Man Down is a project to raise awareness of men’s mental health and the message It’s OK to talk. We speak to founder Dean Lambert about the campaign and his Garden Hopping Tour.
Dean Lambert, the man behind Monkey Dix Adventures, a growing and friendly community of small-bike fans, has created the ‘Man Down’ awareness campaign to start a conversation about mental health and get bikers to display vinyl stickers on their bikes to show that they are open to talking about mental health. Monkey Dix is also supporting Andy’s Man Club, a men’s suicide prevention charity. As part of the campaign, the Garden Hopping Tour around the UK revs up on 5 August. We talked to Dean a few days before he set off about the trip and the cause.
What is the Garden Hopping Tour?
Dean explains, ‘For years, I rode big bikes, including a BMW 1200GS, a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster and a Pan European ST1100. But my love of biking was rekindled when I bought a Honda Monkey 125. It took me back to my youth, reliving the fun and companionship that small bikes bring. I wanted to celebrate small bikes, and thus Monkey Dix Adventures was born.
‘Four years later, we have a community of small-bike riders - over 1,400 members around the world - in our Facebook group. We take part in organised events like the Dragon Rally and run our events such as an annual four-day ride on the Isle of Man, with 37 Monkey Revolutionaries taking part in 2023, including ex-TT riders. We have regular Monkey cook-outs, where we each take a Trangia stove and cook our dinner together in different scenic locations by the roadside. The Garden Hopping Tour is new for us, and something I want to do to raise awareness of men’s mental health.
‘We’re leaving at on 5 August and riding 2,500 miles up and down the UK. I thought it would take between 10 and 12 days, doing between 200 and 270 miles a day but, looking at the weather forecast, it might be longer! If it takes a few days extra, it takes a few days extra. The mileage is ambitious, and I am a bit apprehensive, but that is tempered by all the great people we are going to meet on the trip. It will all be ridden on small CC bikes. A few of us are doing the entire trip, including me on my Honda CT125 Hunter Cub; Monkey Mark on his Honda Monkey; and Alan, who’s bolted a car seat onto his Honda Grom! We’ll be joined by fellow riders from our Facebook group. People can come for a quick meet-up, an hour’s ride, a day, or as much of the tour as they want to do. Just keep an eye on the tracker app in our Facebook group. The plan is to tick off as many bucket-list items, like the North Coast 500 and Lindisfarne, as we can along the way, while wild camping, camping out in people’s gardens and some B&Bs when we need to charge our kit. We will be giving out Man Down stickers en route and discussing how bikers can support one another with mental health.’
What’s the Garden Hopping route?
- Start: 6am, 5 August, at the Obelisk at Leigh, Greater Manchester
- Head down to the Isle of Wight
- Visit Stonehenge
- Go to Land’s End
- Ride up to John O’Groats
- Do the North Coast 500
- Finish: Leigh
It’s OK for men to talk about mental health
Man Down aims to help make it easier for men to talk about their mental health. Despite the progress that has been made in recent years, men are still far less likely to speak out about mental health issues and seek professional help than women. In the UK, male suicide rates are three times higher than female suicide rates, contributing to an overall mortality rate among men that is significantly higher than women. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. While it can be difficult to reach out, many people and organisations will listen and help men work through whatever they are going through.
How can you get involved?
Get a Man Down T-Shirt or a vinyl sticker to show that you are open to talk about mental health. The Roadskin team is honoured to have played a part in the design of the Man Down logo.
Join The Monkey Revolution group THE MONKEY REVOLUTION | Facebook (find info on T-shirts here) and/or follow the tour on YouTube Monkey Dix Adventures - YouTube
Donate to Andy’s Man Club, which provides peer-to-peer support groups to prevent male suicide. Visit www.andysmanclub.co.uk or via Monkey Dix Adventure's Just Giving link: https://www.justgiving.com/page/the-monkey-revolution-man-down-1688118584105
If you need help with your mental health:
- Find the right person to talk to – it could be a friend, family member, therapist or even an online support group. You don’t have to struggle alone. Support is out there.
- Be honest about how you’re feeling – don’t try and bottle up your emotions.
- Look after yourself physically, as this can help to improve your mental health. Exercise, healthy eating and getting enough sleep are all important for helping to keep your mind in good shape.
- If you are worried about the mental health of someone else, contact a medical professional for advice and support.
- Guys - visit the Andy’s Man Club website and see where your local venue is. They are run every Monday between 7pm and 9pm (except bank holidays) and are friendly and confidential.