I spent yesterday at my favourite place in the world—Joyride 150—with some of my favourite people in the world—high school students.
No biggie. Just me and a group of 45 teenagers on a school trip to Joyride 150. Boom. Coolest school excursion. Ever.
45 teenagers, some of whom have never even owned a bike, chose to spend the day riding a bike.
45 teenagers, most of whom experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not tethered to a cell phone, chose to trade their electronic devices for knee pads, elbow pads, a helmet, and two wheels.
45 teenagers chose to bounce off the ground, grunt and sweat, and push themselves to learn something new, instead of their day-to-day grind. Yes, their alternative was a day in school, but still, they chose to ride.
And they rode. Non-stop. For five hours. They rode and rode and rode.
We killed it on the pump tracks. We smoked the skinnies. We pounded the jump lines. We bombed around the XC Loop. We hit the Street Plaza. We even played bike limbo. How low can I go? I can’t, but I sure can make the limbo bar bounce off my helmet.
And so, we rode. We crashed. We shared stories about our crashes. And most important, we laughed. We laughed when a friend flew around a corner like a boss; when anyone got air; when a friend kissed the concrete; when WE kissed the concrete; and when we finally nailed a sweet line. We laughed when we cramped during the 15 minute bus ride home and had to hobble off the bus. Well, the kid’s teacher (hey, that’s me) didn’t cramp or hobble, so I laughed at them because every stumble and wince was a reminder of how much fun we had.
And that’s it. In one word, riding was fun. All 102,000 square feet of Joyride 150 buzzed with the electricity of 45 kids having fun playing bikes. 46 kids having fun playing bikes if you count me.
And that’s awesome.
There are always a million reasons NOT to go for a ride, and sometimes it feels like there are very few valid reasons to GO for a ride. In the last ten days, I found every reason NOT to ride. Actually, the world seemed to find those reasons for me. I spent the days at work aching to get in the saddle, and then, after work, or on the weekends, life conspired against me. Guilt about the time away from my family, another load of laundry, I was too tired, the shower was leaking…blah blah blah. When I type them now, not one of those reasons seems like a valid one (except for my guilt for being away from my kids) but at the time, they kept me away from riding.
However, whenever I ride, I feel happiness and joy. Spending 5 hours on a dirt jumper, riding with 45 teenagers, was a great reminder of that.
While we were at Joyride, one of my students crashed. She came to me with a busted lip, covered in grime from the spill, holding an ice pack, to ask a question. “Can I still ride even though I fell?”
“Yep” I said. She had a busted lip and she still wanted to ride. I had a lot of different busted lips last week and didn’t ride. Hm. I should have. Because we feel JOY when we RIDE.