IMG_1187If I could sum up RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) in one picture, this would be it…for me. Is RAGBRAI a race? A Party? A slow ride? Fast ride?  It’s all of those things. It’s whatever you make of the seven day ride across NOT FLAT Iowa. One thing’s for sure, it’s a blast. You meet new people, see old friends, elevate yourself and conquer new challenges, eat food; lots of food, drink beer, see new towns and most importantly, ride your bike!!

RAGBRAI is not easy, it’s rolling hills, sometimes very steep hills, heat, rain, lot’s of people (up to 20,000 during the popular days!), and not short; about 500 miles total with the longer days being around 80-85. You have to make sure to keep hydrated and fed. Bonking is no fun. No fun at all.


Our loaded bikes

There’s something liberating about a self supported ride. You can play by your own rules and make time to do whatever you want. John and I split up day one and didn’t see each-other until day four and it was great for both of us. I learned that RAGBRAI is personal for me. It’s time to be exactly who I want to and take my time or hurry up or stop for two hours – which I did very often – or talk to people or be alone. I think John felt the same way. I know this year was one of his favorites.

But riding bagged doesn’t come without it’s challenges. By day four, my gear was water logged and I just wasn’t having much fun. I decided to unload my front and rear bags and ride only with the frame bag. It was again, liberating. A good choice. A choice that increased my fun and kept me rolling with a smile on my face.

So what’s on the bike?

John brought the kitchen sink. Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and pillow, clothes for everyday, tools, food (for every day?) gadgets and gizmos… I don’t know what else but if you think of it, he probably had it. His bike was quite impressive to look at, that’s for sure.

Up front I had all my camping gear: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and pillow. I also had two water bottles, sun block, toothpaste and brush and handy nutrition. Finding the tiny item isle wherever you choose to shop is key. In my opinion, the smaller the better.  On the center of the bike I had food, tools, first aid, coffee, money and fireworks. At the rear-end I had clothes, camp stove, boiling pot, baseball hat and slippers. Coffee mug too.

Trying to keep stuff dry


Camping is part of the RAGBRAI experience. You begin to love and hate your tent. By the end of it you’re a pro at setting up and breaking down. Trust me, you get to know your tent well. Things also get progressively more wet. As each day goes on clothes get more sopped and sultry as they fester in their bags. By night six my entire wardrobe was suspended in trees, draped over my tent and hanging from my bike. It’s all part of the deal. It’s something I’d love to figure out…keeping everything dry!

Here are the before and after pictures of us; just as happy at the finish as we were at the start . Just a bit more greasy and gross. RAGBRAI will make you a bit goofy, it allows you to lower you guard and let loose. I loved (not) doing RAGBRAI with John, I hope we do many more and we hope you do too!


Fat Bikes?  Trails?  Surly?  DONUTS?!  These are all such great things!  Mark your calendars ladies (repeat, ladies only), come out for some fun and shred some fat bikes!  Amber, She Shreds’ fearless leader, has got some great things lined up for you all!


(Gentlemen, you are welcome to come and show your support, just the bikes are not for you!)



It’s happening this Saturday!  Group ride leaves from Camrock Cafe at 2pm. There will be beer from Surly Brewing available for all you thirsty folks with prizes and games available to everyone!  We’ll be there with some fun activities for all to partake in.  Members of CORP  can also enjoy their annual party beginning at 5pm at the cafe.  Come, be jolly, and let’s ride some fat tired bikes!  More info here!

**Closing at 2:30pm on Sat 12/5**

Winter_PartyIt’s time for our annual Winter Formal!  We’ve hosted this for years and it’s a great way to shake off any winter blues.  It’s great to see everyone all dressed up!  Us bike mechanics can clean up quite nicely.  Since we’re in the midst of renovations, the shop will be almost completely empty so they’ll be tons of room for dancing.  Facebook event can be found here.  We’ll provide the beer and the music.  Hope to see you there!


Let’s go for a holiday ride! Meeting at the shop at 5pm today. Keeping it simple and riding around Lake Monona (going East from Rev) then through the Holiday Lights at Olin Park! After that we’ll gauge if we want to go for some more miles. Regardless we will stop at the Mason Bar on Park. Decorating your bike is highly recommended!

Global Fat Bike Day 2014

Got a nice ride planned out for tonight!  Looks clear but a relatively chilly ‘feels like’ 20deg.  Meet at the shop at 6pm and leave around 615pm.  Heading out West and can meet people in front of Memorial Union around 645pm.  Bring appropriate clothing, food/drinks, lights, and gear to ride comfortably over ice (ie studded tires).  Shooting for about 20-25 miles with one or two short stops.  Hope to see you all there!

Global Fat Bike Day 2014

What a rad day!  Had a great crowd at the Madison Global Fat Bike Day event. The first part of the day started at Camrock Cafe.  We gathered then had a nice ride through the trail with some fire and beer stops along the way.  It was quite muddy and icy but still incredibly fun!  We have to give it to Chuck, Tim, and all of those who keep CORP going.  Trail maintenance is not an easy thing, but all the volunteer work does show the passion that we all have for these trails.  There’s some measures in the works for doubling the trails out in Cambridge!

Pic via Tim Barber

Global Fat Bike Day 2014

The second part of the day started at the shop and was intended to be more of a casual ride to Karben 4 and Ale Asylum with some local trail in the mix.  Ended up being a great day full of good friends, great vibes, and amazing food and beer.  Keep the love going and let’s all go ride our bikes!


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