Madison & Milwaukee Area Women Cyclists Join Forces for CycloFemme 2016

I am proud to announce that Spoke Haven has joined forces with Ladies’ Revolution of Milwaukee and the Bell Joy Ride- Madison to offer up a unique, women-trans-femme friendly riding experience for CycloFemme 2016.Participants will have the opportunity to try an overnight bike camping ride with the support of experienced ride leaders from the local cycling community.

Bike camping, sub 24 hour (S24O) outings, and bicycle touring have become more prominent in the past few years with the development and marketing of adventure geared bikes. There’s an increasing demand by women and men alike to find ways to use their bicycles as a vehicle to explore natural areas and enjoy the great outdoors.

The Madison and Milwaukee CycloFemme rides will take place on the packed gravel, Glacial Drumlin state trail. Milwaukee riders will have long distance, 65 mile (one way) route option or can opt to start at another location along the route for a shorter ride option. Madison area riders will have a roughly 30 mile ride option leaving from Revolution Cycles Madison or a shorter 17 mile route option starting from the Glacial Drumlin Trail head in Cottage Grove, WI. Madison area riders will also have the option to forego camping for an out and back ride to and from the trail head.

Ladies’ Revolution, Spoke Haven, and Bell Joy Ride- Madison riders will arrive at a group camp site at Sandhill Station in Lake Mills, WI. The ride itself is FREE to participants, but there is a $5 daily or $25 annual trail use fee for Glacial Drumlin. There is also a $10 fee for anyone opting to camp to help cover expenses of the site.

More information on the Madison area CycloFemme ride can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/586568414839869/

More information on the Milwaukee area CycloFemme ride can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/965124386911696/

Biking Into Winter. Biking with Friends.

Saturday’s ride was full of fun, full of adventure, full of great food, and of course full of great conversation. Saris Cycling Group was our meeting point and there were about 8 of us there a little after 10am. We all grabbed a little coffee (we’ve recently invested in a 2.5l carafe), chatted, then headed out on Military Ridge Trail. We picked up 2 other riders on our way out and went westward into the great headwinds.

Since the ride was so last minute we weren’t expecting that we’d have more than 5-6 riders, but we had a nice group of 10! The two gentlemen on the ride were outnumbered with 8 of us chatty ladies, but they seemed to enjoy themselves.

Most of the group.
Most of the group.

Military Ridge was fairly dry with a few gummy spots where larger ‘cross tires came in handy. Everyone was either on a road bike or a ‘cross style bike. The headwinds all the way into Mt. Horeb were pretty intense. The pace was around 11mph until we got closer to the town, where there was more tree cover. The open prairie and marshy area outside of Verona can make for some tough riding. While the route is flat, you basically can’t coast due to the winds being always at your face. Needless to say, we earned our lunch.

The group debated a bit as to where we’d like to eat. The plan initially was to go to the Grumpy Troll, but others were interested in going to Sjolinds Chocolate House. We ended going to the Troll for lunch as they serve alcohol. Bloody Mary’s needed to be had after that ride!

The Grumpy Troll
The Grumpy Troll

The Grumpy Troll has a fantastic Gluten Free menu and fully stocked bar. We highly recommend stopping in! We have plans on going again, but with a trailer in tow to stock up on growlers.

Sjolinds ended up becoming our dessert destination. We had said goodbye to 3 of our ride crew as they had other commitments, but the rest of us were more than happy to spend a little extra time drinking hot chocolates and tasting all the treats Sjolinds had to offer. It’s basically a candy store for adults. Lots of high quality chocolates, caramels, cakes, pies, and delectables.

Checking out the treats at Sjolinds.
Checking out the treats at Sjolinds.

Once we had our fill of treats, we decided to head out. The ride back towards Madison was extremely easy. The tailwind was incredible and we were going 15-17mph vs. the 11mph on the way to Mt. Horeb. All was going really well on our way out. Lots of fun conversation and friendships being formed. Each of us came from different backgrounds, but all found common ground and enjoyed each others company. It’s always exciting to see a group of people mesh so well.

The only negative thing that happened during the ride is that Cassandra had a bad crash. She skidded out on one of the wooden bridges, hurting her right forearm and pelvis. Luckily after a few minutes of being curled up on the ground, she was able to get back up and walk her bike to the next nearest road.

Cassandra's road rash. It looks a lot less scary in this photo than it does now!
Cassandra’s road rash. It looks a lot less scary in this photo than it does now!

Luckily one of the riders, Jackie, had her significant other on the phone to come pick us up. George had met us in Mt. Horeb by car and joined us for lunch. We were very lucky that he not only was able to come pick us up, but also had a Saris Bones rack on the back of his car for bikes! It was a bit of a bummer to have to end the ride early, but the rest of the ladies stuck around until we were picked up and were able to finish out the rest of the ride.

We really appreciated the NO RIDER LEFT BEHIND policy. They kept us in high spirits while waiting to go home. It’s amazing how awesome of a group this was and we can’t wait to get back out there and see our friends again.

Cassandra ended up going to urgent care once we picked up the car. Nothing ended up being broken, but her right forearm is cut up pretty bad and really swollen. She also has a really badly bruised pubic bone. There are also some pretty gnarly bruises on her left inner thigh, lower left back, and on her bum. Pain medicine, ice, and lots of rest are keeping her from feeling too terrible. She can’t wait to get back on the bike!

Word of advice kids, don’t ride over rail trail bridges one handed! She skidded out and hit the side of the bridge while trying to put something in her vest pocket. Ouch!

Overall we’d say this ride was 100% AWESOME. Hopefully we can do this route again or something similar in the future. We have no shortage of rail trails in this area and have a number of small towns outside of Madison that offer great food options!

Welcoming winter by bike is a great way to stave off the seasonal slump, so get out and RIDE.

Check out some additional photos below of our adventure 🙂

Gravel Crushin’

The Almanzo 100 (aka super crazy, famous gravel race in Minnesota) is a mere 20 days away. Neither me or Keri have had the time to truly put in a good amount of miles in the saddle. In all honesty, we’ll be glad if we finish half of it, but have made a pact to ride until it stops being fun. Whether that’s 40 miles or the whole 100, we shall see.

If we’re taking vacation days and spending money on a hotel room, we need to make sure both of us have fun doing whatever it is we are doing, otherwise the trip isn’t worth while. Fortunately neither of us are really wanting to participate in the race because of it’s “epic-ness”, but rather because it involves riding in a scenic setting with a bunch of other bike lovers. We’ll also be there along with the Midwestern Saris/CycleOps rep to promote the company. Saris graciously donated a heap of product for those who podium in various divisions of the race.

Today we decided to go ride one of our local rail trails to get in some gravel like riding in before the event. Most of our local trails are crushed limestone, but Glacial Drumlin has a section that deviates from the regular trail and has more loose chunky gravel. Having a few variations makes for more interesting riding. I personally haven’t ridden on the country roads of Southern Minnesota, but I’m guessing it’s not all nicely groomed and packed down dirt.

Another reason for the ride was to test our personal setups for the event. Keri is riding her steel Fuji touring bike with a rack and one pannier. I’ll be riding my Raleigh RX 1.0 with a Banjo Brothers Waterpoof Saddle Trunk, Jaand Frame Pack, and a Banjo Brothers Top Tube bag.

Each of our packing lists will include the following:
-2 waterbottles (may bring a third for good measure)
-1 camelbak
-1 pump
-tire levers
-tube
-patch kit
-chain tool
-park hex tool wrenches
-FixIt sticks (w/flat head)
-cycling computer
-iPhone
-pocket knife
-rechargeable headlight
-taillight
-back up small headlight (battery op)
-rain jacket
-hi vis packable vest
-arm warmers
-tube of NUUN hydration tablets & probably some Skratch labs mix
-a few packs Clif Bloks w/caffeine in various flavors
-Kind Bars for snacking
-Almond butter packets for snacking
-Road ID bracelet
-Joule GPS cycling computer (as back up, doesn’t give turn by turn directions, but has a little bit of a breadcrumbs feature in case we take a wrong turn- traditional GPS is not allowed, maps and cuesheets only!)
-cue clip
-aaa batteries & 2032 batteries
-small first aid kit w/ibuprofen & antacids
-Hoo Ha ride glide (best chamois cream EVER)
-Go Girl (so we can pee standing up with bibs on…a really awesome invention)
-tissue
-trowel (we’ll be in the woods)
-sunscreen
-lip balm
-sunglasses
-helmet
-cycling clothes & shoes

The list is long and short at the same time. The Almonzo is an unsupported race, so there are no aid stations with food or water on the route. As far as we know there are only 2 possible locations for stopping for food and to refill water. Hopefully it’s not blazing hot or cold and rainy. We’ll have to call for back up if we need to bail from the route.

Overall, I think we’re both excited to be a part of something fun and unique like the Almanzo. There’s about 1300 folks signed up for the race. I’m guessing about 1100 will actually show up, but maybe less. We’ll most likely start at the back of the pack since we’re not looking for glory and the caboose of a ride/race is always more fun over a long distance 🙂

Check the photos below of our adventures!