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The Need for Epic Traditions

Why everyone should incorporate wild and unique traditions into their lives.

By: Luke Webster + Save to a List

Wild Traditions

I’ve always admired people who develop lasting traditions. I don’t mean boring, normal traditions surrounding commercial holidays; I’m talking about the wild, quirky, epic traditions that produce months of anticipation and cause people to cock their heads sideways wondering whether they should question your sanity or be jealous. 

Over the past couple of years I’ve begun to intentionally plan and scheme what traditions I can create or hijack for my own life. Most of the traditions are still in the planning stage, but one has begun to form in the past two years. I’m not entirely sure how many years it takes to establish a tradition, but after two years of bike trips and with the stoke and intention to plan many more trips in the years to come, I think it's safe to say that the September Suffer Fest is a family tradition that will last a life time.

The idea began with my Dad and me—how can we make an epic bike trip tradition? Soon enough, both brothers were in on the scheming as well. Every September we would take time away from our normal lives to embark on a 1-2 week  bike trip somewhere around the US, or maybe one day the world. Last year, with some hiccups due to unpredictable weather and changing work schedules, my Dad and I set off to cycle around Washington for 10 days. With the inaugural trip under our belt we set our sights on a dream excursion for 2018, to bike the 600+ miles from Jasper National park in northern Alberta through Banff National Park to finish at the southern terminus in Glacier National Park.  



For me, the beginning of our trip held mysterious and magical anticipation, having seen thousands of pictures of the wondrous Jasper National Park. I was beyond excited to think about cycling through the glacier-filled and snowcapped mountains of the park. 

As we began the trip, we slowly got into our new routine. Wake up, drink coffee, bike, drink more coffee, bike, drink even more coffee, bike the final leg to our destination for the day and then repeat. Life slowed, conversation deepened and we began to get lost in the new routine of our world, far removed from our lives back home. Even if only for 10 days, we were on an adventure that would shape our memories and relationships for decades to come.

Needless to say, Jasper didn’t disappoint, except for one caveat. In the midst of the majestic mountain peaks, glacier-blue meandering rivers, and awe-inspiring glaciers were hordes of RVs, logging trucks and tourists. Somehow Instagram forgot to highlight those aspects of the park.



To add an emotional and intimate connection to our trip, we were retracing our Dad’s pedal spins from his college days, following a similar path he took on a bike trip during a summer of work at Glacier National Park in the 1980s. 

As we meandered south, we dodged bad weather, barely escaping the moody weather that comes with the change of seasons. The special part of cycling in September is that you avoid the worst of the summer crowds but face much more unpredictable weather—a foot of snow fell on Banff and Jasper just a few days after our trip.



Crossing the southern exodus of Alberta into the US, we traversed beautiful prairies and battled killer head winds, reaching the American Rockies as we cycled into Montana. Due to fires in the Western half of Glacier, we ended our trip in East Glacier, but with an extra day on our hands we decided to race up the world famous Going to the Sun road. 

Here’s to more traditions, both big and small, that truly accent the beauty of life and prioritize the relationships with people we love the most.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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