Cycle Against Suicide 2018
By Vincent Byrne
The 2018 Cycle Against Suicide commences next Saturday, 28th April, and for 10 days until bank holiday Monday 7th May, travels through 17 counties and 67 towns, stopping at 40 locations where mental health events will take place in schools and communities. Participants can cycle for 10 days, single days, half days or any combination in this fully supported cycle where all participants cycle in a single impressive group.
This will be the sixth annual running of this unique cycle. Many of the cyclists have returned 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 will stop at many schools and communities at lunch time and they will feed hundreds of cyclists. They will then participate in an event which through words and actions will share the simple, succinct but powerful message of this cycle, “It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help”. In the evening when we stop we will be taken by total strangers into their homes, fed and given a bed for the night. We may talk and exchange stories and even become friends. In the morning we will leave on our bikes again like Longfellow’s “ships that pass in the night”.
This cavalcade of orange-clad cyclists will meander through our countryside, a spectacle, a temporary inconvenience to other road users perhaps. It will not go unnoticed. The schools and communities we will visit, the homes in which we will stay, the motorists we will inconvenience, the bemused bystanders we will pass, will all hear our simple message and will know that we are trying to break the cycle of suicide on this island, shoulder to shoulder.
What they might not know is that tucked well into that orange peloton will be 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 wear a worldly scar somewhere at the back of their eyes; many who are experiencing a liberation through the simple physical activity of cycling; many who have grown weary standing, weeping, wordless at the gravesides of our young people.
If you are on the route of this cycle 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.