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.
We are excited to announce the official dates for RideWest 2022: 22 to 29 April.
We are going bigger and better next year, with the ride covering 8 days and some extra kilometres so we can include a stay in beautiful Charleville.
Once again RideWest will be raising money for the amazing RFDS Wellbeing Out West team who provide mental health services to rural and remote communities in Western Queensland.
Registrations for the 2022 ride will open in July, but feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions before then.