Home straight for Paul Salkovskis and Ride4OCD cyclists on epic trip

The OCD-UK riders have reached the South West having set out from Scotland on 10 August.

The OCD-UK riders have reached the South West having set out from Scotland on 10 August.

Clinical psychologist from our Department of Psychology, Professor Paul Salkovskis, has reached the South West on his epic nationwide cycle from John o'Groats to Lands End raising awareness of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and money for the charity OCD-UK.

Along with Ashley Fulwood, Chief Executive of OCD-UK, and Dr Lisa Marnell, Liverpool-based maths teacher, Paul set out from John o'Groats on Monday 10 August on a journey that would take the team through Scotland, Wales and England before finally arriving in Cornwall this Friday, some 1,229 miles later.

In this final week, the team are asking for your help to power them to the finish line at the most southerly tip of the country, including by donning Lycra and taking part yourselves.

Raising nationwide awareness of OCD

OCD is a serious anxiety-related condition where a person experiences frequent intrusive and unwelcome obsessional thoughts, causing immense anxiety and anguish, often followed by repetitive compulsions, impulses or urges.

For many people that suffer with and live with it, life can be a lonely isolating place, and can leave the sufferer totally disabled and at the mercy of their unwanted intrusive thoughts; severely impacting on their work, relationships and careers, which may come as a surprise to many when thinking of OCD.

Throughout the journey, Paul and colleagues have been finding opportunities to engage people in the often misunderstood issue, to talk to people who are living with OCD and to share latest findings from research on this topic, including that conducted at the University.

Professor Salkovskis on another wet day cycling through Wales en route to Lands End.

Professor Salkovskis on another wet day cycling through Wales en route to Lands End.

Professor Salkovksis explained: “OCD is a debilitating and disability condition which likely affects more people than you’d imagine. With nearly 750,000 reported cases in the UK - and potentially many more unreported – this is a real problem affecting the quality of life as well as life opportunities for many people.

“Yet there’s an average of seven to 12 years before people seek help. Given the average for onset is people in their early 20s this can mean important years in education, careers, relationships or friendships can be lost to OCD. We know treatment is effective, but it is sometimes hard to access.

“Our hope with this ride is to raise not only much-needed funds to support the important work of OCD-UK, but to raise awareness and understanding across society about OCD, the challenges it poses and the potential solutions.”

During the trip, Paul has also delivered presentations to service-users and therapists at events in Inverness, Liverpool, South Wales and, later this week, Truro too.

Help with the final push

With four final days’ cycling ahead that on Tuesday will take the team from Chew Valley to Exford (on Exmoor); on Wednesday from Exford to Bude; on Thursday from Bude to Truro; and finally on Friday from Truro to Land’s End it’s not too late to join in. All around the country riders have been joining in for stages of the ride.

Ashley Fulwood said: “We’d be delighted if you can get involved and cycle with us over these next few days - all we ask is you bring your own bike, a cycle helmet and a sense of adventure!”

The riders have so far raised £3,735.

For media enquiries:

Andy Dunne
University Press Office
44(0)7966 341357