Australian performance apparel Black Sheep Cycling and Malaysian custom bike specialists The Bike Artisans will team up again this year, co-hosting a cycling event called Man Ride on October 7th, that aims to raise awareness for men’s health. As part of the initiative to coincide with World Mental Health Day, riders in 15 cities around the world will “use the power of the bicycle to lend their voice in support of this cause.”
Global Man Ride Day is championed by the folks at Black Sheep, since the issue of mental health among men has always been treated as a taboo subject. Throughout their lives, men are often told to “man up” and that “real men don’t show their feelings”, or even “boys don’t cry” as they’re growing up. The reality is, this systematic culture of denial leads to very stark figures.
Log on to Black Sheep’s website and you have just a hint of the sheer size of this statistical iceberg. “50% of men have had a mental problem at some point in their life. One in 8 men suffer from depression. 1 in 5 men suffer from anxiety. Of the 8 people who die of suicide everyday, 5 are men. Men are also 4 times more likely to die from suicide than women. Working men aged 25-54 account for the largest number.”
It’s easy to look past these numbers, until something tragic hits close to home. Man Ride aims to change that by putting a spotlight on the issue of men’s health, simultaneously giving birth to the Chaos Collection. The colours and theme of the limited edition commemorative kit for this year feature splashes of aqua, blue and pink, a stark contrast from last year’s dark and brooding grey theme. However, within these colours are symbols of “the chaotic mind, a reality that many people are faced with.” It is a special release for the Man Ride, and is previewed at each of the Global Man Ride locations around the world. A percentage of the profits will ensure those who need help receive it.
In Malaysia, the route will be approximately 100km to Genting Sempah and Janda Baik, starting and ending at the Bike Artisans at Jalan Doraisamy in Kuala Lumpur. KL first took part in Man Ride Day 2017 in conjunction with World Mental Health Day 2017, joining eight other cities worldwide. The ride was supported by the University Malaya Medical Centre and helped raise funds for charity hotline Befrienders Malaysia, and included an auction of Black Sheep Cycling’s Chaos Kit.
More than 200 cyclists joined in the self-supported ride from Kuala Lumpur to Ulu Langat and back, featuring the uphill climb through the Genting Peras valley. The participants were required to ride a minimum of either 100 or 200kms, which Jeff says was meant to test the riders’ limits. “It is a mental game to reach the finish line. The body may not be ready, but we are just pushing ourselves to test our mental strength. To push, you have to be dependent on each other, to talk to your mates, to help each other finish the route. Those are all the values that we wanted to get across.”
Participation is FOC, but you do need to register via this link http://bit.ly/ManRide2018 so that the Bike Artisans can get a proper headcount. For those who are not familiar with the route (though this is quite unlikely), you can check here. If you’re not in KL fret not, Singapore and Bangkok are other Asean countries taking part in Global Man Ride 2018. Other cities taking part are Seoul, Adelaide, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, Bogota, Colorado, Como, Girona, London, Monterrey, and Wellington.
And if you’re not in or are anywhere near any of these locations, you can still participate. This year Black Sheep Cycling has partnered with Zwift to take their campaign to an even larger scale. They will host a digital Man Ride Day in three time zones on October 7th, as well as training rides before the day itself. Find out more on the Zwift digital ride here.
Meanwhile, prior to the official Man Ride 2018, 10 self-supported riders will take on 1000km on five continents in five days from October 3rd. The riders in Australia, America, South America, Europe and the UK will end the ride to coincide with the second successive Global Man Ride Day on October 7th in solidarity with the rest of the world. You can keep up to date with their journeys daily on Instagram.