One of the greatest things about cycling, to me, is the simple joy of getting out of the house and going places under my own power. Whether it’s riding to work, running errands or just rolling downtown to meet friends for a beer. It’s more relaxed and more fun than driving and faster than walking.

Probably the greatest way to enjoy this aspect of cycling is by bike touring, covering dozens, hundreds or even thousands of miles by your own muscle power. The challenge for a lot of us, though, is finding the time for extended trips, or the money for specialized equipment that we may only get to use once or twice a year.

This is where the S24O comes in. “S24O” is short for “Sub-24-Hour Overnight,” a term that was coined by Rivendell Bikes founder Grant Petersen, although the idea has been around forever. Basically, one heads out after work in the afternoon or evening, spends the night outdoors, then rides home in the morning (or afternoon, or whenever you need to be back). It’s less a tour than a chance to get outside for an evening and have a mini-adventure. Because you’re not spending a long time on the road, or covering huge distances, you don’t need a ton of gear, and what you do have doesn’t have to be super-light or high-end. It just has to be good enough for the night. It’s also pretty low-risk, since your time outdoors is measured in hours, not in days or weeks.

A few of us at Revolution Cycles have been talking about getting out for some overnight trips for a while, and this September we finally managed to sneak out for a couple of Sub-24s. Most recently, we got together with a bunch of our friends and took the Glacial Drumlin Trail out to Mud Lake where we spent the night at Sandhill Station State Campground.

One of the coolest things about this trip was seeing the sheer variety of bikes and gear setups. From John’s expedition-ready Salsa Fargo, with a full complement of racks and bags to the simple backpack full of gear carried by one of our regular customers.


Jeff brought his touring bike and trailer, making it easier to buy some adult beverages and firewood before we reached the campground


But the most popular setup seems to be a 29”-wheeled mountain bike with large handlebar, seat bags and a frame bag.


I like this setup a lot, as it allows you to setup just about any bike for a trip, regardless of whether or not it has braze-ons and fittings for traditional racks and panniers. Furthermore, if your trip involves mixed terrain or off-road trekking, it keeps the weight of your gear centered and less likely to snag on vegetation than a traditional pannier setup. I’ve been experimenting with my own setup and decided to try the traditional rack-and-pannier approach with a small front rack to help balance the load and manage the light-but-bulky stuff like my sleeping bag and tarp. 089

I chose to use my singlespeed cyclocross bike because it was easier to put a rack on than my mountain bike, and I’ve had those panniers sitting around for about 15 years and only used them a few times. Fortunately, this was a pretty flat ride, so the lack of gears didn’t hurt me, though I wouldn’t have minded a bit more upright riding position for this sort of trip. Again, this is part of the benefit of the S24O, since it’s only going to be a couple hours of riding, you don’t need a touring bike, just a way to carry your stuff that you can put up with for a couple hours (a basket, a big messenger bag, whatever) and you only need the most basic of camp gear. If you want, you can leave after dinner and get home before breakfast so you don’t even need to cook. You don’t need extra clothes except for a jacket in case it gets chilly and if the weather is clear and the bugs aren’t too bad you can even skip the tent. Our ride out was a blast! We left the shop a little while before sunset and were able to get through the worst of Madison traffic before it reached full dark. In Cottage Grove we hopped on the Glacial Drumlin trail which, thanks to a super-bright moon and a bit of early-autumn chill, turned out to be an extremely pleasant ride. Everything went perfectly until we got off the trail in Lake Mills, and back onto the road…


Due to a few navigational complications, we missed the turn in the dark and had to loop around a few times before getting to the campsite. Hey, bonus mileage is good for you, and we were in good spirits when we finally rolled in and joined our colleagues who had taken a detour for firewood and snacks! There was fire, there were marshmallows, there was food and beverages, and most importantly, there was all the fun of a night with your buddies around a fire.


Then we got some sleep. In the morning those of us who had to open the shop got up bright and early headed back towards town while those bastards, our friends who had the morning off,  slept in and missed out on a gorgeous misty morning ride home.


After some much needed coffee, we were able to get to work on time with enough life left in our legs to make it through our Saturday of working.

For the early crew, our adventure lasted about 15 hours, from 6:30 on a Friday evening when we locked the door and rolled out till about 9:30 Saturday morning when the first of us arrived to get Revolution ready for business. Because we run a business that’s open 7 days a week, and most of the staff has our days off staggered, it’s nearly impossible to arrange for a more traditional bike tour, even for a weekend, where we get to hang out with each other outside of the shop. By getting together for a S24O, it was possible to get some outdoor time with a great bunch of co-workers and friends in a way that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

If you’re interested in trying your own S24O adventure, or joining us on one of ours, there are a lot of resources on the internet to get you started, including Grant Petersen’s blog on the web site. Or you could simply come on down and talk with us! 


Speaking of back to school, our repair school is open for enrollment!  Class details as well as info on how to sign up is on our school’s link (or click on Revolution School above).  We’ve already signed up a bunch of eager students so contact us soon!  Yay for school!

Revolution Cycles Repair School is open!

Back To School 2015

If you’re new to town and ya like bikes come in and say hello! We’d love to meet you! For back to school, we’re also throwing some specials for you. Show Us your UW Madison student ID and tell us something cool about your hometown and you can get…

–15% off accessories & parts with $50+ purchase

–20% off accessories & parts with $100+ purchase

—-This can be applied to a new messenger bag or backpack even wheels or grips!

—-Discounts do not apply to bike service or new bikes/frames

–Special Student Bike kit!

—-Water bottle, patch kit, tire levers, & tri-flow lube for $15!!

Offer ends Sept 31st

Swing by and we’ll let you know about group rides and great places to ride to. We can also cue you in on our favorite restuarants and bars (if you’re old enough!).


What is mountain bike month you ask?  Well, this is going to be a month that the Rev crew will be spending a lot of time on mountain bikes, camping and having a grand time in nature.  Everyone or anyone is welcome to join us!  August and September are hosts to some truly amazing mountain bike events here in the Midwest.  The first one being this weekend for Single Speed USA (National) race at Levis Trow Mounds trail in Neilsville, WI (facebook).  Wisconsin won the slot to host it so let’s show the country how amazing our trails are and what better way than to shred them on one gear!  This is not going to be an easy race but the debauchery that follows makes it worth it all.

Then there is CORP Fest hosted by the hardworking folks at Capitol Off Road Pathfinders.  This is a celebration for all the volunteer hours that went into these great local trails.  Join us for fun activities and trail riding at the beautiful Bluemounds State Park.  There are going to be so many improvements and additions to the exsisting mountain bike trail systems in the upcoming years.  Learn all about them in a couple of weeks. So exciting!

Then there is Labor Day weekend!  We have been going to Copper Harbor MI for Copper Harbor Fest for the last 7 years.  If you didn’t know, Copper Harbor has become a mecca for mountain biking in the Midwest.  This trail brings thousands of people from across the country to shred some U.P. singletrack.  Nestled in the clear waters of Lake Superior, it has some awe inspiring views and terrain.  Worth a visit just to take a dip in the cool lake!  Which is always a great way to end this grueling ~30mi race with ~3000 ft of climbing.


Revolution Cycles is experiencing a tremendous growth lately.  We’ve doubled our workforce and inventory in the last two years.  We love working on all of your bikes, but witihin the next couple of weeks, we’re going to finally take some much needed time to ride OUR bikes.  Posted above is our open hours for the August and September.

Anyone interested in mountain biking, drop by and ask us about it.  Not only are there great trails in our lovely state of Wisconsin, there are so many just biking distance from our capitol.  Lastly, come hangout with us on our Thursday Night Rides!  Updates weekly on our facebook on where and when to meet.  It’s a casual ride out to Quarry Ridge in Fitchburg.  Ride as much or as little singletrack as you want but we all ride together!

We’re excited for the next couple of weeks, hope you can join us or at least hope you all are getting out there for some Summer fun!

Brett Stepanik on The Radavist

So proud of you Brett!  Our very own part-time wrench / full time photographer (check out is work here) is taking on the tremendously difficult Tour Divide Race for the second time!  This is a ~2700mi race that spans the Continental Divide trail; from Banff Canada to Anelope Wells New Mexico.  To get an idea what these racers must endure, I highly encourage watching the Ride the Divide movie.  Even if you don’t like racing, it’s still a great watch!  Sending our positive vibes out West for our good friend.  You can check up on his progress through his Instagram (@brettstepanik), call ins or via tracker.

On a side note, with the growth of cycling, it is inevitable that the industry changes to serve new needs.  This race in itself, has defined a whole new genre in cycling: bikepacking.  With it comes new products like frame bags, large saddle bags, and burly cages.  It even serves to look at the bike in a whole different way.  Now add new technology and it has become much easier to escape into new adventures.  It is truly amazing that there are a lot more products available for all different types of riding experiences.  What an exciting time for us bike folks to live in!


Good morning everyone!  The sun is shining and it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day.  Now that 2015 is halfway done, we can say that this year has been like no other.  Even with 7 full timers (the most we’ve ever had), a bunch of awesome new displays (set up by our amazing Amber!) and a complete overhaul of how we run the business, the shop is still staying incredibly busy (2-3 weeks out on tune ups!).  It’s been such a pleasure to work on everyone’s bikes, even though we have to wrestle with most of them ;)  We have a very different approach to how we run a bike shop and we are just so thankful that people keep coming to us for our services.  End all we love riding bikes and we want to share that love by fixing up your bikes.  Hope you have a great week!  Keep posted, we have lots coming up!



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