Monday, November 17, 2014

The Bontrager Ernest Jacket

Last winter Santa brought Kris a Pugsley which, coincidentally, showed up on the same day as the Pugsley that I ordered for myself!  Funny how that works. So, last year was pretty much our first real year at fat biking. And what a year it was with all the snow and the bitter cold. The polar vortex made it hard to choose the proper clothing. My normal biking attire wasn’t quite doing it and my heavy duty insulted jacket was overkill. This fall I purchased a Bontrager Ernest Jacket in hopes of finding that right jacket. The Earnest has less insulation around the core compared to the other jacket but it still has the highly wind resistant material on the front panel. The biggest difference is the breathable arms and back.




I’ve had a couple of rides recently that were a good test for the jacket. I did two gravel rides with the temperature in the 30’s and a 10-15 mph breeze. As with most rides I started out feeling cold, especially on the arms.  Was thinking that arm warmers would have been a good idea but as I got into the ride and warmed up I was fine.  When I was riding with the wind I got too warm so I opened up the zipper and let the breeze pull the heat away through the breathable back. When I turned back into the wind, zipped it back up and the body of the jacket blocked the wind from my core and conserved the warmth that I had.

This past week we got our first taste of snow for the season. Kris and I headed up to Northfield with two of the shops fat bike rentals for CROCTS (local IMBA chapter) inaugural Sechler Park group ride on Saturday and then into River Bend Nature Center here in Faribault on Sunday. Both days were in the teens.  Light snow falling on Saturday made for a beautiful ride with the 25 or so others we rode with on the new single track. Unlike my other biking jackets that are tight fitting the Ernest is roomy allowing for as many layers as I see fit.  I had on a long sleeve base layer and a long sleeve jersey for both days. I wasn't chilled either day, even with stopping and chatting numerous times.

Looks like I have the jacket figured out. Now to move onto what to do about finger and toes.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

45NRTH Gets You Through The Winter!


The snow and cold may be upon us for the next 4 months in the upper midwest but that doesn't mean you have to set up your trainer and start logging hours on those boring indoor rides. These 45NRTH products will give you little excuse to be inside on the trainer over the winter, after all, the tagline for 45NRTH is "Unparalleled Cold Weather Performance".

Starting With Footwear:

Built for frigid weather, the Wolvhammers will help keep your little piggies warm on those long cold rides rated for temps between 0-25 degrees. They come in the 2-bolt or flat bottom version. Retail: $325


The Fasterkatt is designed specifically for wet winter cycling & cyclocross. This is a mountain style cycling boot with the 2-bolt compatible system. Best temps to wear the Fasterkatt....25-45 degrees.
Retail: $225

Jaztronaut is an insole to help block cold cleats and keep your feet extra warm. A wide range of trimmable sizes are available for a retail price of $50.



The Bergraven gaiter is designed specifically around the Wolvhammer for knee high protection while riding in the deep snow. The Bergraven retails for $85





Friday, October 24, 2014

Surly 1X1 Build

Color: Green Grass Grows All Around
 
Build Concept

As most people know the 1X1 was Surly’s first bike, a true classic which the brand was built upon.  Though all the years and technology changes the 1X1 has certainly had some updates but is still a timeless bike.
I’ve wanted a 1X1 for quite some time but never really wanted to downgrade (yes, 26” is a downgrade) wheel size from my 29ers.  Now that 650B (27.5”) has all but killed off 26” wheels for cross country bikes I thought it might be fun to experiment with the new wheel size.  I know that 650B wheels are hardly new, and have been making a big push into the major cycling marketplace for years now, but this will be my first significant amount of time I’ll spend on them.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Women's Bike Mechanic Scholarship Through UBI

With help from sponsors like, QBP, SRAM, Liv, United Bicycle Institute (UBI), Pedro's & Park Tool UBI is offering (10) scholarships for women to attend bike mechanics. The dedication to getting more women on bikes and supporting the development of more female mechanics is very cool.


As per the QBP site, the scholarship has two primary goals:
  1. To grow the number of talented women working in the bike industry
  2. To grow female ridership
Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on their potential to do both of these things. This scholarship will cover the 2-week Professional Shop Repair and Operations class. Additional support is provided by Nuu-Muu and the Outdoor Industry Women's Coalition (OIWC). This open call for applications begins October 20 and will close Nov 15. Scholarship winners will be notified via email by December 19.

There is more information and a link to the scholarship application here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

2015 Salsa Beargrease Is Here!

Earlier this week we got the new Beargrease Carbon 1 in and we finally got a chance to get some pics of it. If you're looking for a ultra-endurance super-fast racing fatbike this is it. Full carbon from front to back with internal cable routing.


My personal opinion I think Salsa got it right with the white on black, looks simple yet rich.


Salsa went for everything fast. Salsa Fat Conversion hubs are paired with the Surley Marge Lite rims and suited with the 120 tpi 45North Dillinger 26 x 3.8” folding tires.


Equipt with the SRAM X1 drivetrain the Beargrease Carbon 1 will keep you moving forward but when you need to stop the SRAM DB5 hydraulic brakes will provide you that sure stopping power.


From this angle we might be able to put some aero bars on and beat Fabian in a time trial! This fatbike is no slow bike that is for sure. The 1,000 mile Iditarod Invitational in Alaska is calling your name.


The new Beargrease is leaving fresh tracks.


Salsa Beargrease is Adventure by Bike.


A Salsa film about the Arrowhead Ultra 135.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Finding Peace & Serenity in Gravel

I took off tonight around 5pm and the temp was still 72 and barely a breeze. This combination doesn't happen too often this time of year in Minnesota. I find myself thoroughly enjoying the gravel more-so this year and it brings me to a place of peace and serenity. The gravel roads and countryside backdrops in SE MN are simply breathtaking. On gravel it seems as if I can enjoy the scenery more than I can racing my road bike in the heat of summer. Tonight alone, on only a 24 mile gravel route, I stopped a half dozen or more times just to smell the country air and take it all in. Below are a couple snapshots of the ride.
The 2015 Boone 5 Disc that takes me pretty much anywhere I want to go...and I can ride it all day. One of the smoothest and most comfortable bikes you'll find.
I zoomed around a corner to find a pasture full of cows. I was going to keep riding but I thought I saw one of them holding a sign that read "Eat Mor Chik'n".
This guy felt it necessary to mash a bunch decorations together to fill his front yard. I'm assuming a Halloween theme was the intention but I'm not sure it was accomplished. Nevertheless, "A" for effort since my front yard currently stages 3 small pumpkins and some dog poop.

In close, I find that the best places to ride are the places with less cars...here's to peace & serenity.

2014 Fall/Winter Bontrager Look Book

Whether you want to look at the latest Trek/Bontrager products are just admire the photography I think this has some eye candy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

2015 Beargrease Tease

This is all you get for now...we have a size large Carbon Beargrease at the shop.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2015 Blackborow DS

Still quite rare as the first deliveries of the 2015 Blackborow DS are on their way to the shops we were able to get one on the floor for a couple weeks. I was able to spend some time Riverbend Nature Center on it and loved every bit of it.
What does the "DS" stand for you ask? Answer: Dinglespeed, or double-singlespeed. The combination of 30x18t & 26x22t is perfect for a cruise around town or getting through the nitty-gritty.
The DS comes stock with Salsa's new Bearpaw 150 fork but is fully compatible with the RockShox Bluto suspension fork. Back to the Bearpaw 150 fork, you're able use the Three-Pack boss configuration on both fork legs.
100mm-wide Surly Clown Shoe rims & 4.8" folding bead Surly Lou tires are stock on the 2015 DS.
Salsa uses their thru-axle equipped 6066 aluminum frame for the Blackbarow and the cogs, chainrings, chainring bolts & spokes are all stainless steel. The 2015 Salsa Blackborow DS is designed and ready for all the off-road exploring you can give it!

Monday, May 05, 2014

First MTB ride of the year!

Tomorrow night (Tuesday) we'll be doing our first mountain bike ride this spring in Riverbend Nature Center. We are leaving the shop at 7:00, riding for about an hour. Anyone looking to get in some dirt time before any of the metro area trails open should come.

Hope everyone can make it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fat Tuesday ride

We will be riding snowmobile trails again tomorrow at 7:00pm leaving from Bridge Square in Northfield. Everyone is welcome, fat bikes are recommended. We will ride for 1-1.5 hours. Lights are needed as it will be dark.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Friday Ride

In keeping with tradition here at the shop we will be doing a Black Friday mountain bike ride in Riverbend Nature Center for anyone looking to escape the shopping madness.

Ride is leaving the shop at 11:00am, the fatter your tire the better.

Hope to see everyone here!

P.S. we'll make a Ham that you all know and love...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Changes at the shop.

This coming fall with mark nine years that I've run Milltown Cycles.  In that time we've taken a rather dismal business and built something that I think is pretty special.  I've met countless friends over that time, and have had the opportunity to experience some amazing things. I have to say that it's been one of the best ways to grow up that I can imagine.  It has been a truly incredible experience, one that I'm immensely proud of.

I have recently started another journey of similar proportions.  Earlier this spring I accepted, and last week I started, a new job with Salsa Cycles.  I am representing Salsa as their Western Region Brand Ambassador.   I am incredibly excited about my new role, and I look forward to the future with Salsa and QBP.  

Some rumors have been out there that the shop is closing.  This is not true.  The shop will continue to be open and operate as it always has.  I will of course have a diminished role at the shop going forward.  We will continue to offer exceptional sales and service provided by Curtis our manager and our professional staff.  I will be in the shop from time to time, and I can still be reached with questions or issues.  

I can't thank you all enough for the support you have provided me.  It's been a hell of a ride. 

Be well, 

Ben 

Friday, June 28, 2013

A bit of clarification.

Many personal, business and administrative reasons led to the canceling of this years 4th of July race. 

The road construction did lead to detouring the course.  A miscommunication between myself and the city about chip sealing 5th street occurred, making our detoured course not possible as well. The city was not aware that it would affect the race, and I did not inform them of the issue.  

We had the option of rerouting the course a third time, which would have still allowed the event to continue.  We chose not to do this as the available route would not be ideal for the race, would have further inconvenienced city residents ,and would have altered the event negatively. 

Throughout this whole process the city administration, police department, and street department have been wonderful to work with.  As always they have been accommodating and have helped us whenever we've had questions.

We are looking forward to the race next year, and plan on holding the race on it's original course as it has been then. 

Questions about this can be directed to my email benwitt11@gmail.com

Thank you. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Salsa Issues Vaya Fork Voluntary Recall

Salsa issued a voluntary recall affecting some 2012 Salsa Vaya and some La Cruz Disc forks.  Date codes are stamped onto the fork steer tube and indicate whether your fork is affected or not.  Please contact us or stop in if you have a fork/bike to be looked at.  Details herehttp://salsacycles.com/salsaforkrecall.

From Salsa:

"This recall involves all Salsa Vaya bicycle forks stamped with the batch codes 2011 02 21, 2011 04 11, 2011 06 14 and 2011 09 09 and all Salsa La Cruz bicycle forks stamped with the batch codes 2011 03 01, 2011 04 08, 2011 05 30 and 2011 09 09."