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Monday, July 02, 2012

Midwest Cyclery: Official Bike Shop of Lobster Land

I've done business with a lot of bike shops, but one has won a special place in my heart. Almost too far from both work and home, but about midway between. Staffed by urban cyclists who appreciate the needs of urban cyclists.

Show up at a suburban bike shop for repair work on a bike. I dare you. They'll have inventory, expertise, all that, but they won't likely have anyone who will work on your bike on the spot.

They also don't answer email, most of them. Because the way I discovered Midwest Cyclery at 39th & Main (the shop is basically on the grave of the Foolkiller Folk Theater/Punk Club, R.I.P.) was when I got my Surly Tall Pale Hooker built, I sent a request for proposal to pretty much every bike shop in town. A couple of these shops I've dropped upwards of a thousand dollars in (mostly fifty and a hundred at a time). Most shops didn't even answer my email, and only a couple who did answer were prompt about it. One replied after Zeke was already building my bike at Midwest.

Of the responses I got, Midwest's stood out. Not so much because of their answers—their labor costs and parts prices were about the same as everyone, but the questions they asked sold me. They asked things I should have thought of and hadn't, and they asked them with an obvious understanding of my final goal, an affordable, comfortable, reliable commuter/touring bike.

They've also been great with follow-up tweaks and replacing a couple of things I've managed to wear out already (a chain & cassette), even with me showing up on my bike at closing time.

I also had Caton build me a really stout front wheel to replace my old, worn-out one. Phil hub, Mavic A719 rim and 36 double-butted DT spokes.

The Tall Pale Hooker is a pig to be sure, but there's an Irish saying about being in good fortune, which translates from Gaelic to 'on a pig's back.'

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