March 16, 2023
our ride for mental health 2023
Written by Grace Marks
It’s not every day that you get to participate in hot springs bathing, cycling and raising funds for a great cause — but each year we combine all three through our Ride for Relief charity cycling event.
26 riders took an epic 750-kilometre, six-day journey across eastern Victoria this February in the name of mental health and managed to raise an astonishing $220,000 for our charity partner, Mentis Assist. One of the most exciting aspects of this year’s ride is that Mentis Assist will be channelling the bulk of these funds into its Breaking Barriers program — an initiative that was inspired by Ride for Relief 2022 and works to address mental health issues on the southern peninsula.
This year’s event kicked off with a 93-kilometre ride around Metung, followed by bathing at the recently unveiled Metung Hot Springs and a fundraising dinner at the Metung Country Club, which raised over $7000 for local mental health organisation Wellways Gippsland. For the first time ever, participants were able to enjoy the healing effects of geothermal bathing at the start of their ride as well as the conclusion.
After Metung, the peloton rode 132.1 kilometres to Sale and then 122.7 kilometres to Yarram before pedalling 144 kilometres to Wonthaggi. They arrived in Wonthaggi on Day Five, where they were treated to morning tea and a tour of the developing Phillip Island Hot Springs. Next year’s cyclists can look forward to bathing mid-way through their ride with a soak in the oceanfront sea baths at Phillip Island Hot Springs, which is set to open in late 2023.
The riders then took a short sea voyage from Cowes across Westernport Bay (thanks to a ferry arranged by our event partner Searoad Ferries) and landed on the Mornington Peninsula to ride the remaining 54.6 kilometres to Peninsula Hot Springs — a sight for sore eyes and a blessing for weary bodies. The peloton celebrated their journey by immersing their aching muscles in hot springs, saunas and cold plunge pools for an afternoon of recovery.
On Day Six, the cyclists had one more hill to climb (literally). They were joined by a team of one-day riders as they cycled a 108.1-kilometre scenic loop that took them to Portsea’s stunning Point Nepean National Park and then eventually up Arthurs Seat, where they paused for a well-earned morning tea with a view at the Eagle Cafe before heading back to Peninsula Hot Springs via Flinders. There was also a 53-kilometre circuit that took riders to Point Nepean and back to Peninsula Hot Springs, where all cyclists were greeted by a buffet lunch and more well-earned geothermal soaking.
Ride for Relief not only raises funds and awareness for mental health challenges: the ride itself promotes both physical and mental health through fostering social connection and community. As anyone who’s taken a long bike ride with others knows, the conversations that transpire along the way can become spaces to share openly without distraction.
"I thank you all for allowing me to be involved in a week of your lives,” said one rider. “Riding in the fresh, open air with beautiful vistas, listening and learning of your past, present and future experiences, challenges and opportunities is a precious commodity.”
Five of the cyclists joined from partnership organisations —such as Luca from NAB, who had never ridden further than 70 kilometres in one day before participating in Ride for Relief and wound up cycling nearly double that length on the ride’s longest day.
The event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our 16 official partners: NAB, Giant Bicycles, Mitsubishi Motors, HP&CP Australia, Solution One, Lenovo, Seachange Property Real Estate, Dolphin Fencing, Lets Go Motorhomes, Elly Lukas Beauty College, Searoad Ferries, Ashfords Accountants, Key Choice Lending, Plaster Pro Interiors, Avis, Dillon Metal Roofing and Arthurs Seat Eagle.
Our legendary volunteer team (made up of support vehicles, bus and truck drivers, medical attendants and food and drink providers) kept our cyclists healthy and safe, and we’d also like to thank the donors who provided prizes for various fundraisers. Our peloton was bolstered by Mitsubishi support vehicles, an Avis bus and truck and a Jayco motorhome.
Ride for Relief 2024 is already gaining momentum: one week after completing this year’s 750-kilometre odyssey, nine cyclists had already signed up to participate in next year’s ride. And, given the genuine support from the community for Ride for Relief 2023, next year’s event is projected to be even more successful.
If you would like to sign up for Ride for Relief 2024, email Yuki Davidson at email@example.com
Ride for Relief 2023: watch now
Watch the highlights from the 2023 Ride for Relief Cycling Charity Event