The 2018 Cycle Against Suicide started on 28th April 2018 and for 10 days until bank holiday Monday 7th May, travelled through 17 counties and 67 towns, stopping at 40 locations where mental health events took place in schools and communities. Participants cycled for the full 10 days, single days and half days in this fully supported cycle. It was truly an impressive sight to behold.
This was the sixth annual running of this unique cycle. Many of the cyclists returned again this year and do so year after year for an experience that has enhanced and even changed their lives.
And why? To let it be known that it’s OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help; to rid our lives of the crippling silence, the prison of lonesomeness, the suffocating agony of the dark night; to cry out loud and clear that 800 deaths by suicide annually is 800 too many; to shine a light where darkness threatens; to let it be known that help is there; to simply talk; to work shoulder to shoulder to break the cycle of suicide on our incredibly beautiful island; to save, nurture and care for each of the bright and shining stars that we, each one of us, uniquely are.
We stopped at many schools and communities at lunch time and they fed hundreds of cyclists. We participated in events which through words and actions sharing the simple, succinct but powerful message of the cycle, “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”. In the evening when we stopped we were taken by total strangers into their homes, fed and given a bed for the night. We talked, exchange stories and even become friends. In the morning we left on our bikes again like Longfellow’s “ships that pass in the night”.
This cavalcade of orange-clad cyclists meandered through our countryside, a spectacle, a temporary inconvenience to other road users perhaps. It did not go unnoticed. The schools and communities we visited, the homes in which we stayed, the motorists we inconvenienced, the bemused bystanders we passed all heard our simple message and knew that were trying to break the cycle of suicide on this island, shoulder to shoulder.
What they might not have known is that tucked well into that orange peloton were many of a generation that treated mental health with silence; many who did not know the central message of the cycle; many who suffered in silence, who didn’t seek help; many who wore a worldly scar somewhere at the back of their eyes; many who experienced a liberation through the simple physical activity of cycling; many who grew weary standing, weeping, wordless at the gravesides of our young people.
If you are on the route of this cycle in 2019 you might want to give us a cheer, honk your horn as we pass, volunteer to host a cyclist, or join us for a half day, full day or more.
Visit www.cycleagainstsuicide.com for more information.