Zwift ‘Man Ride 2018’ to raise awareness of men’s mental illness

Zwift is hosting a series of rides and a virtual group event on 'Global Man Ride Day' this October

(Image credit: Picasa)

Indoor cycling platform Zwift has partnered with clothing brand Black Sheep Cycling to offer an online version of its 'Man Ride' - which aims to raise awareness of men's mental illness.

Every day in the UK, 13 men take their own lives due to mental illness, one in five men in Australia suffer from a form of mental illness and in the USA men are four times more likely to commit suicide them women.

>>> Indoor cycling platforms explained 

The goal of the Black Sheep 'Man Ride' and its 'Global Man Ride Day' on October 7 is to create a conversation around the statistics and encourage discussion of men's mental health.

“The metaphor between the high and lows of cycling and mental illness are marked,” says John Polson, Black Sheep Managing Director.

“But more than that, the Man Ride is our way to engage an entire community, break down the stigma associated with men’s mental illness and carry the conversation across multiple continents and platforms.”

The official Man Ride 2018 will see 10 self-supported riders covering five continents in five days - they'll ride in Oceania, America, South America, Europe and the UK, starting from October 3.

Their finish line will arrive on October 7 - the second successive 'Global Man Ride Day.'  This will be celebrated with 15 rides around the world, as well as a virtual Zwift ride (opens in new tab).

To help partakers get some training miles in, there's a series of 'Brunchie' rides being held on Zwift in the run-up to the event, too.

Studies have shown that cycling can be good for mental health, but competitive sport has a tendency to draw in people who can be more susceptible.

Graeme Obree famously suffered with depression, and told Cycling Weekly: "Whatever it is, the nuclear reaction that drives [athletes] on is also the thing that leaves them susceptible to being depressed. It’s not that sport makes people depressed.

"A lot of people who suffer from depression have a tendency to have obsessive behaviour – that’s why more of them exist in the top end of sport. The sport is actually a self-medicating process of survival.”

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.

Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.