Podcast Ep. #15: Natooke & Bicycling in Chengdu

Natooke podcastThe Natooke shop in Chengdu does bicycles and they do them well. Jacob and Larry, founders of Natooke Chengdu, came to the Chengdu Living studio to talk about their personal history with bikes, starting a Wholly Owned Foreign Enterprise (WOFE), bike culture in China and the U.S.A., and fostering a budding bike scene in southwestern China.

After listening to the podcast, if you want to learn more about Natooke, their bikes and their business, you can follow them on Facebook, check out their weekly-updated thread on the Chengdu Living Forum, and follow them on WeChat (QR code below).

Download & Stream Links

Download Episode #15

Or click below to listen to the podcast now through your browser.

You can also search for the podcast in your favorite podcasting app (ours is Overcast, which we highly recommend for iPhone users).

If you enjoy the podcast, please share it! We look forward to recording more of these and continuing to chronicle and share the story of life in Chengdu.

Topics Discussed

  • 1:45 How did Jacob and Larry meet?
  • 4:00 What’s your history with bikes and bike mechanics
  • 5:00 Bike culture in China versus in America
  • 8:45 The Natooke focus on bike culture, personalization, style, and community
  • 12:00 The focus on customization and personal empowerment
  • 15:00 The process of opening another Natooke branch, and why it’s in Chengdu (and what is Flying Banana)
  • 20:00 What were the difficulties of making a Natooke a WOFE (wholly-owned foreign enterprise)
  • 28:15 Have things becomes easier since successfully registering as a WOFE
  • 30:15 Natooke’s customer base, changing the customer’s perception of value, and building a reputation
  • 34:45 Competition in the fixed-gear scene in Chengdu
  • 36:45 Bamboo bikes, Source Cycles, and different the characteristics of different material bike frames
  • 43:30 Aesthetics, fashion, and the fixed gear craze
  • 46:00 What makes a fixed gear bike different from other bikes?
  • 52:45 Keeping your bike safe, riding safely, knowing the rules of the road
  • 1:00:00 Honking in China
  • 1:07:00 Friday night rides, beer bike, Summer for Natooke

Songs Featured in this Episode

Got an idea of what we should record our next podcast about? Let us know in the comments and if you like what you heard, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and stay tuned for the next one!

13 thoughts on “Podcast Ep. #15: Natooke & Bicycling in Chengdu”

  1. This shop has unquestionably improved my quality of life here. I have a litany of bike-buying/repair horror stories pre-Natooke. These guys know their stuff, they don’t bullshit you and they run an honest, professional business. I haven’t dropped by in a few months which is testament to a)my anti-social nature and b)the quality and durability of my Natooke bike 🙂

    • I feel the same way. Buying a high-quality bike like this is a real lifestyle move. In a country where it sometimes feels like everything falls apart, you rarely come across quality like this. Jacob and Larry are also so much more than just proprietors or mechanics, they are ardent advocates of the bicycle lifestyle.

      It also makes me really happy to hear that they went through an objective process of analysis to decide on setting up their shop in Chengdu. Considering the size of Chengdu, this is an excellent place for cycling.

  2. Another great podcast…. Jacob & Larry have always been helpful, courteous and friendly. They actually gave me encouragement to get off my arse and cycle everyday.

    • Thanks for listening, Ian! We enjoy hearing feedback. If you like what you hear, a little social media sharing helps us out in a big way 😀


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