Re: Dealing with Bike Shops
I will definitely be heading back to Chicago, and definitely will hit that old Schwinn factory. I totally concur with the "store" instead of the "shop".. I guess I was just lucky growing up as the family run shop around the corner (Alger Schwinn) were always great people to deal with, with an equal part bike shop as well as sales area.. the type of place that you could still smell the axle grease and see every worker had knowledge of their trade and an inquisitive take on new/old tech.
As far as the isolationist judgemental take on christianity, the area is largely Calvinist Christian Reformed. Think Catholicism without the pope or the virgin mary. John Calvin was an evangelical who thought that torture and ostracism of those deemed heretical was a good thing, Only slightly less offensive than Tomas Aquinas, who believed killing heretics was the right thing to do. (Interestingly enough the only Catholic college in the area is Aquinas College..) Growing up my next door neighbor sent missionaries to our house to "convert" us, even though we went to church. Apparently believing in Christ wasn't enough, we needed to believe in HIS version of Christ, and that viewpoint and mentality is still quite common here, sadly enough. I know many self professed Christians who are hard working kind hearted nonjudgemental people. Unfortunately their number is quite low compared to the bible thumping masses that populate this area. As Gandhi said: "Christians, how I admire your Christ, but your Christians are so unlike your Christ".. It seems these factions need to feel the security of feeling chosen, and have missed ol' Hey-zeus's simple message of "be good to each other", also missing the old adage "The need for the wise man isn't on the mountain top but in the valley below.."