My Story About Facing Fear Head On

“Action cures fear, inaction creates terror.” –Douglas Horton

Behind me was the well known Lion Gates Bridge. If I said no to this ride, I would not have been able to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

My late twenties was one of the lowest points in my life.  I broke off from a long-term relationship, lived alone, didn’t particularly like my job, and was awfully confused with my life.

I was lonely, broke (living paycheque to paycheque) and didn’t feel like I had a purpose in life.

To break out from this self pity, I signed up for a 5km run downtown, alone.  I surprised myself by completing the race given that I wasn’t exercising much and I only practiced a couple of times.  

That 5k run was a life changing event.  I started seeing the light.  It got me inspired to do more.  

I signed up for the annual Heart & Stroke foundation fundraising event to ride on Don Valley Parkway & Gardiner, alone.

It would be a cool experience to ride along the DVP.  It’s about 25km in total.

Although I grew up with bike lanes in my neighbourhood in Hong Kong, it was a rare occasion for me to ride a bicycle after I moved to Canada.

To prep for the event, I had to start training.

At the time, I lived at Islington & Gardiner, close to the Lakeshore bike paths.  

To ride from my house to downtown Yonge Street area, it’s about 12.5km bike ride roughly.  A round trip to downtown would be 25km, same distance as the fundraising event.

I rode it twice a few weeks before the event.  I was going to practice the one last time the weekend before.

As I was riding pass one of the condo buildings, I got caught by a curb.  I fell, broke one of my front teeth and bruised my right knee.

My bike was even bent slightly from the accident.

Needless to say, I wasn’t in any shape to ride a bike after.  I got an emergency appointment with my dentist to have a temp crown covering my lost tooth.  I had my bruise cleaned up at a doctor’s office.

This accident punched me right back to my semi-depression state.  I still remember vividly crying from my bruised knee the next night as it was in more pain.  

I hadn’t ridden a bike since then.  It must have been over 6 years.  

Erwin and I took a vacation, just the two of us, in Vancouver this week.  We stayed at a hotel just right next to the Stanley Park, one of the most visited tourist areas in City of Vancouver.

One of the ways to enjoy Stanley Park is to ride a bike around it.  There’s paved bike paths everywhere and it was very flat and easy to ride along.

We got our bikes, and off we went.  Before we started, I made a comment to Erwin, “I haven’t ridden on a bike in over five years!”  

You know how sometimes women say one thing but we really mean another?

I was really saying, “I’m really nervous from the accident 5 years ago. I don’t know if I could handle a 1.5 hour bike ride.”

I didn’t meet him a couple of months after the accident.  Heck would he know what I truly meant.  

I started off anxiously and ever so slowly.  It didn’t help that the bike was too big for me and Vancouver was on the chilly side that morning.  At one point I was shaking a bit.

I rode cautiously and slowly, trying to focus on the road and enjoy the scenery as well.  Many people passed us.  At one-point Erwin had to stop to wait for me because I was falling behind.

It was nice to see the shore, the Lion Gate Bridge and Stanley Park. I eventually claimed down and continued the ride smoothly.

We finished the ride accident-free in 1 hour and 15 min.

We even went for a second ride the next morning and we finished it in less than an hour.  

We are planning for another bike ride around the path again the next morning.

Morale of story?   Sometimes we get our fear from whatever accidents and experiences we previously had.  Sometimes the fear is uncalled for.  

I knew how to ride a bike since I was 4 and I used to ride for hours from one end of town to another in my teens.  I rarely got hurt. 

One accident changed my perception of riding a bike.  And one ride along the park can reverse all this!

Nothing is better than facing your fear head on.

Our sister in law is in the process of purchasing her first rental property.

She was concerned and a bit skeptical because her uncle had bad experiences and did not make any money in real estate.  

No one can guarantee that you will make money from anything you do, but staying status quo always gives you the 1% and 2% mutual funds return.  

If you don’t give it a chance, you will also miss the opportunity to enjoy the ride along.


“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford


Until next time, happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.

Cherry Chan, CPA, CA

Your Real Estate Accountant

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