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Cycling and its role in helping grief and depression

A small, uplifting memoir about how cycling helped Craig Fry cope with his father’s sudden death is shining the spotlight on the role it can play in grief and depression.

Ride: A Memoir to my Father tells how Associate Professor Fry, from the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing at Victoria University, dealt with the shock and crippling grief of losing his father.

It is a deeply personal account of loss and grief, and how the simple act of riding a bike through familiar places kept his father’s memory alive – and kept him going in his darkest moments.

“I was not prepared at all for my father’s death,” he says. “It was a great shock, and the resulting grief floored me.

His father, Lindsay, died at home alone from a pulmonary embolism days after his first dose of chemotherapy. He was two weeks short of his 70th birthday.

“In the depths of grief, I didn’t always possess the words to describe and understand what I was feeling but I was lucky enough to discover quickly that cycling helped me.”

Although he started writing the book as a diversion from the sadness in his own life, Fry is pleased it is bringing comfort to others.

Fry concedes that he is not an academic expert in this area, but writing about his own experiences made him me wonder more about the role of the humble bicycle – especially when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. 

“Available evidence suggests that physical activity and exercise like cycling can have a positive impact on mental health, and could be one helpful strategy for some people experiencing grief,” he says.

Associate Professor Fry is available for interview.

Ride: A Memoir to my Father, published by Hampress, is available in a Kindle edition through Amazon. A percentage of sales from the book will be donated to the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.

Media contact: Elisabeth Tarica, 03 9919 9491, 0435 960 793 or elisabeth.tarica@vu.edu.au

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