Happy Thanksgiving!

Depending on who you talk to the idea of Thanksgiving can either posses a positive or negative connotation, and sometimes, it can even get political.  Now, I’m not here to really dissect one or the other, but most people here in the US of A have a couple of days off this time of year.  What I ask of you is to think how are you going to approach the next couple of days?

Are you going to choose to be stressed out about family or that you will have a mountain of things at work to go back to?  Are you going to be concerned that all the food is going to destroy your current diet plans or dread the foreseeable travel either by car or plane or train?

I recently found this video about stress, take a peek if you have a couple of minutes…

Basically, the video explains that we as humans have the unique ability to change the way we feel. I would really like to believe that you CAN CHOOSE to feel great!

You might start to feel excited about the rare chance you get to see all your family members OR that work doesn’t have to control your life.  Maybe you can start to appreciate the bounty of homemade food that you and your loved ones prepared or that maybe a 4 hour drive or 6 hour flight is all worth it to see the ones you love.

Some of you might find this fluff or nonsense, and, maybe it is.  However, I would like to believe that we have much more control over our mood than we tend to think.  I chose to NOT hate on the 5 people in front of me that ordered the most complicated and time-consuming coffee-like beverage at my local cafe this morning (it gave me time to read the paper before heading to work!) just like I choose to NOT stress out when it starts pouring on me while biking home.  Someone once told me that time is the one thing that you can never get back.  So, are you going to spend time being upset and frustrated OR appreciative and happy?

So this is part of the reason we close the shop on ‘Black Friday.’  If you care for your friends and family, then spend the time with them instead of rushing off to buy things you probably don’t even need in the first place, and be mindful when you are together.  Listen, laugh, cry, and really be present. Be there for them (and yes, put your phone down!).

In the end, I hope you all have a great time with whatever you all do, with whomever you choose to spend the next couple of days with.  Happy Thanksgiving everybody from me and everyone at Rev!


Thurs Night Rides are on!

It happens every year around April and May.  You wake up one day and take a peek outside.  You see the snow has melted so you check the weather online.  The week looks promising with temps between the 40s and 50s.  If you haven’t been riding much through the treacherous winter, you get excited at the idea of riding again.  Finally breaking a bad case of cabin fever, you grab your bike from your basement/garage and bring it over to your local bike shop.  Then you realize that everyone else in Madison is thinking the same thing you are and you have to wait a couple of weeks to get your bike back.  Oof.

So here’s a friendly reminder to bring your bike in now!  If you’ve been riding it this past year, your bike(s) most likely need some repair work.  Advantages of taking it in now?  In Spring and Summer, you don’t have to deal with the long repair wait!  For most of the busy season our tune up cue can be 2 – 3 weeks long.  If you bring it in now, we will do a free check over in the Spring.  If the bike wasn’t ridden in the snow or doesn’t show a tremendous amount of use, we will lubricate and grease components as necessary at no charge.  Turn around time right now is about 2 days (depending on if we have to order parts or not).  If you have gotten a full tune up or restoration by us this year, we will knock 15% off your next full tune.  Remind your family and friends!

We’re keeping ourselves busy with some great new bike builds and are very excited for Winter riding and the upcoming Spring.!

Cea's custom painted Surly Disc Trucker!

Revolution Cycles can now do custom powerder coating! So if you’ve ever wanted to change your bike color or clean up all the dings and rust from a frame, we can help you out with that! This is a Surly Disc Trucker we recently built up for a customer and we did it up in deep blue with a gloss flake finish. It turned out great! Send us an email or drop by with any questions.


I got into cycling about a decade ago and right off the bat, I felt this surge of independence.  There was no parking hassle and I got excercise everyday.  It felt mentally and physically uplifting to use the power of my own legs to do one of the most essential things in life: transportation.  I will admit, when I first got into bicycles, I rode fast.  Just making the world a blur as my pedals spun as fast I could get them to.  Back then, for me, it was about the fastest time to get to my destination with no real goal other than I was just so excited to get on my bike.

Today, I’ve changed my tune a bit.  Still, everyday I acknowledge the great things the bike does for me, just at a much slower pace.  What I realize now after riding and helping people with bikes for ten years is that cycling is an experience.  Whether it’s getting ready to blast up hills in the Driftless area or prepping your panniers for groceries, every ride has it’s purpose.  That purpose can be exploration, commuting to work, exercise, or recreation with friends.  For us bike shop employees, we must encourage people to have a great experience on their bikes.  To remind them that cycling is good for our minds and bodies as well as for our community.  But most importantly, we want you to notice how beautiful the world is.  That there is an inherent difference between how you experience life in a car verses on a bike.  We want you to get excited about riding just like we do everyday.

Next time you swing your leg over your bike, I want you to be conscious of your senses.  Take in a big breath of cool fresh air.  Feel your heart pumping faster.  Notice the colors on the trees.  Wave to a stranger.  Take a detour maybe to a new cafe or restaurant you’ve never been to.  Even notice that smile that you’re making.  These are things you can’t necessarily do in a car.  This is how I choose to experience the world and why I continue to leave my car keys at home.  Don’t be a ‘pathlete,’ enjoy every second and know that you can do and enjoy a lot in life on a bike.  Eddy Merckx said it best, “Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”


Photo by Surly Bikes

The buzz around the Surly Wednesday has been very high.  How could it not be?  Surly makes such great products and they are always pushing the design envelope.  Well, next week we will have a Small, Medium, and Large of the Wednesday completes!  Once these three are gone, they won’t be available until January.  Can’t believe we’re getting excited for Winter!  Give us a call or drop by if you are interested in getting one of these!


We just added a couple more sessions for our Comprehensive Class!  Check them out on our school’s link.  If anyone is interested in taking a Basics or Wheel Building class, just send us an email at revolutioncycles.madison@gmail.com

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 rivbike.com web site. Or you could simply come on down and talk with us! 



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