When you first get on a bike after a long time, like me, the secret that was obvious as a kid that you took for granted comes rushing back with greater applicability than ever. It is this: There is a freedom of being inside of you that’s always inside of you seeking connection through simple, genuine, and intentional fun.

It is a reminder from Sia’s song, Cheap Thrills and a nugget of universal wisdom. But when was the last time that you felt like you had real fun?

Matt Oliver

Matt Oliver, Bike Tours Victoria

Through the process of growing up, we inevitably become disconnected from the ease of creating a sense of fun. In adulthood, fun is relegated to being a chore, expensive, a lot of effort, not worth it, the domain of children, or something that requires time that you don’t have.

A number of years ago while living in Vancouver, life was not feeling so fun for me (and no, it was not because of the housing market in my case). It was at this time that I embarked on a career transition after having been in the automotive industry for a couple of decades. During this time I realized that fun was non-negotiable if I wanted life to have meaning.

At a time of uncertainty, I found myself remembering my childhood idea of fun. Growing up in rural Ontario, the most fun I remember having was on my bike with my friends and family.

On your own power the wind was suddenly in your hair, you were experiencing a gleeful sense of adventure, laughter came easily and there was still time to finish homework. So, in my late 30s, I got on my bike again. And not just as a hobby this time.

It turns out that it is true that you never forget how to ride a bike. And my mind loosened up to reveal an enthusiasm that had been with me all along. It was an enthusiasm that I wanted to share as I talked to people about biking and told people that I would bike to meet them instead of taking the bus or driving.

While biking, I started to take real notice of the city. There were a lot of unique businesses that I had never noticed before, engaging neighbourhoods around, and the city somehow seemed more alive and personable. It felt really natural to start to bike with others as a tour guide.

And then Victoria caught my eye and I started to bike here too opening up my own bike tour company leaving Vancouver behind. And then again, while biking, as a city, Victoria revealed more and more of its specialness to me. There were local and thoughtful businesses here that I was excited to show people. There is a history of many peoples that not only intersected here, but that created the City, as we know it today. There are also impressive architectural finds on streets that seem familiar, and do not even get me started on the food!

When you first get on a bike after a long time, like me, the secret that was obvious as a kid that you took for granted comes rushing back with greater applicability than ever. It is this: There is a freedom of being inside of you that’s always inside of you seeking connection through simple, genuine, and intentional fun.

If you have not been on a bike in a while and want to try it out with me, or if you are expecting summer visitors and want to have some real and simple fun with them, get in touch. I’m Matt at BikeToursVictoria.com.
Originally published in the Downtown Victoria Magazine.

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