Cycle for Sobriety rider makes Vancouver Island stop in old hometown

Duncan-born Matthew Fee rode bike from Halifax to raise awareness

Matthew Fee’s face beamed with happiness and accomplishment as he rode his one-speed BMX bike into the parking lot of Duncan’s White Spot restaurant Monday afternoon.

Fee, 33, who was born in Duncan, was on the final leg of his more than 7,000-kilometre bike ride from Halifax to Victoria as part of his “Cycling for Sobriety” tour that began on May 1.

He said his long ride, intended to fight stigma and to raise awareness for the addiction-recovery services at John Volken Academy in Newton, was encouraging for him as he met and inspired many people along the way to make changes in their lives.

RELATED STORY: HEALING AND ON SCHEDULE, SURREY BMXer MORE THAN HALF WAY HOME ON CROSS-CANADA RIDE

“For many people, there are lots of things they don’t want to do to change their lives for the better, but they have to reach down deep within themselves, not give up and look for support,” Fee said after he pulled into the parking lot, followed closely by his support team in a camper trailer covered in sponsorship logos.

“One of my best memories of the trip was when I left Medicine Hat. Ryan Kelly, who also rode a bike across the country on his Ride to Recovery tour, pedalled about 70 kilometres with me as he told me his story. It was quite the trip overall.”

The tour is also an attempt by Fee, a life-long bike enthusiast, to set a record for the world’s longest ride on a single-speed bike.

While born in Duncan, Fee moved to Terrace B.C. with his family when he was seven years old.

His young life was tough as he was the bullied and traumatized by peers, and he blamed himself when his parents divorced.

Fee said he began to “socially disconnect” and became an outcast in his teenage years.

“I started partying and hanging around with the wrong crowd,” he said.

“Hard drugs and drinking became my life at age 15. I lost a close friend and, unable to process the pain of that loss in a healthy manner, I simply did more drugs. I crashed my truck due to mixing drugs and medications, lost my job, overdosed and ended up in the hospital.”

RELATED STORY: TOUR DE ROCK CRUISES THROUGH COWICHAN

While in the hospital, Fee’s mother, Tammy Lynne, showed him a news clip about the John Volken Academy, an addiction recovery program modelled after the therapeutic community approach to addiction treatment.

Fee said he had already tried numerous addiction treatment programs to no avail, but decided he wanted to get his life back in order and agreed to attend the academy’s two-year program.

“The academy really turned my life around,” he said.

“After I completed the program, the academy hired me as a mentor to help other people fight their addictions. I’ve been clean and sober for four years now and I’m really enjoying my life.”

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN BAY FORUM TO HELP ADDICTS; TWO FREE TREATMENT SPOTS AVAILABLE

Tammy Lynne joined the Cycling for Sobriety tour for its last leg earlier this week as it made its way through Vancouver on the way to the Island.

She said couldn’t be happier at the positive changes in her son’s life.

“We almost lost him 12 times over the years,” she said as she gleefully tucked herself under Fee’s arm.

“There are no words to describe what he has done with his life and I’m just delighted. Matt is now a catalyst for change for other people and families who are going through what we went through. By the grace of God, he’s alive to tell his story and help others.”

Fee said the tour was scheduled to end with a ceremony at the Legislature Building on Tuesday, after which he will dip his bike into the Pacific Ocean and return to work.

He thanked his many sponsors for helping to fund his ride across the country.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to work,” he said with a grin.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

Nanaimo blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

Judy Woodruff discovers bedroom of home in south Nanaimo turned upside-down; jewelry and art stolen

Vancouver Island man in Russia to reshape the future of hockey

NHL official Rob Schick talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Couple collecting empties to feed VIU scholarship fund can’t pick up cans on campus anymore

Parmars have been picking up cans for 12 years; university now enforcing safety policy

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Striking loggers get space at North Island Mall

Space gives union members a Port Hardy base of operations to collect donations, talk to public

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular returns to Vancouver Island for 13th year

Festive stage production brings variety of dance and musical styles to Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Victoria council chambers packed for ongoing environmental cruise ship discussions

Union workers, neighbourhood associations and more gathered for environmental conversations

Vancouver Island veterinarian heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

Most Read