BMX rider Mat Fee (middle) with Cycling for Sobriety support team members Jon Karamanos and Courtney Rota in Surrey Friday afternoon, outside John Volken Academy on King George Boulevard. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

BMX rider Mat Fee (middle) with Cycling for Sobriety support team members Jon Karamanos and Courtney Rota in Surrey Friday afternoon, outside John Volken Academy on King George Boulevard. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

VIDEO: ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ BMX-er arrives home in Surrey after cross-Canada ride

Recovering addict Mat Fee is on a five-month journey that ends this week

It was a Surrey homecoming Friday for Mat Fee, the man who is riding across Canada on a BMX bike.

He set out from Halifax on May 1 in an attempt to set a record for the world’s longest ride on a single-speed bike.

More than that, the 7,000-kilometre “Cycling for Sobriety” ride has been an effort by Fee and his two-person support team to raise money and awareness for the addiction-recovery services at John Volken Academy in Newton.

“That place really turned my life around,” Fee said in April, before the start of his cross-Canada ride. “I want to let people know it’s there and how it changed my life, and that sobriety is possible.”

On Friday afternoon (Oct. 4), Fee arrived to a hero’s welcome and hugs from others who live and work at the facility, located on King George Boulevard at 68th Avenue.

After being on the road for more than five months, it was a surreal moment for Fee as he realized his bike ride is nearly over.

“It’s a little overwhelming but it feels great, that’s for sure,” Fee said.

Last spring, he and his team drove across Canada in an RV, to map the route Fee would ride back home to B.C. Over the spring and summer and now into fall, he’s cycled anywhere from 50 to 150 kilometres a day, through all kinds of weather and over all kinds of terrain.

• RELATED STORY: ‘Healing’ and ‘on schedule,’ Surrey BMXer more than halfway home on cross-Canada ride, from August 2019.

Fee was joined on the ride by support team members Jon Karamanos and Courtney Rota, who both followed along in a RV.

Rota has known Fee for around eight years, and is in recovery herself.

“We’re good supports for one another and he asked me to come out and help with everything,” Rota said. “It’s been unreal to be able to witness this and watch him and be part of it. I’m super happy.”

Fee’s long bike ride isn’t over just yet, as he’ll continue on to Vancouver on Sunday (Oct. 6). That morning, other cyclists are encouraged to ride with him from the PNE to Victory Square, with a 10 a.m. meeting time at the PNE (corner of Renfrew and Hastings). Arrival time at Victory Square is at around 11:45 a.m.

On Tuesday (Oct. 8), Fee is schedule to ride to the Legislature in Victoria, on the final leg of his journey.

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.”

Later, he landed in hospital after crashing his truck while driving high, and his mother showed him a news clip about John Volken Academy. After three months of treatment, he experienced “great personal growth,” despite the challenge of living in such a therapeutic community.

“It was what was needed,” he posted on the Cycling for Sobriety website. “I learned about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and finally at the age of 30 I got answers to why I mentally and emotionally suffered.”



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

 

VIDEO: ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ BMX-er arrives home in Surrey after cross-Canada ride

VIDEO: ‘Cycling for Sobriety’ BMX-er arrives home in Surrey after cross-Canada ride

Just Posted

Surrey-raised Tetsuro Shigematsu wrote and stars in “1 Hour Photo,” a Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre’s production to be presented online by Surrey Civic Theatres on April 23-24. (submitted photo/Raymond Shum)
‘This Japanese kid who grew up in Whalley’ thrilled to return with acclaimed ‘1 Hour Photo’

City’s Digital Stage to show Tetsuro Shigematsu’s solo portrait of Mas Yamamoto

Steve Serbic, assistant chief of operations for the Surrey Fire Service, has written a book, “The Unbroken” delving into his struggles with post-traumatic stress. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey firefighter writes book to ‘be part of the change’ in stigma around post-traumatic stress

‘The Unbroken’ details Steve Serbic’s childhood, career and journey dealing with mental health issues

Everett Cummings in a tribute video posted to dignitymemorial.com.
Mechanic’s death at Surrey dock results in $200K fine for company, union says

Photos of rally outside Surrey court posted on ILWU’s ‘Kill A Worker Go To Jail’ Facebook page

Fish processing workers fillet farm-raised salmon in Surrey B.C. Photo courtesy BCSFA
Discovery Islands salmon farm removal impacts jobs in B.C.’s Lower Mainland: report

The City of Surrey is the hub of the salmon farming industry in Metro Vancouver

Recycling day in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey says no to fining residents for putting wrong items in disposal bins

Council rejects corporate report recommending penalties and fines be issued for garbage, recycling and organics contamination

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
VIDEO: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Health Canada headquarters in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Health Canada releases guidelines for reducing COVID-19 transmission at home

Improve indoor air quality by opening up your windows and doors, among the encouraged ventilation measures

Most Read