Saturday, February 7, 2015

Iowa Bike Expo: The Ichi And Scratchy Show

Shifting gears (ha! see, I made a bike pun!), here's a look at the Expo booth of perhaps the coolest and weirdest bike shop you'll ever see, found right here in dear old Des Moines: Ichi Bike.

This ain't your grandpa's Trek Factory Store, folks. Owner Dan Koenig (the blur in green above) is part Sheldon Brown, part Pablo Picasso, and part Dr. Frankenstein. Proof?

Why yes, that is a hot-pink kids' penny-farthing with apehanger bars and a custom fringed-leather banana seat made from a recycled skateboard! Oh, not weird enough for you?

A kids' electric-assist fatbike with (again) custom recycled-skateboard banana seat. Yeah, that happened. More practical, you say?

That's the Ichi "mobile shop on an electric-assist trike". Note the Park workstand arm on the back, holding the green fatbike in the air. My bad cropping means you can't see the giant patio umbrella (on the wooden pole) shading the works... because (obviously) wrenching in the hot sun is no fun.

Finally, my personal favorite, since (as you're well aware by now) I'm obsessed with retro mountain bikes:

Looks kinda like a late-70s Joe Breeze, no? Actually, it started life as an old Schwinn tandem before the twisted minds at Ichi got their hands on it, chopped it in half, gave it some drum-braked, internally-geared wheels, laid down some classic points and pinstripes, and bam. Instant klunker lust. (I wish it had silver rims for the full-on classic look, but man, that's just quibbling.)

You can see a few snippets of other fun stuff in the background of my photos... more electrics, fatties, cruisers, far-out customs, you name it. Best to just go to the shop and see for yourself, though. Time your visit right and you might run into David Byrne. Yeah, that David Byrne. Did I mention this is kind of an unusual shop?

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