February brought us a little bit of everything, some things we wanted and some we maybe could have done without: cold toes on the fat bike, fun dirt road miles on the cross bike, time on the trainer watching the tube, a snowy ride to a bar after work..

Around the Shop

Yoga: you were so much fun and stretch-tastic, but now it’s over. Until next winter. Many thanks to the ever-capable and awesome Erin for leading this effort.

One of our goals for this summer is quicker bike repair turnaround. There are two easy ways you can help us help you. One is to bring your bike in now, before it warms up. We’ll get your repair turned around pronto, and you’ll be on your way to a fun summer. The second is prompt pickup when your repair is complete. The fewer bikes we have to sort through, the faster things progress.

We had a great time at Kalamazoo Parks’ Winter Jamboree at the Milham Golf Course last weekend. It was a fun event on a (thankfully) beautiful day. Lots of folks wanted to try fat bikes, and smiles were everywhere. Big fun.

We’re fired up about the Greater Kalamazoo Women’s Lifestyle Expo this weekend. If you have a chance, please stop by the Expo Center and say howdy. It’s going on Friday from noon to six and Saturday nine to four.

OK. Yes. The first ever Pedal sale is March 12th. Both stores. 10-5.

“What’s new and interesting in cycling?” is a question we hear regularly.

  • The ever-increasing affordability of 1×11 drivetrains continues with the introduction of SRAM’s NX group. Looks pretty darn good.
  • Plus bikes (27.5/650b or 29” mountain bikes with 3” tires) popped up quietly last year and didn’t get much traction (har har) until later in the summer. I think these are great, providing substantial increases in traction without a ton of weight.
  • Electric assist bikes are looking good. I’m not expecting this to go full-Europe (a large percentage of bikes sold in Europe are electric-assist), but I do think they have a place
  • These bigger-tire, disk brake road bikes are incredibly interesting, especially considering the quality of our roads of late. Big tires = less fear of cracks in the road or potholes.

Fun, Energizing Activities

Waterloo Grit and Gravel is March 19th.

What effect will the rescheduling of Melting Mann have on the road conditions? Who knows and, to some extent, who cares? Hard packed dirt, peanut butter mud or sheet of ice, Melting Mann will take place on March 20th down in good old Vandalia. And you could win one of these.

The Barry Roubaix is totally rescheduled as an April race, now held on April 16th. This is the big banana of local gravel races and definitely worth a look.

You there! Mountain biker! Yankee Springs Time Trial is April 24th. I can tell a great story of unpreparedness and getting my butt whooped, but one guy did tell me that I had a sweet bike.

STAMPEDE! May 1st at Fort Custer. This is lots of fun, if you like your fun on dirt single-track with trees rushing by. And it’s not the same day as the marathon, which is nice.

Bike Camp begins on Wednesday evening, May 11th and has sessions on the following four Saturdays. This is good, good stuff if you’d like an introduction to road riding. All of the information you seek can be found here.

Too soon to talk about Tour de Taylor? Nope. June 11th. Rides of 12, 32 and 62 miles. Great event. Good cause. Lots of fun. Sweet new web site, too.

The Ramble

One recent, windy day, I was riding with a friend of mine, and we’d just done a big stretch with the wind at our backs. We had gone really, really fast. “Boy!” exclaimed my friend. “Wouldn’t you like to be able to go 25 mph all the time?”

Another friend of mine and I talk often of balance. Of how you can’t have one thing without giving up another. David Foster Wallace wrote a beautiful essay on Tracy Austin, about how she was so completely, totally focused on professional tennis that she had practically no personality.

Would I like to go 25 mph all the time? I don’t know. Would my friends still like riding with me? Would I notice the hawk in the fields, the combine spraying whatever that is in the bed of a big truck, the flock of turkeys in the woods? Would I notice (not see, notice) the change of seaon?

Whatever the speed, on a bike we are able to see things. We are able to feel things. We are able to have experiences with friends that are oh so temporal, but sometimes so incredibly memorable.

Big Finish

Here we are, right on the cusp of Spring (oddly, I write this in near white-out conditions). We’ve been working hard this winter, and we’re anxious for cycling season to get here so we can share it with you.

Got a thought? A comment? Wanna tell me about something? We’re doing what we think is the right thing. If we’re missing the boat in some fashion, we’d sure like to know about it and correct the situation. Email me if you wish.

Finally, and as alluded to above, we hope very much to earn the title of *your* bike shop.

Sincerely,

Tim

Monkeys on Typewriters

Each month we go to the zoo and hand out typewriters to monkeys. After a few days, we collect their thoughts and format them into an email newsletter suitable for framing or birdcage lining. Sound good? Enter your email below and check it out.

Note: we will never ever ever ever share your email. Ever. No monkey will contact you directly.