The only retiring Swicked Cycles owner James Durand expects he'll do is retiring customers' bikes. Photo submitted

Bike shops an essential service?

By James Durand

I’m sure some services are essential to one person and irrelevant to another.

With restrictions increasing lately and most of us using extra caution in our day to day lives, the subject of essential services comes up again.

Being the owner of a business deemed to be an essential service, I have to admit, I’m not sure exactly what this means. If things get locked down again are we forced to remain open, or are we just allowed to stay open?

In our case it doesn’t matter. I truly believe that in times of high stress, like … hmmm, I don’t know, a global pandemic, we can all benefit from heading outside, exploring nature, and getting some exercise, therefore Swicked has stayed open throughout COVID, and will remain open as long as possible to keep the community riding.

This can mean anything from a new bike to a quick repair, or maybe just advice to help get you back out there, but no matter what it may be, we do believe it is essential.

I’ve heard from many friends in the Lower Mainland and down-Island lately complaining that some bike shops are so busy that they are limiting who they offer service to.

“Sorry, you didn’t buy a bike here so we won’t offer you repairs or other services.”

On one side I understand. Bike shops are extremely busy and supplies are limited. Keeping up with the demand has been stressful, so why not limit your opening hours, eliminate certain customers, or stick to only high dollar services and sales.

Shouldn’t we take advantage of the situation and let the supply and demand rules … rule?

But, if we’re an essential service, how can we possibly decide who deserves the service and who is left without?

Yes, It’s been tough on our staff and personal time has been taxed heavily, but in the end we want you to enjoy your day, relieve some stress, and stay as healthy as possible … we want you to ride your bike. If we use COVID as an excuse rather than try to beat it down, we’re not really acting like we’re essential at all are we?

We may take an extra day to get you sorted out, we don’t have the same variety of bikes or parts as we want, and we’re definitely short staffed with the extra demand, but please, if you need something bike related, swing by and we’ll still be there to keep you riding, somehow or someway, no matter where you bought your bike.

Campbell RiverCycling