I cycled 21 km today in support of mental health at Ride Don’t Hide 2017. This is the second year that the community ride in support of Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) has been in Winnipeg.
I was met with sunshine, clear skies, and a cool breeze. It was the perfect cycling weather. I was initially really nervous with the distance and was convinced I would have to be scrapped off the road with a shovel. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I zoned out and cruised at a pretty consistent speed the whole time. Winnipeg is also a flat city so I had that going for me too.
The route consisted of quiet streets through residential, busier streets with designated bike lanes, and through downtown. The ride was beautiful and smooth and not at all competitive. People stopped along the way to take pictures at the Manitoba Legislature and Canadian Museum of Human Rights, just a couple of the pit stops along the route.
CMHA did an amazing job with volunteers at water stations and directing and cheering cyclists on along the route. I especially liked the police officer who cycled with the event and would pop up all over the place then zoom off then come up behind us out of nowhere. He was all over the map making sure we stayed safe.
Next year I am planning on putting together a team and my first recruit is my husband. He would have joined me today but was on call with work. I’m looking at everyone in Winnipeg to come out and join me. There were even a couple of kids in the 21 km ride! My daughter will be my second recruit. I have a year to think up an awesome team name.
I have been making it a point to do as many fundraising activities as I can in support of mental health, especially ones that are physically active. I don’t get nearly enough daily exercise so these events do me a world of good.
In addition to the physical activity, I love being an advocate for mental health. It has become something that I am incredibly passionate about. My support system has helped to raise me up and with my strength I have become an advocate for myself and others.
I can still remember a time when I wouldn’t have had the courage to do this ride or even the walk I did a couple of months ago. Even if the sky was blue the dark inside was too much to defeat. Some days are still completely and utterly painful for me with depression and anxiety but I am stronger than ever before. Medication and a village of support for the win!