Heritage Bicycles

“Precious and unique benefits accrue to those who regularly attend third places and who value those forms of social intercourse found there. The leveling, primacy of conversation, certainty of meeting friends, looseness of structure, and eternal reign of the imp of fun all combine to set the stage for experiences unlikely to be found elsewhere… The benefits of participation both delight and sustain the individual.” – Ray Oldenburg, The Great Good Place

Anyone who has followed my social pursuits via Twitter and Instagr.am understands full-well, I love Heritage Bicycles. In short order, it has become my place for the perfect pour of Stumptown Coffee, a flat fix on my 1985 Team USA Raleigh, and an impromptu 90s dance party (playing as I type, The New Radicals’ “You Get What You Give”). Regarding the social concept known as the Third Place — that is, not home, not work, but that place where you find community — mine can be found a short ride from my first place, at Heritage Bicycles & General Store, 2959 North Lincoln Ave in Chicago, Illinois.

Coffee. Bikes. Saying it out loud, it sounds like an obvious concept, but the shop is the first of its kind in Chicago, and thus far, it’s been very well received. And it tugs at two of my passions, locally-made goods and honest-to-goodness food. The bikes sold here are forged at a facility within a mile of the shop, and the coffee comes straight from arguably the best roastery in the country, Portland, Oregon’s Stumptown Coffee.

It’s here where I regularly run into my ice cream man, my purveyor of all things pig, and old friends visiting from New York. And then there’s the man overseeing it all, Michael Salvatore: one part mayor — kissing babies, shaking hands — and one part carnival barker — “Bang Bang Pie has banana creams in the shop all weekend. Get ’em!” And this makes him the city’s finest host.

We all have our third place, mine just happens to be a coffee and bike shop in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. As Tupac just said, “Hold up a finger if you feel the same way” (thank you, 90s dance party). What’s your third place?

*For those who abhor 90s dance parties, it should be noted the party ended shortly after I finished writing this post, and a mix of pop-punk jumped out, ready to kill me from the shop’s speakers. From the morning reggae hour to the late night Johnny Cash rarities, I get the feeling the music at Heritage is an “anything goes” scenario.