Recently, while riding with Steve Smith on Vancouver Island, we rolled up on a 50-foot gap over a creek. It hadn’t been finished, and the run-in was all sorts of sketchy and the landing was maybe about a foot tall. Steve, true to form, immediately said, “Let’s hit this!”
So, of course, he did. He landed heavy, but rolled away with a laugh and a smile.
Over the past few years, when Steve and I rode together, I’d always joke and remind him that when you get to be my age you have to be a little more selective. You can’t pin it all day, every day, like he wanted to. Because that’s how he rode and lived. Fully pinned.
Steve and I saw eye to eye on many things and were always pushing each other. Whether it was me trying to keep up on his home trails on Mt. Prevost (which is very hard, by the way), or on the motos shredding our favorite zones. He would say to me, “If I start being a pansy and don’t want to send it whenever I get the chance, then that is the day I have lost my edge. That is when I would be bored riding my bike.”
Some of our best times were our multi-sport days. We’d go for a pedal in the morning, shred moto for a few hours in the afternoon and then top it all off with an evening dirt jump session. Afterward, we always said the same thing to each other: “We are killing it at life right now.”
And we were, because Steve never took a moment for granted. He lived every day as if it was his last. He always focused on going fast and having fun, and never missed an opportunity for a good time with those around him.
Steve traveled the world on his bike, but at his core he was very much a hometown kid. He grew up in south Nanaimo, and as a part-time golfer he would hit the links with his childhood buds whenever he could.
Another thing I loved about Steve was his attitude toward kids. We would frequently have conversations about when we were groms, and about how excited we were to see our heroes. Steve never forgot that, and he would always stop for an autograph and to give a high-five to any kid who asked.
He passed away doing what he loved, pinning it on two wheels. Yes, it was far too soon. But there is a lesson we must take away from his passing: Cherish the time we have. Cherish our loved ones and the friendships we have. We need to be reminded to appreciate health, wellness and the quality time we spend with those who mean the most to us. These are all necessary, and are all things Steve spent his life doing.
I know Steve would be blown away by the huge support and love that’s been given in the wake of his passing. His shit-eating grin lives on in all of us, whether it’s in the form of a great bike ride or just a memory. We’ll miss ya bud, and do our best to keep killing it.