Has Mountain Biking Helped?

Quick answer, YES!

Long answer is that there are two reasons as to why it has helped…

The first is that mountain biking has helped get me out in the fresh air, exercising, away from my work and generally taking my mind off of things because usually my brain just doesn’t stop thinking! Although I have found a downside to this being that I only really like, and have a passion for, fast downhill mountain biking and I struggle to enjoy biking on flat terrain. Whereas with downhill all my worries and thoughts completely go because I have to concentrate on what I’m doing because if not I have more chance of coming off my bike and really injuring myself.

This next part may be controversial for TotalMTB however I have my own good personal reasons for it and if it helps me get out biking and socialising then I’m all for it! You may have already guessed but it’s an E-BIKE! Yes, I would love to have not bought one but around Doncaster, where I live, there is very little downhill biking, and absolutely no uplifts!

I reviewed an E-Bike for JeJames Cycles and I loved it. It made cycling on flats and uphill for me a joy, which is quite shocking for me to say but I was able to enjoy bike rides and enjoy the scenery which is fantastic. I’m sure there will be ‘hardcore’ MTBers out there unfollowing TotalMTB as we speak but surely if it helps me and possibly others with mental health it’s only a good thing?

Ending up with an E-Bike is something that might not have happened if it wasn’t for starting TotalMTB, which was getting invited to product launches, bike events, bike expos and trade shows. It started mainly with JeJames Cycles and Aussie Grit Apparel. As I was getting more involved with them both, I was invited by both to pop along to the Aussie Grit Apparel launch at JeJames Cycles in Sheffield and meet Mark Webber. Of course, it was something I really wanted to do but the amount of things going through my head in the days and months leading up to it was hard to control. I’d never been there before so it was a new journey, through a city centre, lots of lane changes, tram lanes and bus lanes. I was thinking: ‘what if I wake up with a headache, feel sick on the way or get a migraine after?’

From that list it gives you a slight insight into how my brain runs off with itself and doesn’t stop thinking. The thing is that these thoughts just go round in cycles and if you think ‘I don’t have to go’ to almost trick your brain, it’s like your brain knows that deep down you want to go so you still feel anxious.

Anyway, the day before I had a bad tension headache so I didn’t think it was on. However, on the day, for some reason, I was relatively calm and, although I don’t recommend it, I took some coco-damol to try and calm me further and stop any head pains from coming.

And I did it. I wasn’t able to stay until the main event but I went and met Mark, as you already know from above. Even though I did it, I still didn’t have the good feeling like I had achieved something, I was just concentrating on the negatives which was that I hadn’t stayed until the next event; but thats something I am trying to change.

I was then invited to Peaty’s Downhill by Aussie Grit Apparel and JeJames Cycles. Again, it was a new place but 30mins away in Sheffield. It was quite a hot day and I just wasn’t feeling confident but I managed to get myself there. After an hour, I came home and once I got home the stress headache kicked in and I was in some real discomfort. This is one of the things I most fear from pushing myself and for the rest of the day I wished I hadn’t have gone because I was feeling so bad!

The next day I felt better but it really does knock your confidence for a short while, which isn’t nice.

The next event and challenge for myself was MTBMeetup, which I was invited to by Aussie Grit Apparel to help them out on the day of the event. This was a big challenge for me as I hadn’t driven that sort of distance for 2 or 3 years.

I booked a hotel within a 20-30mins drive from the event and made the journey with my then girlfriend (now my Wife). The journey seemed ok but once I had got into our room and my head relaxed from the journey the stress headache kicked in and I was quite bad. Not only did I think I wouldn’t be able to go to the event, I thought I would be driving home the next day. I was in quite a bad way but with the fantastic support of my girlfriend I got an early night and woke up the next day feeling ok and we went to the event!

Not only did we go to the event but we chatted to the other businesses (some of which I already knew), helped Aussie Grit Apparel on their stall, had something to eat (which just shows how relaxed I was – when i’m anxious I don’t eat as I feel sick and fear being sick), and in the end we stayed till around 5pm! I was happy about it but not proud of myself and was just thinking about how I was the day before. In the end, we had a good weekend in Wales (it’s the first time i’ve been).

Aside from events, I had been using the TotalMTB Twitter account to connect with other mountain bikers. I have come across many great people not only around Yorkshire but nationwide and I had been invited by a few of them to go to a local trail – Grenoside. Yet again this was a new experience for me. They were people I had never met in person, trails I’d never been to before, and I’d never been to this location before (different car park to Peaty’s downhill).

Although the ride wasn’t great because it was more jumps and fast trail and it was on my E-Bike, I enjoyed meeting the guys and talking bikes and getting to know them. Since then we have really got on and I have connected with and got to know a lot more people through social media and i’m very impressed with how welcoming, supportive and nice they all are! The only downside for me is that they are dotted all around the country with the nearest being 30-50mins away.

The last event of the year for me was JeJames Cyclefest which I helped promote. Again, Aussie Grit Apparel was there so I helped with them slightly. It was a new journey for me to drive, a new place with all the same issues as before really. Apart from being a fairly cold and rainy day, it was a great event and I met some great people both from brands and people from Twitter. I had met Lew, George, James and Chris; all great guys and we had a good chat. I went home and felt relatively ok after I had warmed myself up but I still wasn’t proud of myself, something I find very difficult!

So, considering all of the above I think it has helped. Even though I don’t get out as much as I like on the bike I do now enjoy when I do. I’d like to go on more social rides with Sherwood Forest Pines and the Twitter guys. I have also been invited and been able to push myself to events, which a couple of years ago not only would I not have done but I wouldn’t have been invited to either!

I have to give a special mention to Andrew Theaker at Aussie Grit Apparel and John Ellis at JeJames Cycles as they are the ones who have invited, encouraged and supported me at the above events. Thank you guys!!

Written by: Ryan – #TotalMTB Founder
Instagram: @RazOldfield
Twitter: @RazOldfield
Facebook: /RazOldfield


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