The only retiring Swicked Cycles owner James Durand expects he'll do is retiring customers' bikes. Photo submitted

Adventures and distractions

Last week we had a hard decision to make. Do we continue with our group rides or not?

  • Mar. 25, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Last week we had a hard decision to make. Do we continue with our group rides or not?

After long deliberation and some valued feedback from the cycling community, we decided that with some adjustments, there are far more benefits for riding than against. Therefore we tweaked our rules and guidelines, and we went riding last Thursday.

We split into groups of four, all kept a safe distance between riders, and promised not to spit on each other. (I don’t ever remember spitting on anyone, but these are weird times)

We rode some great trails at Radar Hill. A few steep climbs, and then some fast and flowy down hills. The stars were out and the trail conditions were perfect.

With that all said, the main topics of conversation were still COVID-19, and this frustrates me. We ride to enjoy exercise, keep healthy, and relax our brains.

RELATED: Social distancing? Was this even a thing last month?

So as we were about to head back to the cars, I decided that my small group should hit one more great DH trail to clear our heads and leave on a good note. Off we went, four mountain bikers ripping down some tight single track, flowing like water down a groomed trail. Biggest smile I’ve had in a few weeks.

At the bottom, we hung a left and rode toward the cars, but since these trails have not been used in a while and darkness had settled in, I made a wrong turn. Oops.

We ended up at the bottom of a dead end trail. I won’t say I was lost, but I definitely was not where I was hoping to be.

We went into safety mode, turned our lights to low, and back tracked to the wrong turn. At this point we decided to take the shortest way out, opposed to optimizing single track content.

We found the road we wanted and headed straight for the highway. All sounds great right? Well the straight to the highway route is littered with huge puddles that engulf the entire road. The puddles are so big that you can’t see the far end of them. And they’re deep. Each pedal stroke had my feet submerged, and when I finally fell off the bike, the water was up to my knees.

So, 20 minutes later, we arrived at the cars, with very wet feet, and some funny conversations about adventures, risk, and the best way to dry out your shoes.

No talk of COVID-19, toilet paper, or global destruction, just four dudes laughing about a great ride and some scuba diving comments.

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but my crew needs a distraction these days, and mountain biking is a safe and fun way to get it.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’

Campbell River Mirror

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