Max from the Central Western Daily caught up with Darren whilst in Orange to talk about the 2 day ride planned for October.
News and main image source: www.centralwesterndaily.com.au
After the tracks4life founder tried to take his own life in 2013, he fought his way out of the dark place he was in and made a promise.
“I made a promise I’d live the rest of my life being that bloke that I could have talked to when I was isolated, sick and alone,” he said.
And he has, travelling extensively through New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria on his dirt bike, away from his home of Wollongong for months at a time, driving up strangers’ driveways, seemingly at random, and asking anyone and everyone he came across if they needed to talk.
Mr Cook is bringing his lifesaving attitude to Orange this month, organising a two-day dirt bike ride on October 14 and 15 from Orange to Bathurst via the Bridle Track and an overnight stop in Hill End.
There will also be a meet and greet at the Canobolas Hotel on Friday 13th.
He has run these rides all over Australia, from the Victorian highlands to the very top of Queensland, and said the rides are “two fold”.
“They’re for blokes who want to get out and find new places and have that bond, and dirt bike riding is incredible for that, but it’s also about people coming out to help their communities,” he said.
“We also really want see communities talk about mental health… because this ideology that men don’t talk is bullshit,” he said.
“It really is, because when you put blokes in the right environment, we do talk.”
Mr Cook said a focus of tracks4life was visiting often-overlooked small communities, and telling them – especially the men within these communities – that it’s okay to speak up.
“We lose eight people a day in Australia to suicide and six of them are men,” he said.
“That’s one every four hours.”
He said seeing communities normalise talk about mental health is really important.
He is trying to instill trust in communities by not just talking to people and asking if they’re okay, but also normalising and introducing support services.
“It’s a very scary daunting thing to walk into a mental health service and ask for help,” he said.
“It’s about bringing services out of the dark so there’s more trust built, so when blokes don’t feel well, they feel they can talk to someone.”
The Orange to Bathurst ride details can be found here