Easily one of Natooke’s most popular events is a bi-weekly night ride. It’s slow and accessible for all types of riders. They utilise a Source Cycles custom cargo bike, converting it into a mobile stereo complete with self-contained 800W speaker system. It’s insanely loud. Enough so to render the rider isolated, unable to hold a conversation with the throng of riders around.
They’ve hosted this particular ride, without fail for over three years now, rain or shine. Lately they’ve even used it as a tool for collaboration. Through it they’re able to offer friends and their community the chance to explore new places in the city all the while supporting other businesses in town. This is beside the primary fact that this ride is good, old-fashioned fun.
It was at about the same time Natooke Chengdu started this ride they decided rather firmly that they needed to take fun pretty seriously. As a business connected with a place, this ride has become Natooke’s calling card for continued success. Ask anyone in the bike industry anymore and they’ll say that without actively building and supporting the community of cyclists around you, there’s no way a brand or shop can keep up. It’s always cheaper and easier online.
In a global age it’s easy to take for granted how readily we can connect with others. There’s vast online communities of like-minded people that share common interests, passions and goals. Or sometimes it’s just silly. Whatever it is, it also acts as a grand distraction from the real communities before you.
Through events like these the folks at Natooke has the opportunity to talk with everyone around them and discover what it is that draws them to cycling and also share their story. Recently someone asked what it was they really did to make a living. Likely, the questioner didn’t see the years of work that’s built up to that moment. Everyone’s just having a damn good time and there’s no possible way this could support someone’s livelihood, right?
But it can. And it may not always be easy, but it’s an honest living. Beyond the immediate frustration, a remark like this always proves quite the compliment. When you’ve done something right, it’s as though you’ve done nothing at all. It’s sort of like watching a top athlete effortlessly do some insane stunt all the while looking cool-as-a-cucumber. It’s by no mistake.
And what’s the point with this diatribe? Why a local bike shop does what they do is all for the people around them. It’s one thing to be a part of a community and an entirely other thing to build it. I’m sure any small club, organization, small business, or non-profit can share this pain. Sometimes it seems more worth it to ride the coattails of someone else’s party, but where’s the value in not getting involved? Your community will grow stronger and be capable to do far more things that are of real importance. That’s what we aim to do. And at the end of the day, it’s not our fault we make it so damn fun.