Ready to ride: mental health focus of event

The Cowichan Valley is gearing up for the June 21 Ride Don’t Hide event for mental health, with organizers shooting for a lofty goal of attracting 100 riders.

The annual cycling fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association brings together Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life to help break the stigma and raise funds to improve mental health in their community.

The Ride Don’t Hide movement began with Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher living with bipolar disorder, who spent almost a year and a half cycling 40,000 kilometres around the globe. Armed with

only his bike, a knapsack and the determination to realize his dream of raising awareness and empowering people experiencing mental illness, his story inspired millions of people and raised $100,000 for CMHA.

This year CMHA aims to engage more than 6,000 participants 28 cities across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario and raise $1,000,000 for mental health.

Cowichan Valley cyclists are urged to join in. There are a number of different routes for different levels of cyclists: a 26 kilometre route for the experienced, a 10 kilometre route for novice riders and a short loop for families with children.

All riders depart from and return to the Glenora Trails Head Park. The distance ride will take place on the Trans Canada/Cowichan Valley Trail. An estimated time for an average rider is 1.5 hours for that route. All riders must wear a helmet and ride safely.

Registration for the event takes place from 8:30-9:30 a.m., with the ride beginning at 10 a.m. There will be a lunch and post-ride celebration running from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The registration fee is $35 and kids under 12 ride free.

Sponsors of the event include CMHA Cowichan Valley, Shoppers Drug Mart and Snap Fitness.