Tyler Waddell poses with his bike and trailer that he took on an almost 2,900-kilometre cycling trip after coming out of treatment at Surrey’s Phoenix Society. He now hopes to give hope to others struggling with mental health and addiction, through a non-profit he’s setting up. (Photo: Facebook/Light the Pathway)

Former addict returns to Surrey to promote non-profit after 2,900-km bike trip

After cycling journey, Tyler Waddell sets up non-profit to help others coming out of treatment

A former addict who cycled across B.C. and beyond says he’s on a mission to give others purpose as they come out of treatment programs – an area he’s identified as a “gap” in the system.

“There’s no real in between thing. For a lot of people, they go into transitional housing and they isolate,” said Tyler Waddell, who graduated from Surrey’s Phoenix Society earlier this year after his struggle with addiction led to him losing his job, his vehicle, his son and ultimately, a suicide attempt.

The former Williams Lake resident praised the staff at Phoenix for helping him get his life back on track, but said when he completed the Surrey program on June 10 he “didn’t really know what to do next.”

“I see that as kind of a common problem,” he told the Now-Leader. “A lot of people, even in their last week, end up relapsing because they’re afraid of what happens next. It’s a scary reality. Do you go back to your old home? Your old job?”

Waddell took a unique approach when he got out of treatment, embarking on a journey that would end up being an almost 2,900-kilometre bike ride through B.C., Yukon and Alaska that wrapped up in August.

“I bought a bike for $250 bucks online, bought a trailer for $80, and a Rubbermaid tote,” he said. “The longest I ever spent on a bike in treatment was about five minutes and I nearly keeled over and died. By the end of it, I was doing 120 kilometres a day. I was getting so strong.

“I learned so much ,” he said of the experience, saying it helped him mental health tremendously.

Waddell now has his sights set on creating a non-profit society that he’s named Light the Pathway, “to help these people get out of treatment experience their lives, and figure out what they want to do with their future.”

“Talking to people, helping people and creating hope for people so they don’t have to hit the deepest of rock bottoms to get the help that is out there,” he said. “It is an organization that will bridge the gap between the people in need of mental health services and the services available in all B.C. and Yukon communities.”

Waddell said he’s working to obtain grants and make corporate sponsorships, and just embarked on a second cycling trip late last week from Victoria.

He’ll be in Surrey this Saturday (Sept. 14) at Phoenix Society’s 30th anniversary celebration, and will have a booth set up to share his story and promote his efforts with his non-profit organization. The four-hour block party will run at Phoenix’s headquarters, at 13686 94A Ave, across from Surrey Memorial Hospital, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

READ MORE: Block party to celebrate 30 years of Phoenix Society successes in Surrey

Meantime, Waddell is already busying planning what he refers to as his “main voyage” – an RV tour across B.C. from late November through to winter solstice.

“On my road trip I would like to connect with people in your city to help grow some events the lighten people up during the dark days of winter,” he explained. “I’m going to set up with talk to some community organizations and see what kind of events I can start up. I’ll be working with local First Nations throughout B.C. They’re a place where I’m going to focus quite a bit of my intention on. Also, local fish and game clubs, because they’re always out doing fun stuff and love helping people out.”

“My non profit is up and running now,” he added. “I will be looking for community sponsorship to start up events Dec. 1 to 21. Everything from ice fishing, to cross-country skiing, BBQs, speaker meetings, interactive things for teens and well, I always need more ideas.”

Looking further down the road, Waddell envisions his spring bike tour becoming an annual event, and he hopes to have other former addicts to join him as they leave treatment.

“They can discover themselves, they can learn, they can do outreach work,” he said. “We’ll talk at treatment centres along the way. And they can train for it while they’re in treatment. It’s helpful to have that purpose.”

And, he hopes to see the public get involved in future iterations.

“I envision this as something, a couple years down the road, there could be segments between say Surrey and Chilliwack, where a family can come and join on a bike tour,” he said. “Or maybe go from Penticton to Vernon over two days.”

“It’s not about cycling for speed – everything slows down and you see the world differently.”

For more information, to get involved or to follow Waddell’s travels, visit him on his Facebook page: “Light the Pathway.

Click here to check out his Instagram page.

Just Posted

Surrey’s Kongbo has eyes on Grey Cup prize as Bombers rookie

Holy Cross grad is a defensive end with Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Replica of historic Bulman’s Garage to be built after ‘suspicious’ fire in Surrey

A body was found inside the Port Kells building after being destroyed by a blaze on Oct. 21

Annual gala aims to give Surrey youth a boost with transitional housing

Fourth annual fundraiser set for Friday, Nov. 22

New commander for White Rock RCMP

Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has been a Mountie for 15 years

CCTV cameras help Surrey RCMP arrest two bank robbery suspects

The robberies were in North Surrey on Nov. 7 and Oct. 1

Bye bye Bei Bei: Giant panda born in U.S. zoo heads to China

Panda heads back to China as part of cooperate breeding program

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

B.C. woman suing after laser hair removal leaves her with ‘severe’ burns, scarring

Nadeau felt ‘far more pain’ than usual during the treatment

Union to prepare for picket lines, announce new measures in transit strike escalation

Unifor said the move comes after a ‘failure by the employer to make new offers at the bargaining table’

$2.9 million judgment in B.C. blueberry farm sabotage lawsuit

The new owners saw most of their farm ruined just as they took possession

B.C. to more than double sales tax on vaping products

Tax up from 7 to 20 per cent, tobacco tax up two cents

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

‘Midget’ no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Ottawa urges CN and union to continue talks as 3,200 workers go on strike

The rail workers began their strike after failing to reach a deal by a midnight deadline

Most Read