Monday, December 7, 2009

The Circle continues...

Higashi Betsuiin Circles Bike Shop

I first met Shin Tanaka at his tiny bike shop in Nagoya City when I was shopping around for a new bike for my planned trip through the French countryside. Shin exudes "Bike Cool". He had spent some time in America, so his English was peppered with urban slang and decidedly non-Japanese gestures. I liked him immediately. Shin has a very simple approach to how he sells bicycles: He doesn't sell them. He's no pusher. He will usually steer his customers to spending the least in money and the more in riding. When I finally decided to purchase a Surly Traveler's Check for my trip to France, he suggested I pick up the frame during one of my visits to the States thus saving $500.

I took his advice and let him handle the final build. This is why, over the last three years, Circles has become the premiere bike shop for people who are serious about cycling. And with the growing popularity, came the need to move to a more spacious location. Last week Circles opened their new shop in Higashi Betsuiin section of Nagoya.

Nice collection of Japanese and International cycling wear

The first floor features a gear, bike and clothing store, as well as a back section used for bike building & repair and a separate area for customers to work on their own bikes. This last thing is the coolest part of the new Circles. Customers can now rent a work area complete with all the tools and pro advice you will need to work on your own bike. A one day fee of ¥1000 is all you pay. If you wish to have unlimited access to the work area, the yearly membership fee is only ¥12,000. I think this is a great way to learn about bike repair; hands-on, all the tools you need and Makoto or Sal within arms reach if you need a little help.

Makato san showing us the universal hand sign for carbon forks

The second floor is the "build room". Arranged like a tony boutique, here customers can get advice on customizing their Vicious frame set with a Brooks saddle, Lino drop bars or whatever their heart desires.

Second floor customizing room

Shin has gone out of his way to make the new Circles more than just a bike shop, but a place cyclists can grow a better appreciation for their bicycles through education and assistance. The staff at Circles are all top rate and if you need English language help, Shin or Sal can handle that too. At any rate, stop by the new shop and say hi to the guys.

Member's work Space

Circles Bike Shop

View Circles in a larger map


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