With the current expansion of fat bike brands available to consumers, now, more than ever, it’s important to work with a bike shop that knows fat-bikes from the inside out. In a good fat-bike shop, the owner or staff actually ride fat bikes. That way they know, through practical experience, what works and what accessories to keep in stock. Great fat-bike shops have more than just inventory. They sponsor and run fat-bike races, festivals, group rides and hoot’n’nannys! We’ve been highlighting shops that we’ve gotten to know, that live and breath, fat-bikes. You can check them out in our Business Profile category right here.
Today, it’s our pleasure to put the spotlight on a shop called Zion Cyclery! I had the pleasure of meeting the owner of ZC, Chris Daisy, at last year’s Global Fat-Bike Day celebration at Kettle Morraine. Chris had come up with a half a dirty dozen of his crew to help us celebrate and ride! Over the last year, we’ve gotten to know Chris, pretty well. Sven and I both have enjoyed Chris’ company on beach rides along Lake Michigan. But it wasn’t until today, that I learned that he’s fat-bike rocker! Zion Cyclery’s rock and roll roots go way back to 1964! The photo above show’s Chris’s dad, Don, playing drums at the grand opening of the shop, the same year that the Beatles came to ‘merica. Somewhere back in the 70’s Chris’s Pop took over the shop and young Chris, sort of grew up there.
The apple didn’t fall too far from the rock and roll, tree with Chris. When I told Sven, that I was going to interview Chris at his shop, he told me to be sure to ask him about his band – Frozen Orange (from the 90’s). That’s Señior Daisy (right) playing at the Double Door in Chicago, Illinois with Frozen Orange, back in the day. Chris is still rock’n musically and rolling a sweet Borealis Yampa, festooned with gold, just south of the Wisconsin border on the shore of Lake Michigan, at the helm of Zion Cyclery. Back when I was still serving a 30 year sentence in Ill-Noise, long before fat-bikes, I would sometimes bring my mountain bikes into ZC for service. They had an ace mechanic that amigos had recommended named Kurt Jones. When I came into the shop to interview Chris, I was delighted to see that Kurt was still manning the tool bench. Great bike mechanics are like precious gems! We suggest that you bring your bike mechanic good beer or coffee next time you visit your local bicycle retailer. The service department at ZC is top notch! I can attest to that from my own personal experiences!
ZC’s showroom was full of fat-bike goodies on the day I visited. Chris started out carrying Surly, 9:Zero:7 and Origin8 and has added Borealis earlier this year. They even had a Trek Farley on the floor. The showroom offered a variety of choices for new fat-bike buyers and a nice assortment of 45NRTH gear and Revelate Bags for customers to choose from. Chris has been really proactive about working with the land managers at nearby, Illinois Beach State Park to insure that beach riding remains open and legal for fat-bikers. They also have helped save and legalize some local MTB trails at Beulah Park in Zion recently. These are not easy tasks to undertake.
In addition to all of that Zion hosts a really fun group ride, called Fatter by the Lake. Sven and I, along with about twenty others showed up last weekend and had an absolute blast riding the state park’s ice coated trails, down to the beach, where 10 foot waves were crashing the frozen shoreline. We derbied and cruised bumpy frozen beach front on a blustery winter afternoon that saw the mercury continue to fall as the ride went on.
By now, you can see that Zion Cyclery fulfills all of the requirements that we admire in a good fat bicycle retailer. From Service & Inventory to supporting fat-bike events and advocacy, Chris has put down real fat-bike roots in Northern Illinois! So if you’re part of the greater northern reaches of Chicagoland and want to check out some fat-hardware, go see the man that’s in a Rock Band!
For more information about Zion Cyclery visit – http://www.zioncyclery.com/