I Never Imagined…

James Durand reflects on seven years of Swicked's Monday night ride

Almost seven years ago we opened Swicked Cycles and at the same time we started our Monday night group rides.

Running a bike shop is great, but, more importantly, we wanted to ride with the community.

The Swicked Monday night ride has become a regular outing for many mountain bikers in town, but I remember in those early years how small it was some weeks.

Many Monday nights it was just me, Chenoa and one other rider, but hey, three makes a group in my mind so we kept it going. During the winters we had a few rides where the weather was so bad that it was just me and Karl riding by ourselves, but as long as someone wanted to ride, we were there to lead the group – or rider in those cases. I have to admit there were a few times where I wondered if anyone cared, but in reality I was out riding my bike so even if no one showed up I would still have gone.

When beginners started coming out it was the best. Seeing them improve their skills and fitness every week was a great experience and very motivating.

After a season or two, the rides grew quickly and before we knew it, summer nights would bring out 30-plus riders and we had to split into four groups. We were too many for Beaver Lodge and started expanding into Woods Creek for a bit more trail variety. But then winter would hit and we’d be back to just a few of us crazy enough to battle the rain and mud.

As winter approaches this year, the weather has been worse than any year I’ve seen. Many nights my rain gear can’t even keep up. I get home after a ride and have to scrape the mud off before I can go in the garage, never mind the house. I almost expected our numbers to go from 30-plus to just me and Karl again, but our little community has surprised me in a very positive way. Not only have most of our regulars continued to ride with us, but there is a handful of beginners that started riding with us this winter.

Imagine how excited they’ll be next spring when they realize we can mountain bike in the daylight on dry trails.

Last Monday we had 21 riders out to enjoy the dark, the mud and the rain, and it’s late November in a year with record rainfall. I never imagined I would find so many wingnuts like myself.

Its pretty cool to be able to share our passion for riding, in all conditions, with so many.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Quadra Island adds voice to provincial old growth protest

Demonstrators and phoning campaign put pressure on provincial government

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Campbell River RCMP describe violent incident as ‘disturbing event’

Skatepark incident described by RCMP as ‘violence for violence[’s] sake’

North Island area timber supply under review

Review will inform annual cut for the next ten years

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read