The impact cycling can have on family, mental health and stress

The impact cycling can have on family, mental health and stress

Starting a cycling club during a pandemic Reading The impact cycling can have on family, mental health and stress 9 minutes Next Combining cycling and physiotherapy to help others

Meet Luke

Today we talk to Luke Mochizuki about his experience starting to ride mid-pandemic, joining The Last Drop and riding over 2000 kms in his first 6 months of riding. We discuss the impact of cycling, and the many benefits it can bring to different areas.

Luke Mochizuki is a Business Analyst for Vancity Credit Union, and als a Co-Owner of Catoro Pets, a Cat Cafe and Pet Store.

He started cycling in July 2021 as a way to get out of the house, relieve some stress and get some exercise… And quickly saw just how much of an impact riding could have.

How did you get started cycling?

Cycling has always been a part of my life. Since as far as I can remember I was on a bike. It was my main mode of transportation as a kid. Always riding bikes with my friends. But as I got older I rode less and of course started obsessing over cars.

I did pick up downhill mountain biking for a while until I had a very horrific accident which required me to undergo spinal cord surgery. But that didn’t stop me, for now I’ve adopted my newfound passion of road cycling.

When I decided to pick up cycling properly, I didn’t have a bike so I ended up calling up a friend and asked him if he wanted to go for a bike ride. He let me borrow one of his bikes and we went out in the middle of the night for my first bike ride.

I try to ride at least 5X a week. If it’s a nice day I’ll ride outdoors, if it’s bad weather I’ll be on the trainer. For the majority of my rides I ride solo as it’s difficult to match up schedules with others or with the club ride. But I’m hoping to have a more steady schedule this season so that I can ride and train more with TLD.

Why do you ride with The Last Drop?

The sense of “family” is very strong here at TLD. Not only is it an inclusive club, but every member in TLD really breathes cycling and the passion is clear. The club is amazing and it has helped me a lot with my own cycling growth.

TLD has got your back with anything and everything revolving around cycling. But beyond that, it has grown into even more than just cycling but a place where we all can connect, network, and become good friends on and off the saddle. TLD is so inclusive and really does make you feel cared for.

How has cycling impacted you?

Cycling is so good for my mental health. It definitely helps me de-stress and compile my thoughts into manageable chunks. It helps me compartmentalize all the things I need to do so that I can be present with my family.

Cycling makes me happy by making me physically healthy, as well as mentally strong and resilient. This in turn allows me to love myself more and in turn, be able to love my family and friends more.

Cycling has made me a better person. It has made me happier. It has made me feel more positive about myself, and my outlook on life is more positive. It has also allowed me to be more present with my family and work.

Basically, it has been a very good thing in my life.

What was it like starting cycling during the pandemic?

To be honest it had very little impact on me as I didn’t seek to buy a brand new bike right away. Luckily though my good friend sold me one of his bikes for a steal of a deal, and I didn’t have to hunt and wait around like other people I know of who were trying to get their hands on a bike (used or new). I rode mostly with my own friends and I never thought that it was hard to meet other cyclists.

I have just accomplished a collective distance ridden of over 2000 kms in my first 6 months of cycling. I am proud of the amount of rides and kms I did last year and it has fueled me to push harder, train harder, and accomplish more in my second cycling season.

What is one of your favourite cycling memories?

I participated in the ride for Ovarian Cancer supporting Bianca Hayes with TLD. It was for a great cause that sort of hit home for me as my Dad is currently fighting cancer.

This event and ride for me ranks very high on my list of fond cycling memories because firstly, it was my longest distance ride I have ever done and secondly reassured me that the cycling community is so tight. It was such a wonderful and heart-warming event where I was able to meet so many people, and was amazed to see so many cyclists out to support such a great cause.

What is your dad like?

My dad is amazing. I look up to him very much as he has influenced my life so much over the years. From how I value my family and raise my son to learning so much about carpentry, cars, sports, gardening, and literally everything else.
Just before the pandemic hit in early 2020, my dad was officially diagnosed with B-Cell Lymphoma. It definitely hit the family very hard and I felt crushed. Since then he’s undergone his chemotherapy treatments and now is completing his two year chemo maintenance program.

We found out that the government does not fund chemo treatments after the maintenance program, so we decided to raise funds for his ongoing chemo treatments once his program is completed.

It has been an uphill battle but there is a large part of me that attributes my love and passion for cycling to my dad. I feel like I ride for him but also for my own family. I want to stay healthy and become more fit in order to live longer so that I can be there for my son for a very long time.

Any advice you would share with your younger self?

Looking back to when I started, I would tell myself that it’s the rider, not the bike. Develop yourself, work on yourself, become stronger, learn a lot, and don’t be afraid to get out there and just ride with people. And also not to look so high and to just focus on yourself and not compare yourself to others. Everyone has their own path and their own progress timeline.

Have you had any challenging moments?

The only difficult moment I had while cycling was just my very first 100km ride and felt like I wasn’t going to make it home after about 70 kms.

I remember my entire body giving up on me and the cramps starting in my legs. At that point I was riding on my own as I broke off from my group as I needed to get home and retire my legs. Knowing that I still had about 30 kms to ride was quite daunting but I just put my head down and slowly made sure I kept pedaling until I got home.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. Fuel your body and continue to RE-FUEL. Keep hydrated and make sure you are eating bars, gels, etc. But I also learned that the body is capable of more than you give it credit for.

What are your cycling goals?

I’ve registered for two GranFondos this season, so completing both of those are my two big goals for this season. Being able to complete the Triple Crown is also on my list, and the last goal is to upgrade my bike to a full carbon bike!

I currently ride a 2013 Brodie Revel cross bike which I’ve converted into a full road bike set up. It’s my first bike which I was able to pick up last summer from a friend second hand. Got a steal of a deal and then upgraded a bunch of components over the last few months.

But now I’m currently waiting for my new full carbon road bike… Of course it takes time to get, as the pandemic has had an impact on the availability of bikes.

What have you learned from cycling?

The most important thing that I have learned from cycling is that you must take care of your mental health.

Stress is everywhere in our world and especially in today’s world where we are dealing with a pandemic and now the possibility of WWIII… More than ever people need an outlet for stress.

For me, it has been cycling.

Take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Ride more.

Follow Luke's journey here.

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