Advertisement

Kindness of strangers propels B.C. cyclist on journey to raise funds for mental health

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Man cycles from the U.S. border to the far north to raises thousands for mental health' This Is BC: Man cycles from the U.S. border to the far north to raises thousands for mental health
Mikey Friedland shares his amazing journey with This Is BC's Jay Durant. He spent weeks on the road going from Osoyoos as far north as Tuktoyaktuk. He's raised thousands of dollars for "Ride Don't Hide" which calls attention to the isolation of mental illness. – Oct 19, 2021

Revelstoke, B.C., resident Mikey Friedland had no idea what was in store for him when he decided to go on a bike ride to raise funds and awareness for mental health.

“I didn’t have any training,” said the 23-year-old. “I planned this about three weeks before I started and I learned as I went.”

Friedland cycled for 50 long days on his ‘Ride Don’t Hide for the North’ campaign, travelling more than 4,000 kilometres over the summer from the Canada-U.S. border in Osoyoos, B.C. to Tuktoyaktuk, a hamlet in the Inuvik region of the Northwest Territories.

Read more: Meet the B.C. man who builds his own fully-functional submarines

He overcame inclement weather, rockslides and treacherous highways, while fleeing bears and mosquitoes.

Story continues below advertisement

In the end, he raised more than $30,000 for the Canadian Mental Health Association, but the cyclist maintains he didn’t do it alone.

“They just stopped to give me water and fried chicken,” he said, describing one of many kind gestures from strangers who helped him along the way.

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Entrepreneur makes annual hospital donations to celebrate his birthday' This Is BC: Entrepreneur makes annual hospital donations to celebrate his birthday
This Is BC: Entrepreneur makes annual hospital donations to celebrate his birthday – Oct 14, 2021

Friedland had no car following him to ensure his safety, and said passing motorists would sometimes pull over and give him roadside meals or snacks. Others offered up their cabins for him to sleep in.

“As I was patching my tire, a man stopped to offer me some hard boiled eggs,” he told Global News.

“I had help from dozens of strangers including Canadians from all backgrounds.”

Read more: Hope, B.C. man making waves building racing canoes

Story continues below advertisement

It’s those personal connections and acts of kindness that surprised Friedland even more than the perils he faced on the road.

He said the gestures, and handfuls of little personal victories, made the journey very meaningful.

“It’s something I’m trying to take into my life off the bicycle,” he explained. “Create these moments where I can get that satisfaction, get that feeling of accomplishment and self-worth.”

Click to play video: 'This Is BC: Alchemy of silver singles becoming a golden couple' This Is BC: Alchemy of silver singles becoming a golden couple
This Is BC: Alchemy of silver singles becoming a golden couple – Oct 7, 2021

Friedland said he was motivated to ride for mental health after facing his own struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Statistics Canada, one in five Canadians surveyed during the pandemic had at least one of three mental health issues: major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Story continues below advertisement

The positive screening rates were three times higher for young adults between 18 and 24 years old.

Safely at home in Revelstoke, Friedland is still collecting funds for the Canadian Mental Health Association, and sharing his journey on YouTube. All funds raised will be split between the organization’s branches in the Shuswap and Revelstoke area, northern B.C. and the Yukon.

Sponsored content