Mental health awareness week
10th-17th May is Mental Health Awareness week
This year the focus is on spending time with nature for the extraordinary mental health benefits that brings.
Did you know that research has found that people will recover in hospital far quicker if they have a view of trees and green spaces from their window?
It feels so good to take a walk or bike ride away from cities and towns; with trees, grass and hills for company. Mountain bikers, like trail runners or hikers, are particularly well equipped to escape and head for the hills. That moment you stop at the top of a tough climb, take a breath and a drink, breathe in the fresh air and look around you. That is a healing moment for body and mind. And now more than ever, we need those moments.
Public Health England data just published tells us that only 16.8% of people in England have access to woodland and 17.9% have outdoor space available for exercise or health reasons. Clearly, like much to do with health and wellbeing, there is a social divide between those who can pop out for a walk in the woods and those living in the inner cities. We are pretty lucky in Bristol in that many thousands of us have access to green and pleasant spaces, just a short bus or bike ride away. But there are a lot of people still not able to access nature for all sorts of reasons and not able to benefit from the experience of being surrounded by green leaves, birds and silence.
Where do we come in?
RideBristol is committed to helping as many people as possible access and benefit from off-road cycling in the Bristol area. We are focusing on maintaining the trails in Ashton Court at the moment, so they continue to be rideable and fun. A lot of local mountain bikers use these trails as a starting point for two-wheeled adventures that take in other trails in the local area. We would like to share some inspiring stories and photos of local mountain bikers taking to the trails, enjoying the green spaces and nature that we are so lucky to have just on our city edges.
Send us your photos and tell us how mountain biking helps you balance the stresses and strains of everyday life.
This April you can do something simple that makes a difference to the environment, the people around you and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something for the greater good.
We collected stories from the local riding community about how the trails helped keep people going through lockdown.