Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

By James Durand

Back in my racing days, I would watch the pros and try to mimic their line choices. I was trying to get faster by learning from more experienced riders, better riders.

I wonder now, if they were upset by my watching their racing techniques, or did they look at it as a compliment and take pride in the fact that they were fast enough to get another racer’s attention.

On the other side of the coin, I had less experienced racers than I watching my lines, trying to improve their times. I didn’t mind, apparently I had been fast enough in my category to get noticed. It motivated me to keep improving.

I remember back when we started Swicked and opened our new shop in Campbelton. It was a pretty rough neighbourhood and we shined our building up as best as we could. Brighter paint colours, cleaner gardens, and a bit more modern decor than when we bought it.

Over the next six months, we noticed other buildings around the hood getting some improvements. New paint, cleaner parking lots, and a generally nicer looking neighbourhood was the result.

But no-one painted their building bright orange and placed a bike logo on the wall. They used their own creativity.

Since we opened in 2010, we have always tried to bring new and exciting things to the community. Things that didn’t exist before we opened.

We have created two great group rides that have continued to grow over the last 10 seasons, we do multiple kids events each year, and Chenoa has created tons of fun cycling events that enhance the community. On top of that, Swicked’s “Every Kid Deserves a Bike” program, has seen close to 600 bikes get donated to kids in need at Christmas.

We are proud to say that if we did imitate another successful business, it was a business from another part of the world, and then we put the Swicked touch on it to make it our own, and suitable for Campbell River.

We have been mimicked quite a bit over the years. Other shops in town trying to mirror what we’ve done with success.

Three years ago we started a cycling Scavenger Hunt. We tried to bring the community together, enhance cycling, and promote a few local businesses as well.

Two years later when one of the businesses we promoted, decided to make the event their own, it was a bit frustrating.

We had been doing it for a couple of years and having some great fun with it. It was bringing different aspects of the cycling community together, and it was a cycling-focussed event.

When we saw a non-cycling related business putting on the event only a few weeks before we had our’s scheduled, we canceled ours. What was the point in doing the same thing twice?

Years ago, a local rider decided they wanted to lead their own group ride. I was all for it. Another ride for the community to attend and I’d get to go for a ride that I didn’t organize. Then he set it up on the same night and time as the Swicked ride. It was even on the same trails.

What is the point of that? Who does that help?

I’ve been doing this article in Campbell River for over nine years. I am sure not everyone has enjoyed every word, but I get many compliments on how it motivates people, keeps them engaged, and broadens our cycling community. (I try anyway)

Last week I noticed another business in town has come up with the great idea of writing a cycling related article in the paper.

So, am I flattered by this mimicry? You bet, it’s a great compliment. Thank you so much.

But I have to ask, are these imitators bringing anything to our community? I’d rather not be complimented, and see these folks spend their energies on something new for the community, opposed to just copying what’s already out there.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’. Try not to follow too closely, okay?

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