Mat Fee lifts his BMX bike while visiting the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in a photo posted to Cycling for Sobriety’s Facebook page on July 29. (Photo: facebook.com/cyclingforsobriety)

‘Healing’ and ‘on schedule,’ Surrey BMXer more than halfway home on cross-Canada ride

‘Cycling for Sobriety’ rider Mat Fee is raising awareness for addiction recovery services

Mat Fee is steadily rolling home to B.C. on a single-gear BMX bike he has pedalled more than halfway across Canada so far.

The Surrey resident’s Cycling For Sobriety ride began in Halifax on May 1 and is scheduled to conclude in Victoria on Oct. 6.

“We’re right on schedule, and maybe even a couple days ahead of it,” Fee said Thursday on the phone from outside Vermilion Bay, Ontario, not far from the Manitoba border.

“I’m healing up from what Ontario hit us with, including some strong winds.

“This province sure is big, and I found out the hard way,” he added with a laugh.

Thursday was a planned “recovery day” for Fee and his small support team, on a cross-country journey to raise awareness for addiction recovery services at John Volken Academy in Surrey.

Fee, 33, continues to live and work at the rehabilitation facility/store, located on King George Boulevard in Newton.

“That place really turned my life around,” Fee told the Now-Leader before he began his cross-country trip. “I want to let people know it’s there and how it changed my life, and that sobriety is possible.”

Nearly 100 days into his 6,200-kilometre bike ride, with 2,700 kilometres to go, Fee said he’s feeling fine.

“I’m definitely feeling it and I’m exhausted, but it’s been good,” he said. “My accomplishments so far, definitely Ontario – going through the Montreal River area, there are some huge hills through there that are kind of famous for being difficult for cyclists, and I was able to make it up them without stopping a single time, and that was my goal, to not stop, and being able to do that felt great.”

So far, he’s gone through 15 tires and a case of around 32 tubes. “That’s how many times I’ve popped a tire,” he said.

“I broke one bike frame,” he added, “and I was on my backup aluminum frame for a little while, but aluminum is really rigid and that was really hard on my body, so the team at Haro Bikes, they sent me another frame.… They stepped up and set me up with a good bike to get me back to B.C.”

Fee’s long ride is being documented on social media channels and in news stories at stops along the way.

“I’m riding anywhere from 50K to 150K a day,” Fee explained. “We planned it in our schedule that I’d ride four or five days and then take a recovery day, and in a bigger city I’ll take two (days) to recover and also do some media stuff, to talk about what we’re doing.

“It’s all dependent on my support team, too,” he added. “I’ve proven that on some days I can ride until my face hits the ground, but it’s hard on the team, too. Riding eight hours a day, that’s a long haul.”

• RELATED STORY: ‘I feel ready for it’: On a BMX, Surrey man is ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ across Canada.

Fee said riding a BMX bike across Canada is something he dreamed about since the age of seven, around the time his family moved from Duncan to Terrace.

“I rode bikes trying to make friends,” he says in a bio posted to cyclingforsobriety.org. “Some of these kids were older and they sexually abused and tortured me. Not long after this, my parents divorced and I blamed myself. I began to socially disconnect and in my teenage years I became an outcast. I started partying and hanging around with the wrong crowd. Hard drugs and drinking became my life at age 15.”

Many years and one drug overdose later, he signed up for treatment at John Volken Academy, where he experienced “great personal growth” following a three-month stay.

This summer, he’s seeing the country on a BMX bike while sleeping in a RV, and loving it.

“When I first started this, I was riding in snow on the other side of the country there, and it wasn’t too bad, other than cold, so we’ve hit all kinds of weather,” Fee said. “And then it got really hot. We’ve had all four seasons already on this trip.

“It’s been great seeing the country like this – definitely an experience I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”

• RELATED STORY: John Volken Foundation turning sod on new drug and alcohol recovery facility in rural Langley.

Volken addiction treatment centre in Surrey turns ‘takers into givers’



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

IHIT investigating death of Surrey woman

Injured woman was taken to SMH early Tuesday morning

Charges laid in 2019 single-vehicle crash in Surrey that killed young soccer star

Dilpreet Sandhu, 19, faces eight charges in early morning crash that killed Brandon Bassi

Surrey Mounties seize guns, drugs and cash from Guildford residence

One man was arrested but no charges have been laid as investigation continues

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read