Thursday, May 26, 2011


One of our most consistent selling items over the past few years is the Banjo Brothers commuter backpack, which is currently available in two sizes. Here's how the two sizes measure up:

The backpack is also available in white, which I think looks sharp.

This is sold as a cycling backpack, and it's great for that, but it's great for a lot of non-cycling uses, too. I have three young children, and I use my backpack to carry their necessities when we're out and about. I use my backpack as a suitcase on occasional weekend road trips. And whether I take my bike or the bus or walk, this backpack makes an excellent grocery bag. I use it for something, on or off the bike, every single day, rain or shine.

Black, size medium $79.99
Black, size large $89.99
White, size medium $89.99
White, size large $99.99

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bike trip!

Anybody want to go bike tourin'? It's a lot like this:
Almanzo water crossing

Ok, I'm planning for something more like this:
great river trail

If you're reading this and you feel up to the challenge (keep reading), you're invited.

When and where:
August 7-13 starting and ending in LaCrosse, WI at the Amtrak station there. I'm planning to start at HC early in the morning of August 7th and ride to the Amtrak station in St Paul for a train ride to LaCrosse. On the 13th, get to the Amtrak station for the evening return leg. Last I checked the round-trip train ticket is about $75 plus either $5 or $25 each way for the bike (a matter of chance).

Route and fun things:
I mapped out a route/itinerary that should be spectacular. Much of the route is on the oft-ballyhooed state bike trails of SW Wisconsin. We will ride along the scenic Wisconsin River. I am hoping we can have at least one non-travel day to explore Wyalusing State Park. We will ride in three states. We will stop in scenic places. We will pass through quaint small towns and seduce their women (and eat their burgers). There will likely be opportunities for fishing, hiking, swimming, and geology lessons.

Speed and distance:
How many miles and how fast? The longest day is about 61 miles and there's another one that's about 58 miles, but those are the long days. As for speed, this is a tourism experience, not a race. The pace will be casual, depending on terrain and weather of course, and there will be many stops. If you think you can ride a loaded bike 60 miles in a day without much trouble, you will be fine.

We will be staying mostly in modern campgrounds that have some access to electricity and running water, hopefully showers. Depending on circumstances and mood, there may be a night or two spent in a motel. I prefer to have an idea of the options and decide these things on the road, rather than try to adhere to some rigid itinerary. Anyway, the costs of lodging will be divided among the participants.

There will be more or less daily grocery store stops to replenish supplies. Small town diners are often hard to pass without stopping in for a bite. Obviously, everybody has different ideas about food, so I'd generally suggest having a day's worth of food on the bike.

Other stuff:
This is not an official HC-supported or sanctioned event. Unless you buy a touring bike, parts, or other equipment from HC (you really should, by the way), I'm not making any money by inviting friends on a bike trip. This trip has been designed to be easily approachable for a novice bicycle tourist, but also enjoyable for someone who has more experience. This is self-supported touring in the great outdoors. Each participant is responsible for his/her own safety, comfort, and enjoyment.

If this all sounds interesting to you and you have questions or comments or whatever, please comment here or email me.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Buncha stuff

First of all, sorry for the long wait between blog updates. This post will be full of good info, so read carefully, please.

Happy spring!
Spring has finally come to Minneapolis. I got a minor sunburn last weekend on a ride out to Carver Park Reserve. It was raining today, but I got out for a fun utilitarian ride on my recently acquired 2011 Robin Egg Blue Cross-Check (fixed-gear).
Minneapolis in bloom
The leaves and flowers exploded into existence just within the last week or so. After a long, hard winter, the fragrances and supersaturated colors are most welcome. I really like the Cross-check, by the way. If I could have just one bicycle, this might be it. But that's crazy talk.

This weekend
The Lake Pepin 3-speed tour is this weekend. I had been planning to ride with my 6-year-old daughter Elissa on an old French 3-speed kid-crank tandem, but the weather forecast is gloomy, to put it charitably. Instead I'll stay in town and keep the shop open normal hours on Saturday. To the hearty 3-speed excursionists who brave the all-weekend thundershowers, I salute you from the dry comfort of HCHQ.

Surly price increases
Effective today, many of the Surly complete bikes are increasing in price between $50 and $100. These bikes still represent one of the best values and arguably some of the best designs in the bicycle world. Current HC stock will be sold at old prices, but any new orders will reflect the increase.

Used Sam Hillborne for sale
Sam Hillborne
I can post some better photos later, but this is a nice Rivendell Sam Hillborne for sale. Size is 56 cm in Rivendell's "expanded geometry", which is somewhat bigger than a 56 in Rivendell's traditional geometry. It feels somewhere between a 56 cm and a 58 cm Surly Cross-check, Long Haul Trucker, or Pacer. It should fit most people between 5'9" and 6'. Lots of nice parts: Phil Wood rear hub, Nitto rack, seatpost, stem, Noodle bar, 105 sealed-bearing headset, Brooks saddle, SKS fenders, Topeak pump, Marathon Supreme tires, and many other nice features. Personally, I love this bike, and if I didn't already have more bikes than money, I'd be tempted to buy it for myself. $1800 or reasonable offer.

Group bike tour
Unless there is a compelling reason to change it, I'm setting the dates for the group bike tour (described in a previous post) for August 7-13. This is a self-supported tour with moderate daily mileage, and I am inviting everybody. Details are far from solidified, but I think it would be fun to ride our bikes from HC to St Paul early in the morning of Sunday, August 7, get on a train, and continue from, say, LaCrosse, Wisconsin for 5-6 days of glorious southwestern Wisconsin and Southeastern Minnesota. This region is known as the "driftless area", and its topography and scenery are far different than what most people associate with this part of the country. In my opinion, the driftless area, for the most part, is just about as good as it gets for rural bicycle touring. If this trip is of interest to you, please don't hesitate to contact me to discuss questions and concerns and to make the necessary arrangements at work, with family, etc, to make this happen.

My jim@hiawathacyclery email address, which has been my work email for 5+ years is getting a lot of spam and has some other drawbacks. I'm going to avail myself of the convenience and virus/spam protection of web-based email. I am now using two email addresses both @gmail. My personal email is thill.jim and my shop email is hiawathacyclery. I will still check the jim@hiawathcyclery email, but I'm gradually going to transition to the gmail accounts.