Long have I been in the business of organizing rides for others to join in on. It’s nice being the new kid in town, because as an outsider I have the luxury to hop on the coattails of a pre-existing community of riders and all the events that go along with it. One visit to the LBS will get you tapped into what rides are happening in the area. Cue this past Saturday’s social ride hosted by Swift Industries.
Swift began making bicycle bags around the same time I left the country, so they’ve had a decade of blood, sweat and beers poured into the business. And boy does it show. Not only have they got a diverse product line of superiorly sewn bags, but they’ve created a homey studio right in the heart of Seattle’s bricky-AF former industrial district, just a hop-skip-jump south of downtown.
The ride itself was rad for a few reasons. For starters, the time, energy and effort it takes to organize an ongoing ride series such as this is no small feat. It met at Peloton, a bike shop-slash-cafe. A cozy space with good food and coffee at the right price, I’m excited to stop in again. A ride is nothing with out the people on it, and with the welcoming weather cyclists of all stripes came out, making for a good social vibe.
The route, announced at the start, was well-controlled and the group maintained its numbers. The ride was a short-ish, moderately paced cruise. Overseeing a ride like this can be akin to herding cats. Jason, a partner at Swift, steered it with a casual grace and positivity that belied the tricky nature of navigating a group of 20+ people through city streets.
More importantly, the ride speaks to a healthy community. It demonstrates a decade of dedication that only caring purveyors of bike life can create. Beyond the social aspect of the ride, Swift also took the chance use the platform to introduce those in the Seattle area to other impactful businesses located elsewhere.
This occasion marked the kick-off of a summer of pop-up shops. Swift will be hosting a half dozen respectable brands in the cycling and outdoors industries. This time round, they hosted The Willary, a made-for-women active lifestyle clothing brand. An inspiring conversation with the co-founder left me itching to meet the brands, businesses and people coming to town in the following months.
I’m looking forward to it. Almost as much as I am to picking up a new handlebar bag.