About the Book
This is the story of two journeys. One is through the darkest depths of poor mental health, whilst the other involves a bicycle. Emotional distress has plagued life since adolescence, and six years ago I suffered a catastrophic breakdown in which all seemed lost.
After a chance meeting with some cyclists, whilst on holiday in Scotland, I mounted a cycle for the first time in 18 years. Follow my progress through the illness and preparation as I fight to move forward and manage my life again.
Round Britain-Ride2Recovery was a dream, something to aim for and somewhere where hope was still alive. The aim was simple. I would cycle over 4000 miles, unsupported, following the Uk coastline whilst camping. I would talk to people openly about my experiences of mental health problems in order to try to reduce the stigma that still exists.
I would also be fundraising for the UK charity Sustrans, builders of the UK's National Cycle Network. Without their trails, and signed cycleways, I wouldn't be riding today.
It would take eighteen months of preparation and four months on the road to complete this journey and I could barely manage my life from day to day at the conception of the idea. Was it realistic? I had to find out one step at a time.
Travel with me as I explore incredible scenery, meet wonderful, generous people, and struggle to complete my dream. I would be Riding2Recovery.
My name is Graeme. I'm now a 57 year old man who spends as much time as I can on my recumbent trike. In 2009, after a major breakdown, I had to learn to live differently. My career was gone along with most other things I thought were important in my life. Three members of my family then passed away, leaving me broken and bereft. I was left with what felt like nothing. How, from that point could I rebuild a life of any kind? A chance meeting in Scotland, with some cyclists who were touring, set a spark. From the spark grew a flame, and from that day to this, cycling and a more gentle life has taken shape. There were many battles along the way, but today I manage my illness better. This trilogy of books follows my journey through this life-changing experience, warts and all. I hope it will encourage others to speak out and share their own experiences around poor mental health and I also hope you might find a spark of inspiration in them. I hope you enjoy reading my story. Graeme