Each of our Ride Don’t Hide cyclists have a different reason for joining us and peddling through the Caledon Hills. Ride Ambassador Morris Bellus, joined the ride to “get back to himself” and honour his father. Here is his Ride story.
Being an Over the Road (OTR) professional driver for almost 20 years and nearly 2 million miles accident free has its advantages and disadvantages. My first 15 years were mainly as a “local” driver operating from Ontario. My days consisted of long 10-14 hour shifts. I was never into groups or too many sports because I never seemed to fit in. This was mainly due to my shyness and being a quiet person. I always kept to myself and never got involved in discussions with others.
In 2015 I realized I needed to do something different and made a change to long haul driving. This meant driving into the United States and venturing out of my norm. I was away from home, friends and family for an long periods of time. Well…let me tell you, this is a different lifestyle which started to drag me down into something I didn’t know anything about – Depression.
Perhaps it was the loss of my best friend, my sister and then three months later my Mother – or that my father had developed Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and I finally experienced what my mother had gone through – but I found it hard to shake off depression. After my Father’s passing I began to make some changes. I needed to get myself back to a better state.
In 2016, I bought a bike and came across the Canadian Mental Health Association Peel Dufferin booth at the International Bicycle Show. I met avid cyclists and committee members James and Gary. After hearing information about Ride Don’t Hide in Caledon Hills, I signed up for my first 100 km ride and I dedicated it to my father.
I never looked back after 2016 and now enjoy my new “Wheel” of life! I am always smiling, engaging in my children’s lives and reaping the physical benefits of riding. Ride Don’t Hide not only helped me mentally and physically, it has helped me find myself on my own terms, emotionally. I never thought two wheels and a charity ride would help so much.
Now being a part of Ride, I have learnt so much about supportive groups and resources available to make me feel like I am not alone. Today, I am not only a Ride Don’t Hide enthusiasts but a steering committee member and ambassador. I have reached a place that I never thought was possible five years ago. The sport of cycling has helped me interact with others, no more feeling timid or shy.
I rode my first 100 km in 2016, created a team in 2017 and I am back for more in 2018. I am truly humbled and honoured to provide input and to support such a worthy cause. This event has turned me into someone new in the last four years. Thank you Ride Don’t Hide Peel Dufferin!!
Let’s kick the Stigma
Morris Bellus is a Professional AZ Tractor Trailer Driver, committee member, Captain of Vaughan Hears the Gears and Ambassador of CMHA’s Peel Dufferin’s 2018 Ride Don’t Hide.
Morris’ Cycling Tips:
- Research your route and be ready for the unexpected like construction closures and active traffic areas.
- Carry a bike fitted tool bag that is small but can carry the essentials for simple repairs. Some bags can hold a spare tube, Co2 Cartridges, patches and plastic hand tools.
- Double check your bike routes before your weekend ride, Major repairs may cause you to miss or delay your adventure and that is not fun.
- Give yourself time to warm up during the First 10-15 minutes of the start of your ride prior to upping your effort
- Best Tip of all is ENJOY THE RIDE, it only gets BETTER!