Warnings about hot weather didn’t deter cyclists from taking part in the annual Ride Don’t Hide event in Penticton on Sunday.
In temperatures approaching 27 C (86 F) riders took off for 12, 24 or 36 kilometre rides up the KVR Trail through Penticton and into Naramata, all in the name of raising awareness about mental health issues and raising funds to support work done by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Leah Schulting, the executive director for CMHA South Okanagan Similkameen, described the turnout for this year’s Ride Don’t Hide as amazing.
“We had over 130 riders and raised over $25,000 for mental health programs in the Penticton area,” she said. “We are so happy.”
This is the fifth time Ride Don’t Hide has been held in Penticton, and this year honoured Jeremy McGoran, who died by suicide earlier this month. He was outspoken about his struggles with depression and anxiety, leading him to become a member of the CMHA South Okanagan-Similkameen board of directors, spokesperson for the Penticton Ride Don’t Hide event and a passionate advocate for ending the stigma around mental illness.
The Ride Don’t Hide movement began in 2010 when Michael Schratter, a Vancouver teacher, embarked on a global journey to cycle 40,000 km, crossing six continents and 33 countries to raise funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association. His mission was to circumnavigate the world to help battle mental illness stigma — one pedal at a time. That dream has continued to grow, with more communities joining every year.
This year, Penticton was one of 37 rides happening across Canada, for an estimated total of 10,000 participants.