Back in 2010 we started Swicked Cycles and did our best to help grow the community of cycling on the North Island.
Our goal was to get more people riding, add more events to the community, create a good social vibe around our bike shop and really just make our day more about fun than work, and its gone well so far; actually better than we ever imagined.
But six years later I wonder what we’ve created, or did we create this at all, maybe it just evolved into something more?
Sure, we service bikes, we sell bikes and we do lots of group rides, but more and more every year it seems that Swicked just morphs into something bigger than just bikes.
As our group rides grew in numbers, it kind of turned into a big family. Dozens of people every week just drop in for a visit, or to catch up on the latest in the cycling community. On a daily basis, lots of riders swing by with a coffee and plan out their next ride, and often its the gathering spot after a big ride, even if I’m not involved. It’s a lot like going home to your parents’ house. You don’t knock, or wait for an invite, you just walk in, make yourself comfortable and grab a juice, its like a second home.
One thing we never anticipated though, was how much networking would go on in and around the shop and on our group rides. The group rides grew quickly and we noticed that many of the regular riders were becoming good friends outside of the rides. Before we knew it, the gang was planning their own riding adventures, road trips to other riding destinations were happening and when I went to parties I noticed a lot of the Swicked group riders arriving together. It was pretty amazing to watch how cycling had brought so many people together.
As time went on, there were more obvious networking benefits happening all the time. Drop into a Thursday night ride and leave with plans for the weekend, come to pub night after a Monday ride and leave with a job interview for the following day, and you just never know when romance will strike.
Over the years we have had four riders find jobs during our group rides and the most notable “networking” was Sarah and Logan. They met each other a couple of years ago hanging out at Swicked and just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. Congrats, you two!
In reality, we’re not trying to become a matchmaking service, we’re not an employment agency and we never aimed to become a social networking hub, but that’s just what happens when you go ride a bike I guess.
You get some exercise, you have some fun and who knows, you might better your career, or plan your next vacation, or you might even meet your soul mate…But worst case scenario, you’ll have a fantastic ride with a bunch of great people.
I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’…