TIL #1 – The Skewer ‘Spring’

Quick Release Spring

A conical spring. Many bikes are equipped with up to four of these and serve a purpose, we promise. 

The springs that are found on many bike wheel systems, what are they? Do they serve any real purpose? If you are looking to grow your bike nerdiness and want to understand the true function of these small, yet practical parts to your bike, you’re in luck.  This may be one of the more detailed explanations of the ‘why’ these springs are part of your bike, the ‘why’ to leave them on, and most importantly, the ‘how’ to use them correctly.

History of the Skewer / Need for a Spring

First, let us embark on a brief history of the system they are categorized with belonging to: the quick release, or skewer, on a bicycle’s front and rear hubs.  In 1930, Tullio Campagnolo, yup the guy with the famous name in Italian bicycle componentry, invented the quick release.  You know the part on the bike that makes wheel changes and saddle height adjustments super easy, yes, that was invented nearly 90 years ago.  While the quick release was and is extremely beneficial in today’s cycling world, the addition of the ‘spring’ is its finishing touch.  Simply put, the springs that are found on either side of your hub, center the quick release, making wheel swaps all the easier.  By keeping the spacing equal between the hub locknut and the clamping face of the quick release, this small spring can allow for easy, one handed wheel replacement on a consistent basis.

The skewer, perfectly centered on the hub of this wheel, thanks in full part to two small cone-shaped springs.

Spring Design

The cone shape that is seen in this spring also serves a purpose, as the wheel is being clamped in place by the quick release, the cam action compresses the two ends of the skewer and in turn, everything between them.  This is the force that holds your wheel in place in the dropouts of both the fork and frame of your bike.  As the skewer essentially shrinks, the spring also compresses and the cone shape simply allows each level of the coil to sit next to each other under full compression.  Without the cone shape, the spring would just bind on itself and not allow for proper clamping of the skewer.  The cone shape spring has made wheel changes faster and kept wheels from falling off at 30mph, simple yet very effective.

Spring Placement / Orientation

The cone shape, as previously mentioned is meant to collapse on itself, but is there a proper orientation to installing it? Yes, and this is critical.  The big side faces out, small side in towards the hub.  The large diameter of the spring sits nicely in a cavity of the skewer’s clamping heads while the small diameter buts up against the axle of the hub.  When installed incorrectly, the large diameter of the spring rests over the axle, this has multiple potentials for disaster.  First, your fork and frame are designed to fit a determined axle, with a spring sitting over this axle, you have changed the effective diameter of the axle, producing an improper interface for your fork or frame, and hub.  When only one side is installed incorrectly the wheel is no longer perpendicular to the frame or fork, off by the thickness of the spring coil, this translates to more than the 1mm at the axle the further you get from the axle.  This can effect your disc brake, as the rotor is no longer at the same angle, effect the rim and brake caliper, as again, the wheel is no longer sitting flush with the frame or fork, and yup, effect your drivetrain.  Bicycles are precise machines, and when things are off, it can be felt throughout the bike.  The first thing our mechanics are checking when bikes come in for shifting or brake issues is this, are your springs installed correctly and is your wheel sitting flush in the dropout.  There is no simpler fix or easy thing to check if your bike is feeling off.

Spring installed INCORRECTLY.  Notice the spring sitting OVER the axle of the hub.

 

Spring installed CORRECTLY. Notice the properly exposed axle, making for a perfect junction with the frame or fork dropout.

Women’s Night – Follow Up

Winnebago Bicycle hosted its first Women’s Night on July 17th.  A great turnout and fantastic night was had.  Food and refreshments were provided by Bare Bones Brewery and Ski’s and plenty of prizes and other freebies from our great vendors were dished out throughout the evening.  Ladies that joined left with the above and also some helpful knowledge on nutrition, cycling specific yoga techniques, and some (maybe) new riding ideas.

Interested in checking out our next Women’s event? Please stay in touch! We are planning an event for either this fall or early next season already.  If you were here, thanks for coming! If not, hope to see you next time.

Touring Trip – Kettle Moraine State Forest

OSHKOSH – MAUTHE LAKE (Northern Kettle Moraine State Forrest)

Date: September 23-24 or 25


WHAT TO EXPECT

We will depart from Winnebago Bicycle at 8:00am on Saturday (9.23.2017).  Our route will take us south on quiet roads until we reach Fond du Lac.  We will head towards Eden and pick up the Eisenbahn State Trail.  Eisenbahn State Trail is both paved and gravel, the majority being the latter.  Please make sure your bike and you are ready to tackle crushed gravel! We will more than likely stop  for lunch in Campbellsport, which is approximately 8 miles from our campground.  Once checked in and setup of your site is complete, feel free to hike, explore, nap, or anything you’d like, we do not have anything planned as a group.  If you have room, bring a fishing pole to try for a shore lunch!

Our route, this may deviate from the map slightly due to wind direction, construction, or heavier than expected traffic volume.

The return trip will be broken up into one of two options.  One departing for home on Sunday, the other Monday.  Both will follow the same return route.  Both the Sunday and Monday group will leave the campground in the late morning.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Tent
  • All sleep equipment
  • Food/Hydration for yourself
  • Spare tube(s) for your tire size
  • Anything else you feel necessary for an overnight(s) camp
  • Hiking clothing (highly recommended)

COST

  • $10 – 1 Night
  • $20 – 2 Nights
    • Cost covers camping fees

***SIGN UP MUST BE COMPLETE BY SEPTEMBER 15***

Bike Packing Trip Registration

 

Cable, WI

Staying in a town that has trails nearby is a real treat.  Staying in a yurt that is 25 yards from the largest trail network in the midwest is like winning the treat lottery.  A long weekend took a group of five to Wisconsin’s CAMBA trail system.  With hundreds of miles of possible trails to ride, we ended up staying in a yurt in the middle of the woods, away from everything, but the trail.

The Yurt

Just a few miles out of town (Cable, WI), the county (Bayfield County) put up a yurt for those seeking to experience their beautiful surrounding landscape.  Being on both mountain bike trails and on the Birkie Ski Trail, this Yurt is ready for anyone looking to experience silent sports right out their front door.  20 feet in diameter and room to sleep 6, the yurt has a wood stove to keep the winter or late night chill at bay.  That’s about it.  No electricity, no running water.  Annnnnnnnnnnd that right there is perfect.

Special note on the accommodations, you park at the bottom of a hill and need to hike any and all gear up to the yurt, which is around a 1/3 of a mile into the woods.  Pack smart.

The Trails

The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), has dozens and dozens of miles of trails.  Single track in the area is prime and we didn’t have the time to ride any where close to them all.  What we experienced was typical of this area, consistent up and down.  The trail is similar to Greenbush, to provide a local comparison, but much more pronounced.  Meaning you’re going to have to work to get through it, but hey, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  Make sure you ride the Rock Lake loop, extremely fun trail.  Outside of that, take a long weekend and experience some amazing trails that are right here in Wisconsin, you won’t be disappointed!

Upcoming Tour Trip – High Cliff State Park

OSHKOSH – HIGH CLIFF STATE PARK

Date: June 3-4

WHAT TO EXPECT

We will depart from Winnebago Bicycle at 8:00am on Saturday.  Our route on Saturday morning will follow the WIOUWASH trail to the Friendship Trail.  From here we will navigate through the Appleton/Menasha area and enter the park from the north.  Total ride distance is approximately 39 miles.  Expected time of arrival to the park is 12:00pm.

DAY 1: Northern route around Lake Winnebago. Over 50% on crushed gravel trail.  Approximately 39 miles.

We will setup camp and then feel free to do what you would like.  Stay at the campsite or explore the park.  For those who have not been to High Cliff, there are plenty of trails to hike, we recommend a pair of hiking shoes to pack along for the ride!

Sunday morning will involve a quick breakfast and camp teardown.  We will look to leave High Cliff in the late morning, between 10:00 and 11:00am.  Our trip home will complete the circumnavigation of Lake Winnebago.  Day 2 will total approximately 50 miles of riding with an expected time of arrival to Oshkosh between 3:30-4:30, leaving time for a lunch stop in Fond du Lac.

DAY 2: Southern segment of Lake Winnebago. Over 99% on paved roadway. Approximately 50 miles.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Tent
  • All sleep equipment
  • Food/Hydration for yourself
  • Spare tube(s) for your tire size
  • Anything else you feel necessary for an overnight camp
  • Hiking clothing (highly recommended)

COST

  • $25
    • Includes campsite reservation, guiding, and lunch on Sunday

 

TOURING TRIP HIGHLIGHT – HARTMAN CREEK 2017

Shop led bike packing trip to Hartman Creek State Park in April was loaded with quiet roads, great scenery, and a great crew.  We have more in the works, but here are the highlights from our first bike packing trip.

New Moon (Downtown Oshkosh) is responsible for powering the bike shop in more ways than one could imagine (caffeine/food) and now helped us with a great start to our trip. Pictured is the ‘Bago Bagel’ (all veggies, sans tomato/black olives, + bacon)
Loaded. Even one night means you need to be prepared. Specialized AWOL, Axiom bags, and Brooks Cambium saddle for the win on this trip.  Total bike weight: around 80lbs.  (I brought too much.  Lesson learned!)
8 riders, packed and ready to tackle the 56 miles to Hartman Creek State Park on Saturday morning.  Temperature was high 50s with a gentle breeze.  Beautiful April morning.
Fuel for the trip powered by Red Bull.
Quiet roads during the day. Looks like it was loud here last night.
Bob pulling a Bob which carried Bob’s things.
On the way out, soaking in the April sun.
Towards the edge of Winnebago County.
From Poy Sippi on, the ride included many stops. Some to rest, but most to be tourists at. Poy Sippi dam, doing what it does.
We decided Poy Sippi was a good spot to take a lunch. Grabbed some snacks at the local gas station and hunkered down by the dam for an hour.
Lunch. Of Bike Packers.
Additional lunch option.
Yeah, lunch was pretty fun.
Saxeville has a bell, which was stolen by soldiers from the south, by the north, during the Civil War.
Horse power meets bike power.
Maybe the coolest ‘stop’ along the trip, this wooden bridge outside of Saxeville was paid for and put up by the residents of Saxeville. The Wisconsin DOT offered to put up a concrete spanned, boring, bridge. People of Saxeville, thank you for this. Such a great feature to come across on our trip. Also, special thank you to Bob, a member of the crew, who showed us around Waushara County like no one else could.
Another view of the Wood Bridge outside of Saxeville. Hint, hint, it’s on ‘Covered Bridge Road’.
Had a great Saturday on the bike, got to Hartman Creek and setup camp. Go by bike = free entry. Plus, show up by bike to camp, they guarantee a site for you. This is a State Park that treats cyclists, year round!
Trees? No problem, here we see a dichotomy between store bought and what was bought in a store decades ago + MacGyver intuition. Additionally, setup time reflected a difference of over 500% on one…Kevin never fell out of his, but he is also ordering a hammock for the next trip…
Kevin testing his ‘creation’ (we were all impressed with his ‘No tent / No sleeping bag’ approach. Kevin won the award for most creative bike packer of the weekend hands down!
So we cheated…a little bit. Amber, (Ben’s wife) ‘happened’ to be camping at the park as well and had veggies, potatoes, and burgers for the crew to snack on. Not only made for a great snack, but gave us the calories to sleep through a 35° night.
Obligatory campfire pic.
The only thing better is planning the next trip.
These were the easy ones to take a pic of, outside of the fence, they move too quick!
Blue sky for days. That speck in the center of the photo is a hawk, looking for breakfast. On our way out of the park, headed back home Sunday morning after a killer breakfast ourselves. Yes, we cheated here again, Amber (Ben’s wife) happened to have bacon and bagels along, which we sampled.
Back at Poy Sippi…lunch of the champs. Crazy what a bag of chips and a Red Bull can do  I swear, I eat well normally!
More quiet Winnebago County with the obvious craziness of the night before left on the tarmac.
So, on top of Liberty School Road, overlooking to the South East of Winnebago County, Oshkosh nearly in our sights, we were tasked with visible sunshine and an invisible to viewers, incredible wind shift that occurred over the course of mere minutes on our trip back home. 2/3 of our way home, with a cruising speed of over 16mph, we encountered an impressive wind shift that went from a tail wind, to a direct head wind out of the east. Wind speed jumped to 15mph and was coupled with a temp drop of 10° over the course of 2 minutes. While this turns into a chore regardless, when you have an additional 50lbs of gear on your bike, and the bags that are holding said gear act like a massive sail, this change of wind turns into an interesting change of pace. Our 16mph dropped to a challenging 8mph. If everything was easy, it wouldn’t be rewarding, right? This was rewarding. Smiles were plentiful at rides end, even with Mother Nature throwing a curve ball! (Please note: Sean’s left hand, middle finger have been edited out of this image)

This was a great trip, we were so happy to have such a fun crew to join us and cannot wait until our next.  Please look forward to 2-3 bike packing trips throughout the year, each year from us.  Interested in jumping on board? Stop down and chat, we will help get you ready for the road!

Trail Highlight – Levis Mounds

Traveling back in time to the edge of a glacier? Nah, just an ice shove on Lake Winnebago, circa 2017.

The last glacial maximum brought rich farmland to our great state, gave us our thousands of lakes scattered throughout the northern half of the state, and altered the landscape in more ways than any other natural event in our areas history.  Ice is an extremely powerful landscaper, slowly inching its way further and further, until finally, after retreating, the land is left with many amazing features that Wisconsin can lay claim to.

This is the most important map of Wisconsin. It is the reason our mountain bike trails are the best around. Please, study.

On the fringe of the ‘Driftless Area’ of the state lies a landscape that takes you out of Wisconsin and transplants you in what feels like the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Levis Mounds was not decimated by glaciers, it was sculpted, altered, and graced by their presence.   Being at the edge of glaciation, Levis underwent a unique transformation.  It’s sandstone bluffs, or monadnocks, were cut out of the earth to provide us with a remarkable terrain for mountain biking today.  Other trail networks can thank glaciers for their work over 10,000 years ago, notably, the Greenbush trail network in the northern Kettle Moraine State Forest, however very few have been implemented in this transition-zone that Levis has.  This terrain leads to radical changes in trail type, you begin riding on what feels like a flatland type of trail that was wiped flat by a massive bulldozer, then suddenly you are climbing and gaining elevation as you pedal upon bluffs that arise out of thin air, bluffs that were just strong enough to withstand the push from the  edge of an immense ice sheet that nearly toppled them millennium in the past.  In addition to  geological processes, good old fashion human power is what puts the trail in as the landscape is but a canvas and we, the artist.

Levis Mounds Trail Center is located in Clark County, just south of Niellsville.  Approximately a 2 hour drive from Oshkosh, Levis is a perfect trail to either take a full day to go and ride at, or plan on camping in the nearby campground to extend the stay and explore the area further.

Regional location.

Local location.

Right where it is.

The trail network consists of 19 miles of singletrack, much of which is part of the ‘IMBA Epic’ loop on the grounds.  The trail has a consitancy of sandy soil, which allows the area to drain quickly and not experience long periods of standing moisture.  (Turns out Levis is usually one of the first trail networks in the state to open for the season due to this as well.)

Sections of sandy soil, and a feather.

As you get further into the trail, you begin to climb and quickly get out of any moisture.  While there is definitely periods of climbing here, the trail is designed to keep you motivated to keep going, throwing in quick periods of downhill and/or flat sections.  Once up in elevation, the trail begins to narrow and tightly hug the clifside.  Some sections require wood bridges to keep you from a tumble while other sections require sure bike handling and confidence.  These trails are marked and if you’re riding with a novice or young rider, be mindful of what’s coming up on the trail.

Trails that need to be checked out when you make your visit are Sidewinder, the Hermosa trilogy, Clifhanger, Clarence (for the vista), and find Plubmer’s Crack.  At the trail head, they also have installed a fun feature loop, letting you hone your skills before venturing out into the wilderness of Levis Mounds.

View off of the trail, ‘Clarence’

 

At the end of ‘Cliffhanger’

 

 

Brake Check.

You like going fast, admit it.  Who doesn’t.  You tell your buddies that brakes are pointless, but let’s be real, when your brakes are dialed, you’re dialed.  You ride better, faster, and are simply in more control of the trail.  Brakes are something that is easily overlooked during your spring check on the bike.  I mean, you grab the lever, the bike stops, not much else to it, right? Wrong.  A properly setup brake gives you, the rider, a huge advantage to the guy with burnt coffee running through his brake hose.

(left) new Shimano mineral oil (right) 5+ year old Shimano mineral oil

You have something called modulation, which translates to controlled braking, none of that ‘on/off’ sensation, but an actual ability to keep that 28 pound trail dominator on the golden path.  So what do you do to keep things working in tip-top shape? Change your brake fluid, bleed that system of the gunk and let your caliper pistons smile, knowing they have some fresh, air-free fluid backing them up for when you forget the simple laws of physics and cannot indeed overcome the balance of loss of friction with the trail and your tires.  Yes, brakes are important, be faster with brakes that work for you, not against you.  Ride a lot? Want the best performance from your bike? We recommend a brake bleed annually.  Offered as an individual service, or as part of our Standard Plus Tune Package, let us help make you faster by helping you slow down better.

 

Touring Trip

OSHKOSH – HARTMAN CREEK STATE PARK

April 22-23, 2017

WHAT TO EXPECT

We will depart from Winnebago Bicycle at 9:00am on Saturday.  Our route to Hartman Creek State Park will wind through quiet county roads and pass through villages such as Omro, Poy Sippi, and Saxeville.  Total distance is approximately 52 miles.

Trip will take approximately 5 hours, leaving time for a potential lunch break.  This should put an arrival time of 1:30-2:00 to the park.  Camp setup and other prep can be done right away or at your leisure.  Campfire and dinner will all start early evening.  We will leave Hartman Creek mid to late morning on Sunday for our return trip to Oshkosh.

WHAT TO BRING

  • Tent
  • All sleep equiptment
  • Food/Hydration for yourself
  • Cash for site rental
  • Spare tube(s) for your tire size

WHAT WE WILL COVER

  • Fire starting
  • Bicycle related tools (please note, if your bike requires any special tools for repair, please bring)

Bike Packing – YOU, YOUR BIKE, & THE ROAD FOR DAYS

Give to me the life I love,

Let the lave go by me,

Give the jolly heaven above

And the byway nigh me.

Bed in the bush with stars to see,

Bread I dip in the river –

There’s the life for a man like me,

There’s the life for ever.

 

by Robert Louis Stevenson

from Songs of Travel and Other Verses

 

Bike: Niner RLT Steel Bags: Revelate Designs

The Great Outdoors: our first home. From simple pastime, to centering our mental focus, to healing the weary heart of the wayward traveler, enjoying the wonder of nature serves many purposes in our lives. Some chose to experience it from the comfort of their RV, some seek temporary residence in their family cabin (“Glam-ping”), while others take to the trails by foot and hike their way through the wilderness. Personally, for us here at ‘Bago, the more rugged the experience, the better! Despite being the most rugged form of outdoor travel, hiking/backpacking can be limited by the distance one can traverse on foot when carrying a pack loaded with gear. However, when one removes that heavy pack and loads the gear onto a bike, more ground can be covered offering up new possibilities for your outing.

Bikepacking was born out of the long tradition of bicycle touring, where cyclists use racks and panniers for storage of their gear on the bike. Touring with this setup has advantages—namely, being able to carry a lot of gear. More gear means longer trips supplied by more food and water, more tools and repair parts, and potentially sturdier sleeping accommodations. It is not, though, without its flaws. Firstly, more gear means more weight. For shorter trips, this weight only serves to slow one’s speed and turn climbs into grueling grinds. Secondly, the added weight can adversely affect how the bike handles on gravel, B-roads, and especially singletrack. Although the weight can be loaded so as to lower the center of gravity, the panniers distribute the weight away from the midline of the bike, which can make the bike unruly to maneuver sometimes. Thirdly, noise. Nothing more needs to be said about that…

As a response to the growing popularity of minimalist backpacking, BIKEpacking has proven to be a suitable alternative to rack-and-pannier touring by addressing some of the aforementioned drawbacks. Without the metal racks and internal frames within the panniers, bikepacking packs are a significantly lighter option for storing and hauling gear. Less weight = more speed, especially when accelerating and climbing. The frame bags also keep a tighter front profile, improving handling on rougher terrain. Furthermore, with the bags being more pliable, gear can be “creatively stored”—stuffed—onto the bike and be more easily accessed. And… no noise!

Bikepacking lends itself well to an ultralight style of camping. This means that where it may be easy to carry a large tent, down sleeping bag, and ground mat, one may want to opt for smaller options, including bivy sacks or hammocks. Tarps can be replaced by lightweight shelter footprints, or even and sheet of Tyvek! As for other gear, one must sometimes get creative in finding ways to cover needs while reducing weight and volume of gear to fit into the smaller-volume frame bags.

If you find yourself interested in exploring the outdoors by bike for extended periods, stop by Winnebago Bicycle and talk with us about your plans. We can offer advice on bikes for bikepacking, gear, clothing, and even opportunities to join us for a weekend expedition to test the waters of bikepacking. Let us share our passion of outdoor adventure with you!

NEW PLAYER IN THE DRIVETRAIN GAME

It’s not often a small brand decides they have a better solution to the current drivetrain standards set forth from the likes of Sram, Shimano, or Campagnolo.  A good number of companies today dabble in the drivetrain market with producing cranks and chainrings.  Some even have taken a stab at a full derailleur based drivetrain.  Most notably as of late is FSA, a company that has skirted around the drivetrain for most of their existance, but can be found on most other critical components of a bike.  With their recent release of K-Force WE, FSA stepped into the drivetrain game.  How will this pan out for the traditionally handlebar and stem company? Time will tell and hopes of electronic drivetrains going more mainstream will be needed for success.  The road drivetrain market has seen others, Mavic for example, but what about something for mountain bikers?

 

Nearly 5 years in the works, Box Components came out with their answer to shift a bike.  With all the rage being anything 1x in the mountain bike world today, Box took this and ran with it.  A 1x specific drivetrain, offering a cassette, a rear derailleur, and a shifter.

CASSETTE – Box .two

A very similar product to that of Shimano’s M8000 11-46 cassette, however there are a few subtle differences and one more meaningful.  To start, it’s black.  Looks fresh, we’ll see how this wears over the coming months during testing.  Second, it is roughly on par weight wise to the XT.  This cassette is Shimano compatible, meaning it will fit a standard Shimano style freehub body, so any current wheel setup with 9 or 10 speeds will be compatible.  Due to the nature of mounting this style cassette, versus the Sram XD standard, it is more difficult to get both low cassette weight and low price.  The last, more significant difference is the jump between cog tooth count.  The XT essentially takes their 11-42 cassette, and swaps the 42 for a 46, making the 46 tooth a very much felt ‘bail-out gear’.  Box designed the cassette around its overall range, meaning you will not have a huge jump between any two cogs in the range.  With Shimano jumping 9 teeth, Box is a managable jump of 6 teeth, keeping your cadence spinning smoothly and predictably.  Overall tooth count is as follows from Box: 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32-36-40-46.  MSRP $99.99.

REAR DERAILLEUR – Box .one

A rear derailleur has a big job in todays drivetrain world.  Not only must it reliably shift a chain across a ratio that reaches 500% change, but it also must help hold the chain on the chainring.  All while attempting to hide from rocks and roots that are just itching to steal this precious little gem off the tail end of your bike.  The Box .one rear derailleur delivers on these.  It’s progressive clutch is a one-way system, keeping the chain tight, but allowing easy and smooth shifting throughout the cassette range.  This was a very noticable change from the clutch design of a Shimano or Sram derailleur.  Extremely smooth shifting was felt while dialing the system in while on the repair stand.

Another nice feature that shows time was spent during the design process is their Pivot Tech cable entry arm.  The arm is designed to flex inwards in the event of a crash or run in with derailleur seeking trail debris.  Compatible with a cassette range of 9-46, this derailleur is meant to be used on all major 11 speed cassette options available. MSRP $174.99.

SHIFTER – Box .one

The shifter.  This is where it all started and what intrigued us to bring this fresh and hardly known drivetrain in for a test.  Using the same cable pull as Shimano (compatible with Shimano 11 speed mountain derailleurs), the Box .one shifter has a very unique means of shifting to higher gear choices.  As demonstrated below, you can see the action of shifting is all done with one shift lever, however the shift is done on either of two actions.  Rotationally, this is the standard from both Shimano and Sram, and also inwards, which is a Box only design.

[cycloneslider id=”box-shifter”]

This shifter design is intended on leaving more of the hand on the bar for better control and also easier and a more consistant ability to brake.  Intrigued by the Box shift style? Being Shimano 11 speed compatible means you can add this to any bike you currently have with a Shimano 11 speed drivetrain.  Who knows, this shifter might just make you a better rider.  MSRP $74.99

WHAT’S TO COME

The Box drivetrain is installed on a 2017 Specialized Fatboy and will be getting tested over the course of the next few months.  We will have an update after this test period to let you know how the system faired through winter fat biking and into spring time dirt.  Already know you want it? Drop by the shop to order.  All orders will include free install through June 2017!

I want BOX!

 

 

Custom ‘Ellis’ Build

img_0198
Austin, with frame builder, Dave Wages, in the early stages of the build.
img_0250
Finished build with bike owner, Pat. A very fun project to be part of.

We’re in the middle of a custom bike build for a lucky customer.  We recently were paid a visit by the frame builder himself.  Dave Wages, owner of Ellis Cycles chatted with us about frame building and details on this specific project.  Ellis Cycles is highly regarded in the cycling industry and they have won multiple awards at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, including Best of Show in 2010.

For more information on Ellis, follow the link

For more information on NAHBS, follow the link

The Case for 1x

Cycling has undergone many advancements and changes, both good and bad, since its inception.  When the modern drivetrain sprung into existance, component manufacturers began adding more and more overall gears to the system.  Just over the last few years, this idea has changed.  Get rid of the multiples and stick to the rear only has been the growing trend.  Both Shimano and Sram have been pushing the movement to simplify the drivetrain on mountain bikes and a few other genres, with Sram in the front of this.

Hey, where did everything go?!?
Hey, where did everything go?!?

So why are these companies appear to be making riding more difficult with less gear options to choose from? The answer lies in the rest of the drivetrain package.  Both Shimano and Sram offer 11 speed cassettes, with a range that gets as low as a 46 tooth granny ring.  When you factor in Sram’s new ‘Eagle’ kit, the 10-50 tooth range on the cassette gives the rider a 500% overall gear ratio range, allowing the rider to climb the steepest climbs and still reach max speeds on the downhill and flat sections of the trail.

The benefits to all of this is more than most would think.  1) It’s simple.  There is only one derailleur and one shifter.  This limits out redundant gear ratios that 2x or 3x systems notoriously bring to the rider.  2) With less overall drivetrain, you save weight.  We’ve determined the average savings is around 0.75lbs when switching from a typical 2x drivetrain to a 1x.   3) It’s better for your drivetrain. With far less cross chaining, you can use all 10, 11, or 12 gears and not wear your cassette and chain away to nothing.

crosschaining
1x vs a 3x drastically reduces ‘cross-chaining’. Allowing for use of all gears in range with little impact on drivetrain wear.

4) When you determine what type of rider you are and where you are riding, you will find that a 1x drivetrain has you covered 99% of the time.  Our testing has lead us to very few occurrences of wishing for a lower/higher gear.  Even with a 28, yes 28 tooth front ring, paired with a Sram XD 11-speed cassette, your high gear will still warrant a top speed of around 30 mph (28 chainring; 10 tooth cog; 120 rpm).  Riding this fast on any MTB trail is nearly impossible (for an extended time period).  On the reverse side, your 28 chainring and 42 cog will allow you to climb nearly any hill in the area.

Interested in more info? Please stop down to the shop, we have all of your answers to get you setup with the best options from the best brands in the industry to make your ride better!

skratch ‘WINTER’ DRINK MIX

Good anytime, but especially during the cooler months that are fast approaching, Skratch Labs has now introduced a recovery drink mix that pairs great with options to warm you up after spending a few hours in the single digit temperatures we are sure to experience this winter season.

Try ‘chocolate’ for a extra recovery boost in your hot chocolate or ‘coffee’ in your morning caffeine jolt after an early morning workout.

Skratch Labs

Suspension: action required!

You take care of your bike; keep tires inflated, lube the chain, keep it clean.  But what about certain parts of your bike? Hmmmmm…maybe not so much.  We’re specifically referring to suspension.  Yup, whether it be a fork or a shock, those darn things need loving, annually if you ride a lot or in rough/nasty conditions.  Check out the pic of a suspension fork that was neglected, for waaay too long.  Well good news, we’re here to help.  Suspension overhaul starting at $50.

Ride Your Heart Out – 2016

Our good friend, Kyle Shilts, is back at it again! This year, he has set out from Oshkosh, WI and will be making his way over to Bar Harbor, Maine.  You can follow along on his Facebook page HERE

Below, you can see his start to the ride this year began a bit on the wet side.  Hoping for tailwinds and sunny skies from here on out for ya buddy!

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Bicycle Infrastructure in Oshkosh *UPDATE*

Monday, May 23rd, Oshkosh City Hall hosted a public meeting regarding the installation of bicycle lanes on Irving Avenue, connecting the University to Menominee Park. A quick recap: the high majority, over 80% in attendance who partook in a survey, were in favor of the project, which is great news! Overall, the meeting followed a positive discussion, with minimal feedback from those against the install. The major concern from citizens against the project were that they may lose on street parking that is front of their property. With our recent parking counts, even at peak evening parking hours, Irving Avenue will still have over 75% of its possible spots open.

I urge you to please write your city council members to express your desire to have this project move forward. You can email all of your council members here: (link is on the right hand side of the page)

http://www.ci.oshkosh.wi.us/…/Cit…/Members_Directory.asp

Any other questions? Please ask me! Store number is (920) 426-3020

 

ARTICLE: cycling infrastructure

From ‘MOMENTUM MAG’:

Memphis, Tennessee

Broad Avenue, the original main street of a long-abandoned railroad town, slowly fell into disrepair after it was annexed by Memphis in 1919. By the 1990s, Broad Avenue was all but abandoned. A few struggling art galleries here and there taking advantage of the rock-bottom rents in the nation’s poorest major metro area, but mostly boarded up storefronts along a desolate street.

In the mid-2000s, some Memphis residents developed an interest in the downtown street, and what happened next is one of the most inspiring and unusual cases of community-led urban development seen in the US. Livable Streets Memphis approached Broad Avenue businesses about a vision to build a protected bike lane along the forgotten street, connecting a popular multi-use trail to the city’s largest park. With the support of the city and the surrounding businesses, they rolled out the idea with dramatic flair. Painting a temporary bike lane on to the street and temporarily closing it off to traffic, they held a one-day celebration with art, food, live music, and family-friendly activities that drew a crowd in the area of 15,000 people. The event was such a success that it begot the promise of permanent infrastructure, leading to $6 million in private investment in the area, the opening of new businesses and the renovating of many more. Today the Broad Avenue Arts District is one of the most popular shopping, arts, and entertainment areas in downtown Memphis.

new york bike lane

Parking-protected bike lane in NYC. Photo by Eric Fischer.

New York City, New York

Between 2007 and 2013, largely under the leadership of urban planning visionary Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City’s Department of Transportation installed over 400 miles of bike lanes and 35 miles of protected bike lanes, converted Times Square into a pedestrian plaza, and oversaw the introduction of the CitiBike bike share.

Sadik-Khan has been quoted as saying that they “fought for every inch” of space converted into bike and pedestrian-friendly places. The street transformation was hotly contested, polarizing, and a nonstop subject of emotional debate in the media, government offices, in businesses, and on the street. When all was said and done, it was also wildly successful.

The installation of the US’ first protected bike lanes, on Manhattan’s 8th and 9th avenues, resulted in a 49% increase in retail sales along the bike lane, compared to only 3% borough-wide. The redesign of Union Square North to include a protected bike lane, a pedestrian plaza, and simplified intersections resulted in the area seeing 49% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 5% more borough-wide. Protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues saw 47% fewer commercial vacancies, compared to 2% more borough-wide.

The city’s transformation has also resulted in a multitude of other improvements such as markedly increased bike ridership, increased bus ridership, decreased speeding but increased median travel times, and a significant reduction in traffic crashes and injury.

Fort Worth, Texas

Forth Worth’s Magnolia Street has long been its neighborhood’s most active and well-known street, but for decades its four lanes of fast-moving auto traffic made it unappealing (or impossible) for anyone traveling outside of a car. In 2008, the city undertook a dramatic street redesign, narrowing the four car lanes down to one in either direction, with an added lane for bicycles. Bike racks were installed in front of every business, providing parking for 160 bikes.

The result? Restaurant revenues along the popular street went up a combined total of 179%. While correlation doesn’t imply causation, there was certainly no drop in business due to the bike lane. In the immediate years after the redesign, a local coffee shop whose business was boosted by the new infrastructure found that the city-provided bike racks weren’t sufficient, and installed their own rows of bike parking, to the tune of double, to keep up with the growing customer demand.

Seattle, Washington

A few years back, Seattle announced a plan to remove 12 parking spaces to install a bike lane along a section of 65th street. Local business owners were not pleased, and much fuss was made about the looming loss of revenue that would surely befall them once the bike lane was constructed. Wondering if all of the fuss was about nothing, University of Washington researcher Kyle Rowe began collecting retail sales tax data from local businesses before the bike lane’s installation, and again afterwards. What he discovered was surprising, to say the least. Local businesses along the 65th street corridor where the bike lane was installed experienced growth of 400 percent in their sales index. Four hundred percent. Other businesses in the surrounding area experienced growth of less than 10%.

Rowe didn’t have experimental controls to conclude that the bike lane caused the growth, so to make sure his results weren’t a fluke, he conducted the same research for a new bike lane in the nearby Greenwood district. Somewhat anti-climactically, those businesses saw a growth which was on par with the rest of the neighhorhood. In the end Rowe concluded that the bike lanes had, optimistically, a positive impact, and if nothing else, no negative impacts.

Salt Lake City, Utah

When Salt Lake City announced plans to install a protected bike lane along 9 blocks of a busy downtown street, local business owners were worried. The bike lane would require a road diet of five general travel lanes to three, and a 30 percent reduction in parking spaces. How was the dramatic reduction in parking going to affect their business? Two years later, it would prove that the bike lane – and its accompanying streetscape improvements such as planters and public art – did affect their business, but not in the way they’d imagined.

Salt Lake City conducted an in-house analysis of their 300 South street redesign to determine its economic impact on local business. They compared sales tax data from early 2013, prior to the bike lane’s installation, to early 2015, after it was completed. They recorded an 8.79% increase in Sales Tax Gross Receipts along the lane corridor pre-project to post-project, compared to a 7% increase citywide. Anecdotally, they noted that 79% of businesses along the lane corridor reported business as being “good” after the installation of the bike lane, with an additional 16% reporting that business is “up” or “setting records.”

As for usage, the corridor saw a 30% increase in cycling rates, with that figure jumping to 89% on concert series nights, and an observed increase in family and casual cyclists.

Indianapolis cultural trail.

Ample space for people moving in the Indianapolis cultural trail. Photo by Jun Wang.

Indianapolis, Indiana

In 2008, the city of Indianapolis set to work building a world-class bike and pedestrian trail that would stretch across 8 miles of their downtown core. By 2013, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail was complete, and residents and visitors had a new opportunity to bike and walk safely through six Cultural Districts of the midwestern city.

The result? Properties within one block of the trail increased in value by 148% between 2008 and 2015 – a $1 billion increase in assessed property value from the $63 million public and private investment it took to build the trail. Over half of the business owners along the trail reported an increase in customers and 48 percent reported an increase in revenue, figures which in reality could be higher or lower since the data is self-reported. However, around 40-50 full-time positions were added to businesses along the trail to keep up with growth, as well as 50 part-time positions.

The city’s in-house analysis of the trail’s impact report that it is “well-liked and utilized,” and has enormous potential for further growth.

Vancouver, British Columbia

In 2010, Vancouver’s city council forged ahead with the construction of protected bike lanes on two of downtown’s busiest streets, to the very vocal disapproval of local business leaders. The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, on behalf its members, expressed palpable anger about how the loss of parking would impact their businesses. Six years later, the BIA has changed its tune, with its leader claiming that most business have seen moderate improvements in their bottom line, and appreciate that the new bike lanes are well used and bring more people downtown.

Local coffee shop company JJ Bean, which has a location along one of the new lanes, was encouraged by local cycling advocacy group HUB to go one step further and sacrifice two of their parking spots for a row of bike racks. After a little deliberation, they went ahead with the idea and installed the bike racks on their own dollar. “We think it has been great, definitely a positive decision!” said JJ Bean Vancouver retail leader Jesse Neate. “The biggest value add we see is a greater sense of community. It adds an element of safety for people hanging out on sidewalks as it causes cars to be more cautious. We also love the ease of access, it helps people to be environmentally conscious.”

On-street bike parking

Portland, Oregon

In 2004, the City of Portland began a program to increase the city’s bicycle parking capacity with the modest installation of a single bike corral – protected on-street bike parking – outside Fresh Pot Coffee Shop on N Mississippi Avenue. The bike corral consisted of a number of bike racks permanently installed across what was formerly two parking spaces, protected from traffic by a short buffer. Critics laughed and some business owners grumbled, but the city went ahead with the plan nonetheless. The “doomed” experiment turned out to be such a success that, by 2013, there were 97 corrals across Portland and a long waiting list of businesses chomping at the bit to get their own bike corral.

A 2015 study by Drew Meisel at Portland State University looked at the benefits of the bike corrals to local businesses. Based on web-based surveys, local business data analysis, and a basic land use inventory, Meisel found overwhelming support from local businesses for the corrals. The top 5 effects of the increased bicycle parking, as reported by the businesses, were promotion of sustainability, enhancing the street and neighborhood identity, increasing transportation options for employees and patrons, increasing foot and bike traffic, and increasing the visibility of the businesses from the front.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Australian researchers Alison Lee and Alan March, influenced by the intensifying debate over the best allocation of public space, undertook a study to determine the economic benefits of car parking lots compared to infrastructure for other modes of transit. In the auto-centric world of Australian urban design, what they discovered surprised many.

Using the case of study of the retail-dense Lygon Street in Melbourne, Lee and March concluded that bicycle parking had a greater return on the investment of space than car parking. Though customers who arrived by car spent more per hour than those who arrived by bike, the comparatively smaller space it takes to park a bicycle means more customers, and thus more money. As they wrote in their report, “The small area of public space required for bike parking means that each square metre allocated to bike parking generated $31 per hour, compared to $6 generated for each square metre used for a car parking space.”

Join us, March 19th…

GBASO POSTER

Saturday, March 19th at Green Bay Action Sports Organization (GBASO)
Here is your chance to join in on some of the best freestyle BMX Wisconsin has to offer!
With a format centered on fun and prizes for all ages and skill sets, everyone is sure to have a good time at this laid back contest.

There will be the following events:
HIGHEST BUNNYHOP – the opposite of a limbo contest.
FLAT RAIL CONTEST – simple grind rail on the ground. Let’s get technical!
BOWL JAM at 6pm – like a big, wooden cereal bowl, but for STUNTS!
FOOT DOWN – enter the pit and keep your feet off the ground to win big!
…and more!

Entry is $10, with events starting at 2pm.
For further information, email devin.nylund@winnebagobicycle.com

SPONSORED BY:
WINNEBAGO BICYCLE
QBMX
MERRITT BMX
MPEG

Bkool – Indoor Trainer with an edge

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The Bkool trainer with views of the simulator
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Setup with a Specialized Tarmac

Those looking for the best indoor spinning setup, have a handful of options to choose from, all of which at a premium price north of $1k.  Well, that has now changed.  With the indoor training system from Bkool, your ability to ride  preprogrammed routes, velodrome battles, or your favorite local routes are now possible, and all for well under that $1k mark. Indoor training over the winter is difficult.  The monotony of sitting in front of a screen for hours a week watching reruns of Friends or the ’89 Tour de France, tries even those with the ultimate dedication and perseverance.

 

Interested in more information, stop down to the store to try a demo or check out the Bkool website.

Marquette…again

 

Group shot from Fall 2015 Marquette, MI trip
Group shot from Fall 2015 Marquette, MI trip

Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, we make frequent trips to ride some of the best off-road trails in the midwest.  A full weekend of riding and overall fun times were had by a good size group of us this fall.  Marquette, MI has a lot to offer and more and more keeps getting added to the trail lineup.  If you have not been, make sure to go.  Looking for a group to ride with? We’ll be planning a few trips to Marquette (and other destinations!) for either weekend, day, or 1/2 day trips.  If you want to find out when and get in the loop with our rides, sign up here:

Mountain Bike Group Ride sign up

Demo Product

Upgrades are great.  They let you customize your new or current bike and can give loads of increased performance.  These are awesome reasons to look into changing your bike, however upgrades can come with a side affect: cost benefit.

We are working hard to offer you the ability to give the upgrade a try.  We are starting with mountain product; bringing in a set of both 29″ and 650 Traverse SL Fattie wheels in.  These are mega-wide carbon rim wheels with industry-leading DT Swiss internal hubs.  Additionally, we have a 29″ DVO Diamond suspension fork to give a run.

Why offer demo’s? Simply put, this is very serious product that will give your riding experience a complete change.  On top of our expertise, actually trying this level of product out is icing on the cake.

Come try it.  Full demo-bikes are on their way too…DEMO INFO

Cycling Without Age

Over the past few months, we have had the opportunity to partner with Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh (LHO) in bringing ‘Cycling Without Age’ to Oshkosh. Seeking another option for things to do around the complex, LHO discovered Cycling Without Age and began plans to bring it to their elders earlier this year. Cycling Without Age is a program that partners individuals who are no longer able to ride a bicycle on their own with someone who is capable. This rider, or pilot, takes control of a specially designed rickshaw that puts them in the back seat, and allows the companion who cannot pedal themselves, the full feeling of riding on their own, up front on a comfortable bench seat, equipped with a custom awning and rain cover.

dortheLHO
Dorthe Pedersen, co-founder of Cycling Without Age, riding two residents from Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh.

We got excited when LHO approached us, looking for help with any necessary maintenance on these elaborate chariots. In addition to keeping the rickshaws up and running, you’ll be able to spot us out on the road, piloting these around as well. We’re looking forward to our partnership with LHO and all those we will be riding with!

Interested in volunteering starting this Spring? Please contact Luthern Homes of Oshkosh @ (920) 235-3454

Copper Harbor, MI

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Recently got the chance to make a day trip to Copper Harbor, MI for a half day of epic mountain biking (When a vacation takes you within 3 hours of driving from Copper Harbor, a day trip is easy).  If you have followed our site, you have most likely seen we like to make trips to ride.  Within 6 hours of drive time, Oshkosh is situated in an amazing place geographically for some of the best mountain bike destinations in the world.  Locally, we are spoiled.  With more than 10 great spots to ride within 1.5 hours of driving it is difficult to be bored with options.  When you open this up to a radius of 6 hours of driving, you will be able to count in some of the best mountain biking in the world.  Spots like Marquette, MI and the CAMBA trails draw national attention, while a bit further out will bring you to a top 5 in the world destination.  With over 25 miles of amazing trails, ranging from beginner to expert level trails, Copper Harbor offers a fantastic trail network and something many of us are unable to find locally, digital silence.  With literally no cell service, Copper Harbor gets you away from it all, but still can offer everything you truly want.  Make the trip, check out the great in town shop, Keweenaw Adventure Company, world class mountain trails, and plenty of other hidden treats (Brickside Brewery…).  All of us from the shop love making this journey, you may even run into one of us up there throughout the year (we all hope to make it up to Copper Harbor 1-3 trips a year)!

 

Want to know what trails to hit? Come chat with us at the store, we’re always happy to chat mountain biking, especially Copper Harbor.

Ride of a Lifetime

Great friend of the store, Kyle Shilts, is making his way from the Pacific Ocean (shores of Washington State) to Lake Winnebago.  Kyle wanted an adventure, and has turned his adventure into more than just a ride.  Over the past few months, Kyle worked hard raising funds to help cover costs for his brothers cancer treatment.  With a taste for adventure, and a very meaningful purpose to make the trip, Kyle started his voyage May 16, 2015 and is hoping to get back to Lake Winnebago sometime in early July.

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KYLE SHILTS atop Washington Pass, WA

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month.  While some states may be able to offer comfortable riding year-round, northernly states have a bit of a window for true riding weather.  Here in Wisconsin the month of May has been designated as the true ‘start’ to the riding season.  Temperatures are adequate, trails are dry, and the sun is, generally, out.  To kick things off, we got up to Appleton this past week to start things up as soon as May started.  As in 12:01 am May 1, 2015. We met up with a group of 30 some riders to welcome the National Bike Challenge.  We met some great people and rode a fun route, all at a crazy hour of the day.  Would we do it again? Yup.  Should you come next year? Yes!

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Riding in the UP – MARQUETTE / Part II

This past weekend, February 7-8, was spent north in the beautiful Upper Peninsula in a small town that you have heard us talk often about, Marquette. Now, if you have read my earlier post on the ride scene that Marquette has to offer, (Here it is) you will know that I am a big fan. But that was nearly 6 months ago in early fall, what could Marquette possibly offer for a cyclist this time of year with 2-3 feet of lake effect snow on the ground?

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

Alongside the staple winter sport activities, like skiing and snowshoeing, you will find an ever-increasing number of options for winter cycling. Fat bikes are making the off-road options possible on snow-covered trails, and Marquette is showing what a community is possible of doing by developing one of the better, if not best, trail networks around. By developing a ‘Snow Bike Route’ through Marquette’s already extensive trail network, riders have options on both the north and south side of the city. Our riding took place with a morning ride on the ‘North Snow Bike Route’ (NSBR) and then an afternoon ride on the ‘Snow Bike Route’ (SBR).

trail3 trail2 trail4 trail6 trail5 trail7 trail1

 

While these two trail systems are within a few miles of one another, they each offer a different flavor of trail. The NSBR, tight and scenic, is punched out by the relentless stomping of snowshoes and packed down further by fatbikes themselves. Following along the shore of waterways for a good portion of the trail, the NSBR provides great winter scenery and also a great trail surface. While a bit narrower than the SBR, it gives the feeling of a trail that moves through the forest with no destruction of it. This was proven by the number of handlebar dings and a few attempts at tackling this said forest with a shoulder…after a quick lunch break, we headed back out, now on the SBR, and in for a very different ride. The SBR has a full loop with a bit of networking off of it that is ‘groomed’. The grooming is done with a snowmobile that pulls a custom sled that packs and conforms the snow to a 2’-wide channel throughout the woods. Without this grooming, the trail would not be nearly as precise and not nearly as rideable. We ended up riding the SBR in the early afternoon, after a number of riders had already had their fun on the freshly groomed trail. With this in mind, I did not have the experience of riding on it freshly groomed; regardless, the riding was outstanding. During faster descents, you had to keep your focus, as near tunnel vision would set in due to the grooming of the trail. Keeping your bike between 2’ high walls of snow on either side of you made for a fun change from the NSBR. This is where the two trail networks truly differ. This mechanical grooming gives rise to what lake-effect snow from Lake Superior can really do, due to the ever increasing walls of snow that forms as the trail continues to be packed down. Additionally, the SBR includes one of the more labor-intensive sections of trail in the area, Benson’s Grade. If you are at all concerned about being cold during the ride, leave the parking lot and start with this, plus the view from the top makes it even more worth it. Comparing both the SBR and the NSBR, I cannot say which I preferred, I can say however, make sure you give time to ride both.

IN ADDITION TO…

Again, if you have read the earlier post on my fall trip to Marquette, you will know how great of a town it is for dining, lodging, and other activities in addition to cycling. This last trip was no exception. Sharing my earlier experience led the rest of the group to want to see for themselves what both the Vierling and Blackrocks Brewery are all about; I didn’t put up a fight.

At the Vierling.  Kyle had the look going.
At the Vierling. Kyle had the look going.

Speaking with my dad a few days previous about the bike of his dreams when he was growing up.  Blackrocks had one in mint condition nonetheless.
Speaking with my dad a few days previous about the bike of his dreams when he was growing up. Blackrocks had one in mint condition.

A fantastic meal was had by all, this time seated in the back of the restaurant, which even on a cloudy winter night, had decent views of the lake. Blackrocks Brewery again did not disappoint, outstanding beer mixed with a great bicycle-related atmosphere worked just fine for a group of thirsty cyclists.

IN CONCLUSION (this time at least)

I hold my opinion of Marquette very high, as I am sure many others do. What the town has to offer in the down time, compliments the riding very well. Being able to offer so much makes Marquette a true cycling destination, check it out for yourself if you haven’t yet.

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Group shot before heading out on the SBR in the afternoon.

 

For more on the trails, check out the Noquemanon Trail Network page.

CYCLING CULTURE: more than the bike

The following help instill what we as a bicycle retailer are all about, which is more than just bikes, more than just helmets and pedals.   They expand the dynamic of cycling in a special way, they help form the roots of the sport, they help shape cycling culture.

Nupla McLeod
Nupla McLeod

Nupla McLeod The ultimate trail building tool. Rake, grade, level, and form the trail that you are constructing with one tool. We are carrying this to make trail construction easier for anyone who is putting a small loop in their backyard, a few jumps along the side of the house, or looking to volunteer to assist with a larger scale public project. Consistent searching for this specific tool from a local source always turned up with no results, we’re hoping easy access to a great trail building tool will help you with your first or one-hundredth hour of trail work.

$49.99

Sylmar Vest
Sylmar Vest

Sylmar Vest
Sylmar Vest

Sylmar Dogwear Body Guard Vest Riding with man’s best friend is a great experience. If you check our website or follow us on social media, there is a good chance you have seen a video of riding with Chase, Ben’s yellow lab, who is full of energy, fast, and a great trail dog. In June, 2013, while out riding together at a local area trail, Chase had a horrendous accident that resulted in a 30cm gash down his underside, requiring emergency medical attention.   With a tremendous amount of luck on his side and a month off of any kind of dog fun, Chase made a full recovery and was back on the trail later that year. To help protect your riding buddy from injury, we will be stocking these protective vests for sale and offering them at no charge with any qualifying mountain bike purchase.

Not sure what size to go with? Bring your dog down anytime for a vest fitting.

$37.99   |   No Charge w/ qualifying mountain bike purchase

As a cycling retailer, we will continue to offer products, services, and hours of volunteering to stand for what we believe in, cycling culture. Stop down to find what makes up your cycling culture, we’ll be happy to help.

 

WORS @ Franklin

Team rider Ben Neubauer taking 1st in age and 10th overall racing COMP at Franklin.

The last race of the WORS season takes place October 12th in Sheboygan.  Get after it Ben! Awesome season!

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Are you interested in racing? Stop by the shop to discuss joining the team for 2015!

Riding in the UP – MARQUETTE

Favorite Trail: Southern Cross

Bike Choice / Rating: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29   4 of 5

Favorite Restaurant / Rating: The Vierling   5 of 5

Favorite Beer / Rating: Blackrocks IPA   4 of 5

A few weeks back I had the privilege of visiting and riding one of IMBA’s (International Mountain Bike Association) newest ride centers. Marquette, Michigan has just recently been added to a very select list through IMBA, coming in with a Bronze ranking. With my trusty Stumpjumper at my side, we got a good feel for Marquette; the following is a quick rundown.

The Trails

Marquette is home to around 100 miles of singletrack, some of which in better condition and easier to get to than others. During the trip we rode 35 miles of the South Trails, of which, most tend to be of the better marked and more visitor friendly. Getting to a trail is simple, a 2 mile warm-up ride on the in-town paved trail takes you to the start of a few runs and from there you are in the midst of some of the Midwest’s best man-made (Gorge-ous) and machine built trails (Down Dogger). With miles of trails, you can ride the entire weekend and not have time to hit them all. With another network to the north of town (simply called the North Trails) there is always a new trail to be tamed.

The trails that I rode varied from beginner to advanced and this gives the opportunity for any level of rider to get out and have a great experience. The terrain differs a great deal from what we locally have surrounding the Fox Valley and this allows for some length to the downhills and in turn, a few long climbs. Benson’s Grade is a lung-pumping mile of near 12% grade that you must stay focused on in order to pick your line through the melon-sized rocks that form the trail bed.

Stop by the shop to discuss more, to plan your first trip or to compare notes from your experiences up there.

 

The Town

This is in my view, what sets Marquette apart from other notable ride meccas in the area. Having a lively town to experience in addition to a fantastic trail network allows for a great balance through the weekend. With plenty of options for lodging, like the Hampton Inn which happens to be both right on Lake Superior and the town trail that leads to and from the Southern Trail Network, dining, and shopping, Marquette offers both riders and riders significant others plenty to be excited about. Between my Saturday morning and afternoon rides, I had the opportunity to check out a place called The Vierling. Great food and a nice beer selection made this an awesome mid-day stop. Later in the evening, the group of us headed over to Capers Restaurant, located on the main floor of the Landmark Hotel. After riding 35 miles over the course of the day, the food and the beer was extra great.

As a self-proclaimed beer-snob, the Upper Peninsula has much to offer. A few blocks walk from dinner and the hotel, is a brewery that has taken the UP by storm. Blackrocks Brewery has it, from an outstanding beer selection to a great atmosphere; it is definitely worth a stop if you are in need of an adult refreshment. (Hint hint, a growler, 6-pack, or single can of anything from this brewery could also make a fantastic tip to your favorite mechanics at your favorite bike shop.)

Nice spots to keep you going while not riding, makes Marquette a perfect spot to checkout for a weekend of all sorts of fun. While you’re up there, don’t forget to check out Lakeshore Bike, they’ll get you setup if you forgot something and let you know what trails you have to hit.

Update – MARCH 2014

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

We’re starting another year on the Oshkosh Cycling Club Board! Sunday March 2 was the Spring Elections for the club and Ben Rennert, the owner of the shop, is committed to continuing in helping the Oshkosh cycling community as an active board member for a second year.  There is a lot coming in the next few months and being in direct contact with projects and events allows us to voice thoughts heard at the shop to a higher level as well as play a major role in local cycling community.

In addition, there is a growing number of projects at the city level.  As an active member of the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Board for the city of Oshkosh, we are committed to bringing more bike lanes, safer routes to school and other destinations, and growing the local cycling infrastructure.

The outdoor Farmers Market will be starting in only a few quick months and with the help of the Oshkosh Cycling Club we are proud to be offering bicycle parking directly in front of the store on Merritt Avenue.  The club has donated a number of racks that will be open for public parking.  While we will have an eye on the action, please remember to lock your bicycle up!

If you have any additional thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding the cycling community, please feel free to contact us and discuss.  We are committed to getting more cyclists on the road or trail and making those experiences the best possible.

PRODUCT

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We are starting to bring more and more product in every week! With our inventory tripling  (yes, that is 3x) since we opened our doors last July, we are filling the store in quite nicely.  Brands such as Niner, Brooks, Haro, and many other high quality manufactures are finding their way onto the shelves and into the racks.  Additionally, a huge increase in bike and gear from our main brand, Specialized, has been coming in and getting built up or put out onto the show-floor.

SERVICE

Bicycle maintenance is the heart of our store, we love, love, love taking something that doesn’t work and making it work just as good  (if not better) than when it was new.  We have been having a good number of work orders coming in that have truly been transformed and it has been a pleasure returning them to their excited owners.  We have the tools to do nearly any job and more importantly we have the experience and knowledge to perform expert work on your bicycle.  Riding bikes is fun, but service work on them is our passion.

Additionally, some service work can be a bit overwhelming, especially while out on a ride, however there are a number of basic to intermediate procedures that can be the difference between riding or walking those last 10 miles home.  If you are in question of the proper procedure for fixing a flat tire or any other ‘quick’ fix, stop down, we can do the repair together.

OTHER STORE NEWS

We will be offering a Bike Rental program starting this year.  Bikes for rent are a full size run of Specialized Crosstrail’s, which is a perfect bike for getting out around town or to enjoy a day on the WIOUWASH trail.  Check our ‘Bike Rental’ tab under BIKES on the website for details!

Last but not least, we’re having a road-gravel race at the end of summer or early fall.  Stay tuned, this is going to be fun.

MAINTENANCE CLASS @ UW OSHKOSH

We had a great time assisting with a Maintenance Class put on by Greg Batten and Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh.  Students were taught bicycle maintenance skills over the three-week course; from the basics of changing a flat tire to more in-depth procedures like bottom bracket overhauls, students obtained a great understanding of a bicycle.

 

Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh demonstrating a bicycle tune-up.
Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh demonstrating a bicycle tune-up.