Innovation and adapting to change

by: Natalie Giroux

In 2010, I invested in a high-end double-suspension mountain bike. At that point, I thought this would be my last bike, as it had all the technologies someone could wish for. Over the years, my bike was my close partner for cycling in my favourite parks (e.g. Bras-du-nord, Oka, and most amazing Kingdom Trails (Vermont))…

Recently, I had the privilege to check something off my bucket list – a point-to-point mountain biking trip. We cycled across Scotland for 6 days, ~440km and ~6000m of elevation. While preparing for the trip, it became obvious that bringing our own bikes was not an option, so we rented (or as they say “hired”) a recent high-end mountain bike from the tour company.

We brought our own saddles and pedals thinking we would feel more “at home”, but the bike was quite different than mine, with bigger wheels, larger tires, single chain ring at the front, adjustable front and rear suspensions and a dropper post. All novel useful features which I was not accustom to. On the first day, I very quickly realized that the left lever was no longer used to shift my front gears, but to lower my seat! [swearing redacted]. Then the second day, the trails were a lot more technical and I learned quickly to manoeuvre the bigger wheels and tires which made the cycling a lot smoother and safer riding over obstacles. I was even able to cross rivers and get over loose rocks! With the sharp and long inclines, I also learned very quickly to adjust my suspension based on the terrain, this way I could keep up with my nine male cycling buddies… So much to think about, time was going by very fast! After six days, I made it across Scotland!… Coming home, I realized how awesome the innovative features of the “hired” bike were. They made riding more enjoyable, safer and easier. So… I invested in a new mountain bike offering the same innovative features and even more! Although I realized when I returned that my old bike had an adjustable suspension feature, but I had never taken the time to learn how to use it, so I was riding in full suspension mode all the time which is highly inefficient but comfortable!

Sometimes we are just not ready for the change that is triggered by innovations, but we have no choice despite our natural apprehensions. To realize our dreams, we often have to commit and embrace innovations. I was fortunate to be surrounded with much better and stronger cyclists who encouraged and motivated me to learn quicker. Being in a supportive environment helps a lot with adapting to change. Often it is easy to resist change or not bother trying to use the innovation (like I did with my old bike), because it is disruptive, but it is always best to move forward and adjust as it will have a positive outcome.

Having said that, we may not be ready for just any innovation! For example, I am definitely not ready for an electric mountain bike… But maybe in 20 years or so, I will welcome that innovation…

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