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.

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)

Shinola-runwell-steel-commuter-bicycle-specs

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!

shinola

Holiday Shopping: Keep it local, Keep it Made in the USA, Keep it Made in Wisconsin!

Yes, it’s that time of year again where all you see on TV and online are BLACK FRIDAY uber sales ads. We’re not here to tell you where to find the cheapest of anything. For us it’s more about supporting the up and comers or the folks who keep jobs in our fine state and contribute to growing our local economy.

Wisconsin is a mighty lucky state because we have a booming bicycling industry. We wouldn’t have such great riding if we didn’t have  Trek, Pacific/Schwinn, Planet Bike, Hayes/Sun Ringle, Fyxation, 1/8th Inch (aka Wheel & Sprocket), and many more cycling companies big and small. The only bummer about those companies is that they don’t do a whole lot of manufacturing within our state. A lot of it is simply either product development, customer service, or sourcing from other countries. (Don’t get me wrong. They are still creating jobs for people, but manufacturing has a long history with our state and it’s sad to see there’s not much of it left.)

Trek’s only actually MADE IN AMERICA bikes are the most expensive Madones, TT bikes, and I think one Domane series. All the rest are manufactured in Taiwan and assembled here. There’s some cloud over people who still believe Trek is able to offer $500 bikes that are made in the USA. WRONG. No company could offer bikes for that cheap (yes, $500 for a bike is considered cheap nowadays, sorry to break it you!) . If they did, they’d go out of business almost immediately. $500 barely covers the cost of steel/aluminum tubing and that’s not even counting the components to get you riding.

Schwinn/Pacific hasn’t been made in the US for YEARS. The days of Chicago made Schwinns are long dead and they were bought up by big box bike supplier Pacific, who also owns Cannondale. I don’t know if any Schwinn is made in the US anymore. Cannondale I think has a few that are.

Moral of the story…research before you buy and before you scoff at the $1500-3000 price range of a custom made bike in the US, know that cost of labor in the US is much greater and the cost of steel/aluminum,titanium tubing as well as sourcing carbon and molding it is SUPER expensive.

On to the point…there are a few companies base here that actually DO manufacture their goods right here in good old Wisco. We like to support them because they develop products, manufacture products, host customer service at their facilities, and are huge supporters of advocacy in our state.

We won’t get into the complete history of the Waterford company, you can find that on their website. They were basically born out of the ashes of the original Schwinn company going bankrupt.

Waterford makes custom steel frames for consumers and Gunnar is the brand they use for production style frames. The company had also been building bikes for Terry Bicycles, the all women’s brand, who later was bought out by another company so gone are the days of a good by women, for women USA designed and built bike. I’m sure Waterford could reproduce something similar to what Terry was asking of them.

Waterford also builds the famous Rivendell frames. The guys at Riv give them the specs and Waterford crafts their sometimes strange, but beautiful designs.

I personally dealt with Richard/Marc while planning for the Saris Gala and they are very generous people who have a great love for what they do and for supporting cycling culture here in Wisconsin.

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Oh how we love Scout Bags! Scout master Seth runs a small, but efficient operation. His web store features a selection of pre-made bag designs, but he’ll gladly work with you on getting something done up in customer colors. I had approached Seth/Scout Bags about getting something sent over for the Saris silent auction and ended up ordering a bag from him. He was so nice and he’s local (Wausau, WI), how could I not have?!

I had my Timbuk 2 swig stolen out of my car last this past summer while out on a training ride and was feeling naked not having a good everyday bag to carry around misc. items. Once I gave my demands Seth quoted me a couple week lead time due to a few orders he was currently fulfilling, which ended up being perfect for me as I earned a commuter incentive that allowed me (Cassadra) to get some money towards the purchase of some commuter goods.

The bag showed up at my office right around the time he had quoted me and I was blown away. The quality is excellent and the size of the bag (the Tomb model) was big enough to lug around a lot of gear, without being TOO huge for my girly frame.

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Selle An-Atomica has been churning out fine leathery goodness since 2007. They have a cult like following for people who were looking for something similar to a Brooks saddle, but with a cut out for the sensitive areas. The beautiful saddles are manufactured right here in good ol’ Wisconsin and are currently on holiday special for $99. For an amazing leather saddle, that’s quite the steal!

That’s all she wrote for now. We’re always on the look out for more made in Wisconsin and Made in the USA products. Send us some of your favorites!

Keep It Local: Cognition Caps

 

Cycling caps have become more than an on the bike necessity. They’ve become a fashion statement and a way to identify other cycling enthusiasts. A good quality cap that is well fitting can be hard to come by, but Cognition seems to have figured out the formula. They hand make each cap and even offer two different sizes to accommodate even the largest of noggins.

Styles range from traditional single color caps all the way to flannels, wool, and crazy color/pattern combinations. They will sometimes even use reclaimed material to come up with limited runs.

Kelly and Lyle (the owner’s of Cognition) have come through for us on a few occasions. They’ve created caps that went along with our ACT 8 team’s orange, black, and white color scheme. The pair have also donated one of a kind hats for several fundraising events around Madison as well as many alley cats and bike races around the United States.

We’re proud to have them in our backyard and happy to see a slick new updated web store, showcasing their most up to date offerings. Visit www.wearcognition.com for some handmade in the USA cycling cap goodness!