Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Wanderlust Wednesday: Q & A With Arrowhead 135 Finishers Donald Wood and Brian Gillies – Full Interview

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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Last week we had the opportunity to chat with Donald Wood (AKA “Woody”) and Brian Gillies, the only two cyclists from Michigan to finish this year’s Arrowhead 135 ultra-endurance race. They were kind enough to share their experience and offer some insights into the event with us and several other local folks who also came to hang out. In that spirit, we thought we’d keep on sharing and post the full interview on our blog for fatbikers everywhere to read. Give it a read below, even if you don’t have a fatbike; it’s casual, funny, and full of useful wisdom. Be advised that it is a bit on the lengthy side, but well worth it.

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I’d also like to use this opportunity to introduce a new blog segment called Wanderlust Wednesday. Alliteration aside, the placement in the middle of the work week is deliberate, since that’s when I often find myself scheming about what I’d like to do over the weekend, as well as daydreaming about where I’d like to go someday. We’ll feature regular adventure-oriented tips on subjects like navigation, cooking, field repair, trip reports, and of course some gear reviews. We also love guest content, so if you have pictures of a dirty bike in a beautiful spot, a tale of a trip gone horribly wrong or wonderfully right, or a suggestion for something you’d like to see, send it our way to processing@treefortbikes.com, and put BLOG in the subject. On a related note, we’ve also set aside some of the store for our new curated selection of bikepacking gear to help you eat and sleep outside comfortably, since nobody wants to have to ride home tired, sore, and hungry. We’re also working on expanding the outdoor section of the website for you mail-order folks.

Past the break is a complete transcript from last Wednesday’s party/talk/Q&A. I’ve tweaked a bit of syntax for ease of reading, but other than that I’ve left it totally intact in order to best convey Woody and Brian’s wisdom. Their opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of Tree Fort Bikes or the Arrowhead 135, although we do greatly value their experience, and we are of the opinion that they are a pair of hardcore, genuine, friendly dudes.

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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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Thursday Night Rides with Tree Fort Bikes

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Sure, it’s pretty much cooking right now: creeping past ninety; stubborn humidity rain. It ain’t easy, pounding the pavement between that sweetly cool house and that sweetly cool car.

Good thing it’s shady on the trail!

We’re happy to announce our brand new…

Thursday Night Trail Rides

6:30PM weekly, rain or shine

First ride: August 1

A weekly commitment to getting out on the trail — and have a whole lot of fun.

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Now presenting: Our all-new You Tube Channel

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

If you haven’t already caught a breeze of these winds, allow us to take a gracious bow and make it official: Tree Fort Bikes is now an all-in, pull-out-the-stops, regular You Tube contributor.

After months of good hard work, we’re geeked to finally offer to you the full feast of this video goodness. From product reviews to buying guides, from how-to videos to sneak peaks from our favorite brands, we’ve proud to say that Tree Fort Bikes – You Tube is now a fuller, fancier, and more buzzingly active place than ever before. With one click, subscribe to get the latest content.

We hope you dig it.

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…)

Five Things I Learned in 2012

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

It’s been 16 years since I graduated from a kid who rode around on a bike to someone who cycled. In that time I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot. This year was no exception. Here are five things I learned — or learned again — in 2012. (more…)

Fat Tuesday #4 – Salsa Beargrease Arrives

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

This week, we welcomed our first shipment of Beargrease completes. This is one of the most anticipated bikes we’ve ever carried.

Introduced at Saddle Drive in August, we first met Beargrease in the mountains of Ogden, Utah, where this bike proved its worth beyond conditions of sand and snow. Our own Scott M. got a chance to flex the bike on demo singletrack; it took off around switchbacks, crushed downhill descents, and was even coaxed to pop a few mean wheelies on a couple of quiet straightaways. Competitive, nimble, and bold, the Beargrease argues that a fat bike can be even more than good, steady fun: It can be a vehicle for emboldened speed, landing confidently on its paws at trail’s end.

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A Trusted Friend – My Selle Italia Saddle

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Every cyclist has something that sticks with them for a long time. It might be an article of clothing, a custom frame or a specific component. For myself, it’s a Selle Italia saddle I found in a junk bin that was tucked behind a stack of repair tags.

Back in 2004, I was in the middle of building my first monster-cross bike. The project had all sorts of wrong written all over it — I had converted a ’96 Trek 6500 frame to accommodate 700c wheels by using a Karate Monkey fork and Paul Moto Lite BMX brakes. I just needed a saddle to complete it. After rummaging around for a bit, I came across a bin that contained three or four saddles. One of them has become my long-trusted friend for all long distance endeavours. (more…)

Niner Cogalicious RDO Ti Single Speed Kit

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Niner Bikes Cogalicious RDO Ti Cog total kit weight 62 grams

This week, stock arrived for the all-new Niner Bikes’ Cogalicious RDO Ti Cog. Designed for top-end performance, the kit features a machined Ti cog, aluminum spacers and aluminum lock ring.

The cog is spec’d at 26 grams, but our sample weighed 28 grams; the complete kit weighs in at 62 grams. Niner provides enough spacers of various widths to let you fine-tune the cog position. Tooth position on the cog is thoughtfully designed, too — the teeth are offset just a hair to allow you to flip it and dial-in that fit just a little better. (more…)