Tomalaris: Cycling will exercise your mood
IF you’re a sports fan of World Cup soccer, the Olympics, or have caught SBS coverage of the Tour de France for the past 24 years, the name Mike Tomalaris will be very familiar to you.
He is one of Australia’s iconic sports commentators who recently announced he’s joining the local, six-day Tour de OROC charity ride.
Commentating an endurance ride can take a toll but Mr Tomalaris has also been on extra-long rides as a cyclist to support the issue of mental health.
“A game of footy might run two hours, then you recover, and you’ve got a week ‘til you do it all again. Test cricket might run for five days before it ends. For the Tour de France, these riders have to get back up each and every day to cover 3500 kilometres in three weeks.
“I know when we cover the Tour de France as TV people, there are times when we wake up in our hotel rooms at a different location, we stare at the ceiling at 7 o’clock in the morning and in my case I’ve thought, ‘I can’t play this game, I need to have a day off,’ but you just can’t,” he told
In 2015 he signed up for the Tour X Oz ride from Adelaide to Darwin, and again in 2017 from Perth to Broome with Adam Goodes. Those rides raise funds and awareness for the Black Dog Institute, using the tagline ‘exercise your mood’.
“It’s wonderful that so many people are coming out and acknowledging the fact they’ve got mental health problems. It was taboo once upon a time to admit you had an issue with your brain.
“I really believe with cycling you can exercise your mood. It does a hell of a lot in terms of making us feel better if we are having issues upstairs. Apart from the fact that cycling makes you feel strong, young and healthy, there is also the social aspect.
“People say it’s the coffee at the end of the 150-kilometre ride that everybody hangs out for. The social benefits are wonderful as well. There are so many things that cycling provides – physical health, mental health and social camaraderie,” he said.
At home in Sydney he’s noticed many people have taken to cycling to be proactive about improving their health.
“I’m pretty sure it’s the same at Dubbo. You see a lot of guys on their bikes and they’re trying really hard to get rid of that beer gut by pushing peddles. I admire them because at least they’re doing something about trying to get the weight off,” he said.
The Rotary Club of Dubbo South is organising this year’s Toyota Tour de OROC (Orana Region Outback Challenge). It will leave Dubbo on Monday, October 7, to follow an 1100-kilometre course to Cobar, Bourke, Lightning Ridge and back to Dubbo via Coonamble.
Since the biennial ride began, it has raised $400,000 for Macquarie Home Stay.
Mike Tomalaris (right) commentates world cycling events for SBS. He will participate in the Toyota Tour de OROC in October, riding for six days in the outback to raise money for Macquarie Home Stay. PHOTO: SUPPLIED