Day 20 I stopped by C&C sports in Brighton to thank the young man for the advice on the trail ride. I got there before the store opened and they were nice enough to open the door for a brief discussion about R.I.D.E.S. As I have seen in most stores on this trip they were busy building bikes and catching up on service. The Covid-19 Crisis has been proof that offering service is the best way to obtain and retain customers, not to mention proof that our Independent Bike Dealers are truly essential to our communities. The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health benefits of riding is unparalleled. It was time to finally begin my trek back west by heading to Chicago.
Day 21 This was my first exposure to large police visibility. I’ve not experienced this in my 61 years. Out for a morning ride along Lake Michigan, every few hundred yards was a police car. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was in a town that is struggling with so much relative to people of color. In a city with seemingly vast opportunity and evidence of prosperity, the complete opposite is evident as well. The Black Lives Matter demonstrations are so necessary. The movement must continue until all of us are engaged and force our representatives to discuss, draft, edit and pass appropriate laws that reflect the true spirit of our constitution, bill of rights and amendments. Quality of life, humanity and opportunity must be available to all of us. All of our fellow citizens should have the right to live with dignity and know we have each others’ backs. Having a colored daughter in law and gay son, we may see first-hand how it is, but that is tempered by our little diverse bubble in Northern California. Getting out here in Chicago opened my eyes further with a stark reminder we have a lot further to go.
I will say, with all of this going on in the world I still try to get out for a ride almost every day. This is a picture from the waterfront of Chicago.
Day 22 Up early as usual. Was able to visit three stores in Chicago area. First stop was Bike Lane. www.bikelanechicago.com I was impressed at the activity. Though this is a somewhat small storefront, the action was robust. Mask wearing and safe distancing was in play for all those waiting in line. One at a time, they were invited to explain their needs, then the employee helped them went back inside, took care of ringing them up, bringing back out their products, parts or repairs. It is obvious this guy and his company are paying attention to risk of Covid-19. Smart. Neither of the next two stores I visited were open yet. First was Kozy’s, https://www.kozy.com/just up the road from the Bike Lane. I did look inside. Their racks were quite empty showing they are caught up in supply chain issues.
The next stop was out in Oak Park to get a look at Wheels and Sprocket. This store is gorgeous as is the location. I always get tickled when I see the recognizable Chris Kegel foundation bike racks bearing his awesome bearded face. https://chriskegelfoundation.org/ I love the vision which is stated as A world where everyone enjoys their ride on a bicycle. I looked forward to an appointment with Noel Kegel the next day up on Milwaukee at his new flagship store.
I got in early enough to get out on a ride on the Milwaukee waterfront. I must say, this was a way different experience than Chicago. I really dig the vibe of this town, not to mention the easy access through the streets on bike paths from my hotel to the Lake. I had never spent much time in Milwaukee. I will come back for the spirit, the riding and the sausages. I visited the Brat Haus, (very surprised to see no masks by employees or customers), but I had mine and had ordered to go. I tried a sampler with 4 different styles made by Uzinger. Add in some mustard and the freshest Pretzel I’ve ever had. Then off to the Purple Door for 2 scoops of the best ice cream ever. I ate way too much. Good thing I burned some calories beforehand. This is a panoramic shot. The ride along the lake and city is tremendous.
Day 23 Met with Noel and Dan at Wheel and Sprocket to discuss their business, R.I.D.E.S and get a tour of their new flagship store. https://www.wheelandsprocket.com/articles/wheel-sprocket-home-wisconsin-pg339.htm. I can truly say I hope everyone gets a chance to visit them up there. Noel and his team have created a location that is not only an example of making the whole buying and servicing experience of a bike phenomenal, but they have also set it up as a place for advocate organizations to operate, for the community to meet and a place that exudes commitment. Very impressive. It will be an honor to do business with them.
After our meeting it was off to Cedar Rapids, IA. This 6 hour drive into Iowa was truly green and stunning.
Day 24 Went for a fairly short road ride here in CR prior to heading into Northtowne Cycling and Fitness. https://www.northtownebikes.com/ Glad to see everyone in this store masked up. Some had the face shields. Had a chance to discuss R.I.D.E.S and the Crush Covid 19 tour, inventory, service. They have a beautiful store. Derek was tied up, but asked me to contact him later. I will be sure to do that. Then drove 2 hours up near Des Moines to see Kyle’s Bikes in Ankeny https://kylesbikes.com/. This was a Specialized house that was busy as can be. They are keyed on the triathlete offering excellent shoes as well. The service and attention to their customers was obvious and they were humming.
It was then a 4 hour drive up to Sioux Falls to have some chow with Chad from Spoke and Sport. https://www.spoke-n-sport.com/ Chad and I spent time discussing business, the NBDA, local rides, coffee, our families, you name it. It was nice to kick back and little and spend some time with our first R.I.D.E.S. customer. We will always be indebted.
Day 25 I began the day with a ride along the river in Sioux Falls. This trail is smoothly paved and goes on for miles. I rode for 1.5 hours at quite a clip. I don’t know how far I went but I’m guessing about 20 miles.
Then it was into see Chad’s store, drop some RIDES brochures, discuss SPIF’s, training, sales reporting, systems, etc. Chad is a man of metrics. I love that. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
I headed west 4 hours to Rapid City to see Tim at ACME Bicycles. https://www.acmebicycles.com/ I dig the vibe in this shop. From his beautiful Siberian Husky to the low-key high-touch service I witnessed with the 5 customers they helped while I was there, Tim was a pleasure to discuss R.I.D.E.S and our businesses with. He shared the history of how he got started and ultimately ended up in the awesome location he is in. I had never visited Rapid City. The drive between SF and RC gives one a real flavor of the Granite State. The badlands, plateaus and black hills are all jaw dropping beautiful. I am looking forward to getting back.
After leaving Dan I drove past Sturgis to Deadwood where I stayed. I’m off to Mt Rushmore and then continuing my way back west. I’ll check back in later!
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See you out there.