Random acts of kindness

Ups and downs in mountain biking are great, and in life they keep us on our toes

Up, Down … Up, Down … Up, Down

When it comes to mountain biking this scenario is perfect.

We ride up a hill and we get fitter, we get stronger, we earn some downhill.

Then we ride down and we build skills, we build confidence, and we go fast through trees and over rocks.

If you haven’t tried mountain biking, I can’t say enough about it. It will make your life better in so many ways.

When it comes to work and life, the ups and downs can be exciting as well. They keep us on our toes, they remind us we have a myriad of emotions, and it probably puts a lot of things into perspective.

Chenoa and I chose our careers based on passion, not finances, but we do what we like, live a fun life, and show our kids that lifestyle can be more important than cash.

Ten plus years into this Swicked adventure with so many ups and downs, and I have no regrets. We offer really fun toys to kids as young as one and as old as 90. We work too hard, but it’s what we love and the more we get the community out riding, the more we love it.

It’s not just a bike shop, or a small biz to us, it’s also a club house. We have riders who like to hang out and chill, customers who use Swicked as their therapy zone and a place to forget about life, we’ve even helped create a couple of love stories with people meeting through the shop … and Monday and Thursday nights have become an institution with our group rides and post ride socials.

But lately, the ups and downs are getting tired. It’s been a crazy year with COVID-19, and in the past month I have seen it affecting people more and more. Myself? Yep, it’s getting to me as well and as much as I’m trying to be a rock, my patience is wearing.

Chenoa and the boys at the shop are handling it better than I am. I want everyone to be happy and satisfied. I want people to smile more after they’ve met me than before, and I take it personally.

When someone comes in a bit grumpy, I try to make it better. I win most of these challenges and folks leave with a smile. I like this part of bike shop life, making someone’s day just a little bit better.

But with so many changes this year, so much uncertainty, and so much stress, it’s getting tough. I am getting bombarded with other’s stress, unrealistic expectations, or people taking advantage of our kindness.

Last Monday I had a tough day with too much stress, and then a customer lost their mind on two of my staff over something that was not actually an issue.

As I was riding to the Monday Nighter, I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t stop stressing, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how crazy our world has become. Then I saw an elderly woman having bike issues. I ditched my friends, rode back, and helped her out. She was so thankful, and I was instantly in a better mood. It reminded me that 99 per cent of interactions are great and the one per cent really shouldn’t matter.

I see hundreds of people every week who are smiling, cheerful, and riding lots. I think I’ll get back to concentrating on them.

So, if you’re having a tough day and want to come by Swicked for a smile, we’re good at that. Drop in. If you want to chat about improving your ride experience, we’re good at that too. Drop in. But if you just want to take your frustrations out on some poor retailer, go do something nice for someone instead, you’ll feel much better in the end.

I’m James Durand and I’m Goin’ Ridin’