Vincent Byrne

Cycle Against Suicide Day 5


Tonight we have reached the half way stage of this 10 day cycle. There was a cold, tough headwind as we travelled around the Sperrin mountains and I think many of us were happy to see Omagh. There were times I wished I hadn’t eshewed the carbon fibre racing bike for the heavier hybrid for this trip! But as the Goldsmith quote on today’s calender in my Dungannon homestay said this morning “life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads”

As I realised very early during my first day in 2014 this cycle is not about the bike. Its about the testimony and courage of that young man in Belfast that I wrote about yesterday. It is about the young man that joined this cycle months after one of our cycling marshals saw him in deep distress and was able to guide him to seek help. It is about the men and women of this peloton who have known the devastation and grief of suicide in their families and amongst their friends. It’s about the lost years, the despairing days, the days the light refused to shine. Its about ending the silence, slaying the stigma. Its about acknowledging our vulnerability. Its about realising we are emotional beings, that we are more than what we do.

Its about the young people we are meeting and talking to in the schools and the people in the communities that we pass through. It is about communities ending the profound isolation of mental ill health.

Its about delivering the simple but powerful message that it’s OK not to feel OK and it is absolutely ok to ask for help. A message it took a lifetime for some of us to learn.

Day 5