15 Apr 2014

Shop updates

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The dust has cleared from our whirlwind remodel leading up to the new brand launch on April 5th. We’ve been sharing some of the new nooks and corners from the renovations via our Facebook page (follow us, it’s fun), and recently sent out a link to the photoset to our email list (sign up over there—>, it’s fun).

We posted up some shots of the remodel process on Flickr here. We’re really excited about the changes. We created a Kid’s Market for little riders to enjoy, a Moots Nook, the “Butt Hutt”, and of course, the Ride Away Room.

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These are just a couple shots, be sure to click here to check out the whole set.

07 Apr 2014

The new look of North Central Cyclery

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We are so excited and proud to share the new look for North Central Cyclery with you!

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Please take a moment to check out the Story about the logo creation on the The NCC Logo Story page. There is a Long Version and a Short Version. You can read more about them here.

If you’re just looking at that thinking, “Where can I get one of those sweet local handmade posters?”, then we won’t blame you for jumping right over to our new merch store to get one on order. You might want to pick up some coffee, too.

27 Mar 2014

TEN THOUSAND: Axletree’s new endurance event in Freeport, IL

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Axletree, FBC, and NCC are proud to announce TEN THOUSAND, a 125mi mixed terrain event with 10,000ft of elevation gain. Please click on the pic for the full event info. THE-TEN-THOUSAND

20 Mar 2014

Limited Edition Jake Early Serigraphs for NCC

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A couple months ago I was in Scottsdale and came across an incredible installation of public art outside a cafe called the Orange Table. The installation was a patchwork of serigraph posters covering a wall featuring various birds and patterns native to Arizona. It was a beautiful installation.

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note: all my pictures are crooked because my shoulders are crooked.

A few days later we had lunch at the Orange Table and I met the artist, Jake Early, as he was setting up an exhibit in the cafe. I shook his hand and told him I loved his work. Jake had moved from Chico, Ca to Tempe, AZ and said bikes are a huge part of his work because of the great bike community in Chico and his love of riding. We got to chatting about bikes and printing and had a great conversation. We have kept in touch via Instagram, but otherwise I’d had no contact with him.

And then, today, out of the blue (purple actually, a purple and orange Fedex truck), came a package from Jake Early himself.

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And inside this nice box was a run of 60 serigraph prints Jake had made based on our conversation and NCC’s web presence.

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That’s when I fainted.

When I came to, I called Jake and thanked him profusely.

Then I took a closer look. He nailed our weird and wonderful little world quite well.

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So what to do? A run of incredibly rare and valuable prints from an established artist, made with love and given to us for free? Here’s what we’re thinking:

Thirty of them will be sold to raise money for Axletree – specifically, for projects that will help kids get on bikes. We’re having a hard time determining a price since a piece from Jake of this size generally starts around $150. We’d like to see these sell quickly, and by way of promotional subsidy, we’re looking for donation of $75 or more. POSTSCRIPT: We have received a generous donation from a donor we’ll call Maximilian “Max” Balleur towards this fundraiser and the cost of the posters has been reduced to $35!

We have a spreadsheet with 30 lines ready and waiting. These will be first come, first served, for people who send $75 $35 or more via Paypal (contact@rideaxletree.com) or by check (delivered to NCC or PO 426, DeKalb 60115) (preferred method). If you are sending a check, please send an email to tobie@nccdk.com to let me know. If you need it shipped, please add $9 S&H.

Ten of them will go to the next ten people who purchase fatbikes at NCC.

The last 20 will hang over my bed. Sorry, honey.


Please check out Jake’s other resplendent works at JakeEarlyArt.com.

12 Mar 2014

Beheading and Entombing for the future sake of cycling.

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Many of you know we’ve been working on a new brand aesthetic for NCC over the last year. It’s been an incredible process for us. It’s been a great challenge to take the nebulous concepts of branding and culture and then draw concrete aesthetic conclusions from them. We’re excited to launch a new look, new logo, and new direction in the next month or so. One thing I can tell you right now, though, is that there will be a beheading. We’ll be lopping off the head of our logo (with great joy, on my part).

Part of the process has been taking our proposed direction as a culture and drawing it back to the physical store itself. We’ve been asking ourselves, “is this the best look and layout to accomplish what we’re planning to do?” For the most part, the answer is yes. But in two categories, we realized we needed to make some changes.

We have been growing in the “Adventure” market since we first started selling Surly Long Haul Trucker completes (before Surly sold them as completes). Salsa’s reinvention of themselves as the “Adventure By Bike” brand tied in really well with what we were doing and the gravel scene here has been growing, too. (If you build it, they will come).

Chad. Nice.

Chad. Nice.

Over the same years, we noticed a different trend occurring that was not nearly as positive. We have been selling few children’s bikes and much fewer BMX bikes. At a recent bike industry event, I was having a conversation about this topic and glanced around the expo. In the conversation, I bet that a good number of the people in that room came from a BMX background. Not necessarily a BMX-racing background or a high-flying trick background, but the 20″ wheel-as-limitless-freedom-background.  Most of our past shop employees rode BMX at some point. It is a huge gateway into the sport of cycling. And it’s on the decline. What will happen if those riders don’t ride BMX? They might not fall in love with cycling, or maybe not haunt bike shops until we hire them, or maybe not have fond memories of riding after years off the bike and get back into it as a young adult.  Tragic futures!

There are many factors contributing to the decline as we perceive it, but here at NCC, we are going to try and address the factors within our reach. We’re going to re-appropriate some prime floor space to getting kids on bikes. For the last ten years, we have had a special BMX area in our basement – which was always sort of cool – since those kids had their own space. But over time, we’ve come to notice that many of our customers overlook the basement showroom. We need to get those bikes back into the limelight. So we’re building out a better kids and BMX section that should get kids excited. We’d also like to see more mentoring of little riders in some capacity. We are working on that part.

That same space downstairs will now be reinvented as our “Ride Away Room” – a cave, a den, a burrow for gravel riders, fatbikers, and bikepacking/touring cyclists. We aim to make it a place that you’ll want to go down into, only to come out inspired to ride a long, long way.

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In the process of building out the space, we will be entombing a precious cave painting done by our good friend Luke Young many years ago. It’ll be behind a wall, waiting for some future generation to come in and discover it (probably while remodeling the basement to display BMX bikes).

We’ll be revealing more and more as the remodeling goes on, so stay tuned!