Alright, I left off in Connecticut for our first day of dealer visits. Day 2 we stayed closer to "home base" in RI so we could be prepared to assist with the trailer and truck drop off at the event venue... just in case.
Day 2 rained a little, but was more wind than anything which made us nervous about the tents and the coming days. Luckily, the winds died down a bit and nothing blew away or sank into the soft ground.
We headed out into the wilds of Providence and braved the crazy winds blowing to visit a few shops in the town. First up was Caster's Bicycles and Fitness, which has been around for nearly a billion years in Rhode Island. We had a really nice visit with Reed and his crew there. It's a cool shop with a bunch of cool bikes hanging in the back area... which is where I always gravitate- I love to see what bikes are hanging around in a bike shop... the employee's bikes, the customer's bikes being repaired, etc.
I came across this sweet older Speciale Premio from a few years ago that looked to be in really good condition.
Hanging from another set of hooks in the ceiling was this pair of near-mint condition vintage Schwinn Paramounts... including this excellent women's step-through that stopped my heart.
After we left Caster's, we headed over to see Rob and his folks at East Providence Bicycles. While there, we chatted to Jason for a bit about the local BMX and MTB scenes- he's a pretty avid rider and super knowledgeable. It was cool- as it always is- to meet somebody very passionate about cycling. Sure, the whole MTB/ BMX thing isn't "my thing", but I am always in support of people who are passionate about cycling.
Our last stop was to visit Providence Bicycles- another shop with a long history in the city and crammed full of cool bikes and people.
I'm terrible with names, so I can't even remember who I spoke with there, but all of the guys working there were cool and really knowledgeable about the bikes there. I always geek out in shops like that and I took full advantage of the chance to get my geek on.
Fixed gear/ single speed bikes are a big part of the Masi business these days- and I'm not complaining. Because of that, I tend to be like moth to flame when I see anything related to the bikes. I walked over to this case at the shop and almost got dizzy... lots of cool part from the "cheap" and basic all the way up to the uber-sweet Five Gold saddles that I love so much. I'm a total geek for these kinds of things and I just stood and slobbered for a few minutes. (I'm that much of a dork... yes.)
After visiting Providence Bicycles, we were officially done for the day and headed back to the hotel. However... after getting back to the hotel and having some time to kill before dinner, I ventured out on foot and stopped to check out a little shop we drove by earlier in the day.
Dash Bicycle is a truly cool little core fixie shop, right on the edge of the cool Federal Hill area. The shop is small, uncluttered and caters to the fixie and urban scene without wallowing in hipster angst. If you just wanna keep your simple commuter running, they'll be happy to help you out. And that custom bike rack out front is just too danged cool for words! I really geeked out on that for a while.
If you're in Providence, you sure have a bunch of cool shops to choose from. And... Providence clearly has a healthy bike culture. We were constantly impressed by the number of people on bikes of all types. We ate at a mega-cool place called Julian's and the entire front of the place was plastered with bike related art or posters for bike related stuff/ happenings... it was awesome (as was the food, drinks and service at Julian's).
Next on tap; the demo event itself... so stay tuned for more!