Resident riders across Greater Victoria are rolling along with Ride Don’t Hide – the pandemic version.
As with many events that gather like-minded individuals in groups, the 10th ride to support mental health initiatives is virtual this year, now through June 14.
The ride that raises funds and awareness is even more critical this year as the COVID-19 pandemic passed the one year mark. More than 40 per cent of B.C. residents report worsening mental health since the onset of the pandemic, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“The pandemic has been hard, but the silver lining is that more people are aware of their own mental health, and more willing to talk freely about their stresses and struggles,” Jonny Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division said in a news release. “We have seen great resilience and courage in this time of crisis, and this is helping bring mental health into the open.”
The pandemic induced school closures and lockdowns, creating isolation and economic insecurity. Ride Don’t Hide, Canada’s largest mental health bike ride, brings people together to raise funds in support of the mental health and well-being of communities, while boosting riders’ moods through movement. The event has raised more than $10 million in the past decade for community-based Canadian Mental Health Association programs and services. Funds raised in Greater Victoria go toward south Island programs.
This year, Ride Don’t Hide is a bit of a choose-your-own-adventure. Residents can simply get moving in any manner rather than cycling throughout the community (though that remains an option). Registered riders and walkers can scan QR codes at more than 25 local businesses for a chance to win prizes.
“People can set their own goals and move in their own way, on their own time, but it all rolls up to more timely, more accessible mental health help when people need it,” said Gillian Carleton, Victoria’s longtime Ride Don’t Hide Ambassador and Cycling Olympian.
Visit ridedonthide.com/victoria for details. As of May 25, Ride Don’t Hide Victoria had 54 participants and nine teams registered, topping $13,000 of the $65,000 goal for 2021.
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