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Riding For Life. How Cycling Changed The Life Of An Epilepsy Sufferer

Has cycling changed your life?

One of the things I love about cycling is that it has the power to change your life.

ron mollinga cycling for life

Ron Mollinga Cycling For Life

Of course that’s not just restricted to cycling, there’s lots of things that can change your life, cycling is just one. It just happens to be my favorite.

For many people, of course, cycling is a great hobby, a good way to get some exercise, get outdoors and make new friends, nothing more.

But for some it’s more than that. For some people cycling can have a very significant positive impact on their life.

And today I share the story of Ron Mollinga, written in his own words.

You’ll see that Ron was one of those people who gained much from his cycling. With significant weight and health issues Ron has used his cycling to improve his life.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like regularly falling off your bike because you’ve blacked out from an epileptic seizure on the bike.

You’ll see that now, as an older cyclist, he has decided to enter a significantly challenging ride. It’s the Tour De Victoria in Canada. He’s doing the 100 km ride.

I’m sure there were many times in his life when he would have seriously doubted whether he could undertake a challenge like this.

Here’s the first part of Ron’s story. I’m hoping he will update us after he has undertaken the ride, and let us know how it went.

Riding For Life – By Ron Mollinga

There have been times over the last 25 years when I’ve been challenged both mentally and physically. Some say it was more of a mental challenge whereas others believe it was by far more of a physical challenge.

My life changed when I was 22 years old. I was driving with my mom on a summer afternoon before going back to university to become a teacher. I blanked out in the driver’s seat.


Fortunately, I was able to pull over without getting in an accident. However, driving a vehicle wasn’t going to be an option any more. I was diagnosed with a type of epilepsy called petit mal partial complex seizures. It’s like sleeping with your eyes open.

For 25 years I went through numerous neurological tests, medications and even an unsuccessful surgery. I continued to have epileptic seizures every 7 to 10 days. At one time, my doctors felt that I would have seizures for the rest of my life.

About 6 years ago when I was 43 years old, it was suggested by my family doctor that I should think about losing some weight. I looked in the garage and decided to try the mountain bike my father-in-law gave me. It wasn’t a high performance bike but it sure got me to work a lot faster than walking.

What the next 4 to 5 years of riding mountain bike did was inspire me to stay fit. I enjoyed it immensely though there were many occasions I would ride into a ditch as a result of a seizure.

Then, 3 years ago I was given a glimmer of hope that another operation might be possible. I underwent several tests and in January 2012 neurosurgeons removed 2 vascular malformations and I have been seizure-free ever since!

For 6 months following the surgery, I could only do short, non-strenuous rides. Over this past year, I’ve felt comfortable enough to ride safely on the highway rather than just through neighbourhoods where someone could attend to me if I wiped out.

On my 49th birthday I purchased a road cycle, and with my wife’s encouragement entered the Ryder Hesjedal’s Tour de Victoria ride this September. I might not be the fastest 49 year-old on the road but I want to prove to myself I can ride for life!

Ron Mollinga

What a story. Thanks to Ron for sharing it. I’m waiting for an update on how his Tour De Victoria went. Whatever happens I’ll bet he’s just happy to be participating.

I know that many of my readers like hearing stories of others who have overcome various personal challenges on the bike. People contact me to tell me that they enjoy reading about how cycling has impacted the lives of others.

So if you have an interesting story about how cycling has worked for you then share it, there’s other people who would love to hear it. Don’t be shy.

Thanks again to Ron.




5 Responses to Riding For Life. How Cycling Changed The Life Of An Epilepsy Sufferer

  1. Shirley ackland 05/06/2013 at 4:37 pm #

    You inspired and encouraged my children in music, and encouraged them to strive in their studies. you are one teacher that they will always remember.
    Nothing could be greater than a teacher that models courage, perseverance and determination everyday. Ron, you are amazing! So happy to hear your recent surgery has been successful 🙂

    • Ron 06/06/2013 at 5:30 pm #

      Shirley, what can I say? Your comments and kind words are very uplifting and inspiring. I appreciate all the support the people of our wonderful town have been giving.

  2. Ron 05/06/2013 at 2:24 pm #

    Thanks, Fran!

    There have been some tough times but there are so many good ones still ahead. I might not get in the Tour de France but I hope to encourage others to stay fit as it might help them achieve their goals in life.

  3. Fran 04/06/2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Go Ron! So happy that you are finally able to live your life seizure free and are finally able to do things most of us take for granted, like riding a bike. I know how much you value your time on your bike and you so deserve the opportunity to have this in your life. Your dedication to fitness is inspiring, and I am sure your story will motivate others who have challenges in their lives, to work towards whatever goal they wish to pursue. You role model, you!


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