Ride for Suicide Prevention at Seagull’s Send Fundraiser

The Rocky Mountains are home to a great deal of majestic wilderness and access to nature, and yet also boast one of the highest suicide rates in the country at 40,000 people per year, and Eagle County is no exception.

“It is a very uncomfortable word for a lot of people when you say ‘suicide’ and you talk about someone that has completed suicide or someone that you lost,” explains Kyle Foster, owner of Seagulls Cycles bike shop in Eagle, Colorado. Foster, who lost one of his friends, Jonathan ‘JR’ Sharon, to suicide in 2020, now hosts an annual fundraiser in honor of Sharon to support suicide prevention and spread mental health awareness in the community.

The fundraiser, named the Seagull’s Send, took place this year on Sunday, July 9, 2023, with a morning bike ride beginning at 8 a.m. and an evening after-party at 6 p.m. The event includes multiple routes for experienced and novice riders alike, including two new shorter routes this year as well as the original, longer ride for those looking for more vertical mileage. “That’s the kind of ride that my friend Jonathan liked, so that’s why we do the big one,” shares Foster.

At the end of the day, a large party takes place in the parking lot in front of the shop, complete with live music, food trucks and pizza, yard games, a bike-in movie and a variety of exciting raffle prizes.

seagull's send

Photos courtesy of Kyle Foster.

In addition to the $25 registration donation, participants can pledge amounts of $1, $3 or $5 per mile ridden, whether that be 8, 15 or 25 miles total. Foster and the shop matched all donations made from miles ridden during the fundraiser. All funds made during the fundraiser go directly to SpeakUp ReachOut, a nonprofit in Eagle County that exists to reduce the incidence of suicide within our valley.

“We have to talk about suicide. That’s our tagline: ‘Let’s talk about suicide,’” shares Leslie Robertson, awareness and brand manager with SpeakUp ReachOut. The organization uses educational programs, trainings in schools and businesses, peer groups, partnerships and other community connection events to bring people together in a safe and educational manner. “All of this money that funnels through us [from fundraisers such as the Send] is then directed back to the community,” explains Roberson.

Along with funding, the Seagull’s Send partnership with SpeakUp ReachOut has allowed the organization to further spread its prevention message. “Events like the Send are also a great way to get our nonprofit in front of people that might not have heard of it before,” says Robertson. Foster’s fundraiser helps to introduce these resources to more people and offers people a haven to share their mental health journeys, form connections and build a sense of community.

“When people are open about what they’ve experienced it tends to have a domino effect, where other people will say ‘oh yeah I’ve experienced that’ or ‘I knew someone that had this challenge,’” explains Robertson. Open sharing of such experiences not only helps to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health but also helps to provide opportunities for meaningful conversations and connections.

seagull's send

“One of the protective factors for suicide is connection,” says Robertson. “We work with a lot of nonprofits in Eagle County to host what we call community connection events.”

At Seagull’s Cycles, Foster shares the same mentality. Alongside the shop’s annual fundraiser, Seagull’s Cycles holds community rides each week for people to meet up and support one another. One such ride is known as the recovery ride, initially started for people in addiction recovery. Now, the Sunday ride has expanded to include people involved with any form of mental health recovery or mental health support, whether that appears as a bad day at work or a challenging personal struggle.

Another such meet-up is the Wednesday community ride, open to “anyone and everyone, [of] all ability levels,” shares Foster. “We call it a community ride because we really want it to be for the community.” The rides, and the shop, act as places of safety, understanding and support for the community. In fact, Foster uses the shop to hold peer support program office hours, providing an open environment for people to come in and speak or simply sit and feel seen. “I recover loudly,” explains Foster, “so that those who are suffering in silence can know that they’re not alone.”

To learn more and support the event, visit speakupreachout.org.

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to:


Colorado Crisis Services: 844.493.8255