Employee Bike Profile by mark on Jul 17, 2014
While many of us at Planet Bike are bike geeks, I am usually the one to take it a few notches higher. I'm always tinkering with parts and switching things from one bike to the next. We profiled this same bike a while back and it's gone through a lot of changes since then. This all-road bike as I've dubbed it serves me well on my daily lunch rides.
The steel frame was custom built to my specs by now defunct builder Stoic Cycles, and it's because of this that it fits me like a glove. An Enve fork was added to the front end to lighten it up a bit. Thomson makes some of my favorite components and I've outfitted this ride with their seatpost and stem. All of my drop bar bikes are set up with Salsa's Cowbell handlebar. I've been rolling on Bontrager's X Lite tubeless road wheels with 28c rubber. The frame actually has clearance for a 32c cyclocross tire in the rear. Paul's mini motos offer the best stopping power out there aside from disc brakes, plus they're made in Chico, CA! The Planet Bike Gel tape in dark green is an almost perfect match to the army green frame. The components are a bit of a mishmash with SRAM Red shifters and derailleurs (10 speed) and an "old" Shimano Dura Ace crankset. No bike geek build would be complete without a Chris King headset and bottom bracket.
This bike is a testament to custom made frames. Have it built right and built to fit and it might just last you a lifetime.
Barns of Wisconsin by mark on Jul 10, 2014
I've been fascinated with barns for a long time. Living in Wisconsin one quickly grows accustomed to seeing barns across the countryside. It's easy to just pass them by without a second thought, but I've taken a different perspective. The history, construction, and beauty has a special place in my heart. Over the last two years I've started documenting many of the barns I come across while riding my bike. It amazes me that I can go on an hour lunch ride and pass close to ten barns. If I extend that ride another hour through the countryside that number would easily double. One of the things I love most is the toll that Wisconsin's seasons have taken on the wood and stone that make up these barns. The elements leave a gorgeous patina yet many of the barns still stand strong. They've been built to stand the test of time. That's something that seems to be glossed over these days.
Protected Intersections by mark on Jun 23, 2014
This is definitely an interesting concept for intersections. What do you think? Would you support protected intersections? Judging by the comments not everyone thinks it's a good idea.
Calling All SUPERCOMMUTERS by mark on Jun 16, 2014
Each quarter Planet Bike likes to honor what we refer to as the silent hero, aka the SUPERCOMMUTER. This person rides through every season, in all weather, day or night. Choosing the simplicity, health and pleasure of bicycling, a SUPERCOMMUTER prefers to ride to the grocery store, to work, to a concert or the cafe. If you or someone you know has the makings of a SUPERCOMMUTER, please send a nomination to us. To learn more about our previous heroes, visit the SUPERCOMMUTER home.
USB by mark on Jun 10, 2014
USB rechargeable lights are really starting to come to the forefront of the bike lighting market. We've joined in on the full with a couple of USB rechargeable tail lights. These have been out for a bit and there's a good chance they are already on the shelves at your local bike shop.
Both the Superflash USB and Superflash Micro USB (pictured below) tail lights offer 36 hrs of blazing visibility on just a 4 hour USB charge. These beaming beacons are incredibly bright and can hold up to anything from a spring downpour to winter’s polar vortex.
Sideload Cages by mark on Jun 04, 2014
We are always trying to improve our current product line-up and add thoughtful/useful new products. A recent addition to our bottle cage lineup is the Sideload Cage. The aluminum cage is lightweight and perfect for small frames that make using normal cages a hassle. As a bonus, we've discovered they work really well with a few stainless steel water bottles on the market! Available in both black and silver, ask for them at your local bike shop.
Royal 162 by mark on May 19, 2014
After a day of digestion I’m still completely clear on one thing: the Royal 162 is a beast of a race. After few hours of much needed sleep on Friday night we were crushing some continental breakfast and terrible hotel coffee by 6am. The consensus was to wear kneewarmers, armwarmers and vest for the low 40 degree start.
The start was as tame as I expected. Easy rolling out and warming up the legs with a fairly massive group.My teammate and brother Jesse put in dig on the first significant climb which thinned out the herd to around 6. I was surprised by the small group this early in the race. Again, we rolled at a casual pace and eventually the chase group caught on.
The decisive moment came at a u-turn climb off of 241st Ave just outside of Preston, MN. Jesse and the eventual winner from Iowa City rallied the climb as I hung on for dear life. The race was shattered. We kept the pace high over the top as the rest of the racers disappeared in the distance. For the next 70 miles we would take turns pulling, enjoying the scenery, and chatting about various topics.
At just around 100 miles Jesse and I were both out of water. We made the decision to stop at a bar for water as our breakaway companion soldiered on. We made the break quick and were back on the road after about 4 minutes. For the next 15-20 miles I pedaled almost as if death was sitting on my shoulder. I was in a dark place as Jesse pulled me back onto the Almanzo course. My legs felt lifeless, my neck and back were wrenching on my nerves and I urged Jesse to continue on in pursuit of the leader. His encouragement was appreciated but not enough to keep me rolling at his pace. I think I’d found my perfect pain. As the blazing pink BKB vest disappeared over the hill in the distance I hunkered down for what I expected would be a forty mile death march.
Largely to my surprise I felt my legs turning over a bit quicker as we turned out of the head wind. A little skip was returning to my step. I glanced over my shoulder to see a couple of Almanzo riders gaining on me quick. As they overtook me I latched onto their slipstream. Without a doubt this was my saving grace. For the next ten miles I got a free ride on this freight train rolling 20+ mph. As I was starting to feel a bit crunchy from the pace I could see a pink swatch growing closer. Could it be? Indeed. Jesse and I would continue on together from Forestville, still in pursuit of the leader. For the last 40 or so miles we would alternate feeling solid and feeling terrible, 10 miles at a time. We switched pulls and offered encouragement to keep the pace as high as we could. Time was running out. The last 30 miles was really uneventful. Just a couple of brothers riding through a haze. As the miles ticked off our spirits and motivation rose. Each mile was a mile closer to rest. It was also a mile less to catch the leader. We started throwing out the what ifs. What if he stopped for water? What if his wheel exploded? It wasn’t to be. His crazy strength reigned supreme as we would roll into the finish 5-10 minutes back. A bit under 9.5 hours.
It was a heck of a way to spend a Saturday. I won't soon forget about this one.
Photo copyright: Craig Lindner
Spring Mountain Biking by mark on May 07, 2014
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Southern Wisconsin. With temps forecasted in the mid-60s I decided to take the day off of work and get in a good ride at the Kettle Moraine State Forest or the Kettles as it's known in Wisconsin. The trails were in prime shape and I managed a very solid 5 hour ride. If you are ever in the area be sure to check it out.