Another great bike shop find, this time a bit closer to home. I hopped on my bike Monday morning (not Columbus day, but sports day here) and worked my way along Chiba Highway towards Ichikawa City. Biking on the roads here can be crazy. Rarely is there a shoulder, but at least the people driving are usually very considerate and used to navigating with cyclists around them. I covered the 12.5 Kilometers in good time with only an occasional stop to consult the map. I also saw an old man and his amazing bike get up, and found a small bouldering gym, which caused the latent climber in me to awaken and get excited.The Depot is a bike shop that I first heard of at Nuts!Fes and again in Blue Lug earlier that weekend, and I wanted to check it out. I found the small shop easily and was thrilled to strike up a conversation with Seya, the shops owner, which lasted on and off for more than an hour as I browsed, asked bike questions, got some good advice for my own bike, and learned some new things about cotterless cranks! (my almost exclusive experience with vintage Schwinns gives me rather out of date mechanical experience) Perhaps best of all, I found out when and where a local bike polo group plays! Seya sent an e-mail to one of the guys who now knows to look out for a lost white guy next Saturday. (and bring an extra mallet)
I also picked up a copy of COG magazine, and some fixed gear tensioners that are often used on BMX bikes. I haven't seen them on fixed bikes in America, but I probably just haven't seen enough fixies. (these little beauties will save me from constant straddling of the tire and using a wrench as a lever to tighten the chain)The shop was small, but very personal, helpful and well stocked with local gear (including Depot Bikes) and some high end racing parts as well.
I will definitely be back, and when time comes to pack up my Osso and head back to the U.S. of A. I will be back to get the right tools.
I hope you all have a great bike shop nearby where you can get a good conversation and advice is free and generously given.
If you aren't sure, find a bikeshop near you here!
Also an interesting article about how we refer to people by how they get around: www.humanstransit.org