Life In The Loops - Like A Little Kid

Nov 21, 2012 at 7:42
by Dylan Sherrard  

Header for my monthly column Life In The Loops

I’d never imagined myself arriving at that uncomfortable point in the road. Feeling stale, sort of over it, and stunned as to how things just weren‘t adding up. It felt so awkward; in fact, I was scared to admit it to myself or even say the words out loud. I didn’t want to feel that way, but as a cool breeze blew past my fire one mid-September night, I realized I’d grown bored with riding my bike.

Campin up greenstone

On late nights spent staring into a glowing bed of hissing coals it's easy to fall beneath a wave of introspection. How had I misplaced my stoke for riding? There’s no way I could be done with the two wheeled wonderland I had made my world. I must simply crave a break after such a busy season. Or feel sick of roachy resort trails. Or maybe it was something serious? Maybe I was feeling the result of all those breaks and sprains and tears, all the creaks and cracks finally adding up and begging me to mellow out? Had my shelf of broken helmets become intimidating? I couldn’t sort myself out but I knew I was forgetting something simple.

Night sesh

I suppose the reality of the situation was that I’d rattled off a major list of events and accomplishments and had nothing more of the sort remaining in my sights for the season. It reads as ridiculous and I realize that now, but as summer came to a close I’d lost track of where my motivation came from. Despite tapping into multiple tried and true resources, I was experiencing difficulties in search of the inspiration I required to keep my train chugging into fall.

Getting sideways at the Whip Off World Champs in Whistler. Shot by Michael Overbeck Whistler BC Sports amp Lifestyle Photographer- michaeloverbeck.com

Interestingly enough, the following afternoon I accepted an invitation for a bit of a bike date. I didn't really want to go riding but it seemed like a fun idea. This girl sounded excited and she was too cute to refuse regardless. I figured we’d shuttle a mellow fire road to keep it real simple. Then she arrived with her childhood bicycle and admitted she hadn’t pedaled a bike since those days of after school laps around the block. It was too small, rusty, and kitted with decals boasting its incredible five gears. This little bike ride suddenly looked a lot more like a chore.

Mountain bike rider Dylan Sherrard is seen riding the Whistler Bike Parkl in Whistler B.C. Monday August 13 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

As we made our way toward the trail she struggled to pedal and failed to grasp the concept of keeping her cranks flat while coasting. A poorly fitted ride and a decade lived in the absence of bicycles appeared equally at fault for the uncomfortable experience she was about to endure. But we motored along. Me in the saddle of my Operator, seat-bouncing off ruts in an effort to entertain myself on a fire road with two fists full of brake. Her in an awkward stance as she tried to develop the habits I continually mentioned to her. “Level your feet. Bend your elbows. Look where you want to go.”

Mountain bike rider Dylan Sherrard is seen riding on Whistler mountain in Whistler B.C. Saturday August 11 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

A few minutes later, she was beginning to find her flow. She coasted a short distance over the last of the loose rocks with level feet and a look of accomplishment across her face before skidding to a stop and complimenting herself. I couldn’t imagine the arm pump she must have been suffering through on a rigid bike with plastic v-brake levers pulling straight to the bar. Then, with big brown eyes glowing in excitement and a smile from ear to ear she exclaimed, “This makes me feel like a little kid!”

WOAH.

Whatever I’d been forgetting was suddenly remembered. That statement hit me like a sack of bricks, crushing my bones, shattering the entirety of my previous night’s worry and wonder. It was a major reminder of something so simple that I’d somehow forgotten. Somewhere along this summer’s highway drives and airplane rides, photo shoots and contests, I’d lost track of the simple things that motivate me to ride. Riding shouldn’t always be about the next big task on my to-do list. Sometimes it should be about the last little thing I accomplished. And that was all coming back to me now as we made our way back for retrieval.

Assorted photos

Often times, that’s all there is to it. A ride is as simple as a celebration of the little kid inside. I can be carving turns in the concrete aboard my BMX , hopping over curbs and fighting with a sketchy brake to hold a manual for more than a few feet. I can be casually cruising at Kenna Cartwright on a Tuesday night XC ride. Upside-down in the dark with nothing but a headlamp to guide me through the night. Or smashing chairlift laps with a tight crew of chaps. Crushing my lungs on soggy climbs with December frost piercing my chest. Maybe sailing sideways past a sea of fans in France, or laughing at myself for falling over in a flat turn when no one is there to call me on my bullshit. There’s a simple and innocent pleasure to be found in riding a bike - any kind of bike, on any terrain, at any point in time - and I wanted to punch myself in the face for forgetting that.

This was a team effort with Matt Miles Dylan and myself.. always fun times with the boys

With such simple insight so suddenly realized I was overcome with the desire to smash singletrack. So I pounced at her offer for a free second lap and I let the little kid loose on that ride. I bounced off of every bump in sight, laid a skid around each turn and popped wheelies over every root that passed beneath my tires. I pumped and pedaled as if there were lost rides to be made up for and carried on that way straight to the bottom of the trail.

2012

Reaching the bottom I’d restored my stoke and resolved my worry. I don’t think there will ever be too many scars on my shins. Morning stretches adorned with creaks and cracks will always be worthwhile. I can’t picture myself accumulating enough broken bike parts to display in my living room to spark the stories of my triumphant victories and dismantling defeats. And chain lube and hex wrenches will always be welcome in the same drawer as my toothpaste. I understood why I started feeling stale and I'll never let it happen again.

Riding a bike is not something for me to worry about growing out of. It’s something I’ll grow with. I grew up on two wheels and I hope to grow old that way too. And so long as I remember to keep it simple, my bikes will always make me feel like a little kid.

2012

Shortly after that solo lap in the last of summer's light everything fell back into place. I woke up excited to ride every morning, reinstated my daily shredding program and sort of tattooed that quotation against the inside of my forehead. And before every ride this fall, regardless of which bike I rode or whose company I’d enjoy the ride with, I said it out loud to myself. It was raining a lot and the trails were sticky. Snow fell early and the trails were stickier. I froze my fingers and toes and got sideways at every opportunity. I pushed down on my pedals, became weightless in this world and allowed my two wheels to take me on some of the greatest rides of my life.

Life in the Loops photo teaser

The past few months I've ridden have been perhaps the greatest of autumns in my memory. And now that snowflakes line the singletrack I’m diving headfirst into the details of another fully pinned season. Daydreaming of the moments I’ll wish to photograph and the trails I hope to discover. Imagining all the people I‘ll meet and the beers and trail side tales we will share. There is so much to organize and so much to look forward to. But reaching far beyond the excitement of adventure, I have my sights set on that first spring ride when I’ll come skidding to a stop and remember what it feels like to be a little kid again.

Assorted photos

Thanks to everyone who ripped laps, crushed beers, snapped photos and created laughter along my side this season.
To keep up with Dylan between columns check him out on Twitter, Instagram and the Kona Cog.

Footer for my monthly column Life In The Loops
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63 Comments

  • + 101
 A nice story indeed! but you got us all wondering: did you bang the cute girl?
  • + 10
 He did say "The past few months I've ridden have been perhaps the greatest of autumns in my memory"... Take from that what you like Razz
  • + 7
 I forgot to add that I loved the article!
  • - 63
 It may just be me, but that first comment is truly offensive.
  • + 4
 anyone know where to grab a wrist brace like the one he is wearing?
  • + 3
 EVS make a great wrist brace that I've been using for the last two years
  • + 25
 Who cares? It's not always about a girl (or a boy). Sometimes, it's just about riding your goddamn bike.

Remember when you were a kid riding your bike around, before girls had 'cooties'? Remember what it felt like to be free? That rush? The joy? When someone to ride your bike with was someone to ride your bike with... Regardless of gender? Remember how you'd ride until you couldn't see because it was so dark? Remember how you'd shovel and dig your little heart out to make a dorky, tiny, misshapen bump that would earn the moniker 'the death jump'? Launching your body off of curbs and stairs and even out of the back of your dad's truck, just to see how 'big' you could go?

I do. Those were the best days of my life.

It's not always about a girl, a boy, getting laid, or 'banging'. Go ride your bike.
  • + 17
 emotional stuff
  • + 2
 haha the above comment has +69 ahahahh
  • + 4
 Its so funny that this was just posted. A couple nights ago i was having a hard time falling asleep and i was laying there thinking what makes downhill SO fun for me? The first thing that popped into my head was how excited I get right before i get to ride like a little kid getting a new toy or how excited i used to get when i used to race motocross. Damn i love this sport..
  • - 3
 reverend- I agree
  • + 3
 ..."I grew up on two wheels and I hope to grow old that way too"...
  • + 2
 I thought it was hysterical.
  • + 1
 I wish I could bang a cute girl..... then again, I'm 15
[Reply]
  • + 48
 I'm 50 now, and for the last several years, I always wondered why I kept going - At the end of each season, I always felt, like that was it - I had enough - no one to ride with, same trails, my kids weren't into it much - but then on my 50th B-day, I asked my son to go DHing with his Dad up at Highland as a present for me. He did, and that was it! He loves DHing. We've been a few times since, and this X-mas I bought him a DH bike - I already have it and can't wait to see his face! Now I have purpose once again!
  • + 9
 Thats Rad!
  • + 8
 Awesome!!! May the next few years be the best as you pass the torch!
  • + 3
 Epic what'd you get him?
  • + 4
 I am 33 and I got my son a new Redline for christmas and I feel you I can't wait to give it to him. That is awesome that you are still ridding with your son. Some familys loose contact with each other and start doing there own things. I hope biking will be one of the things that my son and I can do together. He is still a ways from shreading down a mountain but as soon as he can kill the local BMX track I will be looking to get a bike with some suspension. He makes me feel like a kid again when we are out so hopefully when I am 50 we will be acting like kids together.
  • + 4
 Yeah! I once saw 3 genarations riding together in Maribor. A father, a son and a grandpa having fun on their DH`s.
Keep up the good stuff!
  • + 4
 That's awesome! I want to get my dad more into riding. He needs more exercise and doesnt seem to understand my obsession with my bike. Fishing is great and all, but sometimes i fall asleep and miss the bite. No way I'll ever fall asleep on my bike though.
  • + 3
 Some of my best memories are from riding bikes with my son (now 9yrs old).
  • + 2
 Thanks Guys - I'm sure the baton will be passed shortly - @A-Nay3186 -I bought him a Big Hit from this Site actually - www.pinkbike.com/buysell/1055702
  • + 2
 Whoaaa I don't like big hits but that's well nice Big Grin I wish my dad was as stoked as you are about riding. Big Grin
  • + 2
 awesome bike awesome dad
[Reply]
  • + 30
 That's a well-written story. I mean, you just told me about a cruise down a fire road and it had me captivated- which, on a site that displays the biggest and the best hits, is saying something. It's like the first time I went to Whistler... When I got back to Ontario, I realized that I wouldn't ride anything that impressive and that awesome for a long, long time. And that's when every single tiny lip and root section became the creek gap on Dirt Merchant and Garbo's rooty mess. In the end, it's all about having fun on a bike. Thank you.
[Reply]
  • + 22
 I'll admit I tend not to fully read these blog posts, but I read the whole thing and it was damn good man. Really well written and easy to relate too. Nicely done bro.
[Reply]
  • + 13
 So true... bikes are time machines. Whatever your age, they take you back to being a kid.
[Reply]
  • + 7
 With winter setting in and me becoming more and more willing to grab a shovel rather than a pair of handlebars, this really got me stoked to go out and try and get the fire goin again. Time to go get dirty and put a smile back on my face. Thanks Dylan, I love reading these and they inspire me everytime
[Reply]
  • + 9
 No pics of the cute girlFrown
  • + 6
 pics or it didnt happen Wink

seriously though, awesome article. almost cried
[Reply]
  • + 5
 There is no doubt it makes me feel like a kid ! Then I hit the ground at mach 7 and remember I don't heal up as quick as I used to !! Still.....nothing better than being out on the bike in the forests !!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 That was one of the most beautiful things i have ever read. It put a smile on my face after every sentence. This is exactly what I've been needing to get back on my one little xc bike and tear the hell out of everything I do. I love mountain biking and I always will. Thank you for re-kindling the fire in my heart for my bike man.
[Reply]
  • + 4
 It would have been very generous of you, lend her a bike with something better than a plastic V Brake. I meen in return of such a valuable reminder. Anyway great story, and your riding style is always amazing!!!
  • + 2
 That's what I was thinking, be chivalrous; drop the seat on your bike and let her ride it.

Agree though, nice story.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Thanks for for reading everyone! I'm so glad that this can hit home with so many people. It's a sad but true reality that we can become far to entangled with our day to day lives (far too easily) and lose track of the little things that make us happy. It makes me happy to know I can serve the reminder in a nice package!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Nicely written. I liked that but it's like you left the cute girl at the top for your second run...what happened to the girl?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This is such a fantastic post; it reminds me of everything I loved about the boys' bike my parents painted for me when I was 4... There was nothing so terrifying, exhilarating and wondrous as following my brother and his buddies around, pedaling my tiny legs in an effort to keep up.

You've brought up so many of my own great memories from when I was a kid, but more importantly, you've reminded me why I still love riding my bike. Thank you so much for this.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That was awesome! I feel like I've had that rediscovery this year and god am I loving my bike again! On a side note, I work with young children and they make me laugh all day long and it's through working with them that I'm constantly reminded about the important simpler things in life.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I got on a bike for the first time, this summer, since my bike was stolen when I was 10. It brought back so much of that good childhood pure fun I had completely forgotten about. My face hurt from smiling as much as my legs did
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Amazing post mate, captivated me from the first word, and the pictures underneath each segment made me want to read all of it, i wish my Dad would've rode bikes with me as one of the above gents said! It's all about having fun, and i plan to until i cant go no more, already re-posted this to a few friends of mine that've been slack lately and not really ridden, hopefully i can revive a once fruitful and quite big community of riders in my area, cheers for making my day!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 im a kid and dh biking is the greatest thing thats e er happenned to me even if skaters at my school give me crap for it ill allways remember these times riding trails at northstar and sneekin around on the mountains to avoid the rangers
[Reply]
  • + 1
 and then the 16 year old reads it, thinking "I have to deal with an identity crisis even with my bike when I am older? It cant be true!" hahaha loved the article, a fairly great piece of writing Smile
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I went out today and I'm 24 all the guys I was riding with we're a minimum of 45 and all had the biggest of grins the whole time so it does pay to just remember the fun times
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Wow! This was a delightful read. Fantastic shots as well. Gold star for you, Mr. Sherrard. Well done.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Such a perfect way to start my work day, man I love reading Life In The Loops. Just makes me want work to be over with so I can go ride! Keep em coming!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Well written. So funny that mtbers forget girls are amazing moral boosters! Especially pinkbikers!
  • + 1
 we don't forget, we just don't get much of that, or motivational boosters!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Great Story, and VERY WELL WRITTEN...Nice Work!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looks like someone didn't read the story properly Great story had me hooked
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Well written article, Dylan. A great read.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sad now . Just remembered all cute girls in area refuse to bike.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Excellent read!, wanna get out and ride and relive being a kid! Thanks! Smile
[Reply]
  • + 1
 you have a way with words dylan ..good article and a fun read
[Reply]
  • + 1
 down vote this comment
[Reply]
  • - 3
 up vote this comment
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