Kelowna man biking across BC for mental health
A 23-year-old Kelowna man is about to hop on the saddle of his bike for an epic ride across B.C., all in the name of supporting community mental health programs.
Sam Biffart will hit the trails on his gravel bike June 5, 2022 from Victoria, with plans to complete his BC Trek for mental health at the Alberta border on June 21st.
Along the way, and with support from members of the public and generous sponsors, Sam hopes to raise at least $15,000 to support Third Space Charity, which provides free, supportive care counselling to young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 in the Okanagan region.
“I love adventuring and riding my bike, and after a year of thinking about and planning this trip, I’m excited to finally get it started,” says Sam. “Myself and many people in my life have struggled with mental health, so it was really important to me that I make this ride a way to raise awareness of the issue while also raising money to help more people get the support they need.”
BC Trek will take Sam on a journey of more than 1,500 kilometres with 15,550 metres of climbing. That’s just shy of climbing Mt. Everest twice, which is 8,848 metres! He plans to stay off major travel routes, and campout as much as possible on the trip.
“I bike to and from work a lot during the warmer months, but I can’t begin to imagine a cycling trip like that which Sam is about to undertake on behalf of our mental health support programs for young adults,” says Third Space Charity executive director Karen Mason. “We’re so grateful and will definitely be cheering him on from the sidelines!”
Given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on peoples’ mental health, Sam’s BC Trek is welltimed. Statistics Canada reported from September to December of 2020 that 1 in 5 Canadians over 18 screened positive for symptoms of depression, anxiety or PTSD. Young adults 18 to 24 were most likely to report those symptoms. (three times higher than in older adults), and of those who screened positive for a disorder, 68% reported that their mental health had worsened since the start of the pandemic.
The BC Trek is only possible thanks to support from a number of valued sponsors. They include: Inovv8 Digital Solutions, Janzen Insurance, Momentum Realty Inc, Smith Creek Cycle, Kinetic Evolution and Tool Shed Brewing.
To stay updated on Sam’s trip, follow him on Instagram, Strava, and Facebook under the handle @sambiffart.
To donate to Third Space Charity, visit www.thirdspacecanada.org/donate