I’ve been biking on and off all my life but after finding out about my anxiety I heard biking was good for it so started biking again.
I found people like BKXC and Deaks on social media who were inspiring. I wanted to also try to inspire and encourage others to get out but I didn’t like being on camera so I needed to find another way.
I saw there were repost accounts but the majority of them only posted known riders or crashes and that’s what I wanted to change, I think people are more inspired and encouraged by other unknown riders so that’s what I did.
Lots of people started to tag our account and use our hashtag for a repost which in itself gave them a reason to go out even if it’s to get an image for social media. We repost and hopefully their image inspires and encourages others, people can see other places and trails to try, connect with other riders and so on. From there it’s developed a lot and we aren’t just a repost account now we have and do so much more.
As well as inspiring people we also like to give back to the community if we can through discounts, giveaways and raffles. We support charities and non profit projects and we also link with brands new or established to help with exposure.
How many people make up the TotalMTB and what do they do?
Including myself there’s 7 people who help keep TotalMTB running smoothly.
Myself – Founder
Lew – Photography (also helps me discuss future ideas etc)
Andy – Designer (also helps me discuss future ideas etc)
Sally – Runs #MTBTalk on Twitter
Ian – Runs #TotalRider on social media
Andy H – Helps manage and run #TotalSocial rides
Carl – Runs #TotalMTB Facebook group.
We also have 11 fantastic ambassadors who help represent TotalMTB and spread our message.
Do you think the benefits of outdoor exercise fully appreciated?
I think people know it’s beneficial but I don’t think people know quite how important and good for you it is especially in times like this.
I can remember a segment from Springwatch and they perfectly told viewers how and why the environment and countryside was important. The exercise, outdoors, trees, countryside, sun etc, just a little time among these help your brain with good endorphins and give you a little pick me up so the more and longer you can do it the better.
What did you have to sacrifice to get to this stage?
As I’m self employed and my background is in design and marketing it was just time that I mainly had to sacrifice.
There was also some small outgoings at the start for marketing material and stress at points which I don’t get with my other work but apart from that I think I’ve been quite lucky with it.
I was able to do the branding, website, print, social media all myself and give it a good base to start from.
I’m a self employed designer so I did it alongside my day job which is tough but it would have been a lot harder and progress would have been a lot slower had I had a full time job.
Self employment isn’t the best paid but it’s helped me set up TotalMTB which I hope will have greater benefits for people in the future.
Are you working alongside to make ends meet?
My main business is design and marketing which I still do, so it’s fairly busy and tiring running both businesses and looking after my daughter 3 days a week while my wife works.
Each year TotalMTB is earning more so hopefully I can concentrate on it full time and really see where it can go, which is exciting to think.
Have you had to overcome any major obstacles to get to this point?
At points I’ve had some things through TotalMTB to deal with which is new and testing for me.
Unfortunately I think I was affected more because of my personality and anxiety, I can’t just move on from it and forget about it. In the past I’ve seen some negative comments towards what TotalMTB was doing, it was only a couple of people but it still affected me.
Also things going wrong like with our jerseys last year, the supplier was very unprofessional and caused so many problems for me. Unfortunately it really affected my anxiety and I wasn’t well with it but thankfully everyone was so supportive and understanding.
Unfortunately due to my anxiety I’ve not been able to attend the bike events, races and expos I want and I’m still trying to learn out to live with anxiety so it doesn’t stop me doing things but it’s difficult and I don’t like that it holds me and TotalMTB back from developing.
How did you narrow it down to helping the charities you support?
First and most importantly that had to be charities in which we believe, trust and like what they’re doing.
I like to support charities and projects that are on the smaller side and lesser known so I can try and help with exposure as well as funding. They’re also a lot more appreciative that the bigger names as your donations and help don’t get lost with all the rest.
What was involved in that process?
I did a fair bit of research on them to see exactly what they are about and who they’re already linked with just to be 100% sure this is someone or something we want to support.
I also discuss it a lot with my colleagues who sometimes have more insight then me.
How do you decide which projects to work on going forward?
I have an idea and I put it to my colleagues to hear their opinions on it. If we think it’s doable and it will be received well then I plan it out. Not all things are successful but unless you try, you don’t know. Also something that is important is ideas have to have benefits/value to our community.
Where next for TotalMTB? How do you plan to go about getting extra helpers etc. etc.?
I hope we can get more exposure through media outlets to help us reach more people and build our community. We’re doing ok ourselves but if we can get boosts along the way through media outlets that would be fantastic.
The more people we can reach the more people we can hopefully get our message to and help. We have a lot of bigger plans on the back burner as we just don’t have enough time to be able to do them unfortunately, we all have very busy work and home lives.
I’d let to hopefully get the support of more known riders and people in the MTB scene/industry to again help push TotalMTB. I’m hoping we can organise more #TotalSocial rides (once we’re allowed) and I’d love to link with the FE to run them at their locations around the country so we can reach more people.
We’ve done 3 social rides so far and the first one we did was amazing, fantastic turnout, and Lew captured the ride and vibe on camera and you can see all ages, genders, background, ability etc together, talking, having a good time meeting new people and that is exactly what we want.
It gave us a good feeling that we’d been able to organise and bring these people together. Riders who joined are starting to ask us to do them again which is great to here.
Anybody to thank at this point in the journey? Long suffering spouses/parents/friends?
The community, ambassadors, crew and wife who all help and support me both through the good and difficult times.
You can check out everything TotalMTB-related on their website here.