Last year the team at Scottish Cycling launched #BikeAndBlether, with the aim of supporting clubs to put on rides that are inclusive for all and aim to support positive physical and mental wellbeing.
With a number of clubs now offering #BikeAndBlether rides, and a successful staff ride last autumn, we have put together some information that hopefully encourages more clubs to get involved.
What is #BikeAndBlether?
#BikeAndBlether rides aim to help break down the barriers and reduce the stigma of having conversations about mental wellbeing and help create a culture of inclusivity in cycling clubs. #BikeAndBlether Champions deliver rides in their clubs and groups as a first step to creating positive mental wellbeing environments in clubs.
What we know is that being active is great for your physical and mental wellbeing.#BikeAndBlether focuses on the activity of cycling to deliver these benefits, by creating an inclusive environment for all abilities, whilst connecting with each other. It’s the social connections that create the supportive environment and encourages people to come back and share any problems if they want to.
With one in four people in Scotland suffering from a mental health problem, our network of members could play a significant role to support those who want to start, or re-engage in cycling, but currently face barriers to doing so. Through #BikeAndBlether activity in clubs, we hope to be able to reach a wider audience and encourage more people to get on a bike to promote the benefits that cycling has to offer not only for our physical health, but our mental health too.
Interested in delivering #BikeAndBlether rides?
You do not need any specific training in mental health to deliver #BikeAndBlether rides. Club members delivering #BikeAndBlether rides are not intended to be mental health experts, instead they are there to create that really inclusive space for anyone to come along on a #BikeAndBlether ride, have a chat and enjoy riding their bike with others.
We would love for more clubs to get involved with #BikeAndBlether and would encourage any club members who are interested in delivering #BikeAndBlether rides to give it a try! We have the resource below that you can use to promote your rides and encourage new and existing members to join you for a social ride.
#BikeAndBlether rides do not have to cover huge distances or be super fast, in fact short and steady helps to break down barriers for anyone new or nervous about joining a group ride. Ride at a speed everyone is comfortable with, a conversational speed, so that people can chat if they want to and take notice of what is around them. Include a café stop midway or at the end of your ride to create a space for more chat and social connections to be made. And that’s basically #BikeAndBlether!
The Impact of #BikeAndBlether
The following quotes highlight the positive impact of joining a #BikeAndBlether ride on people’s lives. If you would like more information about #BikeAndBlether, please contact Julie Erskine: email@example.com
“Well that's the best I've felt in a long time. While driving home I felt so good about myself. I'll admit I have Mental health problems but that ride, the fresh air and good company was the best medication I have tried. Here's hoping for a lot more rides (cakes and coffee too) this year and hopefully a lot more people will join. Don't be shy folks. You dinnahave to be up to Sir Chris Hoy's standards tae enjoy a fine cycle and fancy piece. Thanks again. Great idea.”
“I love my cycling companion to bits, he saved my life with our conversations on the bike”
“Really enjoyed it…definitely delivered on the feel good Friday title I was really needing that cycle today - I got bad news yesterday”
“Wow what a morning...a chance to chat about day to day stress, how I came into cycling, and at the same time some excellent advice on improving my technique! I can't wait for the next one! There is always seems to be a barrier for men talking about mental health, and everyone always just papers over the cracks, with the classic" I'm fine" however sometimes they are not fine, and initiative like this is a great way to get guys to chat about common interests, and any issues they have in a relaxed friendly environment...at the same time getting some exercise...and having a lot of fun, may be even learning something new!!”