Sunday, 13 January 2013

Why I Ride my Bike

I have never been a "cyclist" until recently, and to some degree, I still am not really.

But I do ride my bike because it gives me two big things; Hope and Freedom.

When I had cancer, it was Ewings Sarcoma, and in my right leg. A common place for this cancer to occur. Given that I had surgery on that leg, removing a large portion of my inner right thigh, and with the extra time it takes to heal when on chemotherapy, it was a long time until I was able to walk again, let alone do any type of "real" physical activity.

As the months went on, and my leg did slowly heal, I purchased a rather cheap bicycle (I have since bought a better one, my advice, don't get a cheap bike!). I could only use it once and awhile, but when I did it felt great. I had been told that being able to exercise would help me during chemo, so I did it as often as I could.

After finishing treatment I used cycling as a way to get back into decent physical shape. I love in Vancouver, which although has a beautiful mountain view, is actually quite flat providing a great place for an amateur cyclists such as myself. I used both bikes at the gym when the weather was bad, and my bike outside when the weather was nice.

As much as I like being around people sometimes, I find cycling, spending time by myself extremely freeing.  I can just get on my bike and go. I really enjoy cycling by the ocean, I always find it very calming, sometimes that feeling is in short supply. It gives me back the freedom that was taken away from me when I had cancer. It is as hard or as easy as I want the day to be, and I can be alone with my thoughts. I use it to focus myself, and to get my world back on track. I have heard many people use sports such as running, or skating, where you can be by yourself in a similar way.
Me in the rain! (Not a great pic but oh well!) The yellow flag is for cancer survivors!
I use cycling as well as a way to raise money and awareness for the BC Cancer Agency (The hospital where I was treated/am monitored). Last year I raised almost $5000 ($4820 to be exact) for cancer research and this year I am captain of a team (Team Phoenix) that has raised almost $10000 since its inception in July. It is in this way that it gives me Hope ( to learn more about the ride!). There are tons of ways people raise money, or help cancer patients and the families effected by them, but this is one of my ways, and I love it. I have met so many great people (one of which who got me to start this blog!) at the ride office, they truly are a great group of people. I use this as a vessel to help and give people hope. It gave me hope when I was sick. To a cancer patients state of mind, this is arguably one of the most important things. As such, this is an event I will participate in every year, as long as I can.
Me and Sara at the end of our ride for the BCCA! (240 km!)
 I encourage everyone to give to something like this, or get involved with something in their neighborhood (I know many of you do and I thank you!). Since we live in such a global community, and with information transfer so easy this days, no matter where you are, you can make a difference in peoples lives. And also to find activities that benefit their health, both physically and mentally. It doesn't have to be cycling, I just know this one works for me.

When I ride my bike, my leg is creaky, but it is getting better. Each mile I go makes me more focused on the next.

Cycling has given me my freedom again, it will always give me hope, and for what it is worth, piece of mind.
Me at the Terry Fox Statue (Victoria, BC Inspirational!)

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