On This Day in 2008…


Guess what?! We just turned 10 today! Yep, on January 24, 2008 I imported our first two Dutch bikes to Chicago. Flying home with them as checked luggage on a flight from Amsterdam.

When I flew to Amsterdam my plan was to formalize the business relationship with my supplier, De Fietsfabriek, and to place an order for an initial shipment of bikes. With little convincing needed they talked me into taking a few bikes home with me on my return flight.

My initial thought was yikes these bikes are big and heavy, how the heck is that going to be possible. Especially when one of the bikes was a two wheel Bakfiets cargo bike that is over 8 feet long. The idea seemed pretty crazy, but so was walking away from a steady paycheck to start selling Dutch bikes in Chicago so clearly I was up for it.

The afternoon before the flight, I visited the De Fietsfabriek assembly warehouse to check in on the bikes. I wanted to see how they were packed to get an idea of dimensions and also get a sense of how I was going to lug them around to and from the airports.



Then that night I called United Airlines to get their two cents on the matter. I actually called United three different times that night and got three completely different replies ranging from ‘no way no how’ to ‘yes, but for a reasonable fee’ to ‘yes, and the fee is really expensive’.

So I set out for the airport the next morning prepared to accept whatever fate was dealt to me when I got there. One of the owners from De Fietsfabriek gave me a lift to the airport with their van and helped with getting the bikes into the terminal.


I arrived three hours early for my flight. Before I could get up to the counter my phone rang and it was an automated call from United informing me that the flight was cancelled. The flight pattern at the time was Denver to Chicago to Amsterdam and the plane never left Denver due to a mechanical issue.

My reaction was surprisingly calm. It was the first time I’d ever had a flight cancelled so I didn’t know what normally happens next. In my mind I figured I’d simply have to find a way to get picked up with the bikes and then come back tomorrow to try it once again.

When I got to the counter they said not to worry, that I was being booked on another flight that will get me to Chicago connecting via Washington D.C. I knew right away that was not going to work. I didn’t even know yet if they would load the bikes onto the flight from Amsterdam. And I was pretty certain the chances of the bikes getting offloaded in DC and then loaded onto a smaller plane for the last leg to Chicago were slim and none.

So I pleaded my case with them and they obliged my request for a direct flight and got me on one with KLM. My relief was short lived as the next hurdle suddenly appeared- The KLM scheduled flight time was an hour earlier than my United flight and KLM was in a different terminal.

Determined to make it. I started the shuffle, moving my luggage plus one bike up 30 feet, then going back for the second bike to move that up 30 feet then repeat… That’s when a couple of extremely sweet good Samaritans saw the rigmarole I was doing and jumped in to help me get the bikes to the KLM terminal.

The ticketing agent at KLM was super helpful and somewhat excited to hear I was bringing two of the most quintessentially Dutch souvenirs home with me. I was then directed to bring the bikes to the odd-size baggage counter. Once I got there they told me that they needed to confer with the actual folks who would be doing the loading to see if they could make it on the plane or not. I remember standing off a few feet in the background while a handful of stocky guys stood in a circle and argued back and forth in Dutch for at least a minute or two about the bikes.

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This was the moment of truth. My mind was racing as I stood there trying to figure out what I was going to do if they said no. I’d certainly miss my flight and have to find a cargo carrier to package and transport the bikes which I figured was going to cost more than the bikes themselves. Just then, one of the guys arguing threw his hands up and then down to his side and accepted defeat and walked away and another one of them walked up to me and said they would take them.

Both confused and incredibly relieved I then went back to the odd-size baggage counter to pay the extra baggage fees. I think it was around 140 Euro per bike which felt like a bargain after everything I had been through up to that point.

The fun wasn’t over yet, I still had a flight to catch! I headed directly to my gate. I don’t recall if it’s always this way at Schiphol Airport, but I remember that day the set up was such that you get checked into your flight at the gate and then wait in a little holding area next to the door to the jetway prior to boarding the plane.

After checking in at the gate I put my headphones on and tried my best to relax while looking out the window to see if I could catch a glimpse of the bikes being loaded onto the plane. We were there for a good 30 minutes or more in this holding area and just barely over the sound of the music in my ears I hear my name being called out over the intercom with a request to come to the counter at the gate.


I was defeated. I walked up to the counter fully expecting them to tell me that after all they would not be able to get the bikes on the plane. Not so. Apparently, for whatever reason, my boarding pass didn’t register correctly when I was checked in at the gate so they didn’t have me in their system and they were paging me thinking I was at the bar and about to miss the flight. She told me I was lucky I got to them when I did as they were 5 minutes away from offloading my luggage!

Successfully checked-in to the flight and the bikes presumably loaded as well I boarded the plane for a smooth flight home. Upon arrival at O’Hare Airport in Chicago I collected my odd-size baggage and got everything home in a cargo van that one of my friends rented to pick me up.

This is why anytime I’m asked if you can fly to Holland and bring a bike home I answer- yes you most certainly can. But, if you want someone to take out all the drama and unknowns, you can get your Dutch bike from us.

The end.






ABUS Keyed Alike Locks

Did you know you could get your bike locks keyed alike? Yeah! I know! Right! ABUS offers this option on their premium locks. You can buy a group of locks all at one time or add locks that share your existing key.

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There are a lot of advantages to having your bike locks keyed alike. For instance, many of our customers are families who have multiple bikes that are shared among them. With keyed alike locks, each one of them can access any of the bikes with one key. Or when they go out as a group, they’ve got some backup in case one person forgets their keys.

If you have bunch of bikes and like to keep a lock with each bike. There’s no more confusion on what key goes with what lock. Additionally there are fewer lock serial numbers to keep track of.

If you are like me and you keep your bike locked outside with multiple locks (three for me!) having one key that opens all locks is awesome.

The recent cold spell is a reminder of just how frustrating fumbling around with keys can be. The lesson: Fewer keys is better.

If you’re a creature of habit like I am and put the same things in the same pockets each time you leave the house. You don’t need to stop and think about which keys you need to be taking. Just grab your one set of keys and know you’ve got it covered.

There are a few things to keep in mind if your planning to get ABUS keyed alike bicycle locks.

All ABUS keyed alike locks come directly from Germany. In other words there is some lead time in get new locks. You should plan on about 3 weeks for delivery. We do keep some bundles of locks in stock, but not every combination, and we can’t split apart bundles.

Again, you can add new locks with the same key-way. So if you need one lock right now and still want multiple locks that share keys, you only need to wait for the additional locks.

Locks to be keyed alike have to use the Plus or X-Plus keys. Note also that these two keys are different styles and are not cross compatible. All the locks need to be one type. Plus or X-Plus. Not both.

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We usually recommend the Plus key. It offers the most versatility and is the only type available for frame locks.

Each lock comes with two keys. Just like the standard non-keyed alike versions. This means you should have plenty as spares.

Now these don’t fit every bike. Specifically the new ABUS frame lock (Pro Shield Plus 5950) doesn’t fit all bikes. As of early 2018 this is the only frame lock that is available keyed alike.

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Because the opening is slightly more narrow, it doesn’t play well with every bike. Specifically the Workcycles Fr8 & Kr8 bikes require some modifications and potentially a different rear tire. We’ve discussed this with ABUS USA and hope to have more options in the future. In the meantime the frame lock will fit most classic city bikes.

Drop us a line if you’d like to get set-up with keyed alike ABUS locks.

Welcome to J.C. Lind Bike Co. Video

Check out our new video. Hope you like it. Even with a billion plus videos on YouTube, I’m confident this one will go viral;-)

We hope this will give you a quick little introduction to The Shop.

Thankfully I was able to get a bunch of help in different areas from some great people.

The aerial photography is thanks to Jack Frisch (Peachtree Productions). Jack is a longtime friend and customer of The Shop. He brought in the equipment to shoot with but more importantly the piloting skills and an eye for video.

The video editing is thanks to Keith Couture. Keith is a good buddy of ours and a former employee. If you’ve seen anything artistic out of The Shop in the past 3 years, odds are it’s a Keith creation.

Aly Jados, a local rock legend from the band Blood People, provided the studio and the coaching skills to get a solid voice over performance out of me. She also happens to be my cousin.

It was a fun time putting it together. Being new to this, it sure seemed like a lot of work for something just over a minute long. We learned a lot and hope to leverage this to do more videos to keep you informed on what we are up to.

Brompton Folding Bikes Are Here

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Happy to announce that we are now a stocking dealer for Brompton folding bikes.



Here’s the deal, it folds. As far as we know it’s the smallest folding folding bike out there. You can bring one anywhere with you. It’s small enough to actually carry. It’s small enough to walk in and out of a grocery store with. It’s small enough to stow in the corner of your apartment or under your desk. It’s even small enough to fit in the overhead luggage bin on most airplanes. You could also bring one on just about any form of public transit. This is a real bike. An actual transportation bike. You can use a Brompton as your daily rider.

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In most cases it’s faster getting in and out of your frequent stops. You don’t have to find a bike rack or fight a crowd of bikes to lock up. You will always have a bike on hand, at the ready. Since you can take a Brompton with you it’s safe from theft and protected from the weather.

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It makes your commute truly multi-modal, making on the fly adjustments to how you are getting around. You can bike or if for whatever reason it makes more sense you can fold up your Brompton, hail a cab or jump on public transit. No concerns of being caught without a bike and no worrying about the security of your rig.

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Traveling with one is a breeze. It won’t be over-sized luggage. So you can bring it with you on your next vacation or business trip. And you won’t waste your whole first evening putting your bike together.

They are great for sharing. One bike will fit many people. So if you have a friend or relative in need of a bike you’ve got them covered.

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The bikes are nicely thought out. Brompton has looked at the small details. You can literally unfold & roll out the door with one. In addition there are cargo and storage solutions ready to go.

There is a wealth of information at your fingertips from the Brompton community who have been using these for decades. Chances are they already have solutions to almost every conceivable scenario.

Here’s the set up we are going to bring in. Medium and upright bars. 6 speed gearing. Fenders. Dyno Lighting. And options for carrying stuff. This is probably gonna weigh around 25 lbs and will be priced in the neighborhood of $1,600-$2,000.

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This being the first season with Brompton, we think that the set up outlined above is the best combination of price, weight and utility. In the future we may choose to expand our offerings. You can always create your own completely custom Brompton and we will have it for you in about 8 weeks.

Curious if a Brompton might be right for you. Come try one out.

Now Hiring – Experienced Bike Mechanic

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Now Hiring – Experienced Bike Mechanic

We are looking to add a new member to our crew here at The Shop. You will be responsible for bicycle assembly, repair/service along with sales and marketing assistance.

We are Chicago’s Dutch city and cargo bike shop specializing in promoting the European culture of treating bikes as utility vehicles rather than recreational toys. We are looking for someone who is interested in growing with us and being part of something different and exciting.

2+ years of bike shop mechanic experience required. Experience with internally geared hubs is desirable. We offer a diverse range of bicycles, including cargo trikes, requiring a diverse set of knowledge and skills and the ability to come up with creative solutions.

We are looking for someone who is available to start on a part-time basis with potential for full-time in season work. Competitive wages are offered.

If you’re interested, please contact us.

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Gazelle Heavy Duty NL For A Song

This is the Gazelle Heavy Duty NL. It comes in step through in this sand color and step over in grey. Both with a nice matte finish.

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The original MSRP is $950 which is a great price in and of itself. Act now and you can save $200 and get one for only $750 which is undoubtedly the best price we’ve ever been able to offer on a fully featured Dutch bike.

When I say act fast I mean it, as these bikes will no longer be available through our Gazelle USA distributors after we sell through the limited inventory that we have right now.

When I say fully featured Dutch bike, here is a run-down on what I’m talking about…

Stout 2 leg kickstand, in this case the Ursus Jumbo.

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Full fenders, of course.

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Low maintenance 7 speed Shimano internal gear hub.

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Front and rear Shimano roller brakes make for a low fuss, low maintenance braking system.

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But wait, there’s more. It also comes with a Shimano dynamo front hub which powers the head light. And it comes with a rear battery powered light.

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The Gazelle Heavy Duty NL comes with front and rear cargo racks. The front rack has a weight capacity of 10 kg (22 lb) and the rear rack 25 kg (55 lb).

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Also, the rear racks have the Yepp Easyfit window so this bike is a solid option as a one child transport bike.

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It’s worth pointing out that even though the step over model comes with the same Easyfit window we would strongly discourage you from choosing this bike to transport a child as mounting and dismounting any step over bike with a child on the rear is not a good call.

Like any good Dutch bike it comes with a frame mounted wheel lock.

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Back to the drivetrain, it has a fully enclosed chain case which is a game changer in terms of minimizing maintenance and makes it so you to never need to worry about your clothes coming into contact with a greasy chain.

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Internally routed cables give the bike a nice and clean look.

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It comes with a headset locking mechanism that keeps the front wheel from flopping around when the bike is parked.

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It comes with cruiser style swept back handlebars and has a fairly open cockpit with comfortable ergonomic handgrips and a bell cleverly integrated into the left grip.

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In stock right now we have the step through model in a 49cm frame which should fit riders 5’2″ to 5’6″ and the step over model in a 54cm frame which should fit riders 5’5″ to 5’9″.

The term I keep coming back to on this bike is ‘no-brainer’ as you really can’t go wrong here when you consider how much bike you are getting for the low price of $750.

Interested in trying one of these out, please come visit us at The Shop and take one for a spin around the block.

Don’t snooze and lose as this deal won’t last forever.


Putting the Tour in Tour Populair


This past Spring we sold a pair of Gazelle Tour Populair bikes to Bill and his wife Mary. I remember Bill mentioning that they intended to do some touring with their Dutch bikes. I thought the idea was rad, albeit a little unconventional since these bikes are more ideally suited for short trips in flat cities.

I’ve never done any bike touring myself, although I love hearing from people about their bike travels and reading about them online (like this one, which I discovered from a recent TwoTone Amsterdam newsletter). So my lack of experience with bike touring has nothing to do with a lack of interest, quite the opposite. I would just chalk it up on the long list of things I’d do if I wasn’t busy running The Shop during the nice weather months.

So I was pretty excited when I received an email the other day from Bill with pictures from their recently completed bike tour on their Tour Populair bikes. I was intrigued to learn more about their trip and asked Bill a few questions and he was kind enough to oblige and let me share their story here on our blog. So here goes…



Jon: We normally sell the Tour Populair as an in town city transport bike. What
made you decide to actually tour on a Tour Populair?

Bill: Always wanted to do a multi-day tour and with the comfort and easy riding of the Tour Populair I thought it would be doable as long as we did a bike trail and not normal traffic roads. We also chose the bikes because my wife has had some back and shoulder issues and this is really the first bike she has ridden that was comfortable. She wanted a recumbent bike but I didn’t like the idea of transporting that type of bike and the longer profile on the road to me seemed like a safety issue with car traffic. Also the recumbent bikes are a lot more expensive and really aren’t any better quality.



Jon: How did the bikes perform based on what you were expecting going into the

Bill: The bikes preformed great as long as you understand that you are not riding a fast bike, just a very comfortable bike. With bike trails made from old railroad routes we have the benefit of normally not having much in the way of hills. Obviously Holland is very flat and the bikes perform best staying away from the hills. Being on a multi-day tour is not a training ride and accepting that we wanted to enjoy the trip and not cover a lot of miles each day is really important. Another advantage to this type of bike was that adding weight for items you need to take is not as much of an issue as with a lighter bike. Many normal bikes loaded with gear become un-stable and difficult to stop and handle, with the Tour Populair we did not experience any of this, the difference in riding the bike with 25 additional pounds on it is really not that noticeable. 



Jon: What trail or trails did you ride on?

Bill: We rode the GAP Trail, (Greater Allegheny Passage) from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD The trail length is 150 miles which we did over a five day, four night period. We took our bikes from South Bend, IN to Pittsburgh on Amtrak and then returned from Cumberland to South Bend on Amtrak. It was a great way to go and bikes were $20 each / each way. Our longest day was 35 miles, shortest was 26 miles. Riding South from Pittsburgh the trail is up-hill until the Eastern Continental Divide, making the last 24 miles down-hill. The up-hill was a bit taxing but it is gradual, not more than a 2% grade but it is continual so we took lots of stops and there is a lot to stop and look at on the route. Most days we started between 9:00 and 10:00 and arrived at our B&B or Hotel by 3:00 to 4:00. Lots of miles of 6-8 mph. You could ride the route the other direction but then the first day is all up-hill at a much steeper incline that what we rode. Our last day was very little up-hill and 24 miles of coasting!



Jon: How much gear did you have with you and how did you carry it?

Bill: We carried clothes, snacks, personal items and some tools for the bikes which we never had to use. We both had Ortlieb Ultimate6 S Classic front bags. We used one pair of Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus panniers that are normally a small front bag, these went on my wife’s bike. I used a pair of Ortlieb Bike-Packer Plus panniers on my bike. We had plenty of room for everything we needed and the bags were great both on the bike and as luggage on the train ride. Although we didn’t see any bikes like ours being used on the trail we did see plenty of Ortlieb bags in use, by far it was the most popular brand we saw.



Interested in doing a similar trip? Here is a website (http://www.bikecando.com/) that Bill found to be extremely useful when they were planning theirs. It has a lot of information on both the GAP Trail (Greater Allegheny Passage) as well as the C&O Canal Towpath trail which heads east all the way to Washington D.C.

Many thanks to Bill and Mary for sharing their adventure. You’ve certainly gotten me to look at the Gazelle Tour Populair in a whole new light.

Happy trails!


Photo Credits: Bill (all photos except map which is from gaptrail.org)