Nov 28, 2015

Financing Now Available!

Big news, that's been a long time coming!



I am sure we can all agree, the sticker price of a new cargobike (or any high quality machine) can sometimes be more then most of us can afford all at once, making it difficult to add a new vehicle to your family's transport options.

After much searching and interviewing of potential partners, we have finally found a financing partner - Financeit - based in Toronto, Ontario that offers fair rates, easy application processes, and no hidden fees or charges. At 12.99% (plus a small account setup fee) their rate is very reasonable and you can take as short or as long as you want to pay off the loan. Of course, paying if off as fast as possible is in your best interest and they make that part easy to with no penalties for early/immediate repayment.

Their app-based application can pre-qualify you in minutes right here in the shop - or - you can submit the forms from the comfort of your own home, at a time that works best for you.

We'll be up-and-running with program starting December 1 2015. If you have any questions about the program, just drop us an email, give us a ring, or pop into the shop when you get a chance.

Felice Ciclismo!


Nov 21, 2015

2015 Urban Cycling Gift Guide

Looking for a cycling related gift for the urban cyclist on your list?  We've put together a collection of unique, functional, and stylish ideas to keep your favorite biker rolling.

Abus Helmet

Abus has made a name for itself in our shop for ultra-high quality bike locks but has also been making helmets for years, including the Hyban and Urban V-1 which come stock with a tail light built into the back the helmet and lots of fun colours (as well as few understated colours too).


Lezyne Light

Know for their engineering and design, Lezyne's range of lighting products are easy to use, USB rechargeable, and feature a "gas gauge" which tells you when your battery life is running low. We have plenty of price point options to fit every budget.


Swrve Jeans

Swrve has been our go to trouser supplier for many years now because, quite simply, they fit great, look great, and ride great. There are many styles to choose from - cordura jeans, durable cotton trousers, and even lined/insulated winter pants that will keep you looking good and keep you warm in dry all winter long.


Abus Lock

Bike theft in Calgary is on a meteoric rise these last few years, choosing the right bike lock is more important then ever. Quite simply - if your lock isn't heavy enough to give that crack-addict-bike-thief a head injury - it is also not secure enough. Abus' "Bordo" range of locks meet the above criteria and also come with a handy bike mounted holster making biking/transporting that heavy lock easy and convenient.


Boombotix

Give the gift of music - booming, awesome sounding music that is also water and shock resistant. Riding with tunes is always nice, but instead of headphones and the subsequent "tune-out" of the environment around you, why not consider a Boombotix. Put it on your bike, your backpack, or bring along hiking or camping - Boombotix sound systems are USB rechargeable, Bluetooth compatible, and ultra portable.


Buff

Everyone that cycles through the winter months has their own piece of gear or clothing that makes the difference between being super comfy or downright miserable. For us, that key item is a Buff neckwarmer. Cheap and cheerful, multifunctional, and useful for everything from skiing, waiting for the bus, or cycling to work.


Barmitts

Having a hard time keeping your digits warm in winter? You might want to consider adding a set of pogies to your bike. Barmitts pogies allow you to use a much thinner glove offering more comfort and control throughout the winter. There are models for all styles of bikes - mountain bikes, commuter/city style bikes, and road bikes.


Studded Tires

The ultimate winter cycling product for Calgary's crazy winters. Our notorious freeze/thaw cycle can create really variable road conditions that can change by the hour. Spikey rubber can give you the extra confidence to tackle winter head-on, vanquishing thoughts of crashing or sliding out on ice. Available in most sizes for most bikes on the market.




Gift Cards

Give the gift of...the perfect gift! No more guessing. No more mistakes. Just the promise of something super rad from our shop. Available in any denomination you like.
 


Nov 10, 2015

New Cargobike Announcement: The Haul-A-Day by Bike Friday

We are very excited to be bringing one of the only (affordable) North American made cargobikes to Canada - say hello to Bike Friday's Haul-A-Day longtail cargobike.

Bike Friday (the company) has been hand making travel bikes in Oregon since 2001. Initially they focused on bicycles for people to use travelling all over the world. In 2008 they began to focus on the urban market with a model called the "tikit" and it wasn't too long before the Haul-A-Day was born out of a super successful Kickstarter campaign.

We bought into that Kickstarter campaign (a frameset/wheels) thinking and hoping that this bike could be an answer to one of our biggest challenges which was: Where is the one-size-fits-all cargobike demanded by the market? In our shop, one of our challenges was fitting the wildly different heights of many couples who want a cargobike. We bought the bike hoping it could answer this puzzle and we are delighted to report it has.


Ikea run to pick up display cabinets for the shop.

With the purchase of the bare frameset/wheels we set about assembling our bike with a mostly SRAM Via 2x10 group with mechanical disc brakes. We added the front rack/basket but I neglected to purchase a set of bags for the back so I rigged up a set of OG Xtracycle slings from my "tall cargobike" with some creative zip-tying and an extra polo mallet shaft.

VOILA! We're rolling!

Fits little cargonistas so perfectly you only need one hand to ride it.

What makes the Haul-A-Day so unique is its ability to fit anyone from 4'0" to 6'7" (1.2m - 2.0m) tall with a maximum rider weight of 220lbs (100kgs). The way this is done is through an innovative telescoping mainframe, super adjustable seatpost, and stem/handlepost.

Also unique is its weight. Weighing in around 35lbs it is one of the lightest cargobikes on the market, making it east to carry up a few flights of stairs or move around. Its lightweight also makes it feel really zippy and maneuverable, super fun to ride, and it goes uphill better then most cargobikes on the road today.

Braking is handled by dual disc brakes and gearing options are as varied as your imagination - the sky really is the limit.

The front basket can handle an additional 50lbs.
Every Haul-A-Day is custom, made-to-order in Eugene, Oregon, giving you the ability to choose exactly the right configuration for you and your family's needs. For inspiration, have a look at photos here.

Need to transport your Haul-a-Day on a vehicle? No problem! It can fit on most standard rear racks, roof racks, and bus racks too! You may simply need to adjust the frame to its smallest setting and spin the front wheel around (have a look at the photo link above).


6 bundles of firewood isn't a problem at all.



Our shop demo has arrived and is available for test rides. We can configure it to hold 2 Yepp Maxi seats, one Maxi and a Burley Piccolo (needs a special adapter), or with a simple handlebar arrangement for older children you can also pull a trailer for even more cargo/kid carrying capacity.

Our 24D demo bike, complete with floorboards, seat pad, and security ring.

One of the truly unique features of the Haul-a-Day is it's ability to be stored standing up, essentially taking up the same amount of space as a loaded coat rack and making it possible to take it into smaller elevators.

Modern day coat rack.
If you're thinking about a new cargobike and lightweight or compact storage are serious concerns, you should definitely give this new kid on the cargobike block a look and test ride.

Our demo is available for you to try for a day, a weekend, or even a week - making it easy to find your own way into your cargobike lifestyle.

Every bike is custom ordered, in the configuration that works best for you and your needs. We also have an option available for custom cargo bags through a California company called Carsick Designs.

Thanks for reading.


Oct 15, 2015

Bikepacking the Bitterroot Loop

A customer of ours turned us onto the existence of the Bitterroot Loop 300km, mostly rail-trail ride while in the store one day, getting his bike tuned up before he headed down to ride it. He was doing it as a 5-day motel-stay tour but suggested it was doable as a 3-day campout as well.

The loop is a combination of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, sections of the NorPac Rail Trail, the Route of the Hiawatha, and the Old Milwaukee Road - as well as a short section of highway.

My (Sean's) interest was peaked and a plan was quickly formulated for me to sneak away for 5 days in early October to tackle the ride. The weather forecast looked perfect and the drive down could be done in a day. I left Monday morning, arrived in Wallace, ID that evening, and headed out on the loop Tuesday morning.

Please enjoy this photo essay detailing some aspects of the tour.

And, if you're looking for bikepacking products, our shop stocks bikepacking bags from Revelate Designs.

Cheers!

Wallace ID is an old silver mining town with plenty of old buildings and a compact downtown. There are plenty of accommodation options - I choose the historic Ryan Hotel which was quaint.

Summit of Lookout Pass, looking east, riding on the NorPac trail. Road bikes not recommended, cyclocross/touring bikes are the best choice. Be prepared - there are not a lot of services around and the ground water in the area is not drinkable, even if filtered, due to mine waste.

Entrance to the Route of the Hiawatha. You can also head east from here along the NorPac trail all the way to St. Regis. NOTE: check info on when the route is open.

Entrance to the Taft Tunnel - over 8000ft long. As is my custom, I did very little research and, to my chagrin, found this tunnel closed by huge wooden "lord of the rings type" doors just beyond the darkness.

At this point I was in a bit of a pickle as I did not know if there was a way around this closure. I definitely did not want to backtrack up and over Lookout Pass and with no cell signal at all, could not find my position on the map. So, I decided to ride the I-90 east to Haugen to look for a map and/or info on how to get around this spot. Luckily, I met a woman at the gas station who knew the area and suggested I take the gravel road 506 over the pass and reconnect with the Route of the Hiawatha on the other side of the Taft Tunnel (map below). This unfortunate detour did however give me the opportunity to ride a section of the NorPac Trail from Haugen back west to the Taft Tunnel.

The Route of the Hiawatha in green with forest service roads in brown. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED to ride the route in the off season for two main reasons: hunting season and many of the tunnels become bear dens in winter.

The 506 road was a real beast. 5kms straight up to the summit on washboarded fireroad meant I was unable to ride and had to walk/push my bike up. By the time I reached the summit, it was getting close to dark and I still had a long way to go to get to Avery, which is where I was hoping to spend the night.

Little did I know that the next 20kms to Avery would be nothing but washboarded, slightly downhill fireroad the whole way. I have never been so punished by a road before: my hands were cramping, they were getting bashed by the washboard, and by the time I got to Avery I could not hold onto the handlebars anymore. Also somewhat disconcerting: the sounds of gun fire all the way down that road, including automatic tat-tat-tat gunfire near the bottom.

Plenty of railway relics around. This was along the NorPac Trail on my way back from Haugen heading towards the Route of the Hiawatha.

I finally emerged from the washboard-soul-crushing-road into the tiny hamlet of Avery, ID after the sun had set. It was very dark and the only place open was Sheffy's Store and Motel. I grabbed a quick bite from their deep fryer and refilled on water as this appeared to be the only place around to load up on provisions. I couldn't locate the campground and was totally exhausted after spending 10hrs in the saddle so I elected to "bandit camp" beside the old railway building, which is now the post office, library, and meeting rooms.

Tomorrow I was aiming for Harrison, ID via St. Maries.

Pretty cool to see this old signal along the road between Avery and St. Maries. Pretty sure the number is a mile marker.
I hit the road at 7am the next day and decided to take the highway to St. Maries since the palms of both my hands were red and swollen from the day before. I don't think I could handle more off road today - which was a bit of a drag since there is a gravel road route (Old Milwaukee Rd) which you can take instead. Once I was west of Calder, there were quite a few logging trucks around but there also appeared to be plenty of them on the gravel route too. So, pick your poison I guess.

Sights and sounds along the road to St. Maries.
St Maries, Id is a nice little town with most services you'd need including lodgings, a bike shop, and restaurants/groceries. From this point, there is about 20kms of #3 highway north that has no shoulder - although traffic along the route was not heavy during the time I was on it and motorist gave lots of space for the most part. After cresting a 5km climb, it was all downhill on a secondary road right to Lake Coeur d'Alene where I picked up the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene into Harrison, ID - my home of the night.

Home made art along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene just outside of Harrison, ID - my home on night 2.
Harrison, ID is a sleepy little town (especially in the off-season). There was one pub open, a small grocery store, but pretty much everything else was closed. Like all of the towns along the rail route, there is a lot of history here and plenty of beautiful old buildings. There is a campground here and a couple motels too. Sadly, the museum was closed too.

Tomorrow, my last day on the Bitterroot Loop, would be completely on the TcA back to Wallace.

The entire length of the Traill of the Coeur d'Alene was this immaculate asphalt surface. Felt like heaven compared to the soul-destroying washboard fireroads from Day 1.


So lovely. The trail rolls through farmlands, a beautiful interlakes area, and gradually works it way west into the silver mining area near Wallace. There are rest areas and washrooms along the way but no services except when the trail runs through Cataldo, Enaville, and Kellog.


Most of the original rail bridges are still in place. This one was built in 1924 with some being as old as 1904.


"The Snake Pit" was originally built back in 1880 when the railroad came through to support the silver mining operations up valley. Over the years its been a brothel, hotel, bar, - you name it. Definitely worth a stop for some refreshments. Also worth stopping at is the Mission Inn in Cataldo. It too was built to support the railway men back in the day.
After rolling through Enaville it's not very long before you come to Kellogg and not far after that I'm back in Wallace. There is a bike shop right along the route in Kellogg and the shop owner is a great resource if you're looking for information on other rides in the area.

I used Wallace as a home base but Kellogg would be fine as well. It looked to be a little but bigger then Wallace but I choose Wallace due to it's quaint downtown and rustic feel.

One nice thing to consider: you can leave your car parked on the street in Wallace while you're on your tour, no problems at all. There is also a campground in Wallace, located right next to the City Limits Brew Pub if beer is your thing.

I highly recommend this tour. It was great, can be done as a motel-stay style tour if sleeping on the ground isn't your thing. Most importantly, due to it being almost exclusively on railroad grades, there are very few steep sections (2 in fact: coming out of Mullan and climbing up the the Taft Tunnel).

And finally, just to give you a little flavour of why bikepacking is so great, watch this video from the folks at Salsa.



Sep 20, 2015

Our Favorite Calgary Rides - Bow River Explorer

This ride is part of a series of rides around Calgary. All rides are mostly off-street/pathway and are of varying lengths/difficulty level to accomodate all of you that love adventures.

The longer routes do require some level of route finding/navigating as Calgary does not yet have very good route finding system. We've attached links to Map My Ride routes to make it really easy to use your smartphone. 

(We are not recommending Map My Ride's app but we've successfully used it all ove rthe world to find and follow routes. It's free but does require a data plan).


Other rides in the series - 

* Nosehill Up-And-Over

* Fish Creek Loop


* Pathway 100km
The route.
Distance: 31km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ride Time: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2hrs
MapMyRide Route Link:  http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1177122353

This is our go-to ride for anyone looking for a great introduction to cycling in Calgary. This loop is easy to navigate, entirely on river paths, has plenty of views, rest spots, food options, and access to other neighbourhoods in the city.

If you only have time for one adventure while visiting, this is your ride.

The Peace Bridge, or as Ms. BikeBike likes to call it, the `Kisses and Hugs Bridge`due to its interlocking x`s and o`s.


Heading east on the Bow River Pathway on of the first sights you'll see is the Peace Bridge. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this bridge is a great place to stop, take your picture, or otherwise hang out for awhile. There are often musicians on the bridge and it is a great place to people watch.

Just west of the bridge is Prince's Island/Eau Claire district which is a worthy detour or rest spot.

The Simmons Building, now home to 3 of the tastiest food purveyors in the city: Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Charcut, and Phil&Sebastien Coffee. Great spot for a coffee, pastry, or something bigger.
 In the East Village district stands the historic Simmons Building, now home to great food options from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Phil and Sebastian Coffee, and Charbar. Grab a pastry or lunch, a killer coffee, or a gourmet meal on the rooftop - if you pass by here, you'll regret it.

Trust us.

What we like to call "The Dark Crystal" - sculpture/viewpoint over the Bow River Weir.
After you're full of goodness, continue east along the pathway. After a few minutes you'll spot this beautiful oasis of rock and steel. "The Dark Crystal" (our name) is a great viewpoint/rest stop to see the Bow River Weir which is also the headwaters of the Western Irrigation District Canal.

This is also a favorite meetup spot for rides and folks in town who enjoy #coffeeoutside.

From this point, you'll continue east through Pearce Estates - but be sure to go up and over the first roadway you encounter, make a hard left, and start heading west along the north side of the river.

Keep an eye on the map/link we provided and make sure you keep heading west past the Calgary Zoo, St. Patricks Island - again, heading west along the northside of the Bow River towards Edworthy Park.

An atypical storm outflow transformed into a beautiful sculpture on the pathway near Edworthy Park.



The long section of pathway along the northside of the river from the zoo to Edworthy Park parallels Memorial Drive, passing the neighbourshoods of Sunnyside and Kensington (among others), westward. History buffs may enjoy a stop at Poppy Plaza along the way towards our eventual turnaround point, Angle's snack shack and Edworthy Park.

Affectionately known by local cyclists as "the snack shack, it morphed over the years into Angel's which has snacks as well as lunch items and features live music on some summer evenings.


Edworthy Park is your eventual spot to start heading back to our shop. The area was originally a ranch but eventually absorbed by a growing city. Ken eyes may notice the "Brickburn" sign along the train tracks. This area also supported a brickworks - remnants of which can be found by looking in just the right spot.

Edworthy Park is the western most point of this ride. Lots of history to be found here as well as parks, playgrounds, picnic spots, river access, and hiking trails.
Once you're over the bridge, make sure you look for the entrance to the Douglas Fir Trail. This walking trail is beautiful, kinda challenging, and one-of-kind. There are bike racks conveniently located at the west entrance too.

 A secret hiking gem that many in Calgary have no idea exists. 

You're now only a few kilometres away from the end of the loop. Keep an eye open for the Pumphouse Park/Theatre and the pathway leading back towards our shop. Or, continue back towards downtown Calgary and continue your adventure.

Aug 23, 2015

Calgary's First Cargobike Roll Call and Family Picnic

Huge shoutout to all the families that joined us for the meetup and picnic! Great fun, and so much inspiration!
Much bocce ball and BBQ was enjoyed, along with discussions with owners of the ins-and-outs of their particular cargobikes.

We're already planning for 2016 - hope to see you there!