Riding for Mental Health
Studies show that spending time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition. It came to no surprise then that when a local avid biker decided to bike from sunrise to sunset for Summer Solstice in 2020, as the pandemic was in its infancy and we were faced with so many unknowns, he approached the Elk Valley Suicide Task force to partner and raise much needed funds and awareness through what would be called the Solstice Ride for Mental Health.
That first year, a small group began the day at 5am to ride up Slunt and by the evening, finished with nearly 20 people for the last ride on Swine Flu. Everyone who took part in this event commented on the amazing energy they experienced, and that watching the sunset at the end of the day was a moment that would live with them forever.
The event has evolved to be more inclusive to engage all members of the community to come out and enjoy being active in the outdoors, whatever that looks like to each person. Creating conversations, talking openly about mental health and breaking the stigma all while building awareness and relationships in our beautiful community.
With several routes to choose from, there will be something for everyone. This year’s event will take place on Saturday June 18, and everyone is invited to get involved however that looks like for them. The Task Force will have a Home Base where different stages of the Solstice Ride will begin and end. There will also be a Mental Health Booth set up throughout the day with different resources where people can go to learn, talk and feel supported, as well as music, food trucks, and more.
This Summer Solstice, consider supporting mental health, joining a friend for a ride, and helping raise funds for an important organization in our community. Full event details can be found at evstf.ca.
Please know that there is no registration fee or requirement for this event, as it is not a race. It is people's own responsibility to ride in a safe manner and decide how much and how long they want to ride for.
Becca Fahey is a volunteer member of the Elk Valley Suicide Task Force, an avid mountain biker, and is grateful to be able to spend her time in this wonderful mountain town.