the bike. I’m very excited to start this new chapter.”

Gary is also closing his handyman, gardening and lawn mowing business.

“I’m waiting on a knee operation. I’ve had the business for 11 years but it seems like now is the right time to stop it. It’s been sad farewelling the customers, they love Cairo. But the trip is something we need to do. It’s time to throw caution to the wind, it’s now or never.”

Cairo and Gary leave Taranaki on April 30 and will be farewelled by four-legged and two-legged fans and well-wishers.

“We’re working with Hope Walk New Plymouth. They’ve put on a dog walk to raise money for the ride expenses.”

Cairo loves traveling on the motorbike.  Photo/SuppliedCairo loves traveling on the motorbike. Photo/Supplied

Since Gary purchased the bike three years ago, Cairo has loved riding in the sidecar.

“He took to it straight away. We’ve done 27,000kms together on that bike.”

Cairo is the star of the show, often getting his own invites to rides.

“The invites always say ‘PS bring your Dad as well’. He gets a lot of attention. Whenever we stop for a coffee people come up to him. He’s got such a gentle, loving and welcoming nature.”

When they leave New Plymouth on their journey their first stop is Hamilton, then they’ll travel up north to Cape Reinga, down the east coast to Wellington and back up the center of the North Island before returning home.

Gary says the trip will probably take a month to complete, but if it takes longer he doesn’t mind.

“We’ve had a lot of requests to stop at rural towns and talk to people about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, and of course to see Cairo. If we can spread the word, and Cairo can put smiles on people’s faces, we’re all for it.”

Gary and Cairo have had many offers of accommodation, with stops already organized in Levin and Palmerston North. At other times they will be camping in a six-person tent.

Gary and Cairo will only have what fits on the bike and will be camping for most of the trip.  Photo/SuppliedGary and Cairo will only have what fits on the bike and will be camping for most of the trip. Photo/Supplied

While on the trip, Gary will celebrate his 63rd birthday.

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate, I might have to find a nice quiet spot for Cairo and me to go fishing.”

Gary has set up a Givealittle page, with all funds going straight to the Gumboot Friday Fund.

“We’re so thankful for the support, every little bit helps for mental health awareness and providing services to help our youth.”

To donate to Cairo and Gary’s charity ride, visit here