The Swagman Journal has often been about the kinds of two-wheeled adventures that are decidedly intense. Those are the stories of 200 km of fast-paced road riding on the highest paved pass in Canada, or back-to-back-to-back 100+ km gravel days, or riding an entire MTB trail network in a single day, dawn to dusk.
Other stories may be less intense, but generally, still involve rides that are anything but pedestrian. Those stories include riding the most important mountain bike trail in the world, chasing the last grasp of autumn, or riding amongst peaks along lesser-known mountain lakes in the rockies.
But sometimes, a more leisurely ride is needed, and we don’t want to neglect sharing stories of those.
Not every ride has to be epic. Not every ride has to involve super feats of endurance. Sometimes a ride can be just a ride.
And that’s exactly what we did on Salt Spring Island, after a wet and soggy weekend supporting the BCBR Mega Volt on Vancouver Island, we rode our bikes onto a ferry for the short sailing to Salt Spring for a lazy, meandering pedal.
It was an impromptu trip, and we weren’t prepared for what it entailed. We had our mountain bikes, clipless pedals and all, and our street clothes and sneakers. There was no cycling computer mounted on my bars. My sneakers often slipped off the clipless pedal. And I wasn’t even wearing a chamois!
We were about to learn that Island time is real, and the smaller the island, the more this stands true.
Salt Spring is not a large island.
It turns out Island Time is contagious, which is exactly what we were hoping for. We found our pedal strokes slowing - speed no longer the aim. It was time to stop and smell the flowers, metaphorically, and literally.
The ride was the antithesis of the usual cram-every-last-possible-minute-of-cycling hecticness that characterizes so many riding trips. It forced us to put on the brakes.
Our mountain bikes rolled slowly on the pavement, the rumble of the tread humming away on the tarmac.
We stopped to grab a coffee from the Coffee Can. The barista was in no rush to make it, but it was worth the wait. Likewise, we stopped at a hip, local food truck for lunch. The owner spoke little English, and ordering all the way to finally having the food ready to eat took longer than expected. But it was worth the wait too.
We stopped at more than one of the unattended roadside farm stands to buy some baked goods and jams for the pedal home. There was no rush.
We circumvented part of the island, stopping to watch the waves roll in and search for seashells.
Sometimes you need to slow down. You don’t need to rush from one thing to the next. It’s not always about FTP, average speed, metres ascended, kilometres ticked off, or black-diamonds ridden.
Sometimes it’s just about enjoying the ride, whatever that ride may be.
The best things in life aren’t meant to be rushed.
Except for a ferry reservation. Island Time stops being slow and casual as soon as you have to catch a ferry…
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