by Oliver Evans
Last week I decided to check back in with our friend, Ryan Martin, who I interviewed in April just before he set out on his cross-Canada bike ride. For those of you who don’t yet know, Ryan is a 23-year-old cyclist living in Guelph, Ont. This summer he is cycling across Canada to raise money for the Canadian Mental Health Association. It’s a cause that’s close to home for Ryan, as he has been dealing with anxiety and depression for years, and most recently, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Since this interview, he has ridden over 500 km and is now back in Canada.
Oli: I’ve loved following your journey so far. Massive kudos to you for what you’re doing. This is amazing. Ryan, where are you right now, and how far have you ridden to get there?
I’m currently in Ironwood, Michigan. About 500km from entering Canada in Sault Ste. Marie! I’ve ridden about 4000km.
How far do you have yet to go?
I’m pretty sure I have about 4,500 to 5,000 km to go. It depends on what route I take through the Maritimes.
Mentally, has this journey been as challenging as you predicted?
I knew this journey would be mentally challenging, for sure. But the challenges have presented themselves in ways I never expected. For example, I didn’t expect that biking for too many days in a row pushed me into depression. And, not getting good sleep pushes me into states of high irritability. I’ve had to learn so much about my mental health and the tools to manage it to keep going on this trip. I knew it was going to be hard, and it definitely has been. That being said I’ve had lots of great days as well. Just managing the bad days has been the biggest challenge and learning opportunity.
Do you feel that you’re achieving your goal of touching as many people as possible with your story?
I couldn’t be more fulfilled with the trip so far. I’ve spoken to a dozen or so groups to share my story and the impact has been phenomenal. I truly feel grateful for the opportunity to share my story and see it’s impact on other people. I’ve learned that people are eager to talk about mental health, they just don’t know where to start and need people with lived experience to show them how. We’ve raised over $60,000 for the CMHA and tracking to hit $100,000 as the end goal. Without a doubt, the conversations are more important than the money raised but it’s a testament to how much people care about this cause.
I absolutely feel that I’m achieving my goal of reaching as many people as possible and am so excited to continue that momentum for the rest of the trip!
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me on your trip! We’ll call it a day for now as I know you’ve got lots on your plate with riding and recovering. This ride is amazing, and we’re all cheering for you. The conversation that you’re encouraging is so important. Thank you.
If you would like to help Ryan get to his goal of raising $100,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, take a look at the donation page on MindCycle.
Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.