It was December 2016 when I took up cycling. I bought an old chunky mountain bike off my dad and started riding to work.
From this I was encouraged to participate in a charity fundraising event for The British Red Cross at my local Co-op where my step-mum works and days later I joined a men's only mental health groups awareness rides from Leigh near Manchester to the groups based in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and then from Hull back to Halifax the day afterwards.
I really struggled, it was 120 miles over the two days but I finished it and I was hooked, I loved the freedom and adrenaline that I got from cycling and it helped more than anything had before with my own mental health issues.
In August 2017 I rode on behalf of the same men's mental health group (Andys Man Club) and youth homelessness charity Centrepoint from Lands End to John O'Groats, completely solo, and covering a distance of 1000 miles in just 8 days.
After that ride I toyed with my cycling and due to the winter weather I completely stopped in November. My mental health started to suffer because of this until I saw a Facebook post on Mark Beaumont's page (world record holder for cycling around the world) that was promoting 5x50 and this gave me an idea.
I was going to ride 50 miles for 50 days.
Starting on the 1st day of Spring and International Happiness Day I decided to launch a little mental health awareness campaign of my own and see if I could inspire some change in people and promote a little bit of positivity.
I called this Recycle Yourself in the hope that people, like I have, could put their problems behind them and start a fresh using exercise as a wellness tool.
At the time of writing I have completed 350 miles over 7 days and I've had to repeat over and over that if I can do it anyone can because unfortunately I do smoke, I do drink alcohol and I don't eat an athletes diet, I just put my body and mind on the line day after day to do the 50 miles I challenged myself to do.
So, if I can do this then you can do your 5x50 challenge. Keep going each day. It's never your legs that give up its your mind. Push through the "I can't do it" or "I can't be bothered today" it because you can, and you get better and better both physically and mentally.
If you want to follow my journey and find out a little about what I am trying to a hive you can find me in Facebook and Instagram by using the hash tags #50for50 and #recycleyourself
5x50 Challenge started with a vision to make people who are inactive become more active. Challengers become part of something that inspires, motivates, encourages you to live a healthier lifestyle. 5x50 Challenges are open to all. Individuals or groups regardless of age, health condition/ disability or fitness level can take part.
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Company Registration No: SC425530.
Scottish Charity No: SC043921.