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

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