Mayor Garry Litke, clad in cycling gear, joined other participants for the kick off of Ride Don't Hide Thursday in Penticton.
The ride is being held in several communities across Canada, including others in the Okanagan, on June 22.
"This event is so important to raise community awareness about having all of our citizens healthy in mind, body and soul," Litke told those gathered at the Canadian Mental Health Association South Okanagan Similkameen for the launch.
Shoppers Drug Mart Ride Don't Hide is a community bike ride hosted by the CMHA, with the goal of strengthening and supporting the mental health of women and their families.
This year, with Shoppers as the provincial sponsor for BC, CMHA rides will be hosted in four provinces in 19 communities with the aim to engage more than 3,600 participants and raise $800,000.
Each community event is a ride, not a race, for riders of all ages and abilities, from the novice rider to the advanced cyclist.
Other speakers at Thursday's rally included representatives from CMHA and Shoppers.
Monique Godby shared her personal story and discussed why she is going to ride in the event.
"I'm one that has a mental illness and it's very, very challenging for me," she said. "Each person with a mental illness is affected differently, on that note, let's get more people to join Ride Don't Hide."
Dennis Tottenham, executive director for CMHA South Okanagan Similkamen said he hopes the number of participants will increase in 2014.
Last year, there was close to 50 riders and 45 plus volunteers in Penticton. In total, $14,000 was raised for local services including a meals program, housing support and a wellness centre, the Unity Clubhouse.
The hope is to have 150 participants this June.
Registration for the Penticton ride on June 22 is at 8 a.m. at KVR Middle School. The 40K ride beings at 8:30 a.m. and the 10 and 20K rides start at 9:15 a.m.
For more information, call (250) 493-8999 and go to www.ridedonthide.com.