Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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.


Cap Off 2011 – Iceman After Party!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Cap Off 2011 Logo “Cap Off” the 2011 mountain bike season in style with the our Iceman after party. Tree Fort Bikes has partnered with Arbor Brewing Company yet again to bring you more good times and more free beer*! Here’s some of the details… (more…)

Cross Country Upright Bass Mobilcycle

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We are once again helping our good friends, The Steel Wheels, venture on their annual Michigan summer bicycle music tour.  The Steel Wheels are a killer Americana group with heartfelt songwriting, superb musicianship, and an excellent stage show and presence.  They are bringing their instruments on the road this summer for a tour that is scheduled to start early August in Ann Arbor, end in Chicago, and hits a variety of great venues along the way.  Check out their music and show schedule at


This year, for the first time, the group’s bass player Brian Dickel will be joining the bicycle tour.  Simply playing the large upright bass poses a couple logistical challenges in any situation, let alone taking it on the road by bicycle.  However Brian is quite crafty and creatively fashioned a bass carrier out of the Burly Flatbed trailer.  From Brian:

“You may find it hard to believe but no one makes an upright bass trailer.  This didn’t really alarm me since in a past life I grew up in a family excavating business where metal work and mechanics were a part of life.  I figured that I will find a good trailer and modify it from there.  After considering a lot of different options including weight, size, cost (I am a musician after all) I consulted with our friend Alan at Tree Fort Bikes and eventually decided on the Burley Flatbed.  I already owned a Burley for pulling my kids around and liked the hitch and strength to weight ratio of their designs.  I knew it wasn’t big enough to fit the bass correctly but felt I could find a solution for it.  I got out my welder and in an afternoon came up with this solution.


The only other modification I made to the trailer was replacing all the quick couplers with stainless steel grade 8 bolts and hardware which really tightened it up. I bolted on the new metal frame I made for the bass to sit in and it was ready to go. . . I’ve got water sports dry bags to put clothes, merchandise, food, etc in underneath the bass on the canvas part of the trailer.  That will also help bring the center of gravity back down on the trailer.  The total weight with the bass will probably come in around 75 lbs which is not bad at all and I can easily lift the tongue of the trailer so the balance is great!”

Nice.  Here’s Brian’s full article, and here’s the rig ready to ride:


Tree Fort Bikes Presents: The Steel Wheel Duo “SpokeSongs Bicycle Tour 2010″

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Tree Fort Bikes Sponsors Steel Wheel Duo’s Michigan Bicycle Tour

Tree Fort Bikes is a “by cyclists for cyclists” company.  Founded in 2001, our driving force has been to promote and spread the enjoyment of bicycling and the ability to use a bike as a viable form of transportation.  Cycling is environmentally and economically friendly, and promotes huge physical and mental health benefits.  Tree Fort Bikes has grown over the years, both as a brick-and-mortar shop and as an ecommerce website. Though we have a large and growing web presence, our initial vision has remained unchanged.  With a staff comprised of mountain, road, commuting, and touring cyclists, we are a home base for all bicyclists and are dedicated to promoting the love of riding for both experienced riders and the curious novice just looking to start.

When Jay Lapp of The Steel Wheels approached us with the idea of supporting their bicycle tour, we jumped at the idea for several reasons.  For one, they make great music and we wanted to support that.  But equally we wanted to help promote bicycling in a way that is environmentally positive and provides a good example to aspiring cyclists.  What better way is there to show that commuting, touring, or even recreational riding is attainable than by using The SpokeSongs bicycle tour as an example?  If two regular guys can ride through several states on modified bikes while carrying multiple instruments and still meet show deadlines, it makes a 10 or 20 mile commute, or even just getting out and enjoying a ride, a much less daunting task for the rest of us.


Steel Wheels Duo: Spokesongs Bicycle Tour

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I met Jay Lapp at a bluegrass jam in Ann Arbor.   We all had a good time that June night, picking tunes outside on the balcony and drinking beer with conversations in between.  Around midnight as we were packing up, Jay informed me about a bike tour his band was planning.  I loved the idea, and wanted Tree Fort to help.  The next couple months we kept in touch, figuring out how this whole thing was going to work.  About a week before he left, we fixed up his nimble road bike and turned it into touring machine ready to hit the Virginia hills.  Returning from the ride, he sat down with us to tell us about his adventures.