THURSDAY DEC 12 / 2019 / by Andrew Talati

12 cities globally, 200km rides & 4000k riders

MAN Ride - Yarra Ranges skylineYarra Ranges skyline - MAN Ride 2019

From it's humble beginnings just 3 short years the 2019 MAN Ride was held on 6th October across 12 locations around the world doing silly crazy rides, while finding adventurous and challenging routes.

Raising awareness for mens mental health

MAN  Ride - Rouleur Expresso Richmond - cafe chattingRouleur Cafe Richmond - MAN Ride 2019

It's about raising the awareness and having conversations around mental health and really asking the question, 'how are you'. Rather than a superficial or off the cuff answers like 'I'm ok' when at times they are really not so its about changing that mindset for people to say that hey you can talk about your feelings, you can talk about what is really going on, what is going on in your head.

Story's around mens health

For the last 6 weeks leading to the MAN Ride, Black Sheep have been doing stores on mens health and have had some amazing guys talking about their story's including Craig Mackie , Relationships Manager at Black Sheep who has kindly offered to speak about the ride.

There have been some incredible emails coming through the Customer service channels of some guys out there who are really hurting and in a dark place and share a connection with cycling. They have opened up and if it is a challenging circumstance they will be placed in contact with the right help.

It's just putting it out there on the line and ultimately having the platform to do it and attract a really wide audience which is something which is really special.

The very first MAN Ride

John Polson, the Co-founder of Black Sheep wanted to do more than a charity ride and create a real conversation back in 2016 when 8 guys rode 1000kms in 4 days from Longreach to Airlie Beach in Queensland, Craig was one of the silly guys do do that. There was a lot of gravel riding and on Day 3 there was nearly 80kms of gravel that was a testing and challenging time and that broke the riders as a team.

There were fights and disagreements and they took it all out on the road, but eventually, they came together as a team and came out stronger than before. With a smile on his face, Craig acknowledges the fact that though the rides are tough, there are friendships to be cherished, and moving forwards to 2019 there is a similar message.

By providing a safe environment, men can speak openly about how they are feeling or help to support someone who is going through a difficult period.

Supporting one another

MAN Ride Yarra Ranges Countryside
Yarra Ranges - MAN Ride 2019

Cycling is fun when you are enjoying a carefree day on your bike taking trails along the beach. But when you have routes covered in dirt and filled with gravel, it drains your strength. That’s the darker part, the part where you are emotional absolutely depleted and broken on the bike, you have 30kms to go and absolutely flat (the lights go out and you start bonking - metaphorically) then you have to gel together as a team and help everyone to get through it.

Skyline Road - just behind Sugarloaf ReservoirSkyline Road - just behind Sugarloaf Reservoir - peaks at over 20% gradient - MAN Ride 2019

Whether its just a pat on the back, a small gesture of acknowledgement or giving someone a push for 20-30 meters it's looking out for one another that helps the team all  finish together.

Creating a safe platform

MAN Ride - pre ride chatRouleur Cafe Richmond - MAN Ride 2019

Ultimately its about creating safe platform for people to speak openly so ultimately what we are trying to do is getting a bunch of guys and girls together, especially their partners who share the difficult times of what they are going through. It's knowing that you re not alone and there is someone there.

Opening up

Chirnside Park - re-groupingChirnside Park - re- grouping - MAN Ride 2019

According to Craig, one of the toughest tasks is to get riders to start talking on all different levels 

Riding does help to create bonds but that’s the starting point. Breaking the ice isn’t always easy for everyone so the MAN Ride introduces people to the platform and they can see what is happening on the rides.

Molesworth St - Kew Molesworth St - Kew -- MAN Ride 2019

It creates a vehicle where people can ride and share their stories without the fear of being judged. Once riders become comfortable with each other, conversations flow smoothly and actual discussions take place on all sorts of level. 

From the very first MAN Ride Craig has spoken very openly about what he has gone through and as a result has opened up lots of new conversations with guys that he has never meet before, that giving the reassurance that if he has done it I can safely get a load off my chest or put it out there.

Maybe someone says that 'hey I can actually help you' then that's a wonderful thing. 

Helping with the first step

Johnson Bicycles - RichmondJohnson Bicycles - Richmond

It's not being health care professionalsIts but helping riders in opening up the dialogue and putting them in contact with the right people, it's helping them take the first step that may be huge in establishing early stage intervention.

Its about speaking as openly and honestly as possible

More more information 

We have put together some resources, see XXXXXXXX