A Bike Shop with a Bar?
Yes, it's true. In the midst of interviewing my friend and cycling-heroine Jessica Carter, a born-and-raised citizen of Charlotte, North Carolina, I learned that she works at a bike shop... with a bar. You wouldn't think a teetotaler like me would be so excited, but read on and you'll see why this community-minded bike shop is now on my list of must-visit destinations. (And, I'd love to do a book signing there once my book is published... you can read more about my book-to-be Here).
"I work for the best bike shop (and bar!...) ever."
Jessica, what excites you about bike culture where you live?
So, I work for the best bike shop (and bar! Yes, we are a bike shop with a bar!) ever. The Spoke Easy is a super special place and it would be impossible to say what excites me about my city’s bike culture without talking (ok fine, gushing) about the shop. It’s my favorite place in Charlotte; there is truly nothing like it.
Tell us more!
The shop’s owners, Kevin and Chris, also own an architecture and design firm called Cluck. They opened the bike shop alongside their firm because they love bicycles and wanted to create a space for bike-fellowship and community, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Spoke Easy, beyond being an awesome bike shop, is truly a hub for friends to connect, ride bikes, hang out, and do all the fun things together.
"They opened the bike shop... because they love bicycles and wanted to create a space for bike-fellowship and community, and that’s exactly what they’ve done."
Sounds like a cool place! What kinds of events happen at the Spoke Easy?
We have several group rides out of the shop each week (a BMX ride on Tuesdays, an urban ride on Wednesdays, and a trail ride on Thursdays). The Wednesday ride explores greenways and neighborhoods around Charlotte, and it’s a great way to get to know cool routes around the city. Several times a year, our awesome mechanics host Spoke Easy University, a 6 week course introducing people to bike maintenance. We also have monthly bike-in movie nights and throw ridiculously creative cycling events and parties. AND we do weekend bike packing trips when the weather is good, a couple times a year.
What’s it like to go on a group ride with Spoke Easy?
The bike shop will offer an evening before the trip for people to come by with questions about bike packing, gear, etc. to make it accessible for anyone interested to join the adventure.
We’ll leave on a Friday morning, pedal out of the city towards a campsite around 60-80 miles away, spend Saturday chilling, hiking & riding, then pedal back home on Sunday.
What’s great about these trips is how varied everyone’s travel set-up is. There will be folks with frame bags, panniers, trailers, back packs, and all different kinds of bikes. On our last trip, 3 BMX riders joined us to ride to Uwharrie National Forest (on BMX bikes!), about 65 miles outside of Charlotte. They were 20” champs and led our group for much of the way. It was one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.
"I’ve made life-long friends here, and it’s a community that feels like family."
What do you love the most about Spoke Easy?
I could go on and on about how awesome this community of fine folks is. Everyone goes above and beyond to make all of it happen; the level of dedication and commitment is inspiring and I’m incredibly honored to be a part of it. I’m incredibly grateful to the visionary minds that created it, and for everyone involved in growing it. I’ve made life-long friends here and it’s a community that feels like family.
Follow Jessica on Instagram: @creatingintimeandspace
(her full interview will be published tomorrow!)
You can check out The Spoke Easy on Instagram, too! @thespokeeasyclt
Want more interviews with badass female cyclists? They’re all here.
Have an awesome bicycle-loving lady-friend that I should interview? Contact Me.