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.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Friday, August 15, 2014
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
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.
(All photos taken with an iPhone and edited with the VSCO app)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
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
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 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.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Summer Chicago :: Coffee Roasters from Andrew Reaume on Vimeo.
Gaslight is definitely one of my favorite coffee spots around the city, and not just because my apartment is basically just down the street. They roast their own stuff and it's some of the best I've had. It was cool to see this short video, which offers a nice little view behind the scenes and documents part of the roasting process. I think I can literally smell it while watching this...
Monday, June 16, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Well, All-City unveiled their latest creation today, and chances are, you've already seen it (cause it's everywhere!). I meant to post this earlier, but got too busy with "real" work. Anyways, the JYD, or Junk Yard Dog, is a single speed 29'er that is basically designed for doing whatever the hell you want. I love the look of that fork. While I'm a bit undecided on the paint job, I think that overall this thing looks badass. I had a feeling it was only a matter of time until All-City did this, and I'm glad they did.
Monday, June 9, 2014
A couple weeks ago, we went out to DeKalb for the annual Gravel Metric and rode the 70 mile corn country racecourse. The weather this year was perfect, which is truly rare for this event. I rode with a couple good friends, as well as the girlfriend, who all decided to make this their longest ride yet, which was really exciting to see. Without having much gravel riding experience, if any, Darrien did an awesome job and didn't even complain once. They all did great actually, and they all finished! A lot of people seemed to be taking the ride pretty seriously, and treating it as a race (which it sorta was), but there were also a ton of people out there just challenging themselves, making this their longest ride ever, or their first gravel ride, and I think that's cool. For me, it was all about enjoying a ride with some friends, seeing some of the more scenic parts of DeKalb Co., and meeting some cool people. We had fun.
Here's way too many photos from the iPhone, edited with the VSCOcam app:
Gravel bikes, pre-ride in front of the Lincoln Inn, with dual photo-taking reflections. We fueled up on some muffins which contained at least 2 full sticks of butter each. Perfect pre-ride meal.
Nice section of road that offered some shade.
The most convenient of lemonade stands. It just happened to be set up along the route outside the home of some very friendly family. Possibly the best lemonade I've ever had. Those kids had no idea what they were in for...
The only portion of the route in which I kinda wished for gears. It wasn't terrible, but I sure did do a lot of standing.
DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!
The "invisible" checkpoint. By the time a bunch of us reached this checkpoint, the ride/race officials had already rolled out, and our wristbands were left punchless. I witnessed one rider get so upset that he took the liberty of disposing of the sign.
This was a badass Pugsley.
Typical T.J. Saving the day again.
Snack break and a hard cider from Gumby.
The cleanliness of my attire was pointed out multiple times throughout the ride. I believe that the ability to stay clean during a gravel ride is as admirable of a skill as any. Darrien finished the ride without any sign of fatigue and barely even broke a sweat. It probably didn't look like we had just rode 70 miles in the dirt by the end of it.
The trusty Nature Boy successfully carried me once again. As usual, there was not a single mechanical issue. The cheap Jandd frame pack perfectly fit everything in it that I needed for the ride, with room to spare. The two additional bottle cages behind the saddle worked out perfectly, and allowed me to share some extra water with others.
After party on the best porch in town. We stayed up partyin' to the late hour of 9pm... then all passed out and had an excellent night's sleep. By the way, check out Ruthie's sick gradient sunburn on the right.