Why I ride: Stephen Mohan Talks About the Cycle of Life Tour
The 2017 Cycle of Life Tour will take 80 riders on an unforgettable cycle touring experience through the beautiful Saanich Inlet, Cowichan Valley and Gulf Islands. Cyclists will pedal nearly 200km of smooth country road to raise critical funds for patients and families in need of compassionate end-of-life care.
What do you do outside of the Cycle of Life Tour?
I’m currently trying a new endeavour as a writer. I’ve just finished writing a memoir. In the past I’ve worked as a steamroller driver, ski racing coach, coffee bean delivery man, wooden boat shipwright, bicycle mechanic, whale watching boat pilot, fish farmer, vineyard worker, boatswain aboard a tall ship, and snow gun operator.
What brings you to the Cycle of Life Tour this year?
I currently receive bereavement counselling services from the Cowichan Hospice Society. Four years ago I lost my fifteen-year-old son, Jasper, to cancer. Grief can be quite the emotional rollercoaster, and last year I fell apart in a bad way. I was directed to the hospice in the Cowichan Valley. I have benefitted so much from their support.
I’ve also found cycling and exercise to be positive outlets for confronting my symptoms of grief. I ride my bike… a lot.
I’d been wondering how to show appreciation for the care I’ve received from the hospice. This ride is an ideal way for me to give something back. With bicycles being involved so much in my journey to wellness, it seems like a natural fit to be a part of the 2017 Cycle of Life Tour.
What does Hospice and Palliative care mean to you?
A hospice is a place of safe haven, staffed by folks who care and want to help. I’ve been participatory in bereavement services involving various counselling and therapy techniques. I’ve also witnessed the physical-care side of hospice, as this winter my mother received end-of-life palliative care at Oceanside Hospice.
What are you looking forward to about the ride this year?
The food. Folks keep telling me how good the food is.
How do you prepare for the ride?
Two years ago I signed up to participate in a similar bicycle charity event. Well, things went kind of south for me that summer. I fell into a depressive funk as a result of grief, and my cycling aspirations all went belly-up. The charity still got its’ fundraising money, but I couldn’t do the ride. Pulling out of the event left me feeling I had let a lot of folks down. I’m in a much better headspace now. In preparing for this event, I’ll need to remind myself that I’m doing much better now; that there’s no need to stress about the ride; and that it’s going to be fun!
Where do you find strength and support leading up to and during the ride?
When I’m riding by myself: music. The right song will inspire me to go for a ride when I’m on the fence about exercising. Music gets me over the crest of that big hill. My friends and family support me as well, in particular my wife Barb. She supports me by paying for my expensive bicycle habit! 🙂
What’s your fundraising goal?
I’ve set a target of a thousand dollars, and I’m well on my way to meeting that mark. My friends at Snap Fitness in Duncan are supporting me this July: we’re going to host a fitness-class fundraising event focused around spin bikes, with bicycle-themed music. That’ll be a lot of fun!
Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Cycle of Life community?
There’s a catch phrase I’ve often used when signing off my personal journal entries for the past six years. It’s still relevant to me today, and I think maybe for everyone involved in this ride too: “Onwards we go…”