How do you plan on celebrating cannabis legalization? While some might prefer to smoke a nice quad in the comfort of their homes with a couple of friends, Mat Leblanc and Ali Becker are taking the party across Canada.
Mat and Ali are the cannabis-infused couple from Nelson, B.C. behind The Good Vibes Tour, an upcoming cross-country cycle tour created out of a love for both bike touring and cannabis. Their intention is to cultivate positive social awareness, celebrate legal weed, and most importantly, spread good vibes.
Both say cannabis has been a catalyst for positive change in their lives, and they’re excited to hit the road from Victoria in early June.
The Straight met with Mat and Ali this past weekend for some photos ahead of their trip, and had a chance to learn more about why they’ve decided to embark on the monumental bike ride.
GS: “What compelled you to create the Good Vibes Tour?”
Ali: “Cannabis has been a profound part of my personal transition into an active, healthy lifestyle. When Mat and I met five years ago, I was extremely unhealthy, overweight, out of shape, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol almost everyday, and living a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Cannabis has been a powerful tool to help me get through the physical and mental discomfort of getting off my ass, getting into shape, and turning my life around.
“I have since quit smoking cigarettes, quit drinking alcohol, lost the weight that was holding me back, and have become an advocate for movement, mindfulness, and time spent outside. My relationship with fitness and cannabis has since grown from a coping mechanism to get me through the grind into an incredible way to enhance my everyday experiences (okay, it still helps me get through the hard efforts too!), and I felt like sharing my story through something like The Good Vibes Tour could help motivate and inspire others who could benefit from that message.”
Mat: “On our last bike tour, we were fairly closeted about our cannabis use because of the stigma and stereotypes that were holding us back. Even though we knew how beneficial cannabis was in our lives, we didn't quite have the courage to share our experiences.
“When we started to see what brands like Weedmaps were doing in the action and adventure sports world—how they were supporting and encouraging athletes who consumed cannabis to open up about their balanced lifestyle—we were really inspired. It gave us the courage to want to work through the stigma that was holding us back, and share our healthy, active lifestyle with others. The Good Vibes Tour became a seed of an idea that has grown into this incredible movement.
“We live in Nelson; a progressive community with an economy largely immersed in the cannabis industry, where eight dispensaries serve a city of 10,000. The positivity, support, education and encouragement from our local cannabis community have been motivating and instrumental. The acceptance of our lifestyle (both in Nelson and through the online cannabis community) has given us the courage and confidence to be able to open up and be loud about how we live. It's helped us untangle from the shame that has long plagued cannabis consumers and create a new, healthy relationship between ourselves and the plant.”
GS: What's one aspect of legalization that you're most excited for?
M + A: “Perhaps the most exciting part is that it has really opened up the cannabis conversation and given people permission to speak about their relationship with the plant, both positive and negative. It's allowing people, especially those who have been silenced by fear, to share their stories from within the community and also outside of it. Since our lives have become so deeply immersed in the cannabis community, we see the healing that opening up and sharing can create. It's a step closer to freedom and we are so excited to be part of this transition and this important time in history.”
GS: How do cannabis and cycling intersect for the two of you?
M + A: “Cannabis and cycling intersect for us on the regular. We love the combination of riding our bikes in the great outdoors and consuming cannabis. Not only does cannabis enhance the awesomeness of cycling, it's also a great stimulant for longer rides and helps us keep our chins up when the going gets tough.
“We like to dabble with all kinds of cannabis consumption when we ‘infuse’ our bike rides. We love smoking flower, vaping concentrates, putting THC tincture in our morning coffee, eating tasty edible treats and using topicals to help with the aftermath of a long day (we've been experimenting with CBD topicals for saddle sores too). We try to strike a balance around consumption of all things (cannabis, caffeine, sugar, etc), taking tolerance breaks every now and again and applying some discipline to our day.”
GS: On which trail will you be travelling across Canada? When are you aiming to arrive in Halifax?
M + A: “Our enthusiasm for bike touring, backcountry exploration, camping and adventure lead us to choose a slightly unconventional, quasi-remote route from west to east. We're planning to cycle across Canada on as much of the Great Trail as possible. (The Trans Canada Trail was rebranded as the Great Trail for Canada's 150th birthday in 2017. Communities made an incredible push to connect all 24,000 kilometers of what is now considered the longest recreational trail in the world).
“Since some of the route goes over high mountain passes, like the Grey Creek Pass, which may still be covered in loads of snow, we are open to alternative (but still off-the-beaten path) bike-friendly routes, while still hitting major Canadian cities and cannabis hotspots along the way. We don't have a set date to reach the east coast, but preferably before ice crystals start forming in our water bottles overnight. We've given ourselves four months to complete the expedition, but we're hoping to roll into cannabis-friendly Halifax sometime in mid-September.”
GS: How do you plan to integrate cannabis into your trip? Will you be making any stops?
M + A: “We have an incredible line up of amazing, progressive, and generous sponsors from the cannabis community who are supporting, encouraging and fuelling us with cannabis infused goodness along the way. We are feeling super blessed. We’ve planned meet-ups and drop-ins at various cannabis dispensaries, cafes and lounges throughout the country, hoping to meet new people and make new friends. We have a list of top-shelf dispensaries to visit along the way, where our amazing and generous sponsors will have care packages awaiting our arrival.
“We're also supporting and promoting NORML Canada throughout the tour and will be donating a portion of our GoFundMe proceeds to their organization, because we believe that their work is important and aligned with our goals and mission. We’re stoked to meet up with them in some major Canadian cities and are just ironing out details of a few Good Vibes x NORML Wake, Bake and Bike rides along the way.”
GS: When do you leave?
M + A: “We embark on The Good Vibes Tour powered by Weedmaps on June 1 from Victoria. We can hardly wait!”