Last month I was interviewed by Crai Bower for a Forbes Traveler article entitled North America's Most Bike Friendly Cities where I had a chance to hint at the need for a shift in the way we view bicycles - from sporting goods to transportation appliances. I also had another chance to kiss Portland's ass as one of the great cycling cities. I do love Portland, certainly as a cycling mecca and hope America's ass-kissing of Portland as a great cycling city will stir the envy of sport-cycling-centric Seattle (and other cities with elitist cycling egos) to invest more in cycling infrastructure for the everyday rider. One of the other top cycling cities mentioned in the article is Chicago and from what I recently observed it's true. There are seemingly more everyday people, in everyday clothes, riding ordinary bikes at casual velocities than in any other US city I have recently visited. Chicago is big and it's flat and there are a lot of old Schwinns piloted by the children of the original owners. There are bike lanes along many of the main boulevards. Mayor Daley is committed to making Chicago the best cycling city in the USA. His plan calls for a 500 mile network of bikeways so no Chicagoan is more than on-half mile from a bikeway. This may explain why our biggest and most fervent customer base is in Chicago. Chicago takes its working class viewpoint and applies it to cycling with superb effect.
Today we were featured on the front page of the Seattle Post Intelligencer's business section in the article Small Retail: A practical ride with the subtitle reading "Biking upright, Dutch-style, is catching on". And, it is catching on. This makes us happy. More and more people locally are finding us and tickled that they need no special uniform, athletic qualifications or technical knowledge to operate our bikes. They are meant to be ridden in the manner we used to ride and love bikes as children. This explains the grins and exhuberance which usually accompany test rides.
For those of you who read the PI article, you already know we let the cat out of the bag. Some of you may have already put two and two together. For everyone else, I'd like to tell you, we are opening a second retail shop in Chicago sometime this fall. Thanks to our fervent cutomers there, including the incomperable aLex, we already feel welcome.