iN VIDEO: How this Kamloops-area man 'Onewheels' away the winter blues | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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iN VIDEO: How this Kamloops-area man 'Onewheels' away the winter blues

Mike Erickson rides his Onewheel for better mental health.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Mike Erickson

Mike Erickson has found a fun and unique way to play outside when it’s cold, while supporting his mental health at the same time.

Erickson rides a Onewheel, a self-balancing, battery operated skateboard with one large wheel in the middle that contains an electric motor. There are no controls on the unit and to control acceleration one simply leans to make it go forward or backwards.

He said riding the Onewheel helps him manage his anxiety disorder, but until recently, he was avoiding the winter weather conditions. 

Last week, when temperatures plunged to -30 Celsius in his community of Pinantan Lake northeast of Kamloops, Erickson finally went out to test the Onewheel’s performance in what he calls an extreme cold range test. He filmed the experiment and posted it to his YouTube channel.

Video Credit: Mike Erickson
Onewheel in Winter- Range Test and Tips

“Batteries don’t work well in temperatures that low,” he said. “Usually you can ride for 18 kilometres on a single charge, I was predicting the extreme cold would reduce that to five, but I ended up covering eight.”

Erickson can be seen in the video bundled up and wearing a face mask in one of his first, and coldest, rides this winter. 

“As soon as winter comes I get into a mental funk,” he said. “When I finally go out I realize again how much fun it can be and how good it is for mental health. Onewheeling creates a calm, free feeling.  As long as you are dressed for the weather, it is doable even in extreme temperatures.”

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Kamloops man rolling his way to better mental health

The only adaptation Erickson made to the Onewheel for the winter season was swapping in a treaded tire. He said the board handles much differently in the snow versus pavement.

“The snow is slippery,” he said. “You have to be ready in case the wheel slips out, you have to have your ninja reflexes ready. When it was -30 C, the snow was sticky, so I didn’t fall for the whole ride. Because it was cold very few people were on the roads which was great for filming. My fingers got really cold on that one."

Erickson is an engineering technologist and advocate for mental health, who loves making videos of his trail rides in the area on the side.

“I turn off the news and go into nature when I am feeling overwhelmed,” he said. “I encourage everyone to get outside and find enjoyable activities for better mental health. As long as you are dressed warmly, it's a lot of fun outside."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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