Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bison de la Nuit MMXIV

As the last dusty sweat-drenched episode of summer, the Night Bison occurred. On a Sunday afternoon, Andy swung by the Milk Lodge, and I tossed my Nature Boy in the back of his truck. We drove west from Chicago, flying through every toll (we neglected to bring my iPass or any cash) until there was nothing but corn. We arrived and it had really felt like I was just there days ago for the Gravel Metric. We headed to T.J.'s for a pre-ride BBQ and a couple brews. Thanks again, T.J. and family for the excellent hospitality. 

I've attended all of the Night Bison(s) so far, but this was definitely the most enjoyable. It was the first time that I, more or less, rode with a single group throughout the entirety of the ride. In the past, I had let impatience get the best of me, and broke away from my buds. This time, I rode with my pals Marcus, Andy, and Jake. We all rode together, and we rode surprisingly fast, believe it or not. Andy's a bike messenger now, so he's used to riding fast all day. Marcus was practically turning a track gearing on his vintage Puch fixed gear conversion with monster tires. I was really quite impressed that he was able to turn that crank on gravel, and in fact, I had trouble keeping up with him on my gravel-geared All-City.

Sure, we had our fair share of fun too. In fact, the Rapha race trailer showed up to bring the party about mid-ride, with some tallboys of Coors, fresh shots of Stumptown espresso, and the tunes to get us goin'. It was a nice opportunity to hang out and light off a couple fireworks.

We finished tired, drenched in sweat, and coated in a veil of beige dust. We consumed a lot of pizza, and even more High Life. All-in-all it was a good time, and riding at night in the country is cool, and friends, and yadda yadda ok back to work...

DeKalb Bound

Pre-Ride hangz at T.J.'s. Awaiting nightfall.

Just before the ride. About 250 in attendance or so...

Mid-ride breaky with some treats.  
Thanks to Rapha for the outstanding support. What a surprise!
The only riding photo I got, blurry as all heck, but you can see the giant tires on Marcus' very old Puch conversion (with bullhorn bars). An unexpected gravel shredder.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saturday Morning in Topanga, Featuring The SFCA

Jakey La Kruz off-roadin' the Casseroll in typical fashion.

I must be sleeping under a digital rock, because somehow I totally missed this, but a few of my good buds were featured over on The Radavist! 

Sean Talkington did a write-up and photo dump based on the Saturday morning rides at Topanga Creek Cycles. In the photos below, you'll see Jake and Agatha, who just happened to be in town on tour, and Jay, my former North Central co-worker, who is now makin' it nice over at Topanga. You can check out the entire article right here

Looks like they had a blast, and Topanga Creek is an undoubtably awesome shop that I need to visit soon.

Agatha shreddin'
Jay, or "Cookie", or "Fixie Jesus", or whatever they call him now.
Topanga Creek Cycles. Note the DeKalb, IL sign

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cadence Motion Kit

This new kit from Cadence is nice. Snag it here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Night Bison, Gravel Nocturne - This Sunday

The Night Bison has always been a fun ride. It was even fun the time I did it with a 102 degree fever and unbearably sore throat. Hopefully I'll be in better health this Sunday, but riding out in the country at night is always bound to be a good time. Starts at sundown. Meet behind the 'ol mothership, North Central Cyclery, in DeKalb, IL. I might get out there early for pizza n' brews.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Than Stores - Golden Saddle Cyclery

GSC seems like a rad shop, and this video is cool, but my favorite thing about this is that Kyle is wearing the barn quilt patch on his hat that Tobie and I worked on for North Central Cyclery. It's really neat to see one of those patches out there in use.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Milwaukee Weekend Getaway

Travel is mandatory in the summer time. It wouldn't be right to go through the season without a "summer vacation", and what better way to travel than by bike, so we decided on a short trip up to Milwaukee. This trip was also partially in celebration of Darrien's birthday. It is about 100 miles to Milwaukee from Chicago, and a bit further to our final destination. We would be staying with some very nice friends who were willing to lend a few couches to us for the weekend.

The crew and I left Logan Square early on a Friday morning, and headed north along the lake. The toughest part of the ride was just getting out of the city. There are segments of trail, but sticking to them isn't necessarily intuitive. We ended up riding through lots of residential areas, stopping to check the map and to wait for green lights at intersections. Somehow, we stopped long enough for me to capture what must be the most amazingly photogenic picture of the ladies that I have ever seen.

Once we escaped from the city and the majority of the northern suburbs, it was smooth sailing, more or less. We remained mostly on well-maintained, scenic, wooded trails, and a good amount of crushed limestone. It was a real treat. Three of us were riding single speed, and Darrien was actually set up fixed gear (a pretty tall gear too). Between that gearing and her skinny road tires on limestone, she really proved her undeniable toughness throughout the entire century. Everyone rode incredibly, in fact, and moral was consistently high. The weather was perfect, and I enjoyed nearly every mile.

Note the homemade frame bag above.

A small portion of my mid-ride snack. This convenient store literally saved all of our lives, as we collectively neared the inevitable bonk in what seemed to be a nutritional desert.

Some intense fog rolled in, which made for a really cool environment to ride in. It remained this way practically untill the end.

Unfortunately, after nightfall set in, we took a shortcut to make up for lost time. The shortcut led Darrien into a giant pothole, which took the life of her front tube and made us realize that the only tool we didn't bring happened to be the most important: a 15mm wrench. We phoned the friends and got picked up at a nearby bowling alley, where we were found relaxing with some treats. We ended up getting 100 miles in anyways, and to tell you the truth, I think we were all about done for the day. The fun was running low, and we were all just anxious to be done by that point. Perhaps it's a good thing we forgot that wrench...

The next day was spent doing some touristy stuff. We checked out a neat bike shop called Corey the Bike Fixer, and made some new friends.

We happened to arrive on the weekend of the Summer Solstice festival, and so we hung out there and treated ourselves to the traditional Wisconsin grub and brew.

The remainder of the day (and night) was spent hanging out behind the bike shop, making more new friends and quickly forgetting their names. We drank our fair share of New Glarus, perhaps a bit too much considering we planned to make the second century back to Chicago the following day. By the way, you may not recognize it, but that's an All-City Nature Boy up there - The same bike that Ruthie and I rode on the trip. It had a bolt on derailleur hangar added and a custom paint job, which made it really hard to recognize at that point, unless of course you love that frame as much as we do.

The next morning, we came to the realization that maybe we did have a bit too much fun the night before, and that perhaps even the hardiest of breakfasts couldn't save us at that point. Regardless, we gobbled up the grub found on Brady Street and pressed on towards home.

We said our goodbyes to the fine city of Milwaukee, and thanked it for all of the fun it provided that weekend.

The ride home was surreal.

I told ya it was surreal...

We made it to Kenosha (halfway home), at which point we threw in the towel. We just so happened to do so about 30 minutes before the last train to Chicago arrived for the day, and seconds before finding Darrien's tire to be flat yet again. We were truly lucky. We were clearly meant to take that train home. Nobody minded taking the train home either. We got a good 150-something miles in for the weekend and had a blast.

Good trip.

(All photos taken with an iPhone and edited with the VSCO app)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Breadwinner B-Road at the Oregon Outback

This video depicts Ira Ryan riding (and winning) The Orgeon Outback, a 360 mile ride through rural Oregon. He wins it on a Breadwinner B-Road frame, which is a disc-equipped "adventure bike" built for gravel, and similar terrains. Both the bike and scenery in this video are beautiful, and it's really got me itching for another long trek.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yonder Journal: Bikepacking Instructions

This past weekend was spent dong something that I would probably consider to be "bikepacking". The Milk Lodge crew and I loaded up our bikes with bags and backpacks and made the long trek from Chicago to Milwaukee (I'll likely post all about it soon). It would have been nice to have come across this post on Yonder Journal prior to leaving though. There are some great tips for traveling by bicycle there, or at the very least, good reminders of things to bring.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tenspeed Hero Summer Launch

Tenspeed Hero recently debuted their summer line of cycling apparel, which is nothing short of flawless. That combination of green shorts and the primary colors is something I've never seen in a kit before, and for some reason, it looks so awesome. Great work guys.

Check out more photos below, and everything else here.