Just over a year ago, Leanna Maksymiuk wasn’t much of a cyclist.
She was more a casual bike rider, plopping one of her two daughters in the trailer behind her and going for a short cruise around the neighbhourhood.
But the Aldergrove woman did have some chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure and headaches which resulted in neurological testing.
Just over a year later, the 36-year-old is free of head aches, her blood pressure no longer requires medication, and to top it all off, she is 30 pounds lighter.
“I decided I needed to take the reins and help myself,” she admitted.
“I have improved my health ten-fold. It has been such a great thing for me.”
Maksymiuk began cycling seriously in May 2014 and after enjoying the health changes, she decided she was going to participate in the B.C. Lung Association Bicycle Trek for Life and Breath, a two-day, 200-km ride from White Rock to Cultus Lake and back. She also completed a 100-km MEC ride a little while later.
And in January, Maksymiuk decided her goal was going to be to complete 1,000 km of official cycling events.
She already had 300 kms under her belt and as she prepares for this weekend’s Trek for Life and Breath (Sept. 12 and 13), Maksymiuk is up to 778 kilometres. She is scheduled to ride in one more MEC event later this month, which will put her over the top.
She was posting her riding experiences and tips on her Facebook page as well as through her Instagram account and Maksymiuk has become an inspiration for others.
In fact, three of her friends — Debbie Allison, Lena Fast and Shelley Gimble — are joining her this weekend as part of the team Chicks on Slicks.
The team has already surpassed their fundraising goal of $2,000 and are at $2,591 as of Friday afternoon. Donations are still being accepted.
And even though she is set to surpass her original goal of 1,000 kilometres, Maksymiuk isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon.
She wants to start trying longer distance rides, including the Canada Day Populaire, a 148-km ride in Fort Langley on July 1.