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

Made in Wisconsin: SCOUT Bags

As someone becomes a seasoned cyclist, they start to learn what gear is great and what gear is lackluster. There’s a lot of hype in the bike world about the latest and greatest technology, fabrics, etc.

It can be difficult to know who to trust when it comes to the gear you tote hundreds, if not thousands of miles. Luckily we found SCOUT Bags based in Wausau, Wisconsin. SCOUT’s story is not unlike many small businesses. The owner, Seth, was looking for a well made, utilitarian bag he could use for cycling. After taking a look at an old messenger bag he had lying around, he figured “I can sew that”, but decided to put his own spin on it.

What started out as an experiment on an industrial sewing machine, ended up spawning a full line of bag offerings. SCOUT now offers two kinds of messenger bags, a roll top backpack, a backpack dubbed at the “Tomb”, tool pouches, laptop cases, tote bags, a bar wallet, and even a nice clutch for the ladies!

SCOUT also offers heavy duty pedal straps, a saddle bag, and if you ask nicely…a sweet beverage holster 🙂

Seth insists on on using heavy duty canvas, vinyl lining, nylon webbing, buckles, straps, and thread on all of his products. We’ve seen a good amount of his work in person and both of us own bags of our own. The custom Tomb bag that I (Cassandra) have has held up wonderfully over the past seven months. Every piece of the bag was thought out and serves a functional purpose. You can’t always say that about a commercially made bag. I’ve had my fair share of bags from Timbuk2, Dakine, Dickies, and a plethora of other companies who make “commuter” bags.

I can say with complete honesty that my current SCOUT bag has been my favorite. Maybe it’s because I got my choice of color scheme or because it was made in my home state. I’m not sure…it could be that it just works. It’s not too big, not too small. The only thing I changed about the bag was I added a reflective strip of iron on material across the back as I didn’t think to ask to have a loop attached for placing a light on my bag for night riding.

Keri has one of the awesome waxed canvas clutches and it works perfectly for fitting a phone, wallet, and other small items for going out on the town or keeping in her messenger bag.

You can find SCOUT Bags locally at Madison’s Revolution Cycles or hit them (Seth will sometimes call in reinforcements when the orders start getting crazy) up directly via Facebook. There was an online store set up for ordering bags as well, but I believe it is under construction at the moment. We’ll put out an update with info once we get that information. Often times Seth will set up shop at various bike swaps around the state and he says that as long as he gets requests from cyclists for gear, he’ll keep expanding his product line and churning things out.

UPDATE: order bags via scoutbags.bigcartel.com

We have a feeling he likes a challenge, so if you dream it, SCOUT can build it err sew it!

When Seth’s not  sewing in his basement studio, you’ll catch him riding BMX or road riding. He claims to dig climbing hills, so if you run into him…challenge him to some king of the mountain 😉

Full disclosure: I paid full price for my bag as well as Keri’s bag. We are, however, most likely going to be working with SCOUT on some items for our upcoming online store. Stay tuned for the details.

Fix It Sticks- LAST DAY for KICKSTARTER BACKERS!!!

Today is the last day for the Fix It Sticks KICKSTARTER Campaign! If you haven’t heard of this product yet, you should probably start looking up bike blogs because all the cool kids seem to be digging on this product design. We know we are! fixitsticks

The bits of the Fix It Sticks are permanently fixed into place, so you don’t have to worry about loosing the pieces in a jersey pocket or on the road. The Sticks are lightweight and beautifully simple in design and function. Brian Davis, the designer, has spent many hours perfecting everything from materials to color to weight. The best part is, he’s based in Wisconsin and the sticks will be USA made!

We’ve decided to back his project and hope others do too. If you support his campaign, you’ll be one of the first kids on the block with some sweet new bike tools. Expect a full review of the product once it shows up in our mailbox. Other sites have pre-production models, but we want the real deal,  the available to the public, full production model.

To support Brian and the Fix It Sticks campaign, please click HERE. Word is that Brian is working on some other slick bike related goodies. We can’t wait to see what he has in store for the future!

p.s. There’s a little tutorial on how to make a holder for the Fix It Sticks out of a reclaimed bike tube. We got a sneak peak of one at the Brazen Dropouts bike swap…super sweeet.