Archive for the ‘Commuting’ Category

Cycle-friendly Michigan – A work in progress

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

When your local FedEx or Postal carrier arrives at your door with a sanguine smile, leaping on the last step in the dance of your order from Tree Fort Bikes, you may have noticed that your package shipped from a city called Ypsilanti, just off of Interstate 94 in the Motor City state’s densest corner, thronged within a thick suburban cluster huddling around Detroit.

Hearing it that way, you may have to wonder: That’s where you picked to open a bike shop?

Sure – while we’ve been long fortunate with local trail systems, much to local mountain riders’ delight, you might say that our daily road riding can be something of a challenge. We live inside of auto-centricity, and like most metro areas across the States, highways have long cut deep, criss-crossing gorges under, over, and between so many of our neighborhoods, where exit ramps lead to thoroughfares of too-often broken asphalt, putting up best efforts to service the traffic that uses it most. It’s a jungle; many of us know all too much about it; and we keep on riding, still.

But in recent years, and even in recent weeks, Michigan cyclists are surprised to see new challenges to auto-priority, as even the Motor City starts to concede: There’s more to getting around than the motor. Planners and powers seem to be awakening to changing economic realities – upward-inching fuel costs, chronic unemployment, more-limited personal spending – as well as the increasing pressures of interstate economic competition, where the battle to recruit and maintain workforce talent means investing in urban development, growing the kinds of walkable, neighborhood-focused, green-planted cities that so many young workers want to see around them. Plenty of us are looking for alternatives to life and leisure driven by car, and from tourism boards to government leadership to private entrepreneurs, Michigan’s not only noticing those changing interests, but taking some meaningful action to help them thrive.

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45Nrth Jaztronaut Insole Review

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

It doesn’t take a cyclist to know that the first two things that typically get cold are the hands and the feet. Based out of Minnesota, 45Nrth is a brand dedicated to creating products for cold weather cyclists who brave the rough elements. With the introduction of their Wolvhammer winter boot also came the introduction of the Jaztronaut insole. During the design process of the Wolvhammer boot, 45Nrth developed an insole solely for the purpose of keeping your feet warm. Once they realized just how well the new insole worked, it was released as a unique product in addition to the boot, packaged for all to enjoy.

After having ridden these in all sorts of temperatures, they have become a welcome addition to my winter gear. (more…)

Giro 100 Proof Winter Glove Review

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The 100 Proof glove is the warmest offering for Giro. It’s a split finger glove (also called “lobster claw”) that pairs your fingers together to better trap body warmth. Included with the glove is a light weight glove liner made from a moisture wicking fabric to help keep your hands dry. All in all, these gloves are designed to keep you warm and dry in the most frigid of temperatures.

The split finger design is meant to help keep your fingers warmer, similar to a mitten but with some added dexterity. The increased range of motion is important for gripping on handlebars and operating a bike’s controls.  (more…)

Oh, Creatures of the Night – Bicycle Commuting

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

The other night I found myself commuting on the Border to Border Trail from Tree Fort over to the west side of Ann Arbor to meet up with a friend. I’ve traversed the route more times than I can count in the years I’ve lived in the area, and commuters seemed sparse at best. On this ride, I was struck by the number of bike commuters that I encountered. Despite the cold January weather, dozens of riders were out making their way to any imaginable destinations. From single riders to a large group of eight or more, we all were out for the same purpose, utilizing a great path system. (more…)

Light and Motion Urban 550 Light – Review

Friday, January 4th, 2013

The Urban 550 clamps securely to the bars with a simply, tool free system.

The Urban 550 is an incredibly versatile light, serving well beyond its suggested use in urban settings. At 550 lumens, it puts out more than enough to cover most typical riding situations. With its compact and rechargeable Li-ion battery, tool free handlebar mount and multiple settings, it’s proven itself to be a reliable addition to my everyday cycling gear.

I purchased this light back in October when summer light started to dwindle and the prospect of night riding became inevitable. Since then, my Urban 550 remained mounted on my handlebar for nearly 900 miles. It’s seen nearly every condition, temperature and terrain that I could find to throw at it. And so far, it’s proven to be a sturdy piece of gear with virtually no problems.

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Four Gravel Routes Suggested by You

Monday, November 5th, 2012


When I set out to review the Salsa Warbird, we asked for your suggestions on gravel routes. We received a pretty decent helping of suggestions from all over the country — a huge variety that varied in length and difficulty. Here, we’ve picked four that showcased that range, offering something for everyone. (more…)

45Nrth Wolvhammer – Interbike 2012 (VIDEO)

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Wolvhammer

Winter riding isn’t for everyone. It takes a special breed to really, truly enjoy a good winter ride. That’s where 45Nrth comes into the picture. Products for those who understand the demands and pleasures of a good cold weather ride. And that’s exactly who their gear is designed for. (more…)

Küat Rüfee – Interbike 2012

Monday, September 24th, 2012
Küat Rüfee

Küat has gained a lot of momentum over the last two years with their widely popular NV rack. In fact, in 2011 it was given a “Gear of the Year” award from Men’s Journal. Next up is the Rüfee. Right out of the box, this rack can do just about all of it. It’s adaptable for 9, 15 or 20mm forks, features special security bolts to keep it on your car, disc compatible and has a built in lock. Oh, and they are currently working with Salsa Cycles to carry fat bikes. I don’t think you could ask for anything else from a roof rack. (more…)

Steel Wheels Spokesongs Tour Retrospective

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

The Steel Wheels
Our good friends, The Steel Wheels, recently posted up a video retrospective of their bike tour that we were proud to help support last year. For most of us, riding 600 miles in 11 days is enough. But for these gents, it was only the start, they also played 10 shows in that time span while also carrying all their gear. More than your typical bike touring gear mind you, we’re talking guitars, fiddles and even an upright bass along with all their personal things.

This tour started in nearby Ann Arbor, made it’s way to the west side of Michigan, onto Chicago before finishing up in Indiana. Since the release of their current album, they’ve been making their way up the Americana Airplay chart. They are currently charting in the Top 20!

Check out the video, we particularly like the team work in getting the upright bass trailer up onto the sidewalk.

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Red Cedar Cyclocross Park

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Cyclocross in Michigan Let’s face it – sometimes, in their crusade to share their love of bicycles with the rest of the world, espousing cyclists tend to exaggerate the ability of bikes to solve all the world’s problems. Fortunately, I often also see examples of cyclists doing things simply for the sake of cycling that positively impact our community in very real ways, ways that serve as a reminder that the über-advocates are in it for all the right reasons.

Take, for example, the recent efforts of one Michael Babcock to give the Lansing cyclocross scene a much needed shot to the heart. Before this season it’d been over a half decade since the capital area had played host to a ‘cross race, and clearly the Lansing cycling community hadn’t been capitalizing (get it?) on the rapid growth in the discipline to promote the sport locally. This year, however, that would change. (more…)