A brisk morning bike ride or a jaunt around the neighbourhood with friends is more than enough exercise for most people. Michael Chapman needs that times a thousand.
On August 9, Michael “Mick” Chapman set out from Higher Ground Coffee in Vancouver, beginning a 5,000 km journey from our fair burg to New York City. Taking somewhere around 10 weeks, Chapman will wind through much of the Northern United States, with the hopes of encouraging healthy and active living in all those following his progress.
Chapman first came over to Canada a year ago, by way of Australia, competing in the World Triathlon in Edmonton. After the race he decided to stay, living and working in Vancouver. An athlete from a young age, it wasn’t long before Chapman needed his next challenge.
“I’ve always grown up with sport. I grew up in a country town in Australia, so that’s what there was to do,” he says. “I’m just really interested in human performance, where those limits are, and how you can better prepare yourself to do things like this.”
In the past Chapman has completed Iron Man Races, Ultra Marathons, and Triathlons, but he hasn’t undertaken a trip quite like this. To prepare for the challenge, he took to his bike, but it wasn’t just the physical side he was worried about.
“I think physically wasn’t too bad. I just made sure I had enough kilometres in my legs that i wasn’t going to burn out in the first few days,” he says. “Mentally it was more about the logistics of the day-to-day riding. That’s been the biggest hurdle so far, just making sure that I’ve got as much planned out as I possibly can before we go, so that there’s less hurdles along the way.”
150 km of solo riding a day, through a variety of weather and environment, would take a toll on anyone. A challenge most overlook is entertainment, but luckily Chapman had that covered.
“I downloaded a lot of new music, and a lot of new podcasts. I’ve been quite heavily into those, but riding for five or six hours a day, they dry up quite quickly,” he says. “The landscape changes from day to day, as well. It might change between the morning ride and after lunch. That’s quite entertaining.”
Outside of that, Chapman says it’s important to stay alert, watching the road, the cars, the people, the terrain in front of him, and what’s coming up.
“I’ve got my wits about me in terms of how big the shoulder is, what sort of cars are coming past, how quick are they coming past, and just sort of stay on top of that,” he says. “You can’t really afford to zone out when it comes to that.”
Chapman’s progress can be followed on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #chapsacrosstheus. Chapman hopes that his ride will get people inspired, and lead to a more healthy and active way of living.
“Whatever you can do, whether you kick the ball around with your kids, go for a bike ride, go for a run,” says Chapman. “My goal for this is just to get people out there enjoying health conscious behaviour.”