Meet Richard (He/Him/His)
Hello, I’m Richard Hearne. I founded PRiDE OUT in May 2019 to meet new LGBTQ + friends who like to cycle. I started cycling in 2015 to get exercise, get fresh air, improve my health and to have fun. At times I’ve had anxiety and occasional mild depression like many people. Exercise has always been important to me and I enjoy actives such as walking, hiking, camping, kayaking and skiing. But cycling has always been my go-to sport, something I can really push myself at whether solo or as part of a group.
I’ve always loved cycling especially as a child, so I decided to buy my first adult bike five years ago. It’s the best thing I’ve EVER done. In the early days I cycled solo for two years which I enjoyed, but then I wanted some new friends to cycle with. I searched the internet for a gay or LGBT cycle group in Manchester, and I couldn't find one. So I tried one session with a local cycle club. But it wasn't much fun. I wasn't made to feel welcome at the start point and it was unsettling feeling so nervous. Overall, it wasn't a pleasant experience; I had a good level of fitness, but still struggled to keep up on a 35-mile bike ride. If someone broke down or got lost, they didn't wait or even look back. I wasn't keen to go back.
I've cycled with other groups, some of them L(GBT) and also plucked up the courage to lead some cycle rides. Actually, with a little bit of help, it's not too bad leading a ride and can be quite stimulating to see other people having fun at an event you've created. But on some rides, there were very few people which was a little disappointing. I continued to think why isn't there an LGBT + group for cycling when there is one for walking, water polo, badminton, running, line dancing, football, and even rugby! At this point, I decided to roll my sleeves up and have a go... PRiDE OUT was created in May 2019.
There have been a few times I've procrastinated and wondered whether there was a real demand for an LGBT+ cycle group in Manchester and beyond, but I kept thinking there has to be! I stuck to my guns and continued to ask anyone I can think of that may be interested or willing to share news of our group and it's worked, we've had some fantastic support. In early January on our 3rd ride as a group, 18 people had signed up and 16 people came along on a dreary, damp day. I couldn't believe my eyes – it was incredibly (and slightly emotional) to see. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I was sent some lovely comments afterwards. It motivates me, even more, to continue growing the group and spreading the joy of getting some fresh air and endorphins on a bike.
I want our cycle group to be a haven for all LGBT+ (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) cyclists (& friends) so everyone can truly be themselves without fear of being judged. I strongly believe that many in the LGBTQ+ community feel isolated and lonely. It's not unusual for some in the LGBTQ + community to feel they struggle to meet new people without using dating apps or going to a bar. I really believe that we can persuade many more people to join a social or sports group like PRiDE OUT rather than relying solely on pubs, clubs or dating apps to meet new people.
Some LGBT+ sports groups aren't fully inclusive e.g. for women or trans. Some say it, but don't do it. And some are quite elitist and don't cater for beginners. We want to overcome these barriers as much as we can. Some community and sports groups don't feel inclusive whilst others can even be elitist and intimidating. We don't want people to think of us in that way and we will do everything we can to prove it. It's going to be a rewarding journey building something extraordinary, which will make a real difference to people's health and happiness.
We already have people from North West England in our cycling group including locations such as Bolton, Blackpool, Chester, Lancaster, Liverpool, Preston, Sheffield and Warrington. We even have some cyclists from over the pennines in Yorkshire including Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield.
If you need any help, advice or support, we want to help. Send us a message on social media or email us - firstname.lastname@example.org.