Inspired to make a difference to Mental Health across Australia
In 2009, Les Hancock, Queensland business leader, was shocked to learn that the suicide rate of remote outback Queensland graziers was 30% higher than their coastal counterparts.
Coincidentally, at the same time on a long drive from Brisbane to Longreach, Les became aware of a Melbourne man who was suffering depression and was riding from Melbourne to Cairns to promote awareness of men’s mental health – with the simple message of ‘’talk to your doctor’’.
Learning of both these situations, Les, who is actively involved in dealing with men from a professional standpoint everyday across Australia, was inspired to help make a difference to men’s mental health. His vision would be to lead a biennial charity bike ride from Brisbane to Longreach, raising funds from fellow corporate/professional colleagues and organisations, to help the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) with their primary care program for men in the Outback.
RideWest was born 3 phone calls later, when Les inspired the hearts and minds of son Damian (a passionate cyclist, running his own cycling apparel business, a’qto), business associate and friend Brendan Wright (again, a passionate cyclist and in senior ranks with NAB, and now FAST), and partner Mark Dillman (business partner at BCI Law, now M&K Lawyers QLD). All three men, together with wife Shelley, bought into Les’ vision and were integral in kicking off the RideWest inaugural ride in May 2010.
According to Les and Shelley Hancock, RideWest engages the hearts of organisations and bike riding employees within those organisations who:
- strive to challenge themselves and achieve excellence in supporting the community;
- share a passion and appreciation for the benefits of cycling at both a mental and physical health level; and
- recognise the power of corporate charity bike rides as a community engagement, corporate social responsibility and marketing vehicle, reaching a significant market of 30-60 year old men and women from across Australia.
2020 will be the 10th anniversary of RideWest, with the event growing each year. To date we have raised over $1,000,000 for RFDS, with a target for $1.4M for 2020. The funding that has been raised to date has been used by the RFDS to deliver mental health services through their Wellbeing Out West program. Click here to read more about the impact RideWest has had.
In 2018 we saw 31 riders complete the course, and even more expressing interest for 2020.
If you’re interested in sponsoring the event, click here
If you’re interested in riding in the event, click here.