Man biking across Canada for mental health awareness stops in Regina

A man who is biking for mental health awareness across Canada stops in Regina to share his story of trials, tribulations and why he is biking across the nation. Photo courtesy: Chris Aubichon

A man who is biking across Canada to raise awareness for mental health issues made a stop in Regina to rest up and share his story.

Chris Aubichon grew up in foster and group homes. When he aged out, he transitioned from in-care right to the streets.

“There’s no support, no follow-up, no continuation in the care process,” he said. “Trying to raise awareness or start a conversation about those 1,000 kids a year across the country who age out and who are just sent to the streets (where) there’s no support for them.

“There’s a conversation that needs to happen. We can do better for those kids.”

With the will to push himself further, Aubichon is returning to his home province of British Columbia from Moncton, N.B., to pursue an education. Instead of flying out back west, he wanted to take a longer route by biking to work on his health and well-being.

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“As an addict (and) someone suffering with depression, I want to put myself in a best position for success,” he said. “I figured if I could ride across the country, the man that can do that can do school.”

Aubichon has travelled roughly 4,000 kilometres so far. When he left the east coast, he was in rough shape. He was 320 pounds, battling with depression and Type 2 diabetes. Since the excursion, he has lost weight and is getting stronger physically and mentally.

“The first couple of weeks was 20 kilometres a day and (my) body just seizing up by the end of the day. It was a hard road,” he said. “But over time, I’ve gotten stronger and healthier. I’ve lost 50 pounds. I’ve met tremendous people along the way.”

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When Aubichon reached Winnipeg, he stopped at a nearby Tim Horton’s for a coffee but when he returned outside, his bike and belongings were gone.

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“It was an emotional moment. It wasn’t just a bike; it wasn’t just a tent. It was my success, my health, my journey,” he said. “So, I took it to heart.”

The Winnipeg community heard his story through his daily posts on social media and he was given a bike and bags were also donated that got him back on the road.

“It was humbling,” he said. “There are good people out there.”

Although Aubichon is not raising money, his main goal is to have that important conversation on the emphasis of mental health but said he will not decline if he is offered a coffee or a place to rest up. He has a Go Fund Me page to help with his cycling expedition.

“There’s a stigma around mental health. … It’s okay to hurt and it’s OK to be emotional and (have) mental health issues,” he said. “I think men, we need to support each other. We need to encourage the conversation and (work) through things. I’ve spoken to a lot of men over this journey here who have really resonated with that.”

Aubichon planned his route accordingly by hitting his kilometres per day goal. Based on his calculations, he will arrive in B.C. on Aug. 11. His journey can be viewed on Instagram.

Click to play video: 'Woman biking across Canada calls for more mental health resources'
Woman biking across Canada calls for more mental health resources



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