iN VIDEO: Kamloops man rolling his way to better mental health | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

Mike Erickson poses for a photo with his onewheel at Paul Lake. Onewheeling improves Mike's mental health.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Craig Scott

Mike Erickson, an engineering technologist and filmmaker in Kamloops, has struggled with an anxiety disorder throughout his life but has found a unique form of therapy that is calming his nerves.

Taking advantage of the extensive trail system in Kamloops, Erickson is covering terrain on a onewheel, and it is improving his mental health.

“It's not uncommon for me to go sleepless for four or five days at a time when life starts to weigh heavy on my psyche,” Erickson said of his anxiety. “Out of necessity, I've had to develop a strict meditation practice alongside other therapies and mindfulness techniques to help calm my racing mind. Once I started onewheeling, I noticed that after a ride I had the same calm feeling I would have after a long meditation. I attribute this to the flow state that occurs once I start riding. With all my attention focused on the trail ahead of me, all the cares and worries that build up as life happens seem to dissolve. My onewheel rides have become therapy for me, and truly a godsend during the current unprecedented global pandemic.”

The onewheel is 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, he simply leans to make it go forward or backwards.

“It gives a very similar feeling to riding a snowboard except on the pavement and it goes up hills,” Erickson said. “The great thing about the onewheel is that it can ride over any surface. The large wheel is just as happy on the asphalt as it is in the grass, loose gravel, or even the wonderful single track trail system that blesses the landscape all around Kamloops.”

Erickson purchased his onewheel a year ago and has been riding the mountain bike trails at Harper Mountain, Kenna Cartwright, Pineview and Batchelor Heights. He says he pretty much rides every day.

“The smooth Kamloops dirt lends itself very well to the fat wheel on the board and I consider myself quite lucky to live where I do,” he said. “My favourite thing to do is to visit the familiar trails I know from my mountain bike days and use my new tool to explore places I hadn't thought to ride before. Down the climb paths, across the connector trails, each route seen in a new light as I surf the berms I used to roll.”

Using his eight years of filmmaking experience, Erickson shares his trail rides around Kamloops on his youtube channel. He has created just over 60 videos to date.

“Making films is something I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “Although I've started to lean heavily on the onewheel niche with my most recent videos, I still very much look at my channel as my education to learn filmmaking, albeit a very specific kind of low attention span, informational kind of filmmaking. My goal is to one day monetize my channel and gain more freedom to do more of the things I want to do and less of the things I have to do.” 

Erickson is a Kamloops native, and after years of travelling the world, he and his wife have moved back. They have settled in Pinantan Lake where they are raising their three girls and spending a lot of time in nature. He encourages others to get outdoors and find enjoyable activities for better mental health.

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