Ride for Bullying Awareness set for City this month

The third annual Ride for Bully Awareness will come through Red Deer later this month to raise awareness of bullying and to encourage people to act against it.

Bikers Against Bullying is an organization that has come together in a non-conventional way to bring awareness to their cause, officials have said. This year, they will ride through the City to draw out crowds and bring people together in the fight against bullying.

The ride will come through the City on Aug. 24th.

“The ride itself is just trying to raise awareness for the issue and show support by a group of very diverse individuals who can show respect for each other in spite of very different backgrounds,” said Corey Ripley, founder of the Ride for Bully Awareness. “The message is that people should respect each other likewise despite all their differences.”

Ripley founded the ride as an offshoot of Stopbully.com, which he has been involved with since 2001. “It’s a way to get the public more involved in the awareness aspect of bullying, and to have some fun with an otherwise heavy subject.”

The first ride in 2009 took a group from Canada’s west coast down to San Diego. It was a 10-day ride. In 2010 and 2011, the rides were unable to take place. In 2012, the current annual format was initiated, which is a one-day event in multiple locations.

This year, rides are scheduled in a huge variety of countries including South Africa, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, the United States and Canada.

For Ripley, seeing the massive growth in this community is one of the best things about the project. The rides have inspired different ways of combating bullying and demonstrating awareness, he said.

“Rides have now led to chapters of Bikers Against Bullying being formed across Canada and the U.S. – currently, we have seven in the works and many on a waiting list. The year-round roles of the chapters are to help kids locally affected by the issue in different ways – riding a kid to school that is being bullied, stopping to have lunch with a kid ‘big brother style’, to developing new in-school presentations delivered by bikers, which has a cool factor for the kids when compared to other bullying presentation deliveries.”

The Alberta ride this year is called the ‘origin ride’. It begins at 10 a.m. in Airdrie on Aug. 24th, leaving the Airdrie Rodeo Grounds. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Riders from Central and Northern Alberta can register at Gasoline Alley Harley Davidson at 11:30 a.m., joining the ride and departing Gasoline Alley at 1 p.m.

The ride then takes a ‘scenic western tour’ and heads back to Red Deer, finishing up at the Quality Inn/Wild Bill’s at 4 p.m. Riders are asked to have a full tank of gas prior to their departure.

Associate Minister in charge of bullying in Alberta Sandra Jansen will be speaking the evening of the ride at the Quality Inn/Wild Bill’s, where a supper buffet will be held for riders.

A Guns N’ Roses tribute band, The Night Train, will be playing at 5:15 p.m. Everyone is welcome at the show – non-riders pay an admission fee of $20, with all of the proceeds going to the campaign and organization.

“The highlights have been watching the ride grow. This year, we are aware of riders participating in 90 locations in seven different countries,” said Ripley.

“We are learning about new ones on social media regularly, started by people who have scheduled their rides for the day that we have now labelled as International Ride for Bully Awareness Day.”

This year, Bikers Against Bullying has partnered with the Airdrie Oilmens Association to host the Bikes & Bulls event, which is a three-day event that includes several tribute bands, pro-bull riding, a bike rally and free camping.

For more information on the event, registration or the organizations involved, please visit www.bikersagainstbullying.org or www.stopbully.com.

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

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