Riding the Ups and Downs of Wales for Mental Health Awareness.
On the 13th and 14th July, Convey Law’s James Smith cycled 600km in two days to raise awareness of mental health and raise funds for charity very close to his heart. The Mindstep Foundation was set up in memory of Max Davies, James’s brother-in-law, who sadly lost his battle with depression last year. The charity aims to raise awareness about mental health and funds a much-needed research programme into clinical depression.
James from Llanfoist, only took up road riding in the last year and has already done a similar challenge in the Swiss Alps with 3 friends for the cause. However, the latest ride was solo from Chepstow to Bangor and return.
With Mum & Dad in support as the mobile feeding station, a total of 16000 calories were burnt and over 6,500 meters climbed. James encountered racing sheep, tough climbs and stunning views of which the highlight was riding through the Snowdonia National Park as the sun appeared over Snowdon’s peak.
It was a tough two days averaging 28km/hr to complete each leg in under 10 hrs. “I taped Max’s name on my bike frame, when it got tough a quick look down gave me all the motivation needed to push on” said James.
James rode into Chepstow in the sunshine at 16:30 on Sunday welcomed by family and friends. Lloyd Davies, Max’s Dad was there to meet his son-in law. It was an emotional welcome.
“This was an exceptional challenge by an inspirational young man. James and Max were very close – like brothers – and Max’s passing has left a massive hole in all of our lives. We have established the Mindstep Foundation to help others in a similar position – through research, awareness and assistance through counselling and support. Depression takes the lives of 11 young men every day in the UK. The fundraising efforts of James and Max’s friends since his passing have been both incredible and inspirational. Hopefully we can all work together to try and curtail this terrible pandemic.”
It was nearly a year ago Max lost his battle with depression, James planned the challenge as the first annual memorial ride and has raised over £1600 for the Mindstep Foundation through his gofundme page.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone who supported me and to all who have donated to this amazing cause. I hope that the ride has raised awareness about mental health, as well as raising funds for the Mindstep Foundation. I think young men especially are reluctant to talk about mental health and we desperately need to change this culture”.