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Banff war veteran completes first part of cycle challenge


By Kyle Ritchie

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A Banff man has completed the first leg of an epic bike tour which aims to support people dealing with mental health issues.

Steve Beedie (40) pedalled from his home town to Inverness and then cycled the North Coast 500 as part of his Veterans Heart challenge.

As he cycles through the communities, he is filming the trip and interviewing people affected by mental health, which will be made into a documentary.

He is also raising money for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – the Armed Forces charity (SSAFA) and has set up online fundraising pages.

Steve Beedie was on the road for three weeks during the first part of his cycle challenge.
Steve Beedie was on the road for three weeks during the first part of his cycle challenge.

Steve said: "I am missing it already and enjoyed it so much. Even when it got hard the whole experience was worth it.

"I took up cycling just two months ago, so as the trip progressed I got really fit, really quick.

"There was a section just past the braes at Brora that was really difficult and when you get to the west coast its hills, braes and pretty much mountain passes."

Steve also had to contend with wild weather and the stormy conditions meant that Applecross was the only destination he did not make, which was frustrating for him.

He added: "I was about an hour from Applecross but the weather was so bad it was just too much of a risk.

"It was 60mph winds and if I got knocked of my bike and injured myself I was a long way from help."

Steve returned to his home in Banff last Saturday after three weeks on the road.

He was planning to set off in October to do the south of Scotland and then the rest of the UK, but the increase of coronavirus cases and lockdowns being imposed in cities have put his plans on hold.

He said: "If this year has taught us anything its that you can't expect any day to be the same.

"With the coronavirus cases increasing it is a risk to start the the next leg and I could be putting myself and others in danger.

"In the meantime, I've got a lot of footage and interviews from the north trip, so I am going to start piecing the documentary together."

One of the main aims of the challenge is to raise awareness of how mental health affects veterans, their families and anyone who has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Steve served in Kosovo and Iraq, has lost friends to suicide and faced some of the hardest moments of his life over the past few years due to post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety.

Then coronavirus hit and he was laid off and lost his livelihood and way of life.

Instead of being upset, he gathered support and decided to take on the bike challenge and create the documentary to help the thousands of people who are struggling with mental health.

To take on the tour he was donated a bicycle from a fellow veteran after an appeal on Twitter.

He has set up a Go Fund Me page which people can donate to here and his Just Giving page can be accessed here

Mr Beedie is founder of the Unspoken Wounds online resources where he produces content to help people with any mental health issues they have.

For more information visit facebook.com/unspokenwounds

More local news can be read here



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