Racing Bikes In Tibet: Day 1
Posted on April 27 2016
Any trip to Tibet has to begin with a stop and a layover in Chengdu, the City Of Hibiscus. The main force behind our adventure into Tibet to race mountain bikes are the guys behind Natooke Chengdu. With invitation letters, logistics plans and everything ready in hand we spent Day 1 hanging out and catching up with the best bike shop in town.
China friendly cyclists are likely already familiar with the original China Fixie Shop, Natooke Beijing. Old friends Larry and Jacob opened up the Natooke sister shop in September of 2012 with the hopes of offering a fully customized service shop building complete bikes and specializing in tune-ups and bike overhauls. Within the first few months of business they had already overstepped the Natooke fixie mentality and were building and servicing road bikes, cross bikes and touring bikes.
Chengdu as a city attracts a lot of tourists travelling through Europe on their way to South East Asia. Touring cyclists are familiar with segments of the Silk Road that zig zag through the beautiful countryside. Natooke Chengdu is the last ‘real bike shop’ that is capable of prepping any ride for the treacherous road ahead. They handle bespoke setups with ease and are known for their super slick internally geared builds, which can be found all over the city.
Their workshop is littered with tools, grease, grime and you can feel the heart and soul that goes into their builds. Things are weathered and worn in, unlike most of the ‘Giants and Treks’ of China. A friendly shift in attitude welcoming every type of cyclist and bike – no challenge is too tough.
In house custom painting is done off-site not too far from the shop, and most of what’s for sale is their own branded Natooke frames and components. The second floor space is used as an office and hub for planning rides, events, parties and long distance trips (yes, they do long distance China bike trips).
Customers dropping into the shop are greeted with a friendly smile and a warm welcome from behind the small reception desk. Lights and bells are the in-house favorite for accessories in Chengdu and take over most of the grab goods.
If you’re in Chengdu and in need of a new ride, a tune-up, a service or just want to grab a beer from the beer fridge and have a chat then hit ’em up. Big thanks to Natooke Chengdu for organizing and prepping everything, here’s to racing bikes in Tibet!