To build up expertise, one must get hands-on experience -- The Wire's success was due in part to David Simon's background as a crime reporter, and before Jeff "Skunk" Baxter could advise congress on missile defense he had to spend years getting bombed with The Doobies. For a bike shop built on doing the damn thing, hit The Bike Lane.
From three longtime friends whose bike cred ranges from "worked as a bike messenger" to "rode his bike to the North Pole", TBL feels like a bike shop in the sky thanks to soaring ceilings and bright blue/green walls that encompass a seemingly endless array of gear; there's also an open view to the rear workshop, so you can see how the sausage that chafes your sausage gets made. Catering to the city dweller, customers can ride out on spanking new bikes from road-friendly brands like Felt and KHS (or build one from scratch using choice components), while those already possessing a 2-wheel whip can perform any level of customization, even going so far as converting a 10-speed into a fixed gear, and vice versa once you find out Kurtis Blow was wrong, and you need the breaks. Should your ride break down, they also offer to "Fix a Flat on the Fly" with roadside assistance anywhere within Chicago -- just ring them at the shop and they'll send out a trained technician with a fresh tube, because as long as you're going nowhere you might as well get ripped.
Since riding begets thirst, they're planning to add a WiFi-enabled 10-seat cafe stocked with sports drinks and coffee, cause after running your bike around all day, sometimes you need some Black Water.
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