Health


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

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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!

Mitch

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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.”

–Earl

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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.

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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!

I understand how rain can put a damper on things.  No one likes the gross feeling of dragging sopping wet clothes around or having chills from cold drops of water.  I can see how easy it is to blame the bad weather on how we feel or that things run a little slower when it’s not so nice out.

However, I like to look at it in a different way.  I personally don’t see blizards and rainfall as these disheartening elements.  I don’t think the clouds are storming in only to ruin our day.  I look at all of it as a beautiful necessity.  In order for life to flourish, we need the rain.  We need the frigid cold and the blazing hot seasons.  We need all the different climates around the world to foster the diverse range of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and animals.  We need the sun, the wind, and the water to power crucial energy sources we so eagerly devour.

I love rainy days. To me it's unbelievably refreshing and peaceful.

For how much damage we do to this earth, we should rejoice when it rains.  Heck, we should just be happy the sun rises everyday.  From the food we eat to the parks we love to play in, none of it would be as awe inspiring without all these natural elemtents.

When I wake up and it’s pouring rain, I watch the raindrops while I enjoy a hot cup of coffee.  Then I put on my rain clothes and venture off a little bit earlier than usual.  I hop on my bike and I take the long way to work.  I do this so I can revel in the rain; to appreciate what it provides for all of us.  To be glad it’s there.

It’s so easy to complain about the bad weather.  But if you take a moment to understand what it provides for us as creatures of this earth, then you wouldn’t dislike it so much.  You might even begin to enjoy it.  Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, there’s only poorly dressed (or not bringing a change of clothes).

Earl

So I’ve been posting a lot of new bikes, especially the ones with those really fat tires.  In recent past, we’ve been building a lot of custom bikes and are gaining recognition for it.  Even though those bikes are brand spanking new and look really clean, the reality is that most if not all bikes get beat up.  We like beat up bikes because it shows that they are used.  That they serve a purpose in someone’s life.

Henry's commuterHenry’s Univega Commuter with Studded Tires

With all the bikes that I’ve been posting, I just want to be clear that the only thing Revolution Cycles has and always will encourage is to ride bikes.  If you don’t have a lot of cash to invest or have no need to get a new bike, well then let’s make the bike that you have the most comfortable and dependable bike it can be.  9 times out of 10 the bike that comes in for repair is not shiny and new.  Most of these bikes were either picked up at a garage sale, bought blindly at a bike store, or handed down by friends or family.  These bikes are used to get groceries, haul their kids places, go to the movies, get to work, or do whatever you can imagine a bike can do.

John's Jamis Mountain BikeJohn’s Jamis Winter Commuter

These bikes have so much life in them and all they need is a little TLC a couple times a year.  The knicks and scratches, dents and blemishes are a testament to the many places it has been.  With a bit of help from us, these bikes will continue to carry the rider into the future.  This post is an ode to your bike.  Think of where it’s taken you.  Enjoy that for a moment and revel in the fact that you can always depend on it to get you where you need.  It’s a good feeling.  Spring is coming soon, swing on by if it needs any tuning.  If not, well then we’ll see you on the road!

-Earl

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with genuine love from family and friends.  Well, today, Revolution Cycles will be closed for Buy Nothing Day.  I would like to take an extra step and say that the urgency for change is growing greater everyday.  We cannot deny the troubles faced with climate change (this is scary if we don’t do anything) and the great disparity in our socio economic system.

World change doesn’t come in big leaps.  It starts with us.  Change happens in our everyday small actions.  From minimalizing and getting rid of our clutter to buying local to taking less trips in a car to purchasing in bulk.  Even from hang drying clothes to taking quicker showers to riding your bike more (that’s where we come in!).

So this Holiday season, consider these options for ourselves and our loved ones.  Regardless, we need to make these changes now.  For our health, for our community, for our Earth.  We all can do this and be happier for doing it.

Bern Sessions New York: Part 1 “Squid” from Bern Unlimited on Vimeo.

This is why I work in this industry.  Cycling is such an amazing thing.  It helps build communitites, creates an independance from fossil fuels, and is great for our health.  I give so much respect to people like Squid who has never given up on making cycling more accessible to people.  I’ve been following him since I got into cycling 8 years ago and it’s so great that he is still an honorable advocate for cycling.  So many great points stated here.  Cycling is so much more accessible now than ever, take advantage of it!

This is Revolution Cycles exists, to get people excited to ride bikes and help in any way possible.  On a selling point, we have a bunch of new helmets in from Giro, Bell, and Bern!

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