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.”


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! 


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!).


Pre-Order for our Revolution Cycles Jersey, bib, and/or jacket is available until the end of the week! They’ll be ready just in time for the holidays. Details and prices at www.flickr.com/photos/revolutioncycles/ This offer will end by Fri so give is a call if you’re interested! Any profits goes back into the cycling club. Here’s a pic of Mark racing at Camrock cross and looking good doing it!

Thursday Night Ride

This last Thursday Night Ride was phenomenal.  The brisk Fall weather and rolling hills of the west side of Madison was the perfect backdrop for an evening ride.  We took a couple of beverage breaks by the the water and a stop at Michael Frozen Custard and One Barrel.  It was a great night to share with friends exploring this great city, hope to see you there this week!


We’ve switched our mountain bike rides to Sunday! Today we head to secret trails that need a little grooming. Meet at the shop at 2:45 for trail maintanence or at 5:00 for the ride. It’s not far from the shop!

Next Page »