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

Life is short, let’s not take it too seriously

By James Durand

You’ve read my thoughts on many things over the years, and clearly I would like my kids to be mountain bikers. It’s partly selfish since I want to ride and what better way to hang out with my little people? But it is also a great way to stay healthy, build some fitness and get involved in the community, so it’s not all about me.

With Rhyley, it’s been a balance of me pushing, and me stepping back. I want to encourage her, but I’m trying not to be “That Dad.” She loves riding her bike but it’s down the list from art, singing, swimming, dancing, reading, trampolining (is that a word?), sleeping and a few other things. I love that she is passionate about many things and becoming a well-rounded little human. She is strong-minded, and honestly, she probably teaches me as much as I teach her.

When I ride with Rhyley, it is very relaxing. We cruise around casually and she gets me to actually pay attention to my surroundings as opposed to racing past everything. We stop to check out the trees, insects, or just to chat, and we have a great time. There are no goals outside of riding bikes together.

Regan is a different story. He wants to ride constantly and would easily skip school, sleep and possibly breathing if it meant he could ride a bit longer. Lately, he has decided he wants to ride his bike to the school bus stop. It’s about 200 meters from our house and by the time he gets his helmet, gloves, and bike ready to go, we could have walked there and back twice.

When Regan and I ride together it is also very different from my regular rides. I come home from a Regan ride with improved skills. He is always trying to wheelie, jump, hop, slide, pedal harder, or corner faster and that’s before we leave the driveway. It encourages me to re-learn old skills and stupid parking lot tricks.

We may not ride very far and at four-years-old, he isn’t into climbing hills or tackling super technical trails yet, but he is having so much fun you can see it oozing out of him.

I had a good chat with a customer the other day and he made the simplest comment, “Life is too short for have-to’s” and it hit home.

I can take things too seriously and I often get tied up in going faster, riding further, or jumping higher on my bike. I feel I have to keep improving if I’m going to keep riding but then Rhyley and Regan remind me that results don’t matter, it’s about the ride itself.

Maybe riding is a “have to” for me but it shouldn’t be about setting goals, it’s just fun acting like a kid again.

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

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