Archive for the ‘Touring and Travel’ Category

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…)

Biking South America

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Our guys in South America have been busy at work trudging across the widest points of the content and we’ve got some of their images to share. Hit the link for the photos!
Muddy Day Down There

Muddy Day Down There


45Nrth Wolvhammer – Interbike 2012 (VIDEO)

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012


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…)

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.


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 in St. Thomas

Monday, March 28th, 2011

In the middle of January the Tree Fort crew split from Michigan for some fun in the sun.  St. Thomas, Virgin Islands was our destination for ultimate relaxation in paradise.  There really is nothing quite like that place – clear warm salt water, green mountains sprouting up from the middle of the ocean, beautiful natural scenery, and fun times with great friends.  Amazing. Hopefully these photos and video from Adam and Jess help capture some of the surreality of the whole thing.

Book Review: Dirt Road Washtenaw

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

 Dirt Road Cycling With Rob Pulicpher
Here in Michigan, the temps are getting lower, the leaves are falling, and before we know it we’re going to start seeing some snow.  Most cyclists are either going to set up the trainer inside, hook up mountain bikes with studded tires, or stop riding altogether until the spring thaw.

Dirt Road WashtenawRob Pulcipher, Author of Dirt Road Washtenaw: Biking the Back Roads, challenges this attitude with his new book, an invaluable resource for local bicyclists. It full is of routes, riding techniques, and histories of the roads most of us have learned to avoid.  There are dozens of routes with detailed maps, photographs, and descriptions illustrating the beauty and varied terrain that the area has to offer.

Though his book is geared towards those in Washtenaw County, his advice and experience is applicable to cyclists throughout the country. I sat down with Rob for a couple minutes last week to discuss riding the dirt roads, and he informed and motivated me to get my knobby bike out on those roads I so often have neglected. (more…)

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.


Mt. Bohemia Snowboard Trip 2010

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Mt. Bohemia's Beautiful Yurts!

Gotta get away from the bike shop every once in a while and what better winter Midwest location than Mt. Bohemia. Located at almost the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan, Mt. Bohemia is the perfect location to get completely “out of there.” Some old buddies and I just took a ride up there and spent a great week snowboarding the trees.  It’s such a nice low key place we thought we’d share some pics and a quick description. With an average Mt. Bohemia Logo of 273 inches of snowfall a year they keep it ride-able right up to the last minute.  We were able to grab first tracks on tons of runs and it hadn’t snowed in over a week.  Bohemia does not groom so expect powder runs when it does dump and they are a no beginners hill so learn at the local hills.  The back side of the mountain is serviced by a lift but if you get to far out they run a shuttle that picks up about ever 10 minutes.  I found myself in awe of the amount of time you could spend on a run for a Midwest location and would certainly suggest it as a low cost 5-10 hour away vacation for a long weekend.

Scott jump red cup grab 5000 from Derek K on Vimeo.

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.