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

Just make it fun

By James Durand

Remember in grade school when you had to present a project in front of the class?

Do you remember the terror you felt? The shaking hands, the nervous voice? If you don’t, you were either a phenom of a student, or more likely, you have a bad memory.

I hated it so much I actually skipped a class once to avoid a presentation. I failed that class because of it and ended up having to attend night school to actually graduate Grade 12. A very poor decision that cost me every Tuesday and Thursday night when I was 19-years-old while I scrambled through English 12 … again. Oops!

A few years later I ended up in a career that entailed regular public speaking, sales presentations, and training sessions. I figured out that if I kept the content fun, it became easier for me. I’d put a humorous spin on anything to make it seem like play, as opposed to work, and never had to skip work to avoid presentations.

I have found myself in similar positions with biking over the years as well. A big race, a long steep climb, or one of those road rides where everyone is way fitter than me. These can all be stressful situations, but I try to remember that I’m biking and the only reason I do this is for the fun. This approach relaxes me and before I know it, I’m just riding on instinct and all the stress is gone.

I got to deal with this all again recently, but as a parent, and the same approach seemed to work.

As a species, we love to play, I based my whole life on it and no matter how serious things get, how hard work becomes, or how overwhelmed I may be, keeping it playful gets me through the days.

I watch my kids learn every second of every day, and when they’re playing, they advance so quickly I can hardly keep up.

Rock climbing, mountain biking, trampoline, and swimming are all fun activities, but they learn something new every time out. Even board games and card games help them with math, reading, and focus. But they don’t realize it, they don’t get stressed from the pressures of learning, and it makes other aspects of their lives easier.

I am by no means an educator, and I was never great in school, but I’ve taught and coached sports for a long time, and when the clients are having fun, they learn more and retain more.

I spent an hour this morning talking my kid off the ledge as they nervously prepared to present a project. We decided to turn it into entertainment, as opposed to just a presentation, I sawa smile and we turned the corner. Still not an easy task, but maybe just enough to make it achievable this time?

Life is full of work, tasks, and must do’s. It can be overwhelming, but if we try to play more and work less, even while working, maybe we’ll manage to keep it simple, fun, and achievable, kinda like riding a bike.

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

Campbell RiverCycling

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