Ride Don’t Hide is a fundraising bike ride aiming to bring mental health out into the open.
This is the seventh year the event has taken place in Prince George, and proceeds this time around will go to an extra-special cause.
The money raised will go directly towards rebuilding the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Connections Club House, which burned down last August.
CMHA kicked off the campaign for Ride Don’t Hide in Prince George today (May 16) with a call to cyclists and non-cyclists alike to get involved and support those living with mental health issues.
“In August of last year, we lost our clubhouse due to a fire. It is a service that we have had for over 35 years in this community,” said CMHA’s Manager of Education and Projects Mary Lu Spagrud, at the Prince George Ride Don’t Hide launch event at Cycle Logic.
“We often say we quietly served the community," added Spagrud. "Within Connections Clubhouse, we provide social recreational opportunities as well as vocational rehab, training, and skill building and it also houses one of our social enterprises Two Rivers Catering.”
Spagrud said because of issues around changes in building codes and asbestos abatement, rebuilding the clubhouse has been more of an expensive undertaking than the group had anticipated and so CMHA needs more funds than what insurance was able to provide.
“The message is about bringing mental health out of the darkness,” said Spagrud of this year’s Ride Don’t Hide event, which takes place at the CN Centre parking lot on June 23.
“It’s about getting people to talk about their mental health issues and mental wellness and support friends or family who may be struggling with mental health issues and mental health problems.”
Brooklyn Derksen, who struggles with mental health issues, is this year’s event spokesperson.
“On a cellular level, I felt so disappointed in who I was and what I was and the fact that I had mental illness and chronic illness,” said Derksen regarding a time last year when she felt very alone. “This event means a lot because I feel like it not only brings people who are affected maybe indirectly, parents, family, of people who are hurting, and those that are hurting - but it brings everyone together in a group of understanding where people can share and feel safe to share and support each other.”
Brink Forest Products has also stepped up to sponsor the event.
“It’s now coming out of the dark ages people can talk about it, it is something that is a part of our community and we are absolutely delighted to be the sponsor,” said owner John Brink. “We hope that this year we will raise more money and it will be bigger than last year.”
The fundraiser ride is also a family fun event that includes a health fair, kid zone, the RCMP registered bike program, and Two Rivers Catering providing lunch by donation.
Those funds will also have the chance to win prizes including two tickets to anywhere Central Mountain Air flies.
The event itself will have four rides including a 6k, 15k, 30k, and 50 k ride.
“We are encouraging everyone to come out even if you don’t ride, don’t hide still come out,” said Spagrud. “It’s a fun event, and it’s a great time.”
You can register and find out more info at on the Ride Don’t Hide website.
You can also donate to the CMHA re-build fundraising campaign directly through the CMHA website, as well.