Cross-country cyclists Mat Leblanc and Ali Becker ran out of water in the middle of a seemingly endless strip of eastern Alberta ghost towns with names such as Little Gem, about 230 kilometers, or 143 miles, east-northeast of Calgary, about a three-hour drive. In June 2018, they had embarked from Victoria, British Columbia, on their cross-Canada Good Vibes bike tour along the 24,000-kilometer, or 14,913-mile, Great Trail, Canada’s coast-to-coast recreational trail.

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Huzzah! The Good Vibes Tour Powered by Weedmaps has arrived at our destination in Halifax, NS ⚡Thanks to all y’all who followed along, offered love, stoke and words (and puffs) of encouragement ❤️ you kept us rolling through sun, rain, hail, frost and storms, up and over mountains, across rivers and into the wind. BIG LOVE to all of our #sponsors who believed in us from the beginning and took a chance on a couple of #kooks with a big dream. BIG, BIG LOVE to #cannabis which continues to fuel our life, love, healing, wellness journey, fun having and spreading of #goodvibes 🌱 this has been the #adventure of a lifetime. #thegoodvibestour #cannabisculture @weedmaps #weedmaps @nelsonpotorium #nelsonpotorium #flytecrew @topleafcanada #teamtopleaf @pootcompany #poot @hempfestcanada #hempfest @tokeboxclub #tokeboxclub @bakededibles #bakededibles @twistedextracts_ca #twistedextracts @productsbysec #productsbySeC @herb_herbalist #chillumfarms @bovedacannabis #bovedacannabis 🇨🇦🇨🇦 @explorecanada #adventurebybike #cannafam #cannabiscommunity #activestoners #cannacouple #biketouring #fuelddbythc #optoutside #halifax #whileoutriding

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Climbing unforgiving mountain inclines and traveling under their own power through rain, cold, and wind, the young couple from Nelson, British Columbia, remained determined to spread their cannabis-positive message.

They had designed their trek to be a demonstration of personal strength, wellness, and healthful cannabis lifestyles leading up to legalization of cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018. Leblanc, 34, and Becker, 32, had biked up to Canada’s territories, then southeast to the flat, hot prairies. Yet on the 42nd day of their trip, finding themselves waterless in a vast, underpopulated expanse suddenly cast their mission in a more perilous light.

“Google Maps has really amazing cycling options, but it always takes you on a really remote route,” Becker explained to in a video chat from Shediac, New Brunswick. “It was super-hot. And we couldn’t rely on the map. It would say there’s a restaurant, and then we’d get there and it would have been closed for years.”

Finally, a savior appeared: a farmer driving up the road on an all-terrain vehicle.

He asked whether they were tourists.

The answer wasn’t so simple for two cyclists packing a large supply of cannabis, pre-legalization. Before embarking, local sponsors such as Nelson Potorium and Flyte Concentrates loaded them up with an “almost overwhelming” number of edibles, concentrates, tinctures, oils and, of course, various strains of flower to help them fuel and recover. But that was British Columbia, where cannabis is culturally treated no differently than a superfood — albeit one with a passionate following.

This was Alberta, home of the oil-rich tar sands, cattle ranches, and sometimes conservative points of view. And even though they’d shared countless conversations about cannabis, how they used it to relax after enduring nearly traumatic levels of mental and physical pain on their journey across the western half of Canada on bicycle — here in unfamiliar terrain they faced a new level of uncertainty about their message, which was hard to miss. Their jerseys sported a huge logo for Weedmaps, a sponsor that owns

But when they followed the farmer to his home, his wife was more quizzical.

“So I just started telling her,” Becker recalled. “We’re sponsored by a bunch of cannabis brands; we live in the Kootenays and we have this cannabis-infused active lifestyle, and we really wanted to promote this positive message to people across Canada.” She looked at the farmer, whose eyes had dropped to the floor.

“I meet you on the road and I bring you into my home to find out you’re strung out on pot?” Becker said the man said with a smile that may have meant he was kidding. Or maybe not.  Then he got up and left the room.

Leblanc said his face turned beet red. While he’s as passionate a cannabis advocate as they come, he’s still Canadian. He didn’t want to offend anyone, and the man had shown them so much kindness and respect in their home. But then he came back in the room, carrying a USB charger: a gift to show that they took to show he was fine with the whole thing. It didn’t really matter.

Leblanc and Becker rode for more than 130 days, documenting their trip on Instagram, fuelled by meals between intermittent fasting and their own version of Bulletproof coffee, which combines cannabis oil (with the dietary supplement MCT), coffee, and butter. They said they rarely had unpleasant or heated conversations about marijuana consumption. They aren’t sure whether to chalk it up to recent coverage of cannabis legalization, but they said that all the way to their final destination of Halifax, Nova Scotia, most Canadians were receptive to Becker’s and Leblanc’s message: Cannabis had helped each of them in pivotal times of their respective wellness journeys, and that it can also be consumed as part of an active, healthful lifestyle.

This wasn’t Becker’s and Leblanc’s first cross-country trip, but it was the first Becker said she actually was able to fully enjoy.

They first met at Leblanc’s 29th birthday party, and something meaningful sparked between them as they bonded over snowboarding and malaise about their jobs. The next day, Leblanc shattered his pelvis while mountain biking.

At the time, Becker’s lifestyle wasn’t a model of health. She smoked cigarettes, drank booze and didn’t exercise. As Leblanc started his physical recovery, Becker joined in leading a more active life that included walking, hiking and cannabis. Together, they eased toward a new way of living. In 2015, they decided to bike across the country just to see if they could do it, consuming cannabis to relax at night and energize in the morning, but not talking about it publicly — and certainly not with random men on dirt roads.

Becker said their second cross-country ride was a lot more enjoyable. But it also helped crystallize what she’s learned about cannabis and wellness, that it wasn’t a magic cure for laziness. Rather, she found cannabis helped to make unpleasant things a little more fun or less difficult. The trick was finding the right products and the right doses that kept her highly functional.

“For me, cannabis was a catalyst for positive changes but it wasn’t the change itself, it’s not like one day I started smoking cannabis more intentionally while hiking and suddenly got fit,” she wrote in a follow-up email. “It was a gentle transition. Cannabis was a tool to help make those challenging experiences of getting into shape — or for Mat, relearning to walk after shattering his pelvis — more enjoyable.”

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