Revolution Cycles


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

Maybe it’s the Midwest in me, but when I’m out in public I make an effort to smile and nod at people.  Especially when riding my bike, I wave to fellow cyclists, dog walkers, and even joggers or runners.  I guess, inately I want to acknowledge that we are all humans sharing this world.

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So many times in our lives, we take possession of things that are not really ours.  That biker is in ‘MY’ lane, that driver took ‘MY’ parking spot, that person took ‘MY’ last jelly filled donut at the grocery store.

In the end, we’re all in this together.  When I ride around and see people out, it just makes me happy that people are enjoying the world; utilizing the same parks, trails, sidewalks, and roads that I’m using.   These things aren’t ‘mine,’ they are ‘ours.’ So I wave, nod, or smile.  We all need to get to work, get to appointments, and pick up groceries, we might as well just try to enjoy it instead of being grumpy.  I will tell you, one leads to a more fulfilling life.

 

–Earl

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A lot of shop conversations with new Madisonians say that a big allure to moving here is our cycling infrastructure. Everyday we appreciate the plethora of paths and the fact they’re maintained regularly. After reading a new article from New Republic, it got me thinking what if we did some big changes to get more people to ride/walk/bus places? Would you take to alternative tranportations if driving was more expensive? Would it change what part of the city you live in? Being in an area that is very family oriented, it’s inspiring to see so many families that only own one car with one or both parents that cycle daily. Some even bike their kids to school! Seeing this day in and day out we know that it can work for a lot of people. What would it take for you to use other modes of transportation?

 

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.
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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

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!).

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