Rich’s Hair-Brained, Beard & Bike Challenge
“Get yourself a Gravel bike, you’ll love it, we can go on some rides together”. So many adventures seem to start off innocently enough with conversations like this between a couple of mates. In my case the protagonist was a chap we’ll call Jules, mainly because that’s his name and I have no interest in protecting the guilty!
I bought a Sonder Camino, we rode the King Alfred’s Way with another mate who we’ll call Dan, I fell off twice, bought some 650b wheels with bigger tyres on, and thought no more of it until another conversation where the word Dales was swiftly followed by the word Divide. Meantime I seem to have developed an aversion to shaving and an attraction to tracks and trails I’ve always previously ridden past.
So, from the relative security of hiding behind my COVI(bear)D, I entered the Dales Divide!
The beard started out as a bit of shaving lazyness and then to justify it to Carla (my long suffering an amazingly supportive wife) I said I’d continue to grow it until the company I work for re-opens its offices following the COVID-19 enforced closure, and then get it lopped off for charity. A relief, some might assume, but its actually become a bit of a psychological “shield” for me through these tough times, so I’m quite nervous about the day it eventually comes off again!
That day is not likely to be before I attempt my slightly more physically (and at least as mentally) tough challenge of attempting to ride my bike coast to coast across England, twice, in the Dales Divide bikepacking event https://bikepacking.com/event/dales-divide-2021/, so in addition to my bike, myself, and my kit, I’ll also have to haul the additional bulk of this bloomin’ beard along with me! (Pah, a beard weighs nothing I hear you say – well then I look forward to you riding along slide and reminding me of this fact when my head is playing tricks on me half way up a stupidly steep climb about 50 something hours in to the adventure!! 😉)
And that brings me back to why I want to raise money for MIND. I’ve talked about tough times and mental challenges, and we’ve all had our fair share. I also work closely with Healthcare Professionals and the stories I’ve heard about the pressures many have faced, the redeployment, the relentless hours, the personal health risk, and quite frankly the sheer amount of death that they’ve witnessed in the last 12 months is unprecedented in our lifetimes, and through supporting and coordinating the Our Frontline initiative, MIND are offering well deserved mental health support to those that need it https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/ourfrontline/
We all remember the Thursday night clapping I’m sure, Well, now is your chance to add something more to that. Whether you think I’m a bit crazy, admire my adventurous aspiration, or just want to be reminded of what I actually look like under the beard, then please donate what you can through this page to support the great work of MIND and the Our Frontline initiative and give something back to those who’ve been working at the sharp end of things to keep us all afloat.