Edmonton man prepares to bike across Canada for mental health awareness

He’s a man on a mission. A big one.

Matt Devine will bike across Canada on May 20th in a 13,000-kilometre ride across Canada to help children and bring awareness to mental health and wellness. It’s the biggest challenge of his life thus far.

“So it will be about 109 days in duration, with 100 days of cycling,” said Devine. “Cycling about 140-150 kilometres a day with about seven rest days built in.”

The ride will start in Halifax and make its way across Canada. Once they hit Victoria, Devine and his crew will head north towards the Yukon and Northwest Territories before ending the trip back in Edmonton.

Devine’s ride really is the start of a new journey. After recovering from alcohol addiction and losing 300 pounds, he says he went through a very dark time.

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“Well, I suppose in a way I was suffering from mental health. I didn’t know what it was at the time but I felt lack of purpose — I was waking up with very little motivation,” he said.

Taking the time and work he needed, he consulted a mental health professional. Devine ended up grasping onto sport, training and trying to raise as much money as he can for Ride for a Change.

The training started in the winter in his basement, with an hour at a time on the bike for three to four weeks. Now he’s training 20 hours or more a week and finally getting outside, pushing around 500 to 600 kilometres a week.

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On the trek, he will have a couple bikes, just in case.

“If one bike breaks down and we are in the middle of nowhere the other bike will come out and I’ll hop on that. We’ll have four bikes in total with me,” said Devine.

Ride for a Change is an organization not only supporting Devine through this journey, but the children, too. It removes barriers for children with disabilities so they can ride a bike and experience the joy and freedom of cycling.

“These little people get on a bike (and) they have never been on a bike before, you can see it in their face. They are now experiencing a new capability that they would have never experienced,” said Devine.

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This really is just the beginning for both Devine and the children he is helping.

“I don’t want this event to be done — then there’s nothing. I want to create an unstoppable force, a ground swell of community surrounding these people with their own transformation,” he said with a smile.

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