Halsted on Halsted
Earlier this month, I loaded up the Halsted on the back of a rental car and drove to Chicago to hang out with a couple Civia dealers; J.C. Lind Bike Co. and Dutch Bike Co. I’m always excited to ride in Chicago for the vibrant street scenes, distinct urban neighborhoods and a wide variety of cyclists. Milwaukee Ave in Bucktown is a pulsing bike highway, especially on a sunny Friday afternoon.
It was fun to ride the Halsted on the street that inspired its name; it’s a great connector to many neighborhoods. The bike turned more than a few heads as I wove through the congestion, it was likely the first time they’d seen a “low gravity carrier” bike.
J.C. Lind Bike Co. was my first stop. I walked in to find Jon Lind, the owner, talking with a regular customer about a Civia Bryant. The timing couldn’t have been better for me to show some face to face customer support. Opportunities like that don’t happen often enough! Jon is a smart and passionate entrepreneur who spent about 18 months working in the Netherlands for a previous employer and developed a strong appreciation for the bike-centric way of life there. When he returned to the states, he decided to take the self-employed route and opened a cargo / Euro-style city bike shop in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago.
Jon does a super job merchandising the Civia Lorings on the floor in his shop, perhaps that why he sells so many? With the low step over and relaxed riding position on the Loring, you’d be amazed what you can carry with these bikes. They’re not full-on cargo, but a solid, smooth and sturdy base for daily errands or simply rolling through the neighborhood on a gorgeous afternoon.
My next stop was the Dutch Bike Co.’s new shop off of Milwaukee and North in Bucktown. Their original store is in Seattle, WA and is also a stocking Civia dealer. As I rolled past the store front to find a bike rack, one of the shop employees ran outside to greet me. He obviously noticed the customized Halsted I was riding and was psyched to see someone on this relatively new bike. Dutch Bike Co. embraced the Halsted when it first came out and had one prominently displayed on the sidewalk in front of the shop.
Vince Spina is the shop’s GM and is a former bicycle tour guide. A few years ago, Vince was found leading groups of vacationing cyclists through the hills, villages and vineyards of Italy. After getting his fill of this dreamy lifestyle (though not always as plush as you’d think according to Vince) Vince moved back to the states and joined Dutch Bike Co. What is it about working in Europe and returning to the U.S. to pursue a career in the bike industry?
Dutch Bike Co. opened their new location in a busy, hip and thriving pocket of the Bucktown neighborhood. Their neighbors across the street sell cheap tacos and burritos, pitchers of beer and have ample patio seating. The place is packed 24/7 and people often stop by the bike shop to check out the beautiful bikes.
My hat is doffed in your general direction J.C. Lind and Dutch Bike. You’ve both done a great job creating welcoming spaces for people to find that bike they’ve been searching for, and start a new path to smarter living.
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