All posts by Ben Rennert

Oshkosh to Mauthe Lake

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

Winter Bike Packing

Join us for a ride across Lake Winnebago and a night of winter camping!

February 3rd-4th

We’ll be joining the Bike Across Bago ride, departing from Paynes Point Fishing Club at 11am on Feb. 3rd. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1355373537831072/

What to Expect:

Once we make it to the East side of the lake, we’ll turn North and make our way into High Cliff State Park. Upon arrival, we’ll set up camp, get a fire going, cook a late lunch, and have a blast in the wintry woods! Possibly, we’ll make a stop at the local establishment at some point… We’ll conclude the evening with cooking dinner and having fun around the fire before retiring for the night. On Sunday, we’ll pack up camp and ride back to Paynes Point.

What to Bring:

  • Shelter (tent, hammock, bivy, ect…)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Food (this is a self sustained ride)
  • Mess kit
  • Flashlight
  • WARM CLOTHING
  • Water (possibly something to melt snow for more water…)
  • Spare tube
  • Bike Multitool

Please RSVP by January 31st. To RSVP, or for any questions, email us at ben.rennert@winnebagobicycle.com.

Now Hiring.

Sales / Service Lead


Job Description

This position covers all facets of duties at a bicycle shop.  You must be able to perform all levels of maintenance in the service department and understand that interruptions will take place and you will be needed on the sales floor.  This is a full-time position.  Bicycle shop experience is necessary to apply; preferably 5+ years.

  • Wage: $15-17/hour depending on experience
  • 5 paid days vacation
  • 1 bike to use through the season at no charge through the shop
  • All other Employee Purchases offered through manufacture or shop discount

***To apply, pick up an application from the store or email your resume to: ben.rennert@winnebagobicycle.com

 

Service Technician


Job Description

This position is responsible for most bicycle repairs and bicycle builds.  Jumping out onto the sales floor will be a requirement as well.  This is a full-time seasonal position (full time roughly April-September & part time October-March).  Bicycle maintenance skill is required to apply, preferably 2+ years of bicycle shop experience.

  • Wage: $11-13/hour depending on experience
  • Shop discount and manufacture Employee Purchase discounts offered

***To apply, pick up an application from the store or email your resume to: ben.rennert@winnebagobicycle.com

 

Sales


Job Description

Whether you know bikes or do not yet, you must ride bikes and you must have high energy and desire to talk to people about bikes.  The only service abilities you must have (or be willing to have shortly after starting) is changing a flat tire and other very low-level repairs. This position is part-time.  Availability would mostly include weekends and afternoon/evenings.

  • Wage: $10 per hour
  • Shop discount and manufacture Employee Purchase discounts offered

***To apply, pick up an application from the store or email your resume to: ben.rennert@winnebagobicycle.com

2nd Annual Chili Cook Off

11:00 – 2:00 Fatbike riding @ Waukau Dam Trail
2:00 – 3:00 Participant setup
3:00 – 4:00 Eating/drinking/voting
4:00 WINNER DECLARED
4:00 – Later Extended refreshments & more chili

1st Place: $200 Gift Card
2nd Place: $75 Gift Card
3rd Place: $25 Gift Card
Hottest: $25 Gift Card

How do I participate?
Show up with your chili in a slow cooker and bring a serving spoon @ 2:00pm on Saturday Jan. 13.

Can I just eat and vote?
Yes, yes you can.

Do I need a fatbike to join the ride at Waukau?
If there is snow on the ground, yes. Tire width must be 3.8″ or wider!

Will there be beer?
Yes, donations are HIGHLY encouraged, as all proceeds will be going to further construction efforts at the Waukau Dam MTB Trail.

A Run or Ride in Every County

Keith Uhlig, journalist from USA Today Network – Wisconsin, has set out on a great project to check off every Wisconsin county with either a 3 mile run or 15 mile ride.  He’s nearing the end of his list and we were fortunate enough to get to spend part of an afternoon with him recently, riding from the shop to Bare Bones Brewery and back (DISCLAIMER: we took a longer way out to get him to his 15 mile minimum).  Here is his write-up:

www.thenorthwestern.com/story/news/2017/12/06/epic-weekend-biking-beer-and-back-roads-oshkosh-hayward-and-superior/908965001/

TIL #2 – Fatbike Rim Width

Fatbike Rim Width

Conversation about tire choice can include multiple directions of thought.  Discussion today quickly focuses on the affect of rim width to a given tire.  You may have read about or experienced for yourself the push for a wider rim on today’s road bikes, which allow for a stiffer wheel and also have an impact on aerodynamics in a positive way.  Well, what happens when you take a fat bike and essentially cut the rim in half?

Surly Rabbit Hole 50mm (top) and Specialized Fatboy 90mm (bottom)

First big difference was a change in rotational mass of the wheel.  Each rim, being around 250g lighter than the wider, 90mm stock option, ended up dropping over 1lb of rotation mass, a significant amount of weight to not make go in a circle for hours at a time might I add.  This was one of the main goals of the rim swap for this project, but equally important, was a what this narrower rim did to the profile of the mounted tire.

Tire mounted to 90mm wide rim; notice how wide the tire casing is compared to the side knob.

Tire mounted to 50mm wide rim; notice the widest portion of the tire is the side knob.

Changing the tire profile so that the side knob is clearly the outer most portion of the tire will change how the bike handles in corners and also call for a change in tire pressure.  Actual feedback from the rider is the drop in rotational weight was noticeable, especially when accelerating.  However, the change in tire profile will take a bit of getting used to.

Our thoughts on making drastic changes to your rim width, specifically on your fat bike, are go narrow for a faster wheel system during spring, summer, & fall.  Come winter, the wide rim helps support the tire better when ripping through fresh powder at 2psi.

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!