The Spoke Easy Experience
Posted on July 18, 2012 by James Stewart Jr
This past Friday 13th a few Charlotte cyclists donned zombie costumes and headed over to The Spoke Easy. The Spoke Easy, a bike shop owned by architectural firm Cluck Design Collaborative, held a bike race called an Alley Cat with a ZombieLand theme. In an Alley Cat, racers bike to different check points collecting items to utilize at the end of the race. How did the ZombieLand theme work in the race? On Friday’s race, zombie costume wearing racers had 1 minute head starts. Three checkpoints placed around Charlotte had shotgun shells and one checkpoint had a Twinkie. For me, the total Alley Cat was 27 miles which I finished slightly under 2 hours at 1:59:43 at an average speed of 14mph. I was only lost once. By coming in 26th place, I know I need to learn more about Charlotte streets.
Another exciting aspect of the event for me was not the race, but the design of the bike shop. It has high ceilings and concrete flooring. The lighting is low at night and bright in the day. During business hours, I felt I could casually create the bike I would ride for the rest of my life. At night, the mood fit the after race atmosphere. A climate in which racers exchanged stories of being lost, not finding checkpoints, or completely dominating personal records. Kevin Kennedy, the owner of Cluck Design Collaborative and The Spoke Easy, really cares about cycling and I felt that at the race.
I haven’t been to all the bike shops in Charlotte, but this one is by far the most homelike I have been too. I also feel it will be a comfortable place to buy a new bike for those whom need to get from point a to point b. I believe this bike shop may benefit the most from bike share. Bike share will make more people want to buy bikes and The Spoke Easy is a very inviting place to buy a bike.
Cluck Design Collaborative has great design in everything it does. On their website it is described as “a design-centered/ creative problem-solving/ result-focused mod squad.” Catchy. A notable project it has worked on is Twenty-Two which is one of the most unique art gallery/bar in Charotte. The atmosphere there easily creates discussion about music, art, or craft beer.
Here are several photos of the bikes, the shop, the people, and the experience we had on Friday the 13th. More photos on Facebook.