Man cycling 36,500km to help others after mental health fight

Joel McAllister is riding 36,500km every day this year for charity CALM.

Joel McAllister is riding 36,500km every day this year for charity CALM. - Credit: Mark Ashby / Ashby Shoots

A Wymondham man has set himself a year-long riding challenge of 36,500km to fundraise for charity CALM following his own struggles.

Joel McAllister, from Wymondham, will be cycling 100km a day for a year "against living miserably" after starting the challenge on January 23.

The 28-year-old said he struggled a lot with his mental health while living in London studying architecture, which resulted in him quitting university and moving back home to Norfolk.

Joel McAllister is riding 36,500km every day this year for charity CALM.

Joel McAllister is riding 36,500km every day this year for charity CALM. - Credit: Lex Spedding Photography

He hopes to raise money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), which helps to prevent suicide in the UK, saying suicide is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the country.

The mechanical project engineer said: "The idea of riding so much is a representation of the struggle that people go through with their mental health.


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"Just over five years ago, I was miserable and was in a place where I didn't let anyone in, or anyone to help.

"I feel happy to be able to admit that I've been through such a dark period and have come out the other side, but there are so many who don't."

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The Norwich Rowing Club member's efforts have not come without its struggles, having suffered a severe concussion following a fall in March, which took weeks to recover from, and dealing with multiple knee injuries.

Mr McAllister said: "I'm fortunate that my girlfriend is a physio so I've managed to recover quickly from multiple knee injuries. It's definitely not been easy."

He aims to complete the challenge on January 22 and has been cycling to and from his work office to clock up the miles.

The 28-year-old added: "I’m fortunate that the hours are fairly stable so I can fit the riding in.

"The distance is a huge milestone for most people getting into the sport of cycling so trying to achieve this every day for 365 days seemed like a good idea.

"Within this year I have ridden from Lands' End to John O’Groats, raced Further East and countless loops of my favourite lanes."

To donate to his cause visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/joel-mcallister

For help or support contact Samaritans, free, 24/7, helpline on 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org or visit samaritans.org

You can contact CALM on 0800 585858 from 5pm every day.

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