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

Why do we risk it?

By James Durand

By “It”, I mean injury.

Many of us ride hard and try all sorts of stupidity in an attempt at … hmmm, what are we aiming for with this approach to riding? As a former crazy mountain biker who liked to jump off big drops, hit long gaps, and ride as fast as possible at all times, whether I was in control or not, I loved the sense of accomplishment when I hit something successfully, or went further and faster than last time, or better yet, I just beat my friends at whatever we decided to compete at that day.

These days, being older and apparently more brittle, I’m tamer now and find my adrenalin fixes in smaller doses. But I still like to ride fast, a little out of control, and quicker than my friends if I can. And if I almost eat s#!t in the process, all the more fun.

If you’re not overly competitive, or addicted to adrenalin at some level, then you won’t understand this attitude. I’m not sure if I understand it myself to be honest.

I grew up with a buddy who took the safe approach to most things. When we were learning how to snowboard, on day two I tried a 180, splatted and hit the snow like a sack of potatoes, which was followed by that noise of all the air leaving your lungs, and then I rolled into the fetal position for a few minutes. He looked at me in wonderment and asked, “Why don’t we just enjoy the turns and go home in one piece?”

I couldn’t explain it then any more than I can now, and even though I haven’t seen him in years, I can guarantee he doesn’t ache like I do when it rains. But I still think it was a stupid question. I sometimes think I should have taken it easier on my body growing up. My ankle would probably swivel back and forth properly, I wouldn’t have those tingly nerves in my mid back every time I type a Q on my laptop, and my shoulders might actually rotate all the way around without those deep crunching noises.

So then, why DO we risk it?

This last week a buddy of mine, who thinks a lot like me when riding a bike, slipped on some black ice and destroyed himself. He was’t doing anything stupid as far as I can tell, but he sustained a broken femur and broken hip. He is now in for a long long recovery and if he is anything like me, he’ll spend most of that time wishing he was out riding his bike.

As dangerous as our riding styles may be, we’d rather be out risking life and limb for fun and adventure, as opposed to being randomly screwed over by some misguided fate and a bit of black ice.

So, would you rather be safe everyday in the hopes of never getting hurt while I’m out there pushing my limits, stretching my possibilities, and having a blast doing it? Either way, there is a possibility you’ll end up in the hospital bed right beside mine, but I’ll be smiling, and planning my next ride.

Hey JR, stay strong and get well soon, you know, so we can go ride bikes again.

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

Campbell RiverCycling

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