27 September 2012

Broken Spoke: Coming Soon to Tacoma's Hilltop

[UPDATE: EJ's article in the Tacoma Weekly says that Broken Spoke will open for business this Friday, October 5. I've also heard some top notch baristas will be slinging the espresso this weekend, so go check it out! My preview post is below. - Matt]

While having lunch in Tacoma's Hilltop last week, I crossed paths with Ben Davis. I met Ben several years ago on the first ever Mob Ride and competed against him in the Bone Collector Alley Cat Race. Ben, a 20 year Tacoma resident, has worked at many of our city's bike shops over the years. He has also run his own shop in town and builds some sick custom frames. (Many of the trick cruiser and bmx bikes hanging in Metro Coffee are his creations.)

Ben has a new spot opening up at 11th and MLK in Tacoma called Broken Spoke. The space will function as both a bike themed hang-out and studio space. The hand-crafted bar will serve canned beer and wine by the glass, as well as espresso and snacks. An open work shop in the back will give you a first hand look at Ben in his element: filing lugs or setting jigs for a custom bike frame, constructing custom racks, or possibly even repairing or modifying that frame you've cherished since college.

This isn't a bike shop so much as it is a workshop...with plenty of beer and coffee to fuel the creative process.  You can bring in food from any local eatery (Le Le, Peterson Brothers, Pho King, Quickie Too just to name a few) and enjoy a cold barley pop while you watch Ben build the bike of your dreams.

It sounds cool because it is. I've read about places like Minneapolis's On One Bicycle Studio and wondered why we don't have anything like this out west. And now we will. And it will be in the middle of Tacoma.

Ben says his initial focus will be on custom racks and a few frame projects. I like the idea that I can have a rack or a part or a frame fabricated or modified by a local craftsman, instead of driving to Seattle or Portland. This shop could easily be located in a big city, but Ben wants Broken Spoke to be an integral part of Tacoma's bicycle community and in the community itself. To be a place for him to hone his craft and where people can congregate and hang-out.

Look for Broken Spoke to open in the next few weeks.

Excited for EdgeRunner

As someone who happily rides an Xtracycle everyday AND who also happily owned a Madsen bucket bike for a few years, you better believe that I was floored when I saw the new Xtracycle bike, the EdgeRunner.

It's a one-piece longtail frame with a 26" front wheel and a 20" rear wheel that is compatible with all of the cool Xtracycle racks and doodads. You can even run it with an electric-assist hub motor.  It's as if my baby blue Madsen and my Xtracycle Monkey Bus went off behind the shade tree and, several design revisions later, popped out the most perfect cargobike for me ever. I am officially on the waiting list for a frameset and plan on being one of the first to tell you all about it in "6-8 weeks."

Until then, watch these happy Bay Area urbanites blissfully enjoying their EdgeRunners and pretend they're really riding around beautiful Tacoma, Washington.

19 September 2012

Where are we going?

As I was riding home the other day, I saw a bunch of folks on bikes up ahead. I sped up to see where they were going.

"Excuse me, but, where are we going?" I asked the lady in the flowered helmet.

"To the garden," she replied. "It's a community garden bicycle tour."

So I followed them there. And we talked about the garden, and the neighborhood, and history, and Tacoma. And it made me glad that I'd asked.

"Where are we going?"