Bike racer Sean Gordon will ride around every Scottish Premiership ground to raise awareness of our rising mental health crisis.
Motherwell fan Sean will ride 500 miles in five days to celebrate the life of his dad, John, who took his own life in 2014 after struggling with depression and anxiety.
He will be joined for sections of the ride by friends who knew his dad, a popular teacher and well known among Scotland’s cycling community.
Talented amateur road racer Sean and friends will make a poignant stop at Fir Park, where he and his dad watched their beloved Motherwell for years.
The businessman – who runs the JG Cycles bike shop in Dennistoun, Glasgow, named after his dad – is raising cash for mental health charity Tiny Changes was set up in the memory of Scott Hutchison, of Scottish band Frightened Rabbit, who took his own life in 2018.
Sean revealed that his own personal involvement with the public appeal over Scott’s disappearance in the days after he went missing in 2018 made a massive connection with him.
He said: “I was working with Police Scotland at the time, taking calls from the public, and we were briefed about Scott when an appeal went out to find him.
“As it turned out, Scott had been suffering from similar issues to my dad, so I really made a connection with Tiny Changes and what it is trying to achieve.”
Sean said that anxiety has run in his family through generations and he also has battles to overcome, particularly in winter months.
He said: “Anxiety and depression are hard to deal with and it can be hard to see the tough times coming but it is most certainly something we can talk about more freely these days. I have my own dark times but I know I have great support and that really does help.
“I’m hoping that the ride I do will mark my own tribute to my dad and will hopefully do a bit more to raise awareness of just how common these problems can be, particularly for young men and boys.”
Sean will start at Hampden Park on May 18, passing through all the Cinch Premiership grounds, returning back to the National Stadium for the Scottish Cup Final five days later.
Sean was extremely close to John and believes his dad would be proud of how he opened his own bike shop in Glasgow three years ago.
He said: “I think my dad would have loved to have done that himself but it was a bit of a gamble. He worked at Ravenscraig steelworks before it got shut down then became a teacher.
“My dad instilled in me a great love of both cycling and Motherwell Football Club. Whilst he is sorely missed, I feel I can use his story of him, and the subsequent survival of his family and those around us to raise awareness that there is help out there for those who need it.
“Both the cycling community and the football community have been absolutely essential to my own survival through mental health struggles of my own, and I hope that by completing this ride I can show my appreciation for, and shed a light on, some of the wonderful things both communities have to offer.”
The plan for the ride is to start at Hampden on the 18th and ride via Celtic Park, Fir Park, Almondvale, Tynecastle, Easter Road and wind up in Perth at McDiarmid Park on Day 1.
The route will then meander north visiting the two Dundee teams before heading for Aberdeen.
On day three Sean will go to the northernmost team in the premier league, Ross County in Dingwall, before taking a couple of days to work back through to Hampden via St Mirren Park and Ibrox.
San added: “I am hopeful that along the way I will be able to ride with friends of both my dad and I alike, and share our stories out on the road. I am also encouraging people to come out and see me along the way and even ride with us for a few miles if you are able.”
• Click here to donate.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.