2016 Here We Come!

Hi All! Cassandra checking in again. I hope you all noticed we’ve updated the website. We have a brand new layout that is mobile friendly (we’re all carrying tiny computers in our pockets-weird).

We’ve also changed the focus of the site to reflect what is going on with the Spoke Haven Cycling Club. We have ride info as well as information on how to join our wonderful club.

We’re super excited to announce that we’ll be partnering with Erik’s Bike Shop on Madison’s West Side to provide a meeting site for a WEEKLY, yes…you read that correctly, road ride! No more switching off Thursdays, we are are going to ride every Thursday 🙂

Partering with Erik’s will allow us to offer plenty of free parking, bathrooms, a chance to get any quick mechanicals checked out, free air for tires, and a place to fill your water bottles. Not to mention they have enough bike gear to supply an army inside the store. With that we’ll also be able to take advantage of a 10% discount in the store. It’s a win for the club and since I work there it also allows me to work with our management team to allow me to have time to ride my bike, instead of just talking about bikes all day.

We will of course still offer our monthly TACO TUESDAY ride of awesomeness…and tacos. The details on starting locations will be announced closer to when the rides start. We are going to shoot for May and hope for the best riding weather possible. Winter was pretty short and sweet this year, unless we get the dreaded April blizzard. It is Wisconsin and all!

CycloFemme is on the books for this year as well. We will be doing a more toned down version of it as we have something cooking for a larger women’s ride/event in coordination with Wisconsin Bike Week. We’ll be partnering with the Wisconsin Bike Fed for that one and hopefully it will be even bigger and better than last year’s CycloFemme event was.

Spoke Haven will once again have a team for Bike MS this year. We had so much fun as a group last year that we just couldn’t say “no”to the chance to participate. If you want to join our team there is already an option to do so. You just need to search for Spoke Haven in the team box during sign up.

We’ll most likely have some ladies participating in Bike for Boys & Girls Club as well as the Madison Honor Ride, so keep an eye out for Spoke Haven team opportunities for those events.

I’m making it a personal goal to update the blog and website more frequently. It has been difficult to find time to do it all. Much of my winter was spent re-discovering my love of snowboarding. I’ve also been doing quite a few home projects, so it can be tough to muster up extra energy to write an in depth review on cycling gear after all of that.

Spring is just around the corner though and I will see to it that we keep things lively on here. I have some write ups on fatbikes, water bottles, and some other gear that are in the early stages. Along those lines we have been toying with the idea of doing some video content as it can be a lot easier to spout off thoughts on items to a camera than it is to have to type, edit, type, re-edit, post, etc. We will see. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

Anyway…thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you on the road!

Madison Bike Winter and Women & Bicycles Madison Want to Teach You How to Ride in the Cold!

There’s not one, but TWO fantastic opportunities for Madison area cyclists to learn about cold weather riding. The first is Madison Bike Winter’s Annual Fashion Show. The fashion show is open to the public and is being hosted at Machinery Row Bicycles.

The show starts at 5pm this Sunday and is BYOB!
Fashions covered in the show will include everything form high-tech, top notch new items from a variety of manufacturers to great D.I.Y style outfits and finds from your local thrift store.

Click the photo for more info!


The second event is being hosted by the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Women & Bicycles, and Spoke Haven.

Join us November 12th (Wednesday)
7pm at the Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Madison Office

There’s a Women’s Winter Bike Panel consisting of ladies who work in the local cycling industry or have extensive experience with year round bike riding.

Topics covered will include clothing choices, accessories for on the bike, what types of bikes work best for winter riding, and any other topics attendees care to talk about. There will be a short introduction and overview from each of the panel members, then the rest will be open discussion time to allow for a range of questions.

Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for all attendees. There’s also a small raffle package that each attendee will automatically be entered to win with some bike related goodies to get you on your way to riding through the winter!

womenscoldweatherpanel winterbikeriding women-and-bicycles-badge-header-600x300

We Rode Tyranena’s Oktoberfest Bike Ride!

Fall is probably the most popular time for people to ride in Wisconsin. The leaves change, the temps drop to a comfortable 50-60 degrees, and there’s often a lot of fun brewery sponsored bike rides.

The Tyranena Oktoberfest ride is one we’ve been meeting to take part in, but it never really synced up with our schedules. This year as soon as the ride was announced, we signed up and put it on our calenders. Nothing could stop us from riding our bikes and ending with delicious food and beer!

Tyranena offers three ride distances that afforded a little something for everyone. There’s a 30, 50, and 70 mile option. We were pretty gung ho to do the 50 mile route up until about Tuesday or Wednesday of last week. (Side note: Wisconsin weather is extremely bi-polar in the Fall and Spring months. It had been 80 degrees and the next day it was 40. That’s a pretty big difference!)

The forecast was calling for snow and rain for Saturday, so we decided 30 miles would be the best option as we didn’t want to ride 50 miles with snow chunks pelting our faces or end up riding with wet chamois. We were pretty happy with our decision as it was pouring down sleety rain. Our clothes were already drenched as soon as we finished taking our bikes off the car rack and knew it was probably not going to be anymore pleasant as the day rolled on.

We met up with some friends at the start and headed out. Within the first 5 minutes we had to pull over and add some layers of gloves. Our feet and hands probably suffered the most. I was pretty well prepared though.
On my body I started with wool socks, MTB shoes, bibs, fleece lined tights, a long sleeve base layer, a jersey, a thermal long sleeved jersey, a rain jacket, a light weight vest, a wool balaclava, thinner MTB gloves, my lobster glove liners over the MTB gloves, sunglasses, and my helmet.

Eventually I took the balaclava off and just put a thin wool stocking cap on to keep from getting too warm. I also dropped the outer layer of gloves. I then changed into another thin pair of gloves at the midway point/rest stop. I only wish I had packed a set of dry socks to keep my feet warm or had waterproof booties with me!

The ride itself was pretty easy. Once you get into eastern Wisconsin there aren’t a whole lot of hills. It’s not like west of Madison where you hit the driftless region and it’s granny ring central. The route was nice and there was lots of pretty farm land, barns, and such. It was sometimes hard to see because of wet/foggy glasses.

The routes were marked very well, which was good because I lost my cue sheet within the first couple minutes due to it getting wet and falling apart in my hands. I still wonder why no one has ever thought to print cue sheets on the same Tyvek material they print bib numbers on…oh, well.

One thing that stood out the most on the ride itself was the rest stop hosted at Cam Rock Cafe. It was amazing! They had good food, plenty of bathrooms, tents for standing under, an outdoor heater, and they had their shop open for people to go inside and purchase gear if need be. Oh, they also had Saris event racks on hand to park bikes. The Tyranena folks should have utilized these as well as there were bikes leaned up against every square inch of the joint.

All in all the rain and the cold wasn’t terrible until the last 5 or so miles. We went from riding in a nasty headwind into a nasty crosswind. There were a few times we almost got blown off of the road and you had to lean into the wind to stay upright. It was the longest 5 miles of riding I think I’ve ever experienced!

Making the final turn into Tyranena HQ made things a whole lot better. Once we changed out of our wet gear, put the bikes on the rack, and walked over to the tent we were able to get a plate of hot food. The lines were reasonable as we missed the first big wave of folks who finished the 30 miler. We had left the rest stop area during a lull, so we timed things out pretty well. We had food and beer in hand within about a minute and no waiting. You could tell when the final group of the 30 mile riders and the largest group of the 50 milers started making it in because the tent filled up quickly. Even then, the beer line wasn’t that long. We were able to try some great season beers like the Pumpkin Porter along with some Tyranena classics like my favorite, Rocky’s Revenge.

Overall, I would highly recommend this ride. It was very well organized, the routes all looked great, and the after party was a lot of fun. They had live music with a lot of great Irish drinking songs. We all had a great time and hopefully next year it will be a bit warmer out!