Cyclists and walkers are invited to participate in the Annual Folks on Spokes Ride and Step Forward Memorial Walk on Sunday, Sept. 16, at Fowler Field in Downtown Milford.

Proceeds support Bridges Healthcare’s community mental health and addiction services for residents of Milford, Orange, West Haven and the surrounding region.

“Bridges has been the cornerstone provider of community mental health and addiction recovery services that have transformed the lives of thousands of children, families and individuals in our area for decades,” said Bridges’ board member and event chairman Charles Montalbano. “Very few people can say they themselves, a loved one or colleague have not been touched in some way by one of these conditions. This event not only raises much-needed funds to support Bridges’ vital work, it helps us all be more comfortable and willing to talk about mental health and substance use disorders, particularly as opioid addiction and suicide is reaching a crisis level in our country.”

Cyclists of all levels can enjoy any combination of the 5, 10, 20 and 40-mile routes with rest stops along the scenic Connecticut coastline while walkers can participate in the 3.2 mile shoreline trail. All are welcome to join the remembrance ceremony at 9:45 a.m. that will pay tribute to lives lost to addiction, overdose, suicide or other mental health related issues. The event’s emcee is Brian Smith, host of WQUN's The Brian Smith Afternoon Show and former co-host of The Smith and Barber Morning Show.

Registration and check-in begin at 7:30 a.m. The ride begins at 8:40 a.m. and the walk starts at 10 a.m. Pre-registration fees are $40 per cyclist, $25 per walker and $15 for all youth (ages 5 to 17) and include a free event t-shirt and refreshments. Day-of fees are $50 and $35 respectively.

According to cyclist Tammy Petrucelli who has been riding in Folks on Spokes for over a dozen years, “The event is an opportunity to do something fun, and to come together to bring awareness to the importance of talking about mental health.”

Event participant Morgan Pierpont of West Haven walks to honor a close relative she lost to mental illness and to support others who battle similar issues. “I walk because my cousin struggled with mental health his whole life and was unable to find a resource to truly help him. He tragically lost his life on his 21st birthday which created traumatic stress in many of my relatives,” said Pierpont. “We found Bridges after my cousin’s passing and although he was unable to use them as a healing resource, we now advocate throughout the community for those who struggle with mental health in order to bring about positivity and change through our loss and pain.”

The event’s major sponsors include The Milford Bank, Barrett Outdoor Communications Inc., Rose & Kiernan Inc. and Tony’s Bikes and Sports.

To register or for more information, visit bridgesct.org or call Marcy Hotchkiss at 203-878-6365 ext. 359.