Sunday, September 30, 2012

Another year, and a thank you.

Eight years ago today I purchased The Village Peddler bike shop and opened Milltown Cycles. I was 19. I cannot fully describe what a phenomenal experience it has been to grow up while building this business. I have met so many good people along the way, and I have had many life changing experiences I am most grateful for.

Thank you to all the friends I have made over the years. Thank you to our customers who have supported us. Thank you to friends and family who have been instrumental in our success. Thank you to all of you who have helped make this possible. From all of us at Milltown, thank you!

Here's to many more years of sharing the love of cycling together!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

2013 Salsa Cycles Vaya 3

Along with our first Mukluks of the season, 2013 Vaya's have started arriving.  The Vaya 3 has been a great seller as a ruggedly reliable, affordable gravel/touring/commuting rig.  This year's bike is no exception to that. It also happens to be my favorite Vaya color to date!  The bike is simply gorgeous.

The burgundy-wine red color is really classy.  The brown hubs, saddle and bar tape really compliment it well.  I'm dreaming of some nice Parigi-Roubaix tires, or some nice Pasela skinwalls on this bike!

A full Sora triple up front paired with a wide range rear give the user a full traditional touring range.  From loaded up and mountain climbing, to bombing around country roads, this set up will easily do anything you ask of it.

Again, the color is superb.  The whole bike has a really polished feel to it.

There you have it.  A preview of yet another winning bike from Salsa this year!  Stop by the shop to take a test ride, or give us a call if you have any questions about this fine bicycle.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Perfect gravel morning.

I had a wonderful day on my Fargo this week with my good friend Jason.  The weather was perfect, the scenery sublime, and the company as good as it gets.  The morning turned out to be harder than either of us expected, which was exactly what we needed.

Color on Oxford Mill Road.

Morning light headed up Shady Lane Trail.

Empty fields outside of Nerstrand.

Hero gravel goodness.

Thanks for the ride sir.  Happy Friday all.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Trek's New Stache

Trek has entered the realm of longer travel hardtail mountain bikes with their new Stache line.  These bikes are pitched as aggressive, all mountain rigs for carrying on over all manner of terrain.  I think that's a mistake in marketing frankly.  This bike really is a stable, comfortable, all day mountain bike.

The five inch travel fork sounds like a lot, until you set the sag at 1" with proper pressure.  The sixty eight degree head angle sounds way slack, again, until it sags down to around a normal sixty nine or so.  Overall this bike is a big kitten.  It's light enough to be easy to ride, and very stable through rough terrain.

This bike is our shop demo bike, and is built very similar to the stock bikes from Trek.  Built with a full Shimano SLX parts kit, this bike is a great value for the performance.  SLX is one of our favorite choices for parts that work and don't break the bank.  It looks pretty great too!

Shimano's clutch type shadow derailleurs go a long ways towards making chain slap a thing of the past.  These keep functions quiet, and shift very precisely.  An on/off switch allows the user to turn the clutch off to facilitate easy wheel removal.  Shown here is the captured 142mm rear axle that keeps the rear end all together.  

The wheels on this bike are built with Bontrager's excellent Duster tubeless rims.  Paired with their new 29-3 2.3" tubeless tires made for easy tubeless set up with just a floor pump.  These rims build up very well, and are quite strong while being fairly light.  They are some of my favorites.

Fox's Float 32 fork is light and supple.  The tire clearance is generous, and it looks and rides great. The tread pattern on the 29-3 is quite nice.  It rolls and hooks up well, and at just over 700 gms it's not a pig either.  It's a high volume, fast rolling tire that will work very well for a lot of folks.

Shimano's SLX shifters work great as advertised.  The brakes are a standout component though.  These easily out perform most of the brakes I have ever used, and they are quite reasonably priced to boot.

Fox's new Climb, Trail, Descend, (CTD,) damper on the Float works great.  It's easy to adjust, and does exactly what it says.  The clicks in between each step are nice and tactile, and the knob is easy to manipulate.

I'm thrilled to see the return of these top caps on newer Trek mountain bikes.  I have one form a long time ago, and it's made the rounds on some of my favorite bikes over the years.   Good words to live by.

The Trek Stache is a great bike.  It rides well, looks great, and is quite affordable for the quality of components.  Stop by the shop and take this one out for a ride!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Surly Colored Rolling Darryls

These lovely rims came in stock today.  They are Surly's 82mm wide, drilled Rolling Darryl rims in limited edition colors. Like last year, these are available in very limited quantities.  

Give us a call if you're looking for a set of these.  Whether you're looking for rims, laced wheels, or to talk about a build we'd be happy to help you out.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mike's Finished Fatbike.

Mike Pofahl dropped by today with his completed fatbike.  He built the bike up last year, and we talked about it here.  He made the stem and fork to match the bike after dialing in fit over the winter.  This bike was great looking last winter, it's just awesome now!

 The new fork in particular is gorgeous.  It features internal cable routing to match the rest of the frame.

Love this aesthetic.  Super clean and really classic.

The bike and the man himself.  Another beautiful bike to come out of his Faribault workshop.  Can't wait to get out and ride with him on it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Night Ride.

Tonight we'll be riding gravel roads leaving from Goodbye Blue Monday in Northfield.  We'll plan to leave from there at 7pm.  Rides will be put together based on rider ability level.  All are welcome, and lights are required front and rear.  We'll head to the Tavern Lounge afterwards for refreshments and merriment.

Hope you folks can join us, it'll be a blast!

Monday, September 17, 2012

2013 El Mariachi Frames

Along with our shipment of Mukluks last week, we received our first 2013 El Mariachi frames.  The Black and green coloring on these is one of my favorite El Mar colors in years.  It's flashy without being gaudy.

The wood cut Salsa logos look killer in the yellow and green.

We have a medium and a large in stock now.  They are $699 this year, and come with a direct mount front derailleur adapter included.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Shop Truck Update.

With the weather turning comfortable in the last week, we've gotten a bit more work done on our 1950 Chevy shop truck project.  The front end suspension has now been rebuilt, complete with new front springs and shocks.  The old spring broke while I was testing the brakes, thankfully in the parking lot!  The truck is now back to normal ride height, and it should ride like it was new.

This morning I finally got to drive it on city streets, it only for a short bit.  The engine was literally coated with nearly a half inch of old oil and dirt.  We soaked the engine compartment with degreaser for a day or so, and drove it to the car wash this morning.  The engine cleaned up great!  It's down to nearly bare metal now, so it'll be ready for primer and likely paint with some detail work.

Any thoughts as to how old this spark plug is?!  "Wizard Twin-Fire!"  This one is different than the other five. I hope that not because this one was too stuck to remove when they replaced the others!  You can see the remnants of the oily buildup just behind the spark plug.  The whole engine assembly was covered in a quarter to a half inch of that stuff.  Still a bit left, that'll clean up easily enough now though.

The truck drives wonderfully, I can't wait to drive it regularly.  It's close to that now.  I need to install the tail lights, and update the tabs.  It'll be legal to drive then!

Friday, September 14, 2012

2013 Salsa El Mariachi Limited Edition SS

These are sweet.  Back for 2013, a new iteration of the El Mariachi SS specific, limited edition bike.  These are priced reasonably at $1250, and offer a lot of value for the money.  They look great, and should make fine bikes for folks.


Love the color combo.

Again, killer bike for the money, and a heck of a looker!

Give us a call if you're interested in one of these fine steeds.  We only have a limited number, get your name on one if you want one!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

White Industries t11 Hubs

The first White t11 hubs have arrived at the shop.  These feature a new freehub body that is compatible with the new Dura Ace 11 speed standard.  They also feature slightly improved hub flange geometry, and redesigned hub body shapes.  They make it a bit more clear that they're made in the US, and the graphics on the hubs are a bit bolder.  They retain the same bearings, freehub body construction, and bearing adjustment as before.  These look the part of stellar bike parts as much their predecessors do.

Can't wait to get these built up.  

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A little CX Action.

We'll be hosting a little intro to cyclocross clinic tomorrow night.  Hope folks can join us, it should be a good time.  We'll also be heading out on a gravel ride with some of the fine CVVC fellows afterward!

Here's the info.

Northfield Cyclocross Clinic presented by Milltown Cycles
September 6th, 6:30pm
Soccer fields south of Sibley Elementary school (approx. 1400 Maple St)

We're going to be doing a Cyclocross skills clinic on Thursday, September 6th in the park just south of Sibley elementary school. This is a clinic for cyclists of all types interested in learning or practicing cyclocross skills--whether or not you're interested in racing  All you need is a bike that you are comfortable riding  in the grass and some smooth dirt trail.  

You'll learn tried and true techniques for:
Hill run-ups
Race practice

This clinic is designed to start with the very basics and get you from having never tried hopping on your bike before to complete comfort in quick mounts and dismounts as well as quick and efficient carrying of your bike.  Whether or not you want to race, this is a great skillset to have for anyone riding off-road.  

Whether your goal is to be comfortable getting on and off your bike, being quicker than your friends when you hit something unridable on a group ride, or becoming the fastest cycloross racer in Minnesota, you'll gain something from this clinic. If time permits, we will have a mock race so you can put your new skills to the test.  

If there's enough interest, we'd love to do more clinics and practices.  

If you have any questions or would like to help please contact Sean Noonan- 

See you September 6th!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Supplemental: Tuesday MTB/Gravel Ride

MTB/gravel ride tonight leaving from Dunn Brothers in Farmington, MN @ 7pm. We'll head out to Umore Park and ride gravel and horse trails. Bring lights, you may need them for the end of the ride.

Sunday Fatbike River Adventure.

A few weeks ago I had a rather stupid idea.  We should try to ride a river with fatbikes.  Not next to river mind you, we all know that they work wonderful for that.  The idea would be to make our way down river, in the river.  I should say that I have rather dumb ideas all the time.  I don't follow through on many of them.  This one was embraced by a few equally crazy friends, and a date was set for this weekend.

We planned on riding the local Cannon River south towards Red Wing, MN.  This river is fairly shallow at through this time of the summer.  Not knowing whether this would work well, or be a total disaster, we started just south of Cannon Falls.  The Cannon Valley Bike trail, (CVT,) follows the river fairly closely at this point.  It would provide a ready bail out point if the going was to hard.

The day could not have been better weather wise.  It was about 65 degrees out when we started, and the light was simply gorgeous.

The river was perfect.  The water was warm, and the scenery perfect.  Riding in a river certainly is a new skill set, and it took us a while to figure out exactly how to go about it.  This first part for the ride we tried to ride as much as possible, which kept us close to the banks.  It was hard going.  The bikes bogged down a lot in the silty mud at this point, and I for one was a bit discouraged.  At least it was pretty to look at.

It was time to take a break, eat some food, and decide whether we wanted to try and continue on.  We hopped back on the CVT and looked for a break spot.  We happened to come out of the water close to a tall grass prairie natural land area.  I have looked at this bit of land for years from the CVT, but never knew it was public land.  The sign at the gate said motorized vehicles were prohibited, so we smiled and rolled through it.

The grass was dry and warm, the beer was great, and the company was perfect.  We could have easily taken a nap on the spot, so we didn't dawdle too long.  I will certainly be coming back to this spot.  It's high on my list to explore further.

Back to the CVT for a bit, we were somewhat rudely passed by a pair of road bikers.  Not one to take this insult laying down, Josh decided we should put a chase on.  Let me tell you, a paceline of 4 fatbikes at 20 mph makes a heck of a noise!  With Josh in the lead we pretty quickly caught back up to the Lycra clad patheletes.  Needless to say they were surprised to see us!  We politely asked them the distance to Welch Village, and then rode right by.

Shortly afterwards we found an easy path down to the river and pealed off.  We spent a lot of the brunch break discussing techniques for riding, and what had worked and what didn't.  We had all relaxed a bit too, and were more keep to swim and float with the bikes on sections that riding proved to difficult.  What a change this attitude made!  This specifically began one of the most fun sections of a ride I've ever done.  Riding from shore to shore, through water completely covering Big Fat Larry's, floating on my back laying down on top of my bike... It was simply incredible.

This is a short video from the day.  I'm working on editing a real video with everything from the day soon.

Cannon River Ride from Milltown Cycles on Vimeo.

We road, swam, floated, and laughed our way down the river like this for a few hours.  Stopping at a big downed tree, we moored our bikes, and had a wonderful lunch.

Big Fat Larry's float really well, too well in fact.  The smaller tires were much easier to control.  At 190lbs, I had to fight to keep the BFL's on the "ground" in very deep water.  Nates would be an ideal tire for these excursions.

It's simply absurd to see bikes just floating on a river.  I'm still giddy just thinking about how fun it was.

This was simply one of the best days on a bike I've ever had.  My eyes are opened to a whole new possibility of rides and exploration.  I'll say that it will come with increased maintenance costs, but who cares.  It's totally worth it for what you're able to do and where you can go.  I can't wait to explore other rivers and watershed in the area!

Get out there and explore what's in your backyard.  You never know what you'll find, or how much fun you can have until you try!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Some Surly 2013.

Surly released some new colors for a few of their bikes yesterday.  They seem to be trending to brighter, more vibrant colors this year.  I like them a lot.

First up is a new grabber blue color for the Karate Monkey.  This looks great.  It's high on my list of favorite Surly colors ever.

Second is a deep purple Troll color.  This looks similar to the original Surly Pugsley color, albeit without the colored metallic clear coat.

The venerable Cross Check gets a super loud green color for this year.  I love it.

In addition to the mid blade rack eyelets added to the fork last year, this year's bike gets an updated crown. Braze ons on the crown will certainly appeal to the breve/small front rack/carry stuff crowd.  

The entry level Pugsley gets a bright, safety yellow color this year.  It should stand out rather nicely in winter snows, or bright green forested trails.

These are just a few of the highlights coming from Surly for 2013.  It's going to be a great year!