February’s Wellness Champion is cycling enthusiast, Kevin McFadzen, Supervisor in Sports and Rec Facilities & Services department. Kevin has ridden a bike since he was young but probably really got hooked after Grade 8, when his dad took his family for a bike tour across Scotland. Kevin said his dad made him and his siblings ride their bikes for 30 minutes a day in preparation for that trip. Initially he hated it, but found he was pretty good at it and began to enjoy it. He started bike racing when he was 13 or 14 and a few of his friends were also involved. He felt a sense of accomplishment when finished a race or ride.
Now Kevin rides his bike to work on a daily basis, even in the cold and snow! Kevin said for the past 8 years he has gone on some kind of bike tour every summer. He and his wife and daughter will go on 3-5-7 day tours each summer. He has a tandem bike that he rides with his daughter.
Last summer Kevin rode to Vancouver from Lethbridge on his bike. It took 11 days to ride through the northwestern states, up through the Olympic Peninsula, north of Anacortes, Washington to Victoria where his wife was waiting for him. He would ride 120 km per day. Challenges were +30 degree weather, (some days it was between 37 – 38 degrees celsius!) and some ‘really big climbs’ in Washington. Even with the challenges, Kevin described the trip as ‘fun!’ and really beautiful.
Kevin said he used a bike coach when racing but after that, he really just got on his bike and rode. He says he rides his bike for the enjoyment of it and feels like a kid again once on his bike. His current bike is a ‘gravel’ bike – which is a cross between a road and mountain bike. The tires are a bit wider and it is stable off road. It is a really versatile bike.
Kevin explained that the tools and equipment are pretty straightforward, a bike, bike shoes (that clip into the peddles), helmet of course, some basic bike tools for longer trips, water and a snack.
Kevin’s advice to people that are interested in cycling is to ‘just do it!’. Start slow, go at your own pace and enjoy the ride.
Kevin says that cycling has had a really positive effect on his life. He says he is ‘not pleasant to be around’ if he hasn’t cycled for a few days. He says it helps with his mental wellness as well as his physical fitness.
Thanks so much Kevin for sharing your story and expertise, as well as congratulations for being a role model and wellness champion!
Feb 8 is International Winter Bike to Work Day! Check out more info here.