Meet a Health Hero Semifinalist: Nicholas Basalyga

Nicholas Basalyga is a 2018 Health Hero Challenge semifinalist.

» You can vote for Nicholas Basalyga here from September 4th through October 2nd. 

Name: Nicholas Basalyga

Role: Founder and board president of In the Saddle, a non-profit that supports individuals recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction by building a fellowship through cycling, community service, and group support.

What motivates you to try and make Philadelphia a healthier place? 
I get motivated by those who are, and have been, leaders in the field of addiction treatment and cycling, whose work has inspired and created opportunities for many people in the city to move themselves forward to places of change that they themselves didn’t know existed or was possible. I am also inspired by the community that In the Saddle has come to be. If it wasn’t for each cyclist having the courage to take that first pedal stroke and join one of our rides, our community wouldn’t be the place of hope that it is.

Describe a health or fitness-related turning point in your life. 
In 2016, I decided to ride from San Francisco, CA to Philadelphia to raise funds to launch In the Saddle as a non-profit organization. It was about 3,500 — mostly solo — miles on the bike. Between shorelines, I met an innumerable amount of individuals, groups, and families that provided the encouragement and support needed to keep getting back in the saddle, day after day. Their collective message could be summed up as: Keep pedaling, people need this. I’ve listened.

What policy would you institute to make Greater Philadelphia a healthier region? 
Starting in the city, a policy to create more protected bike lanes and wider access to bike share programs would help to encourage more locals and visitors to travel the city by bike. Beyond the city, a policy to continue supporting and rallying behind the rails-to-trails movement to create safe, comfortable, and accessible places for people to exercise and socialize through fitness.

What’s the most important part of your health or wellness regimen? 
Balance. Six to eight hours of sleep nightly, balanced nutrition, and diverse exercise/movement. Some disciplined cycling training mixed in with exercise to just move, be social, and have fun.

What is your number one piece of health-related advice?
Find gratitude in what you’ve got, and make the most out of it while you’ve got it.

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