FIVE MINUTES WITH: Ryan Oldfield of #TotalMTB
My name is Ryan Oldfield and around six years ago after researching how I felt on Google I found out I had a form of mental illness, GAD (generalised anxiety disorder).
On one hand it gave me relieve because now I knew there was a reason why I had acted and felt the way I did all my life, for as long I can remember, at nursery, primary school, secondary school and into adult life.
Going through the checklist on the internet of how you can feel and act with anxiety, I was ticking off most of not all of them and I was running through my memories thinking that’s why I felt like that at the point.
I then quickly sought help through my GP to try and help myself to live with it if not overcome it.
Personally it’s not been easy to figure out how to live with it, everyone is different and I’m still looking for something to click so I can hopefully get back to the things I did before which is frustrating me.
I know things were different 10+ years ago but I would have loved someone to spot the signs and help me when I was younger as I do believe learning about it and how to manage it while younger would have helped a lot.
So how does this link with my involvement with #TotalMTB?
Well I read and experienced for myself just how powerful being outside in nature and exercising is for the mind and the good endorphins it gives you.
I wanted to encourage others to get outside and bike for mental and physical benefits.
I started up and Instagram account which shared people mountain bike photos/posts to try and encourage others to get out and do the same.
People liked what I was doing and it took off and developed into a fantastic community.
We currently have a community of over 50,000 people worldwide but mostly in the UK.
Our Instagram account will hit 50,000 followers soon which is fantastic.
As the community has grown I’ve opened up and shared more about my anxiety to try and help others and it’s been very well received and I do get messages from people appreciating the openness and posts and saying it’s helped them which is great.
The community mission statement is “to encourage people to mountain bike to help mental and physical health while having fun and helping the environment”.
Any one and everyone is welcome in our community not matter the location, age, gender, race, religion etc.......
Also as the community has grown bigger we’ve started to raise money and awareness not only for mental health but other charities and non profit organisations.
Since June 2019 we’ve raised £6,500 which is fantastic.
We have two charity t-shirts which are very popular, one raises awareness for mental health and one for the environment with all the profit going to charities in those areas.
Our 2021 mountain bike jersey has just launched for pre order and the response has been fantastic with orders coming in from all over the world.
The jersey has a mental health message on the back “MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS” and £3 of every sale goes to a mental health charity.
Especially at a present time like this it’s been very important to spread awareness for mental health and support not only people but charities as well.
In 2019 we began running free social rides to get people together, outside, exercising and socialising which are all extremely important.
They were very popular and successful and we hoped to develop and improve them for 2020 but of cause the virus put a stop to that.
Hopefully we’ll be able to get them back up and running soon as I think they’re an important and fun escape for people.
We have a lot more planned to develop, improve and grow the community but me and the others who help manage TotalMTB are all full time with other careers and family life so it’s difficult at the minute.
We do work with brands to help fund TotalMTB and we also work with they to benefit our community through discounts, giveaways and raffles as a thank you to the community for the ongoing support. We do have been plans for the future, one of which is similar to Make A Wish in which we’d look to reward either people in need or people in the MTB industry who have done fantastic work to help it and we surprise them with a gift of some sort again to try and spread the good feeling.
Photos by Lewis Bell visit http://lewisbell.photography/