October 22, 2009

Bike Shop visit-Ben’s Cycles/Milwaukee Bicycle Co.

By Elisa | 1 Comment »

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I have been back from my trip to the midwest for just over a week and have been slow in posting my final few posts from the trip.  Possibly this is to draw out the feeling that I am there, that posting these would mean that I am, indeed, back home?  Who knows the reason, but I do apologize.

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When I realized I would be in Milwaukee my first thought was “Ben’s Cycles!” (ok, my first thought was actually “Miller High Life, Baby!”).  I made sure it was high on my list of places to see while carousing downtown each day.  To my surprise, I got an email from a fellow cyclist in Milwaukee, asking if I needed any help finding things to do.  I mentioned Ben’s, he said Earl was his boy…next thing I know I have a tour of the shop(s) scheduled with Earl!  I could barely wait.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t wait…Saturday as soon as I got off the bus from chicago, I headed straight there.  I was only going to say hello, look around and come back…really, that was the plan.  Earl was kind enough, however to take myself and my mom on a tour on his day off!

friends, this place is amazing.  It has been around for 80 years, as a bike shop. They have grown so large that they now take up the old storefront, another across the street as well as an old theater full of stock.  Many of you have tweeted or emailed to tell me that you have ordered stuff from Ben’s online and couldn’t believe it was such an old, neighborhood shop.

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That is exactly what it felt like…a neighborhood shop.  Until I walked upstairs and saw the 2 (!) floors of stock.  It was incredible.  An entire wall of Brooks Saddles, rows of tires, more rubber grips than I have ever seen.  A well kept theater full of more stock, hard to find bikes, about 100 old Chicago Schwinns, handlebars as far as the eye can see. And the bikes…

Brooks Saddle Heaven

Brooks Saddle Heaven

Oh the bikes. you see, Ben’s is also home to Milwaukee Bicycle Company.  These are some effing pretty, well made bikes.  I got to see frames and bikes in every step along the way.  It was mesmerizing.  Everything is designed and made in house.  I got to see the newest polo guard, as well as the Polo guards that Prolly speaks so highly of.  The Milwaukee Bruiser is what I was there to see, but I was most taken with the Cream City.  I got to see it in various colors and builds and any way you slice it, these bikes are sexy.  Yes, sexy.  The headbadge is a beer mug.  enough said.

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The perfect headbadge for a MKE bike company!

The perfect headbadge for a MKE bike company!

Let’s not forget the great folks who work at Ben’s.  I did not meet a stranger in my few hours there. I was hanging around both Saturday and Monday and met some unpretentious, bike loving people.  Everyone was willing to answer my questions and all seemed more than happy to geek out about bikes with me. Monday morning it was a hub of activity, with 3 dogs greeting me upstairs and every desk full and busy.  The walls were covered in inspiration, design work, photos…very homey and humble.  I dug it!

Well, I have rambled plenty.  If you are in the Milwaukee area, or need a hard to find or awesome part or bike, give Ben’s a visit.  You won’t be sorry.

Polo Guard

Polo Guard

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Cream city with awesome paint job!

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better view of the headbadge

where the magic happens...the upstairs offices.

super secret Ben's cycles upstairs lair...er, office

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Comments

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  1. On October 23rd, 2009 Braxton said:

    A beer headbadge. That IS awesome. Too bad the last thing I need right now is to order another bicycle. :)

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