Washington trip discussions began in February, when the crew associated with Swift Industries swung through central Texas for Beat the Clock Cycling’s yearly anti-Super Bowl rides, Super Stoked Weekend (previously known as SuperBro Weekend started by John Watson). Everybody had a blast, and the obvious next step was to continue the party up north in a kind of cultural exchange program. After returning to Seattle Jason Goodman plotted four days of San Juan Islands riding, and a bunch of us from the club bought plane tickets.
Sequel production is a tricky business. The second chapters often look like vapid, hodge podge rehashes of jokes or action pieces that might still somehow gross more than the original. The viewer is often left with “Revenge of the Clones” rather than “Empire Strikes Back”.
Our May travel dates approached. We knew we’d have fun: riding, and camping, and shred portals; drinking coffee outside in the morning, and firelit IPAs at night. Surrounded by loads of homies, rain couldn’t douse this parade (and it wouldn’t be Super Stoked if we didn’t get wet). In the context of second chapters I figured we were in for an “Airplane II” kind of time with all the familiar hilarity, only now in an exotic location.
This trip allowed us more time than a normal Super Stoke, five days total instead of a long weekend, but as such it becomes difficult to quantify everything we did for a Radavist brief. What Jason and the Seattle crew put together was something else, almost Michael Bay-esque in magnitude: a “Bad Boys II” to our original. From start to finish everything was bigger, more radical, and kaleidoscopically greener than anything we see in the Texas Hill Country.
Martina had to have gotten tired of me asking “When does it stop being gorgeous?” No matter if the sun was shining or I was squinting into the rain, the islands never relented their beauty. I found myself wondering if the locals ever got tired of it. My most vivid memories include rolling past blooming tulip fields, bombing forested double track with Morgan and his wife Stephanie (he and I both covered in mud from sliding out), sipping wine on Lime Kiln Point with my BTC and Swift confederates while we watched a whale play in the strait between us and Canada, ferries, being taught the practical application of long fenders and buddy flaps, climbing into the clouds surrounding Mt. Constitution, buying oysters fresh from a gas station, and, always, camp dinners with the gang.
Thursday was our final, longest day, and may have been my favorite. We travelled a hundred-ish miles between Orcas and Seattle, crossing five or six islands punctuated with three ferries, two bridges, five pizzas, and some vintage Navy fighter jets. We pulled into the Bainbridge ferry landing sometime after dusk to catch our last boat into Seattle. The only disappointment of the whole day came from arriving too late to buy beer from the galley. Jason had managed the improbable: shepherding fifteen people as one mostly cohesive group across that whole distance, everyone happier than not. It was the last time the bunch of us would ride together for the foreseeable future and we covered a lot of ground.
On Friday morning Spencer, Luke, Ross and I packed our bikes up for Bikeflights and made our ways to the airport. Somewhere over eastern Washington I rented a tablet from the stewardess and watched “Rogue One”; back in Seattle the remaining crew gathered for final beers, and all kind of nodded off in the middle of “Empire…”