Fitchburg Cycles Partners with Spoke Haven Cycling Club

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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.

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Soma Doublecross Build

Every so often you make the decision to purchase a bike for fun. Not out of necessity, not to replace an outdated model, but just because you love the idea of having some new eye candy to roll on.

Buying the Soma Doublecross frame was one of those purchases. It wasn’t like we needed anymore bikes. I have a Raleigh RX 1.0, a Surly Cross Check, a vintage Raleigh fixie conversion, a vintage Peugot fixie conversion, Keri’s Fuji touring bike, and Keri’s Trek Lexa SLX. All fantastic options for going out and riding about town.

The purchase of the Doublecross frame couldn’t be helped. It was love at first site and with a bank full of tax refund, there weren’t any excuses not to buy. Once it was settled, I gave a call to the wonderful folks over at Merry Sales. They are one of few Soma distributors and work closely with the folks at Rivendell to import some quality bike goods. I placed an order for a 48cm Soma Doublecross frame, matching fork, purple IRD headset, a Suzue touring wheelset, and a Nitto front rack. The order was placed and there was no turning back.

The next step was ordering some items from QBP. A new triple crank from Shimano, a matching Hallowtech bb, Jagwire cables in white silver, a Sram 9spd chain, and a new Shimano XT 9sp rear derailleur. The rest of the parts were transferred over from the Surly Crosscheck.

It took a few weeks for the build to be completed. Tools to complete all the tasks were the biggest hurdle, so each week a tool would be purchased that was necessary to get the job done. The purchases would probably seem a little unnecessary to the casual cyclist, but since we plan on opening a shop and all…it’s going to end up being a write off anyway!

If there was one task that was the most difficult or I guess rather annoying…it would be setting up the rear brake. Soma went about placing not only a built in hanger for canti brakes on the frame, but also a braze on for if you wanted to use V brakes. The only thing is that with the noodle design of the Paul Mini Motos, you can’t really get a nice clean line coming off the noodle to the cable housing. There was lots of experimentation to be had with housing length. It seemed like the more streamlined/shorter it was made, the more difficult it was to set up the brake properly. In the end it was decided to leave the housing on the long side and just deal with it. Maybe someday when the schedule allows that issue will be tackled, but for the time being the bike works and so do the brakes, so that’s all a girl can really ask for.

This build was officially the first that was completed without the help of anyone else. Usually I grab a more mechanically inclined friend to assist, but I decided it was about time to suck it up and do it on my own. I knew how to install everything, I knew how to lube, grease, and tighten everything to spec. In most cases when it came to assembling a bike it was the lack of tools that really made me lazy. I’d take the bike into a shop or ask a friend if I could come hang out to work on my bike and they usually did all the work for me. Not this time. I’m proud to say this is the first of MANY bikes that will be built by me. My goal is just to improve upon my mechanical skills and hopefully pick up some tips along the way to make things a little speedier and easier along the way.

For all the bike nerds, I’ll list all the parts below.

The official build list is as follows:
Frame: Soma Doublecross 48cmFork: Soma painted to match
Wheels: Suzue Touring /Cyclocross
Skewers: Salsa Flipoff purple
Tires: Resist Nomad
Crank: Shimano Tiagra
BB: Shimano Tiagra Hallowtech II
Front Der: Shimano 105 triple
Rear Der: Shimano XT 9spd
Chain: Sram 9spd
Seatpost: Ritchey Classic (cut down to fit in the frame)
Seat clamp: Salsa Liplock purple
Saddle: Brooks Flyer
Stem: Dimension +- 17 degrees (give or take) 90 or 100mm 26.0
Handlebars: Nitto Noodles 41cm/42cm depending on source
Headset: IRD/Tange-Sekai purple
Brake Levers: Tektro short reach
Brakes: Paul Mini Motos
Cables: Jagwire
Shifters: Shimano 9spd bar ends mounted on Paul thumbies
Handlebar tape: Velo Orange leather
Pedals: Crank Brothers Candy C
Bottle cages: Velo Orange Moderniste

Last night the bike was tested around our parking garage and it was such a smooth ride. I don’t like comparing two different cycling companies, as they both have their strong suites…it’s just that the Soma was a great improvement from riding the Surly. The frame tubing is higher quality, the welds are smooth as butter, the paint is gorgeous, and using vertical dropouts instead of horizontal made for much easier assembly. The vertical drops will also be appreciated should a rear flat ever occur. The frame felt zippier and a little more responsive than the CC.

Spring can really arrive any day now. The Doublecross is itching to get out on some road rides and rail trails. A full write up on the long distance ride quality will be added once we get some miles racked up. I’m still looking for a name for my new found love. The Surly was always lovingly known as Foxy Brown. Give us a shout on Facebook if you have any suggestions!

Business Planning

We just wanted to give everyone an update letting you know we’ll be putting things on hold for a bit with the blog, possibly doing some re-structuring and figuring out our groove.

Keri and I have been hard at work, putting together a kick-ass business plan for Spoke Haven. We have a deadline coming up for submitting our plan for a course we both took this spring.  It’s getting down to the wire! The hardest part has been forecasting financials and really carving out the type of shop we’d like to have. We’ve now got a pretty clear vision of who we’d like to be and it’s a lot different from any other shop in the Madison area.

I want to take a moment to thank our friends with small businesses who have offered up some really great advice. Coast In Bikes, NessAlla Kombucha, Chrysalis Hair and Body, Hinckley Design & Production, and the Froth House. We’re very lucky to have a wonderful community of small business owners who are willing to help out other up and comers. Please support their businesses!

It may take awhile to get everything going, but we have some fundraising goals for next year as well as some events and promotions to help get the word out about the future shop. There’s going to be lots of touring of commercial space and talks with distributors happening. We’re both really excited to see our dreams of small business ownership coming to life!

There’s some talk of doing either a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign. While we’ll be the owners of the shop, we want our customers, friends, and family to feel like they too own a little part of it. Not to mention, giving back to those who choose to support our endeavors! Having a fun community space is really important to us and we want to be more than your average corporate or overstuffed shop.

Spoke Haven really wants to support and collaborate with local businesses and manufacturers of bike related goods. There are so many great companies doing such unique, progressive things in the world of cycling. We want to help them grow as we grow.

Once we finish up our business plan and move into our new home in October, we’ll hopefully have more info available. In the meantime will still try to post about upcoming events, etc. We may just be slow on doing product reviews and similar write ups. Believe me, there’s a lot of cool gear we’ve been using and would love to share!

Please feel free to shoot us an e-mail if you have any questions, comments, or advice. We’d love to hear people’s ideas on what they’d like to see in a local shop. -info@spokehaven.com-

One of things we’re going to work on is getting an e-mail list set up so once we get things rolling with the business we can keep folks updated on what we’re doing and where we’re at. We also want to spread the word about events we’ll be attending or hosting relating to the business.

Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!

-Cassandra

NorthsideWheelers-13

Choose to Commute Summer Series

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The Wisconsin Bike Fed, Sustain Dane, and Planet Bike Present:
Choose To Commute

A bicycle commuting workshop for beginners
Sponsored by Planet Bike and Sustain Dane
The first Tuesday of every month at 7pm
at Redamte (449 State St, Madison)

*Every participant receives a FREE bike light from Planet Bike*

Have you ever thought about commuting by bike, but didn’t know where to start? This workshop is for you.

Learn the basics – Safety, rules of the road, gear, and more
Find out tips and tricks from guest speakers
Get your FREE bike light from Planet Bike
Join us on a GROUP RIDE after every class!

Find out more and RSVP –> http://bit.ly/choosetocommute

OUR SPONSORS:
Planet Bike –> http://www.planetbike.com/
Sustain Dane –> http://www.sustaindane.org/

About The Wisconsin Bike Fed:
http://www.wisconsinbikefed.org/
http://www.facebook.com/bike.fed.wi
http://www.twitter.com/bikefed
http://www.instagram.com/bikefed

Shinola Detroit Now In the Bike Business

We couldn’t help but re-post this info from Bike Rumor. Our goal isn’t to bite other blog’s info, but this is awesome news! Shinola, the Detroit based manufacturer, is looking to add handmade bicycles to their product line up. The company currently makes high quality watches, leather journals, and other leather goods.

They sought out Waterford Precision here in good ol’ Wisconsin to build the frames. The frames are made of chromoly steel and the bikes themselves will be internally geared with some nice components. (see bel0w)

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Shinola lists $2,500 as the price of a full build for a men’s or a women’s specific bike. A little on the steep side, but you’re getting a USA made frame with nice components, and internal gears. If you’re looking to leave your car behind, these bikes would be a solid option to look into. Not to mention you’d be supporting the US workforce.

As far as dealer availability, they won’t be springing into every shop on the block. Shinola is working with select dealers for stocking the bikes and their soon be released, leather accessories. At this time we don’t know who in Wisconsin will be stocking them, but I’m sure if you kept an eye on their website, you’d be able to figure it out!

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