Under-35 leaders series: Matt Yaki of Wandering Wheels

A new partnership series between the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce and the Revelstoke Mountaineer highlights local young professionals and explores their philosophy on commerce, professional life and community involvement in Revelstoke

Matt Yaki of Wantering Wheels. Photo: Ryan Creary

The Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce and the Revelstoke Mountaineer are partnering to share our new Young Professionals Series in late May and June. We’ll be profiling select under-35 Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce members to highlight the dynamic new wave of chamber membership and their contributions to local commerce and the community of Revelstoke. The weekly series culminates in a June 23 workshop on cloud commerce hosted by the Kootenay Rockies Innovation Council, followed by a business & beer session at the Big Eddy Pub featuring networking and technology presenters. Here is part IV in our ongoing series:

Matt Yaki, Owner, Wandering Wheels

Revelstoke Mountaineer: What is it that your company does, and what do you do for the company?

Matt Yaki: Wandering Wheels offers mountain bike tours, lessons and shuttle services for both local and visiting mountain bikers. We also offer full-service, multi-day vacation packages as well as youth bike camps and skills programs for adults. I am the owner of the company and I am a mountain bike guide and instructor.

RM: What’s your advice to an ambitious newcomer to the Revelstoke private sector who’s looking to move up?

MY: Revelstoke is still a small town and there are plenty opportunities for unique businesses to open up and succeed in this community. Just try to find something you can be passionate about, something that Revelstoke doesn’t yet offer, figure out if there’s a market for it and make it happen. There will surely be several hurdles and roadblocks along the way, but keep striving and don’t take no for an answer!

Matt living the dream. Photo: Steve Shannon
Matt living the dream. Photo: Steve Shannon

Through your professional involvement in Revelstoke, what positive benefits do you deliver to the community?

It’s basically my job to get people out riding bikes and enjoying the mountains and nature! Whether it’s through teaching, guiding or just a shuttle drop, I help people to get out, learn and enjoy mountain biking in this area. I also try very hard to promote Revelstoke as a destination mountain biking community in hopes of growing our existing mountain bike industry and trail infrastructure. With the help of several other local professionals, I try to attract mountain bikers from all over the world to visit Revelstoke in the summertime.

More than anyone, what individual (outside of your family) inspires you the most?

Pretty tough to narrow it down to just one inspiration in this town! There are so many young entrepreneurs in Revelstoke who are making a living from their passions while living the lifestyle that we’re all here for. If I had to list just a few people who have really inspired me recently it would be Brendan and Mike from the bike shops in town, Marty from CaPow and Scott and Kerry from Eagle Pass Heli. Brent Strand has also been a big inspiration for me. His passion for mountain biking in Revelstoke is so very contagious!

Matt Yaki leads a group through glacier lillies on alpine singletrack near Sol Mountain Lodge in the Monashee Mountains south of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Photo: Steve Shannon
Matt Yaki leads a group through glacier lillies on alpine singletrack near Sol Mountain Lodge in the Monashee Mountains south of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Photo: Steve Shannon

What’s your biggest accomplishment in your professional career?

With Wandering Wheels I’ve had several small accomplishments and celebrations along the way for sure One of the bigger accomplishments definitely was getting my guiding tenure in place, which was a three-year process of working with government officials and dozens of local land managers and user groups. I was definitely very happy when that finally came through!

Share a secret with our readers about doing business in Revelstoke.

Revelstoke is great, everyone seems to be very supportive and everyone wants everyone else to succeed. If you need help just ask and the community definitely steps up! On another note, I have learned that Revelstokians in general are very last minute and have a tough time committing to things! If you’re offering some kind of service requiring sign-ups, be prepared for last minute registrants.

What are some passion projects you’re involved with outside of work?

Might still be work related in a sense, but I am an active member of the Revelstoke Cycling Association and I have several trail projects on the go right now. I also like to get out and do general trail work whenever I can. The Martha Creek Makeover is a large project of mine right now. Together with a team of passionate mountain bikers we are raising money and organizing trail work for a very popular public trail which needs lots of love. Totally separate from work another passion project of mine is Back Alley Jazz, a local band which I play the drums for. I actually went to Humber College for Jazz Performance when I was young. Pretty tough to make a living out of jazz drumming, but it is such a great hobby to still have!

Why do you choose to be a member of the Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce?

The Revelstoke Chamber has been instrumental in the conception and start-up of Wandering Wheels. I was able to get free business advice, help with financial assistance, help with marketing my product through good advertising opportunities, the list goes on. Being a member gives me access to almost unlimited resources!

What’s your go-to saying?

During lessons and skills clinics I quite often find myself saying, “It’s all about carrying your momentum.” I think the same could be said about running a business as well.

When I’m not at work I’m:

Hah! Ever hear that saying “when you own your own business, you’re working all the time?” Well it’s very true. Seriously though, when I can get away from work in the summertime I’m still riding my bike, hopefully on a new big and adventurous ride somewhere.

How can Revelstoke Mountaineer readers connect with you?