Like Vincent said to Jules, “it’s the little things”. It’s so true. AZ (the Croatian Bear and I just spent a bit of time in Germany, seeing our dealers there, riding with folks, eating beer & drinking barbeque and all of that was/is so similar to experiences in the states. It wasn’t the language barrier that made it different (though that certainly added to it), it was the way that we all spent our time assuming there were so many differences.
I will explain.
We so often would start our conversations with, “in the states” or “in our country” or "in Minnesootah" and the folks in Germany did much the same thing. “In Berlin” or “in Leipzig” was how they would start, and then they would tell us something about their country and about their culture that was surprisingly similar to our country and our culture. I have noticed the same thing in Japan, and the UK. We assume because we’re so far away from each other, and we speak such different languages that our stories aren’t similar at all. But they’re all about love, or passion, or loss, or outrage, or fear, or exhilaration. Everywhere I go, the stories are the same, and I have to admit, I love that.
I really do.
We saw a great bike shop in Leipzig, called BDO. Where we saw lots of sames, and a few little differences (like they barbeque cheese and pasta). BDO stands for this, which I don't say outloud without lots of pointing and laughing.
Oh wait, that's english. See what I mean. Anyway they had lots of great bikes, a huge staff and this charming sign in the toilet room.
Like all of my favorite Surly shops, they offer complete bikes, but they also offer customs.
The Cross Check below is a custom build and color.
Like Circles, Blue Lug and Wakka in Japan, Like Keep Pedaling in Manchester, BDO even offers bikes with custom paint jobs. You can pick the colors, or you can buy one of the custom colors that they’ve picked. The dark battleship grey with silver flake in it was a particular favorite of mine.
Of course the picture doesn’t do it justice, but my experience with bikes and colors is that if it looks cool online, or in a catalog, it always looks like shit in person. The same thing works the other way around too.
But I digress.
105 drivetrain LHT...uh...Germans are so weird.
The folks at the shop, loved to ride, drink beer (other than the straight edge), and socialize. They were a blast, and we even got them to participate in some feats of strength, they were shy at first, but once they saw how shitty the Bear and I were at them, they all jumped at a chance. It’s always the same. At least it is for me. There is that residual feeling left over from those unhappy school days that you will be ridiculed for your foolishness. Strangely I think it’s quite the other way around. We had some fun with an Ice Cream Trucks in the bushes, pretty great stuff.
We also saw a really cool shop called Radspannerei (which translates to "the wheel builder").
They build up a shite ton of Truckers and Cross Checks all with custom wheels, most with dynamo hubs up front. Outside of Japan, I have never seen a shop with so many Surly frames (and forks) inside.
The forks were in their workshop, which is the next storefront down the street from the shop.
My favorite thing is the different vibe from shop to workshop.
Their sales space has a nice clean freindly atmosphere, the workshop is like an old school corner auto shop. Pretty rad.
Besides Truckers and Cross Checks they stock and sell a few trail bikes, and have sold every Pug and Moony they've brought in by the end of the week they came into the shop.
Some other highlights from this stage: the Bear and I's (eyes?) bunk beds in Berlin.
And of course Laundry day.
All in all, it's been a blast, meeting folks who ride our bikes, and the folks who are so passionate about selling them. That said, I can’t wait to get home, but first we have to crash the final stage of the Tour De France. See you in Paris. Look for us next to the Louvre with a giant Surly banner running from the PN.