In our endless pursuit to bring you fat-bike news and culture from around the world, we present Blue Lug – a very unique bike shop from Japan. After seeing some of the incredible work that they produce, I reached out to the owner of Blue Lug, Wakako. She shared insights into her shop’s philosophy and agreed to allow us to show you some of the most artfully customized fat-bikes that I’ve ever encountered.
What is Bluelug?
BlueLug is custom bicycle shop and Accessory Company located in Tokyo Japan. At bluelug we take great pride in hand selecting quality cycling products from around the world to feature in our stores. Our first shop, located in Hatagaya Shibuya, opened in 2008 and our second, located in nearby Kamiuma Setagaya, opened several years later. Although we have two bluelug locations, our stores have progressed in different directions. This has allowed us a great opportunity to provide for a larger portion of the cycling community in Tokyo. Our location in Hatagaya has evolved to suit the needs of our street riding clientele. We carry great street bikes, clothing, bags, accessories, and a lot of cute funny things too. At our Kamiuma location, we strive to provide products and services for the serious rider. We feature specialty components, high-end frames, specialty bicycles such as fat bikes, and anything else related to cycling we come across that is otherwise unavailable in Tokyo.
In addition to choosing great products, we also feature our own line of bluelug cycling accessories. Our custom bluelug product list includes hand-sewn bags, bicycle panniers, and clothing. And, many of these items are constructed at our location in Hatagaya.
Moreover, we offer a variety of custom services such as our frame-building department, Ryu10works, our painting department, Cook Paint Works, and a fully equipped repair and maintenance shop in each location. Our objective has always been to be the bicycle store that provides the customer with the best cycling products along with an extremely proficient staff to assist them.
Our latest undertaking has been a café located near our Hatagaya store. We wanted to create a bicycle friendly café featuring artisan coffee, fantastic food, and amazing beer. LUG Café, or simply LUG is a place where cyclists can ride up to the window for a coffee, or lean their bike against a table and stay for a while. Either way, the concept of our café is no different than our stores. We aim to provide our patrons with a unique and quality experience.
Although we are perhaps a little biased, we believe that bluelug is not your average company. We believe this because the products and services we provide are a collective representation of the interests, talents, and passions of all the people who come together to make up our establishment. And lastly, if you find yourself in Tokyo and happen to be naked, bike-less, or perhaps just hungry, come to bluelug and we assure you that when you leave, you will have everything you need.
How does Bluelug approach Fat bikes?
At bluelug we generally feel that owning a fat bike in Japan will change your life and your reasons for riding. In Tokyo, the cycling culture has adapted to its surroundings. People choose to ride road bikes or street friendly cyclocross for the simple reason that we live in a city and everywhere we ride is paved. It is this context that has always limited the local cycling community’s interest in mountain bikes. To own a mountain bike in Tokyo is a serious investment. It’s a type of cycling that’s just not available in our urban environment. Additionally, it’s generally assumed that people who own mountain bikes are serious riders that regularly venture past the urban surroundings to the countryside, which again, is a rarity within the cycling community in Tokyo.
The fat bike has challenged all of that. For the urban cyclist, riding a fat bike, is a way to experience something different. While a fat bike is no replacement for a road bike when it comes to speed in the city, the versatility of fat bikes has changed the way we, at bluelug, think about riding. Fat bikes have allowed us to take a casual approach to the world of off-road cycling. We have developed an explorer’s attitude to our familiar surroundings, and have found so much enjoyment in this new experience that we too have begun to explore beyond the city limits.
In terms of how we approach our customers when it comes to fat bikes, it’s a simple topic to confront. We find that it’s easy for customers to get caught up in our enthusiasm about fat bikes. The most exciting thing is it’s a new experience for even the most seasoned rider. For example, we have one customer who had never ridden off road before he bought his fat bike. However, after a few weeks of riding his fat-bike, he got so into it, that he entered the single speed MTB 2013.
As far as what we offer, we do our best to provide fat bike customers with all that the products and services they could possibly need. We carry specialty fat bike components, accessories and even offer custom painting. Additionally with any bike we build at bluelug, there are a few specialty things we like to guarantee. First, we take the time to make sure the bike is a one of a kind, and is suitable to the personality of the rider. And second, we offer lifetime bicycle care for our customers to make sure all their cycling journeys are reliable and fun.
Painted by Cook Paint Works (Frame, Rims & Fork)
Brooks Saddle & Grips – 45NRTH Helva Pedals – Surly Racks
The owner picked the color to match his antique Fiat truck.
Every time this customer comes to the shop, he rides 35miles from his home town.
Drop Bar Pugsley
Custom painted by Cook Paint Works
Built for the long haul and all conditions.
Sram Double Tap – 45NRTH Hüsker Dü’s – Revelate Bags – White Bros, Carbon Fork
Best looking Curry Squirt Color Combo, I’ve ever seen!
Splatter Paint Pug
Custom Splatter Paint by Cook Paint Works (matching stem)
Cantilever Brakes (disc tabs removed) – Brooks Saddle – Ichiban Cable-Hanger
White Industries Crank and Phil Wood Bottom Bracket
For more information about Blue Lug visit – http://bluelug.com/