Starting Over, AGAIN!

If you’re reading this, it’s highly likely that you came here looking for Spoke Haven, the cycling club. I’m sorry to say that Spoke Haven in that iteration is no more.

After 6 years of of planning rides, designing kits, hosting events, teaching clinics, creating routes, wrangling ride leaders, sitting on boards, being a brand ambassador, working in the cycling industry, not working in the cycling industry, returning to the cycling industry, and all of life’s events in between…I’ve decided to end the club under the Spoke Haven name.

I know, it’s a bummer. The good thing is that there is still a Madison based women’s cycling club that can be found HERE.

If you’ve read my previous blogs, I’ve never been one to hold back on my thoughts or experiences. I’m sure there will be flack and I know that I’ve severed ties with women whom I used to consider friends, but when you work so hard on something for so long and see it turning into something that doesn’t represent the spirit of how the thing started, it’s time to end it.

The first cycling event I hosted officially was CycloFemme in Madison. You can probably see photos of it in the archives on here. It was an amazing event and I had many women who attended telling me they wish there was a cycling club for women in Madison that didn’t center around racing.

At the time there was the Capitol Velo Club which was a women’s club focused around training for competitive cycling. The club was dying and the leaders didn’t want to take on the responsibility any longer. At the time I didn’t understand why, but I now know thanks to my experience.

Spoke Haven was born shortly after this time. It was a way for me to offer social rides to women in the area and to build up a potential customer base for a bike shop I was hoping to open. I had written a business plan to open a more women’s focused bike shop. One that was approachable, offered more women’s options in bikes and clothing. One that made those who didn’t fit the affluent white male archetype that the cycling industry had catered to since the dawn of cycling, feel welcome!

Unfortunately the shop didn’t pan out. Adequate retail space was difficult to find and expensive. We also had two brand new shops opening in our area that would add to the already very saturated market in Madison. So I opted to work in shops and continue on with Spoke Haven as a means to continue to foster a community of local women to ride with.

The first few years were a grind. I poured countless hours into building the branding, building a website, and building up a social media following. I started a Meetup.com group to charge members to help cover the cost of marketing, insurance, kit design, printing route maps, printing stickers and business cards, fees for route planning apps, costs of having a business e-mail, etc. I never actually made any money off of the venture, in fact I lost a lot of my own personal money, but it was a labor of love and I enjoyed offering something to the community.

I was lucky enough to continue to have support of our community and had a handful of wonderful women who really stepped up and helped with leading and planning rides. They would also help out at events and represented the club when I wasn’t able to.

They spread the gospel of Spoke Haven and we had grown basically every year we existed.

This is where things started to go downhill, not for the club necessarily, but for my own personal involvement. Two years ago I had experienced incredible burnout. I had been working in a bike shop, was running Spoke Haven (still doing the majority of the back end work of it all), took on a brand ambassadorship for Liv (an experience I am ever grateful for), had been doing events for the shop, sat on the board for the WI Bike Fed, and had almost zero time to actually enjoy my life outside of the world of cycling and the commitments that came with it.

I had met with the core group of Spoke Haven ride leaders to let them know I wanted to take a step back from my duties. I let them know things in my life were changing and that I needed some time away from running the club. This was never going to be a permanent move, just something to give me a bit of a break.

I had started a new job, I wanted to focus on getting into better shape mentally and physically. I wanted to spend more time with my partner and family and not have to dedicate my time off to planning and organizing and meeting.

It was decided that those who had been ride leaders wanted to continue to run the club and I had advised that I no longer wanted Meetup to be a part of the equation because it was too time consuming to manage and wanted to simplify the club. The idea was to make it a little less official and more accessible. Meetup was costing me money that wasn’t being covered by dues and it was frankly a pain for when people wanted to renew because it wasn’t on a set annual schedule from the start of the year, instead it started whenever a new member would join.

With that, the club was being run solely off of Facebook with some info on the Spoke Haven website directing people accordingly. That format seemed to simplify some things and yet also complicate it in other ways. Ride leaders were given permissions on the page to create events, add people, share events, and post. A special secret ride leaders page was created for those of us who had the permissions to communicate with one another.

At some point I had advised our club that they had an exclusive discount at my shop for being a part of Spoke Haven. In my mind that meant that you then show loyalty to the shop who is extending that discount and don’t promote other shops or events in conflict with that support.

I hadn’t been working at the shop for a year or so (left for a couple of years to go work in insurance) and had only heard third-hand that the discount wasn’t being extended and that some people had poor experiences shopping there. It was never brought up to me directly to communicate nor negotiate with the shop to address these problems. Instead I was met with ride leaders telling people to shop elsewhere or posting events promoting rival shops over our partner shop.

My general ask of the leaders was that we as a club not promote such events or other shops and that if there are issues, to keep me in the loop.

The same went for addressing questions, comments, or concerns about the club. I requested some general updates for anything the group was planning or marketing as my name had been so closely tied with Spoke Haven not only as the club’s founder, but as a brand.

The leaders and myself had met a couple of times to help address issues. The leaders (generalizing, some- not all) thought I was putting too many restrictions on them without being more involved in the club’s week to week rides and I expressed lack of communication from them with me to keep me up to date on what was going on with the club. Literally everything for me boils down to communication.

For awhile it seemed to be alright. I had offered to lead rides as I could on days the club didn’t have a ride already scheduled. This meant the occasional brunch ride, social event, or demo event through the shop. None of my events were being attended by the leaders of Spoke Haven with the exception of one or two people. This was a pretty clear sign to me that things were not going well, there was still some feelings of hostility or something for whatever reason.

I also found that when I returned to work at my shop, a few loyal women still came in the patronize the shop, but others went and shopped elsewhere. Purchasing new bikes and accessories from other shops, ones that offered no incentives as I would have to them for being a part of the club. That is also a pretty large red flag- a blow that I realize meant it was probably time to start letting go of the club and moving on.

At first I had every intention to give Spoke Haven to them. It was a strong identifying factor for so many of the women who were part of the club, but at some point there were women who were riding with the club that had no idea what the origin even was of the club. They didn’t know who I was or how many countless events and rides we had done prior to them joining a random Tuesday night jaunt around the Olbrich area.

That didn’t bother me. What did bother me was hearing from people that the club was becoming something that didn’t reflect the spirit of creating a space for any person who identified as a woman or feminine being to come and ride. Beginner, new riders I had spoken to were put off by a couple leaders of the group telling them that if they wanted a certain type of ride that, good luck…you can plan that yourself and get people to ride or if a Tuesday didn’t work for them that they would have to start up a ride on another night because Spoke Haven doesn’t have time for that.

What had also started happening in co-rides with other groups in the area who were co-ed and having riders from those groups essentially man-splain and take over the ride, negating the whole reason why Spoke Haven existed. I also felt general resistance to opening ourselves up to promoting ourselves to being more trans and queer friendly.

The club itself does have a fair share of queer women, but the average rider could be profiled as a cis, middle-aged white woman. I was actually on the younger end of the spectrum for the club. Again, didn’t bother me much as we had a fairly good representation of age diversity. I’ve also always befriended people who are older than I, even when I was a kid.

I had one woman who I spoke to who asked me if our club was only queer people, because if so, she didn’t want to then ride with us. WHAT?! Not the type of image I wanted. Meaning, don’t come ride with us if you aren’t open to queer folks on bikes!

The straw that really broke the camel’s back was when I had planned a ride on an open date on the calendar. I had known it fell on the week of a holiday and there hadn’t been a ride event created for that date. I messaged the ride leaders and let them know I had a limited timeline to plan a ride for that day, but it was going to be cool event with a nice route. The other leaders acknowledged that usually there would have been a ride that night, a Taco Tuesday ride (which, btw I coined that term for our monthly ride and eat tacos event and they still use that ride name for themselves with the new iteration. You’re welcome, you can keep it. Yeah, I’m a little salty.) It was confirmed though that they would not be planning a ride for that evening because of the holiday.

Awesome! I was going to host a Tuesday night ride. It had been forever and I was excited to see my cycling friends again. So what ends up happening? The other ride leaders decided to plan another competing ride on top of my ride after I had exclusively worked it out with them to plan something special, something cool for the club to do.

It was this occurrence that led me to my decision. I was going to end the club as Spoke Haven. I didn’t like this weird, power play, catty, non-sense. I decided to pull all permissions from the ride leaders and close the ride leader page. I had posted, basically stating that it was a crappy thing for them to plan another ride on top of mine, even after we all had agreed that there wasn’t going to be one that night. It’s just something you don’t generally do. That’s like me knowing that a competing shop is trying to host a women’s night and then planning something to directly compete with it, you just don’t do it. It’s poor taste.

It’s like hooking up someone at my shop and then having them refer all their friends to the direct competitor, oh wait…that actually kept happening. No tact. I guess I went the eye for an eye route, guilty as charged.

The sad thing is that I really didn’t want things to get to the point that it did. I really loved meeting so many wonderful women and loved knowing that there was this entity that offered support, encouragement, and a safe space for them to ride and make friends. Many of the women hangout socially outside of just riding bikes and it’s awesome to know that my little event of CycloFemme snowballed into something that made that exist

I’m not blaming all of the ride leaders for what happened. I know part of it was my own fault. Ideally I would have made the decision two years ago to part ways and recommend they start over with something of their own. I know my actions weren’t the most noble. I was hurt though. I felt like I was being bullied by my own club. I felt like I had let in people who took advantage of my hard work and what I had built, to only shut me out when I wanted to come back and add to what the club was offering.

A couple of the leaders had asked to continue to use the Facebook page as that’s how they were communicating the last few rides of the season. I declined. I pulled all authorizations and also changed passwords of shared accounts for anything the ride leaders were using (mapping apps). I was still paying for that out of my own pocket, not massive expense, but still an expense.

I identify so strongly with Spoke Haven and it has been my baby for so long. Therefore, I want to breathe new life into it. I want to create and build and expand on what it was before. Not in the fact that I want a club, but to create content, engage with the online community, and use it as my outlet to talk about things I enjoy and have a passion for.

This will likely lead to a rebranding, meaning a new logo, a new Facebook presence, and wiping the slate clean. I’m keeping all of the old blog content on here as I know folks have reached out and found it helpful for my reviews and such.

Just know there will be a lot more new content to come and it will expand beyond just the realm of cycling.

I’m sorry to anyone that I have disappointed with my actions, but I had to do what felt right in my heart. For those of you who reached out to me or stopped into the shop after the fallout, thank you. Thank you for understanding the situation and still supporting my endeavors.

I hope to move past this and hopefully someday I’ll be on good terms with the few people who I’m sure to have upset, but if not and they never speak to me again, I guess we just weren’t meant to be.

Advertisements

Liv Cycling Ambassadorship

It’s halfway through the year. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

So much amazing stuff has happened this year and it continues to be a whirlwind. Last fall I applied to be an ambassador for Liv Cycling and was chosen to be one of many women who will be representing the largest women’s cycling brand IN THE WORLD!

It’s an incredible honor and it’s been a wonderful experience up to this point. I look forward to telling you all about it.

For those of you who don’t know, Liv is the sister brand to Giant Bicycles. Liv was created in 2008 and was the brain child of Bonnie TU. TU is a petite and highly stylish woman whose idea for creating a women’s brand stemmed from her own experience while shopping for a bike and clothing for the Tour of Taiwan. The lack of bike sizes for smaller women and comfortable clothing inspired her to get Giant on board with creating products for the women’s market.

bonnietu
Bonnie TU of Liv Cycling

The very first products were co-branded with Giant’s name on them and were often shrunk down versions of some of the brand’s most popular men’s models. Giant eventually decided to go ALL IN on Liv being its own brand, wiping the slate clean and going back to the drawing board when it came to bike design, accessories, clothing, and more for women.

Liv brought in female engineers for designing the new bike models, they focused on graphics that were fun and bold, but didn’t scream “girly bike”. They dedicated countless hours to developing comfortable touch points on the bikes such as their women’s saddles. What came out of it was one hell of a line up of bikes for women to choose from.

Liv offers a full line up of kids, hybrid, city, road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes. Liv is the first women’s bike brand to launch a long travel, full suspension downhill bike which is the Hail model for 2017. An inspiring feat, as no other brand has dedicated themselves to creating such a magnificent offering to the women’s market.

The brand works closely with athletes such as Leigh Donovan, professional down hill rider and mountain bike coach, to develop their products to be best in class. They also utilize women like myself who are ambassadors of the brand, who work in the field and can give real world feedback from women we ride with to continue to improve the products coming to market.

Hail_suspension
Up close and personal with the Liv Hail

Okay, enough of the kool-aid talk. My journey as an ambassador first started in January with our first webinar to discuss the brand history and get familiar with our responsibilities.

Each brand ambassador is provided with gear from Liv including swag for events, clothing,  and other promotional materials. We submit an event calendar for the year and our goal is to simply get more women out riding.

After each event, we report back on how things went and provide feedback on what we hear from women at our events.

Liv also offers ambassadors an opportunity to attend an ambassador camp. This year there were two camps due to the sheer number of women who are a part of the program (somewhere around 125 women).  The first camp was in California near Newbury Park, the home of Giant’s USA headquarters. Attendees had road and mountain bike riding options, as well as workshops, yoga classes, and brand seminars.

17309973_10208078952163913_2907762421118114240_o
Getting crafty with Jen Audia at the Mulberry Gap barn

The second camp location was a mountain bike specific location at Mulberry Gap, a lovely family owned get-a-way in the Appalachian mountains near Elijay, GA.

I had opted to attend the second camp as I’m getting much more into mountain biking these days, I had never been to Georgia, and I really didn’t want to sit on a plane for 4 hours!

The flight to Atlanta is a little over two hours from Milwaukee, WI. There is really no comparison to having to fly into LAX, even though ATL is the busiest hub in the nation.

My time in Elijay reminded me quite a bit of when I went to bike school for two weeks in Ashland, only much less cramped!

I stayed in a large group cabin with five other women. We had probably 20-25 women total at our camp. We spent our days attending clinics, seminars, riding some of the best mountain bike trails in the country, and bonding over our love of cycling and the Liv brand.

17390451_10208099498397556_8032552047549437278_o
Post Pinhoti re-group at the bottom of the trail with my Pique 2

I met so many incredible women, who continue to inspire me through my journey as an ambassador. They come up with so many fun and unique ideas for inspiring the women in their communities to ride!

I also have to give a huge shout out to Jen, Dorothy, Stephanie, and Liz from Liv for creating such an awesome experience for us.

17757602_10208171121028077_6202048716748984394_n.jpg
How We Liv @ Mulberry Gap Ambassador Camp 2017

Kate and her family at Mulberry Gap are also some amazing people. I can’t wait to return there for more adventuring in the future. Their hospitality is unmatched and the riding is challenging, but incredibly fun!

Liv ambassadors are offered some great purchasing opportunities for bikes. We are encouraged to get the latest and greatest, so we can speak to the quality of the bikes.

I personally decided to purchase not one, but TWO new Liv bikes. Fitchburg Cycles is the shop I work through as an ambassador, as they are a Liv dealer. Through the shop I landed on the Liv Avail Advanced Pro 1. A full carbon road bike with tubeless setup carbon wheels and Shimano Ultegra components.

15267863_10207194975785056_6082537181789590178_n
My beloved Avail Advanced Pro 1

When I discovered that Mulberry Gap would be an option for attending Liv’s annual ambassador camp, I also jumped at the chance to order the Liv Pique 2 full suspension mountain bike.

It may be the kool-aid talking, but they are two of the best riding bikes I have ever owned and I’ve owned A LOT of bikes.

Out of the box they were both extremely comfortable. The only change I made to the Avail was swapping out the saddle, as I’m very particular about my saddle choice. The bike feels fast and stable at the same time. It’s an endurance road bike, so it’s great for spending all day in the saddle or for someone who may not want quite as an aggressive position on a road bike.

The Pique 2 took some dialing in as I had never owned a full suspension bike before. It comes with a dropper seat post, which is a welcomed addition to my bike. It makes clearing obstacles a lot more comfortable! I eventually found that I needed to set the rear shock at the stiffest setting and then dial in the pressure and rebound to suite my needs.

17353450_10208093612450411_1223326358384603518_n
A trail with a view! Getting ready to descend the Pinhoti with the Pique 2

I’m used to riding a plus sided bike with no suspension, so I like a little more stiffness in the rear end, but like the forgiving nature of full suspension. It climbs incredibly well and I haven’t changed much parts wise on it with the exception of the rear tire, which I opted for a slightly wider 2.4″ tire as opposed to the 2.25″ tire that came on the bike. I like wider tires for the extra grip on some of the loose stuff. I also opted to put my favorite ESI silicone grips on as I don’t really like plastic/rubbery lock on grips.

The saddle is incredibly comfortable on the Pique and I tend to forget it’s even there. The SLX drivetrain performs flawlessly and I’ve never come to wish I had more gears on the 1×11 setup.

When women ask me how/why I am a Liv ambassador I often reply that I wouldn’t represent a brand I didn’t believe in and if the products sucked, I wouldn’t want to be a part of what they are doing. Good news, the products kick ass and I’m proud to be riding their stuff!

16835737_10207874920223242_1269193603995628774_o
Liv Cycling Social @ Fitchburg Cycles

My ambassadorship is no where near over yet for the year. I have some really wonderful plans for events coming down the pipeline.

Sunday June 25th is a brunch ride to Paoli with a coffee stop at True Coffee roasters leaving from Fitchburg Cycles at 10am.

Sunday July 9th is a my Functional Fitness for Cyclists clinic at Cross Fit Big Dane- currently full, but e-mail info@spokehaven.com if you are interested in attending!

August will most likely be a fun Tour de Breweries ride featuring some awesome local breweries!

September will be an in shop maintenance clinic at Fitchburg Cycles

October will most likely be the last event which is kind of a toss up, but a costume ride or bike camping outing isn’t out of the question. I’ll have to see what options folks would be interested in.

All upcoming events will be posted at fitchburgcycles.com and facebook.com/fitchburgcycleswi not to mention the Spoke Haven Facebook page!

CycloFemme Madison 2017

 

image-6ace2acd09a09d9311152fb98727c511-defaultJoin Liv Cycling, Spoke Haven, Fitchburg Cycles and other area cycling groups for a special ride on Mother’s Day Weekend.

We’re offering up two route options this year. A long and a short. The long will include a ride around Lake Monona, then off to the Cap City Trail for roughly 30 beautiful miles of Madison scenery.

The short route will be around Lake Monona. Both rides will start and end at Olin Park.

The short ride will be casually paced and great for beginners and families.(10-12 mph)

The long ride option will be a little faster paced and great for more intermediate to advanced riders. (15-17 mph)

We’ll have some pre-ride nutrition and hydration available. For the long ride, we’ll have an opportunity have a restroom/water stop if it is needed at Fitchburg Cycles.

Long route riders should be ready to leave Olin Park at 10am.
Short route riders should be ready to leave Olin Park at 11am.

We’ll do a post ride stretching/yoga session after the ride, so please bring a mat, towel, or blanket if you’d like to participate.

RSVP online: https://www.facebook.com/events/1271042409669774/

Winter Powered by Krampus

krampusbw
Snow Krampus

It’s been awhile and we realize that. Much apologies to anyone who has followed the blog. With lack of a good working computer and living with just a tablet and smartphone, blogging hasn’t been the easiest thing to accomplish. Never fear, there’s much to cover and be discussed now that the Spoke Haven’s tech  is now up and running again.

There are some new bikes in the lineup as of late 2016 and early 2017 and I can’t wait to share them all with you!

The first bike to join the stable was a Surly Krampus. The Krampus has been around for a few years. It’s what is classified as a mid-fat bike or plus sized bike. It has a 3″ wide tire spec’d on it. Surly has updated the Krampus for the 2017 model year with their knot boost spacing, the ability to add an internally routed dropper post, and a few other bells and whistles. Check Surly’s website for current spec’s.

krampusnew
Stock Surly

I went for what is now referred to as a legacy Krampus. The bass boat green color cannot be beat. It’s probably one of my favorite Surly colors of all time. The bike just sparkles in the sunlight. So much so that I named my small sized Krampus Swampy Sparkles.
Before I delve into the overview, I want give a little history on Surly as a brand.
Surly has brought fat and plus sized riding to the mainstream.  When the Surly Pugsley landed on the market, it was not soon after that we saw a plethora of fat bike offerings from bike companies big and small. Each one trying to capture this new wave of people who wanted to extend their riding seasons and be able to ride in places never thought possible. OmniTerra is the term Surly uses to describe their category of fat and plus sized bikes.

krampusheadbadge
Headtube Glitter

Now, Surly admits to not being the first company to use the fat tire or plus sized platform. That being said, they have been able to push the cycling industry forward with creating bikes that are accessible and relatively affordable. Being a part of the Quality Bike Parts (QBP) family definitely makes sourcing a bit easier and a little more affordable.

I have personally ridden damn near every iteration of a Surly fat or plus bike they have ever made. Notice I said I have ridden, not owned. I don’t have a money tree growing outside of my front door! The exception being the new 27.5+ Karate Monkey. I admit that if I ride that bike, I may want to ride that over my Krampus. Maybe not though. Although the Prince purple version of that bike tempts me every time I see it. *drool*

surly-karate-monkey-ss-sv-17-930x390
Photo from Surly’s Website- Karate Monkey

The Krampus is more nimble feeling than a traditional 4-5″ tired fat bike. It holds its own on groomed snow as well as on icy bike paths. With the name like Krampus, it’s surprisingly not marketed much as a snow bike. Rather, Surly deems it as a trail bike. Something you can do a great deal of exploring on, but it excels on dirt and loose rocky, rooty goodness.

That’s not to say the Krampus can’t be a fantastic off-road touring rig or a bike to use for snow riding. It just excels more at being a trail ripper that inspires confident riding. For those of you who are looking for a dedicated dirt tourer from Surly, check out the ECR. The ECR is on the same 29+, three inch tire platform- just different geometry and more mounts on the bike for attaching gear.

ecr-14_sv_930x390
Photo from Surly’s website- ECR

Out of the box the Krampus had some great things going for it. Shimano SLX and Deore components, a 1x drive train, mechanical BB7 brakes, beautiful paint, and a no-nonsense cockpit. I am usually one for taking a bike and pulling most stock parts off of it. I didn’t do much of that this time around. I didn’t feel the need to, as the bike was extremely functional and well performing.

I did swap out the stock chain ring for a wide-narrow option from Race Face. I also added some fun orange anodized headset spacers from Wolftooth components. I chopped about an inch and a half of handlebar off each side and slid on some Ergon grips. My friend’s over at Green River Cyclery in Auburn, WA hooked me up with the sickest decals ever. Some fun purple bar ends I had laying around, a set of Giant platform pedals and I was ready to go!

30386353702_3768572ecd_o
A little bit of bling.

As an intermediate level mountain biker, the Krampus got me out of some riding situations I would that would have previously been either too sketchy or a death march on my fat bike. The width of the tires and the extremely low pressure they are able to run makes up for not having suspension on the front fork. They also provide amazing grip on even the greasiest of trails.

I have been also able to climb up some pretty technical, rocky ascents with the Krampus without hesitation. It has been a boost of confidence and allowed me to feel more comfortable riding more technical terrain as I develop my riding skills.

Overall I have really enjoyed the bike and it’s provided me some really fun riding over the summer and this winter alike.

Now, it’s not all butterflies and unicorns with the Krampus. The bike is quite beastly. There are a couple of local climbs I have either had to walk up or stop and take a rest on because the bike can take quite a bit of huffing to get it up some steeps.

krampussnow
Getting Ready for Quarry Ridge! Photo by: Brenda Limpert

I do sometimes wish it came stock with hydraulic disc brakes in some situations, but I like mechanical brakes in a touring or bike packing situation where they are more field serviceable. It’s kind of a wash, but it may depend on what you plan on doing with the bike. I hope to use it more for off road touring and bike packing in 2017, as I have added a full suspension 27.5/650b bike to my stable. More on that in another post!

s1200_liv_pique
Liv Pique 2 Sneak Peak! Photo: Vital MTB

Having the ability for a dropper post with internal routing would be nice, but that also adds weight. Same with adding a front suspension fork. All items being addressed on the current iteration of the Krampus. I personally don’t see adding a suspension fork to the bike anytime soon. There are quite a few folks out there in the blog world that have experimented with front suspension with some mixed reviews.

So far I haven’t had any real issues with the bike, other thank experimenting with chain length when I first built it. I ended up shoving the rear wheel as forward in the dropouts as possible and shortened the chain accordingly. I do sometimes get chain rub on the rear tire when in the largest rear cog on climbs, but it’s not enough to really make me pull the crank or cassette off to put in a spacer to address the issue.

krampusgarage
Snow Day!

Overall I am happy with the bike and look forward to having it being something I can beat on and not feel all that guilty about. There is nothing insanely expensive on it spec wise and everything is pretty dependable component wise. I look forward to experimenting with some different setups on it for bike packing. I see a Jones H bar in Swampy Sparkle’s future. A Jones bar and possible the Krampus/ECR fork with braze-ons to make gear hauling easier.  krampuspaint

If you are interested in checking out the Surly Krampus or any of Surly’s other bikes you can check out their Intergalactic Dealer Locator on their website. Almost all bike shops utilize QBP for ordering though, so you can pretty much source one from any shop in your area. I’ll be sure to post an update on the Krampus should it get a makeover, but for the time being it will be my outdoor winter bike, ready for the snow and slush!krampusseminole

Full disclosure: I was not paid by Surly to write a review for them. The bike was purchased via a shop discount through Fitchburg Cycles in Fitchburg, WI. All accessories added to the bike were also purchased by me and not paid for by any of the companies mentioned in the write up.

Fitchburg Cycles Partners with Spoke Haven Cycling Club

image

We are super excited to announce Fitchburg Cycles as a new club supporter. The shop is providing us with a start/end location for rides twice a month as well as in store discounts for club members. Fitchburg Cycles is also lending the club space for future workshops and clinics.

Owner Edwin Benet has spent his life in the cycling industry and works to create a welcoming space for all who want to ride. He, along with his wife and kids, opened the shop nearly three years ago and aimed to make the space warm and inviting. With its bright green walls, handmade wooden displays, and large bike themed  paintings (all created by his wife Mary Benet Treleven) the space is unlike any other shop in the area. Customers are offered free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while they browse or wait for service repairs. Not to mention there’s always free treats for humans and pets alike at the front counter.

Fitchburg Cycles carries bikes from brands Giant, Liv, Momentum, Linus, Cannondale, and Borealis. The Liv brand is a dedicated women’s line of bicycles from the parent company, Giant bicycles. One of the largest and most revered women’s bike brands in the world.

Accessory lines from Pearl Izumi, Bell, Giro, Cat Eye, Topeak, Continental, Yakima, Thule, Saris, Brooks, Light & Motion, Knog, Blackburn, kryptonite, GU, Tifosi, Feedback Sports, Park Tool, Fizik, and Selle Royale offer a range of products that are well known by customers and trusted by Edwin and his staff alike. Benet stresses the importance of carrying products that are made well, have a good reputation, and he refuses to carry brands or products that he himself wouldn’t use.

We look forward to calling Fitchburg Cycles our home shop for the 2016 season! A huge thanks goes out to everyone at Fitchburg Cycles for opening their doors to us and supporting women’s cycling.

For more information on rides, please check our ride info page.

*full disclosure: club manager Cassandra works for the shop. She does not, however have any financial gain by promoting the shop or its products and services.