Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On the route: Heritage General Store

Upon crashing the mother ship on the north side of dear ol' Chicago, we at Drum were in search of four things:
1: Day Job
2: Bike
3: Bike shop
4: Quality java joint
One and two were pretty easy to acquire, but three and four turned out to be much more of a challenge than we had imagined.
We were not looking for a bicycle shop that was a drop-and-go place, that would do all the wrenching for us. OH no, Team Drum is a bunch of tinkers*, dreamers, and thinkers that like to get dirty... though the thinking ain't always the clearest thing known to man.... What we needed was a shop that had good parts and a friendly, knowledgeable staff of straight shooters that didn't mind informing us that our dreaming and scheming might just add up to a pile of poop.
Now, in the realm of coffee we were looking for a shop that can pull a good shot, heat our milk without scalding it, grinds a quality bean, and has (again) a super friendly staff. Living in a city of 3 million+ you would think that shops like this would be common place, but you'd be wrong. We were.
From the first time we wandered by Heritage, it made us want to stop in. Really, we had no idea it was a bicycle shop when Mrs. Drum pointed out the slick rigs in the window. For all we knew it was another coffee shop with clever signs and and hip employees, but the magic of google would clear this up later in the evening. It was then that we discovered that they loved bikes + coffee, so we decided they couldn't be that bad, and was worth a visit during operating hours.
Upon entering the joint we get a good vibe from the vintage and re-purposed decor. The chicks and dudes working over at the coffee bar, which takes up over 1/2 of the room, are hip, well dressed, and make a mean drink with some tasty beans from Stumptown coffee. Our favorite part is that you get all this magic without being treated like week old gum stuck to their shoe. No, Dorothy, we ain't in Logan Square anymore. As you wander towards the rear of the store you find have the bicycle repair(right) or bicycle accessories(left).

Since we here at Drum consider ourselves outgoing and personable extroverts, we chose to go straight into the fray and talk to the bicycle repair guys first. There we met Arlan (head mechanic), and then Alan (manager) the duo that run the repair side of the Heritage World. Right off the bat we learned that this was a place we could ask stupid questions and not have a 12 year old look at us like we just wet our pants. It is a place that would sell us good parts at a good price and even add the particular item to their next order without making it seem like we were putting them out. A place where one of the techs is also a tinkerer!

The other side of the bicycle department is for the merchandise. Most of the bicycle parts are stored away out of sight, but it is here you can find a nice Abus lock, Nonetheless clothing, racks, baskets,  and many other super sweet additions to your rig. On top off all this fun Heritage's owner, Michael Salvatore, also produces a bicycle made here in Chicago... yep, not only American made but as local as local can get for us Windy City Dwellers! These steeds are simple, clean lined, post-fixie rides and are perfect for those who are looking for something cool but don't want to drop the coin on a fully custom job.

 Now, the next time you need out of the house, need a part, want to get some some work done, a good cup of joe, or just to sit and enjoy a nicely designed space go check out Heritage General Store. Just be warned it may ruin you on other so called bicycle/coffee shops.***

* Drum has a brother blog The Old Speed Shack where we tinkered and explored the ins and outs of the 36hp aircooled VW motor all while holding down a day job in an aerospace machine shop... tinker... tinker...tinker.
***To our knowledge this is the only one in Chicago. This is not to say that other coffee shops don't have bike hipsters as clients that will chat you up on the finer points of a tall bike but they don't have a working bicycle shop in them.
Photos are used courtesy of a little photo studio

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