A fundraiser that started as a one-man operation with a humble goal of $3,000 has gained more traction, picked up momentum and far surpassed that number without the event even having happened yet. This Thursday, September 1, Tenth Mountain Division drummer Tyler Gwynn is teaming up with Backline to now raise more money for mental health and wellness resources for the music industry, giving back to his community as his community concurrently works to support his cause.
The fundraiser at hand is a solo bike ride from Old Town Pub in Steamboat Springs to Denver’s Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, being ridden by Gwynn and Gwynn alone. The connecting factor between biking, music and mental health is Gwynn himself, who took up the sport during the pandemic. Like many musicians who suffered not only financially and professionally when the pandemic forced the live music industry to essentially shut down, Gwynn found his mental health declining as well. “When the pandemic first hit, my sense of purpose and identity were in a moment nonexistent,” Gwynn said. “I spiraled into a deep depression and was not taking care of myself mentally or physically.”
Gwynn picked up biking, a sport he had always loved but had forgotten about, and was soon riding 80-100 miles at a time. Through biking, Gwynn rediscovered his purpose and a better understanding of the beauty, joy, pain and suffering that ebbs and flows throughout all of our lives. “You learn that all you can do is keep moving forward and that no matter how high of a hill you’re climbing, at some point there is a top,” Gwynn said. “When you’re on that downhill, you have to appreciate every moment of it, because that’s where you’ll get the strength and willpower to take on the next big challenge.”
Where Gwynn has biking, many musicians in the local community have Backline, and he wanted to use his newfound purpose to help his fellow musicians. Gwynn described Backline as helping to “provide tools for musicians to take on these peaks and valleys that can’t be taken on alone.” Backline provides case management services, support groups and other educational and wellness resources to the music community. Gwynn himself utilized therapy to get him to the good place he’s in today, and is using this bike ride to support Backline’s initiatives.
The fundraiser has already produced well over $4,000 with one more day to go until Gwynn’s ride begins. Both Old Town Pub and Cervantes’ have been a home away from home for Gwynn many artists that he knows, and have helped many artists accomplish their goals and dreams. “Personally, I would not be the drummer I am today without these two places,” Gwynn said. The route, which is roughly 220 miles by bike, will be a testament to Gwynn’s physical and mental strength and to the ferocity of the greater musical community to lift each other during difficult times.
You can donate to Tyler Gwynn’s Fundraise for Backline Care, Inc. here.