We talk to TotalMTB founder Ryan Oldfield about the growing TotalMTB community – a community which encourages more people out on bikes to help their mental health and physical well-being.
What is TotalMTB?
TotalMTB, a Community Interest Company, is a 3 times award-nominated, non-profit community of bike riders who are helping mental health and inclusivity through mountain biking.
On the trail to remove the stigma around mental health, Ryan tells us that it doesn’t matter what your gender, race, sexuality, religion, appearance, fitness, skill level, background or cost of bike or brand of clothing you wear, everyone is welcomed into the TotalMTB community.
They run a number of projects and campaigns all of which aim at getting more people out on bikes to benefit and maintain their mental and physical well-being, as well as helping and inspiring their riders as much as possible.
TotalMTB’s aim is to make a positive impact on people’s lives by trying to make people happy, building their confidence and letting them know that no matter how they’re feeling, the TotalMTB community is here for them and they aren’t alone.
How long has the TotalMTB Community been running?
Since July 2017
Why did you set TotalMTB up?
Ryan discloses his personal background, saying that “I’ve had bad anxiety since I was at nursery but didn’t realise what it was until my mid 20s. I had to find a sport that I enjoyed, could do by myself and got me outside. As a kid I loved biking so I bought a bike and started again.
I loved going downhill and fast. Not only did I enjoy it, but it also took away all the thoughts and stresses I was feeling at that time, as you have to concentrate or you’ll come off!
Not only that, but biking can take you to some awesome places to be surrounded by nature and all the amazing sights, smells, sounds and wildlife, it’s just so awesome!
I wanted to try and encourage others to do the same, but with my anxiety I couldn’t do vlogging or taking pictures of myself in the beginning, so I created an MTB repost page but with a difference.
The difference was that it would repost anyone from anywhere. Other repost pages would just concentrate on the famous riders and famous riding places, but I wanted to relate and connect with anyone and everyone by showing that it didn’t matter where you rode, who you were, what you looked like – everyone was welcome.
I hoped it would inspire and encourage others to get out, explore trails and connect with people at a trail near them. And that’s exactly what happened – it turned into a fantastic, welcoming and supportive community.”
What’s the link between mental health + mountain biking?
Mountain biking is scientifically proven to help mental health due to fresh air, being outside, trees, sun, sights, sounds, smells, wildlife, exercise. They all contribute to giving your body and mind the good endorphins it requires to make you feel de-stressed, relaxed and positive.
You can see a more in depth video about the benefits of MTB on someone’s mental health here: https://youtu.be/M-YkDgdP_yo
Tell us more about the charity work that TotalMTB does…
Our main focus is mental health by supporting, helping, encouraging and just being there for people when they need it.
A lot of people don’t get in touch with us directly, but find our content very useful and like having a community that supports mental health.
We have a lot of supportive content on our website, but we also link with a UK mental health charity for more in depth support. This is the charity we raise funds for through items we sell, charity raffles and more.
The awareness we’ve raised for mental health is impossible to see, but we’re pretty sure the message is steadily getting out to all our followers, as well as reaching new people through social media and in person.
We’ve raised £28,000 since June 2019 and want to continue raising more as time goes on.
We also raise money to fund the planting of trees – 20,000 so far!
Alongside our charity work, we also help promote (and fund if we can) other non-profit projects.
How would you like to develop the TotalMTB Community in future?
We have a big list of ideas for TotalMTB’s future – some are very exciting, we just have to find the right time to do them.
Ryan says TotalMTB is always developing and progressing, keeping a constant presence while coming up with new ideas, opportunities, collaborations and partners, to reach and support more people which is the goal they are constantly working towards.
How can people find out more and support the TotalMTB Community?
Our website is very informative and is kept up to date with everything TotalMTB; what we do, who we are, our campaigns, our projects etc.
Have a look at it here: https://www.totalmtb.co.uk/
We’re on most social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok.
And we have merchandise for sale with a lot of the products donating to charity when bought: https://www.totalmtb.co.uk/shop-2/ so why not have a look and support the invaluable TotalMTB community now.