Black Sheep Cycling: Man Ride 22 – The ride for mental health.

Today, gender-free initiatives are progressing worldwide. For the past seven years, Black Sheep Cycling (BSC) in Australia has also been working to solve the issues faced by both women and men.
Two of its core events are the WMN Ride, held every March to commemorate International Women’s Day, and the Man Ride, held every October to celebrate International Mental Health Day.

The Man Ride focuses on mental health and aims to “shine a bright light on the power of community” to show that we are not alone.
This year, BSC Ambassador Masayuki and other members gathered here in Tokyo, Japan, ahead of other BSC communities around the world. The 83-km route was intended to deepen community connections.

Route of this time

Text & Photo / Tats
Route Editing / Masayuki

Man Ride 22 in Tokyo

The “Man Ride” is designed for better mental health and community connection. This time it is a medium-distance route of 83 km (elevation gain: 980 m). Departure is from Yanoguchi.

Ride leader Masayuki, who has recently completed Everesting and Fuji 3PEAKS (a challenge to climb Mt. Fuji three times by different routes), is a road seeker who is always in pursuit of hills on his regular rides.
He knows most of the hills in the area starting from Yanoguchi, and this time, based on the route he has prepared, we will be connecting hills along roads that most cyclists do not ride.

Riding through unfamiliar roads is a new experience in itself. Where are we? We followed the ride leader, using our brains to figure out where we were. It is also exciting to experience that sometimes we are connected to a road that we know, and we wonder if we are going to end up here. It’s like a map in our head being supplemented.

There are no hill-climbing points, but there are a number of short hills, the longest of which is 2 km, interwoven into the course.
Although the pace is gentle, the repeated ups and downs gradually fatigue the members’ legs.
The question gradually came to mind, “Is this good for my mental health? Why use so many legs on a ride for mental health?”

Just when everyone was feeling that way, one member of the team let slip, “Isn’t today’s ride tough?”
The ride leader replies with only a smiling face.
From that moment, the group feels united based on the common understanding that “it’s tough.”

At first, the community was a bit tense because many of the members were new to each other, but as we shared the same feelings, the distance between us loosened and it became easier to speak frankly with each other.
At that moment, we realized that the route design had been calculated to make this happen, and we was shaken by the thoughtfulness of the ride leaders.
I just don’t want to believe that the course was drawn by a ride leader who likes hills.

Blue Door Coffee is the place to go for a coffee break after a long day of talking with your legs. Candy and whip. The inflection stimulates the community.

The view of Aikawa Town, which offers the best visibility on this route. While descending a long hill, the sudden change from a residential area to a rural landscape causes a sudden outburst of voices.

Although there is a lot of traffic along the main road, the back roads also have a calm farmhouse scene. When riding on these roads, you can reduce the intensity and relax.

Lunch is at Huckleberry, a Western-style restaurant with a bicycle rack.
The building, reminiscent of the modern American world depicted by Mark Twain, is a log cabin that the owner spent five years building by hand. It can accommodate large groups, making it ideal for community rides.
A wide variety of menu items such as omelette rice, stew, and pasta will fill your stomach.

When a member of the group who was scheduled to participate this time finds out that he will be delayed significantly for work, we tries to somehow join him.

Standing Still Battles are initiated to adjust time. While the purpose is for mental health, anything is becoming possible as long as it is fun. That is the beauty of community rides.

We ended up meeting up at Cross Coffee at the end of the day after our paths had crossed. But it was good that we could all be together at the end. Since we were able to meet, we had tea with the remaining members and then broke up.

* * *

We plan to hold another Man Ride and WMN Ride next year, so we can only hope that Black Sheep Cycling can connect cyclists to each other in a community, and to the healthy mental health of the participants.


Man Ride Collection

In conjunction with Man Ride 22, a new jersey “MR. Collection” has been released. This year, BSC collaborated with artist Maxime Manga. The theme of the collection is “Showing your true self to the world.
The true self is often weak, fragile, and imperfect. The design, constructed with abstract elements, is provocative, subversive, and intentionally intended to attract the attention of those around it. It is clear that this can trigger conversations with each other and communicate about oneself.

Maxime Manga

©Black Sheep Cycling

A graphic artist from Cameroon who has worked with world-renowned companies such as Adidas, Adobe, and The Academy. His signature Afro-futuristic (a movement that combines technology, the future, and space with black culture) portraits, each paired with powerful self-reflection and self-affirmation, draw the viewer’s eye.

Black Sheep Cycling – MR Collection   

– Team Man Ride in Tokyo 2022 –
Rider / MasayukiShosei, Satch, Taku, Michi, Junya, Jun & Tats
Route Editing / Masayuki
Text & Photo / Tats

Special Thanks to CYCLISM