Copper Harbor, MI

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Recently got the chance to make a day trip to Copper Harbor, MI for a half day of epic mountain biking (When a vacation takes you within 3 hours of driving from Copper Harbor, a day trip is easy).  If you have followed our site, you have most likely seen we like to make trips to ride.  Within 6 hours of drive time, Oshkosh is situated in an amazing place geographically for some of the best mountain bike destinations in the world.  Locally, we are spoiled.  With more than 10 great spots to ride within 1.5 hours of driving it is difficult to be bored with options.  When you open this up to a radius of 6 hours of driving, you will be able to count in some of the best mountain biking in the world.  Spots like Marquette, MI and the CAMBA trails draw national attention, while a bit further out will bring you to a top 5 in the world destination.  With over 25 miles of amazing trails, ranging from beginner to expert level trails, Copper Harbor offers a fantastic trail network and something many of us are unable to find locally, digital silence.  With literally no cell service, Copper Harbor gets you away from it all, but still can offer everything you truly want.  Make the trip, check out the great in town shop, Keweenaw Adventure Company, world class mountain trails, and plenty of other hidden treats (Brickside Brewery…).  All of us from the shop love making this journey, you may even run into one of us up there throughout the year (we all hope to make it up to Copper Harbor 1-3 trips a year)!

 

Want to know what trails to hit? Come chat with us at the store, we’re always happy to chat mountain biking, especially Copper Harbor.

Ride of a Lifetime

Great friend of the store, Kyle Shilts, is making his way from the Pacific Ocean (shores of Washington State) to Lake Winnebago.  Kyle wanted an adventure, and has turned his adventure into more than just a ride.  Over the past few months, Kyle worked hard raising funds to help cover costs for his brothers cancer treatment.  With a taste for adventure, and a very meaningful purpose to make the trip, Kyle started his voyage May 16, 2015 and is hoping to get back to Lake Winnebago sometime in early July.

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KYLE SHILTS atop Washington Pass, WA

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month.  While some states may be able to offer comfortable riding year-round, northernly states have a bit of a window for true riding weather.  Here in Wisconsin the month of May has been designated as the true ‘start’ to the riding season.  Temperatures are adequate, trails are dry, and the sun is, generally, out.  To kick things off, we got up to Appleton this past week to start things up as soon as May started.  As in 12:01 am May 1, 2015. We met up with a group of 30 some riders to welcome the National Bike Challenge.  We met some great people and rode a fun route, all at a crazy hour of the day.  Would we do it again? Yup.  Should you come next year? Yes!

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Maintenance Mondays

How to true a wheel

Overhaul and adjust a hub

Full brake adjustments on multiple different rim brake styles

Install a chain

Road handlebar wrapping

Plus more!

Cost: FREE

Riding in the UP – MARQUETTE / Part II

This past weekend, February 7-8, was spent north in the beautiful Upper Peninsula in a small town that you have heard us talk often about, Marquette. Now, if you have read my earlier post on the ride scene that Marquette has to offer, (Here it is) you will know that I am a big fan. But that was nearly 6 months ago in early fall, what could Marquette possibly offer for a cyclist this time of year with 2-3 feet of lake effect snow on the ground?

BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME

Alongside the staple winter sport activities, like skiing and snowshoeing, you will find an ever-increasing number of options for winter cycling. Fat bikes are making the off-road options possible on snow-covered trails, and Marquette is showing what a community is possible of doing by developing one of the better, if not best, trail networks around. By developing a ‘Snow Bike Route’ through Marquette’s already extensive trail network, riders have options on both the north and south side of the city. Our riding took place with a morning ride on the ‘North Snow Bike Route’ (NSBR) and then an afternoon ride on the ‘Snow Bike Route’ (SBR).

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While these two trail systems are within a few miles of one another, they each offer a different flavor of trail. The NSBR, tight and scenic, is punched out by the relentless stomping of snowshoes and packed down further by fatbikes themselves. Following along the shore of waterways for a good portion of the trail, the NSBR provides great winter scenery and also a great trail surface. While a bit narrower than the SBR, it gives the feeling of a trail that moves through the forest with no destruction of it. This was proven by the number of handlebar dings and a few attempts at tackling this said forest with a shoulder…after a quick lunch break, we headed back out, now on the SBR, and in for a very different ride. The SBR has a full loop with a bit of networking off of it that is ‘groomed’. The grooming is done with a snowmobile that pulls a custom sled that packs and conforms the snow to a 2’-wide channel throughout the woods. Without this grooming, the trail would not be nearly as precise and not nearly as rideable. We ended up riding the SBR in the early afternoon, after a number of riders had already had their fun on the freshly groomed trail. With this in mind, I did not have the experience of riding on it freshly groomed; regardless, the riding was outstanding. During faster descents, you had to keep your focus, as near tunnel vision would set in due to the grooming of the trail. Keeping your bike between 2’ high walls of snow on either side of you made for a fun change from the NSBR. This is where the two trail networks truly differ. This mechanical grooming gives rise to what lake-effect snow from Lake Superior can really do, due to the ever increasing walls of snow that forms as the trail continues to be packed down. Additionally, the SBR includes one of the more labor-intensive sections of trail in the area, Benson’s Grade. If you are at all concerned about being cold during the ride, leave the parking lot and start with this, plus the view from the top makes it even more worth it. Comparing both the SBR and the NSBR, I cannot say which I preferred, I can say however, make sure you give time to ride both.

IN ADDITION TO…

Again, if you have read the earlier post on my fall trip to Marquette, you will know how great of a town it is for dining, lodging, and other activities in addition to cycling. This last trip was no exception. Sharing my earlier experience led the rest of the group to want to see for themselves what both the Vierling and Blackrocks Brewery are all about; I didn’t put up a fight.

At the Vierling.  Kyle had the look going.
At the Vierling. Kyle had the look going.

Speaking with my dad a few days previous about the bike of his dreams when he was growing up.  Blackrocks had one in mint condition nonetheless.
Speaking with my dad a few days previous about the bike of his dreams when he was growing up. Blackrocks had one in mint condition.

A fantastic meal was had by all, this time seated in the back of the restaurant, which even on a cloudy winter night, had decent views of the lake. Blackrocks Brewery again did not disappoint, outstanding beer mixed with a great bicycle-related atmosphere worked just fine for a group of thirsty cyclists.

IN CONCLUSION (this time at least)

I hold my opinion of Marquette very high, as I am sure many others do. What the town has to offer in the down time, compliments the riding very well. Being able to offer so much makes Marquette a true cycling destination, check it out for yourself if you haven’t yet.

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Group shot before heading out on the SBR in the afternoon.

 

For more on the trails, check out the Noquemanon Trail Network page.

Maintenance Mondays

Fix a flat tire

Chain lubrication

How to use a CO2 inflator

Brake and Derailleur cable adjustments

Full bike safety check

Cost: FREE

***brats and beer from Ski’s Meat Market will be included during both sessions

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

CYCLING CULTURE: more than the bike

The following help instill what we as a bicycle retailer are all about, which is more than just bikes, more than just helmets and pedals.   They expand the dynamic of cycling in a special way, they help form the roots of the sport, they help shape cycling culture.

Nupla McLeod
Nupla McLeod

Nupla McLeod The ultimate trail building tool. Rake, grade, level, and form the trail that you are constructing with one tool. We are carrying this to make trail construction easier for anyone who is putting a small loop in their backyard, a few jumps along the side of the house, or looking to volunteer to assist with a larger scale public project. Consistent searching for this specific tool from a local source always turned up with no results, we’re hoping easy access to a great trail building tool will help you with your first or one-hundredth hour of trail work.

$49.99

Sylmar Vest
Sylmar Vest

Sylmar Vest
Sylmar Vest

Sylmar Dogwear Body Guard Vest Riding with man’s best friend is a great experience. If you check our website or follow us on social media, there is a good chance you have seen a video of riding with Chase, Ben’s yellow lab, who is full of energy, fast, and a great trail dog. In June, 2013, while out riding together at a local area trail, Chase had a horrendous accident that resulted in a 30cm gash down his underside, requiring emergency medical attention.   With a tremendous amount of luck on his side and a month off of any kind of dog fun, Chase made a full recovery and was back on the trail later that year. To help protect your riding buddy from injury, we will be stocking these protective vests for sale and offering them at no charge with any qualifying mountain bike purchase.

Not sure what size to go with? Bring your dog down anytime for a vest fitting.

$37.99   |   No Charge w/ qualifying mountain bike purchase

As a cycling retailer, we will continue to offer products, services, and hours of volunteering to stand for what we believe in, cycling culture. Stop down to find what makes up your cycling culture, we’ll be happy to help.

 

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

Spin Group

Indoor spin training can be difficult to keep motivated to do.  Riding in a group can help!

Bring your bike and trainer.

WORS @ Franklin

Team rider Ben Neubauer taking 1st in age and 10th overall racing COMP at Franklin.

The last race of the WORS season takes place October 12th in Sheboygan.  Get after it Ben! Awesome season!

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Are you interested in racing? Stop by the shop to discuss joining the team for 2015!

Riding in the UP – MARQUETTE

Favorite Trail: Southern Cross

Bike Choice / Rating: Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite 29   4 of 5

Favorite Restaurant / Rating: The Vierling   5 of 5

Favorite Beer / Rating: Blackrocks IPA   4 of 5

A few weeks back I had the privilege of visiting and riding one of IMBA’s (International Mountain Bike Association) newest ride centers. Marquette, Michigan has just recently been added to a very select list through IMBA, coming in with a Bronze ranking. With my trusty Stumpjumper at my side, we got a good feel for Marquette; the following is a quick rundown.

The Trails

Marquette is home to around 100 miles of singletrack, some of which in better condition and easier to get to than others. During the trip we rode 35 miles of the South Trails, of which, most tend to be of the better marked and more visitor friendly. Getting to a trail is simple, a 2 mile warm-up ride on the in-town paved trail takes you to the start of a few runs and from there you are in the midst of some of the Midwest’s best man-made (Gorge-ous) and machine built trails (Down Dogger). With miles of trails, you can ride the entire weekend and not have time to hit them all. With another network to the north of town (simply called the North Trails) there is always a new trail to be tamed.

The trails that I rode varied from beginner to advanced and this gives the opportunity for any level of rider to get out and have a great experience. The terrain differs a great deal from what we locally have surrounding the Fox Valley and this allows for some length to the downhills and in turn, a few long climbs. Benson’s Grade is a lung-pumping mile of near 12% grade that you must stay focused on in order to pick your line through the melon-sized rocks that form the trail bed.

Stop by the shop to discuss more, to plan your first trip or to compare notes from your experiences up there.

 

The Town

This is in my view, what sets Marquette apart from other notable ride meccas in the area. Having a lively town to experience in addition to a fantastic trail network allows for a great balance through the weekend. With plenty of options for lodging, like the Hampton Inn which happens to be both right on Lake Superior and the town trail that leads to and from the Southern Trail Network, dining, and shopping, Marquette offers both riders and riders significant others plenty to be excited about. Between my Saturday morning and afternoon rides, I had the opportunity to check out a place called The Vierling. Great food and a nice beer selection made this an awesome mid-day stop. Later in the evening, the group of us headed over to Capers Restaurant, located on the main floor of the Landmark Hotel. After riding 35 miles over the course of the day, the food and the beer was extra great.

As a self-proclaimed beer-snob, the Upper Peninsula has much to offer. A few blocks walk from dinner and the hotel, is a brewery that has taken the UP by storm. Blackrocks Brewery has it, from an outstanding beer selection to a great atmosphere; it is definitely worth a stop if you are in need of an adult refreshment. (Hint hint, a growler, 6-pack, or single can of anything from this brewery could also make a fantastic tip to your favorite mechanics at your favorite bike shop.)

Nice spots to keep you going while not riding, makes Marquette a perfect spot to checkout for a weekend of all sorts of fun. While you’re up there, don’t forget to check out Lakeshore Bike, they’ll get you setup if you forgot something and let you know what trails you have to hit.

Road Ride – Early Morning

Easy to moderate pace.

15 – 20 miles.

North or South route, depending upon wind conditions.

Fair weather ride, no ride if rain or storm is present.

5:30am … PLEASE HAVE FRONT & REAR LIGHTS

Spring / Summer Hours Resume

Shop hours change back to Spring/Summer!

Monday – Friday: 10:00 – 7:00

Saturday: 10:00 – 4:00 (Earlier hours for Outdoor Farmer’s Market)

Sunday: 11:00 – 3:00

Daylight Savings Group Ride

UPDATE!    –   March 8

We will be postponing this ride until further notice, conditions are simply not safe enough for a group of riders on the roads, thanks for your understanding!

Starting the longer days out right.  On a bike.  Outside.

Meet at the shop at 3:00 and we will head out for either a south or north route.

Post-ride refreshments at the shop.

***This ride will be dependent on weather conditions

Update – MARCH 2014

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

We’re starting another year on the Oshkosh Cycling Club Board! Sunday March 2 was the Spring Elections for the club and Ben Rennert, the owner of the shop, is committed to continuing in helping the Oshkosh cycling community as an active board member for a second year.  There is a lot coming in the next few months and being in direct contact with projects and events allows us to voice thoughts heard at the shop to a higher level as well as play a major role in local cycling community.

In addition, there is a growing number of projects at the city level.  As an active member of the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Board for the city of Oshkosh, we are committed to bringing more bike lanes, safer routes to school and other destinations, and growing the local cycling infrastructure.

The outdoor Farmers Market will be starting in only a few quick months and with the help of the Oshkosh Cycling Club we are proud to be offering bicycle parking directly in front of the store on Merritt Avenue.  The club has donated a number of racks that will be open for public parking.  While we will have an eye on the action, please remember to lock your bicycle up!

If you have any additional thoughts, questions, or concerns regarding the cycling community, please feel free to contact us and discuss.  We are committed to getting more cyclists on the road or trail and making those experiences the best possible.

PRODUCT

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We are starting to bring more and more product in every week! With our inventory tripling  (yes, that is 3x) since we opened our doors last July, we are filling the store in quite nicely.  Brands such as Niner, Brooks, Haro, and many other high quality manufactures are finding their way onto the shelves and into the racks.  Additionally, a huge increase in bike and gear from our main brand, Specialized, has been coming in and getting built up or put out onto the show-floor.

SERVICE

Bicycle maintenance is the heart of our store, we love, love, love taking something that doesn’t work and making it work just as good  (if not better) than when it was new.  We have been having a good number of work orders coming in that have truly been transformed and it has been a pleasure returning them to their excited owners.  We have the tools to do nearly any job and more importantly we have the experience and knowledge to perform expert work on your bicycle.  Riding bikes is fun, but service work on them is our passion.

Additionally, some service work can be a bit overwhelming, especially while out on a ride, however there are a number of basic to intermediate procedures that can be the difference between riding or walking those last 10 miles home.  If you are in question of the proper procedure for fixing a flat tire or any other ‘quick’ fix, stop down, we can do the repair together.

OTHER STORE NEWS

We will be offering a Bike Rental program starting this year.  Bikes for rent are a full size run of Specialized Crosstrail’s, which is a perfect bike for getting out around town or to enjoy a day on the WIOUWASH trail.  Check our ‘Bike Rental’ tab under BIKES on the website for details!

Last but not least, we’re having a road-gravel race at the end of summer or early fall.  Stay tuned, this is going to be fun.

Spinning

Join us for an hour of miserable-fun! Bring your bike and trainer if you have one, we have a few extra trainers if needed.

Spinning

Join us for an hour of miserable-fun! Bring your bike and trainer if you have one, we have a few extra trainers if needed.

Spinning

Join us for an hour of miserable-fun! Bring your bike and trainer if you have one, we have a few extra trainers if needed.

Spinning

Join us for an hour of miserable-fun! Bring your bike and trainer if you have one, we have a few extra trainers if needed.

Spinning

Join us for an hour of miserable-fun! Bring your bike and trainer if you have one, we have a few extra trainers if needed.

MAINTENANCE CLASS @ UW OSHKOSH

We had a great time assisting with a Maintenance Class put on by Greg Batten and Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh.  Students were taught bicycle maintenance skills over the three-week course; from the basics of changing a flat tire to more in-depth procedures like bottom bracket overhauls, students obtained a great understanding of a bicycle.

 

Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh demonstrating a bicycle tune-up.
Alex Beld of Expeditions at UW-Oshkosh demonstrating a bicycle tune-up.

 

 

Your trusted, local bike shop with over 50 years experience on staff