Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tonight I closed shop, layered up some Ibex wool, and went for the first snow ride of the year. Now, I recognize that we only got a skiff of snow today but as some of you know when it snows, it collects on the trail first making a most spectacular ribbon of white flowing through the woods. It’s getting dark quite early these days so this was a lighted ride. It was beautiful to see the snow falling in the light of the super bright headlight as it fired up the night. I rode over to Hubbard Hills with a bottle of Stout to enjoy, and an extra layer to wear while sitting on one of the many Leopold benches scattered around the woods. If you haven’t been to this great trail network in awhile, you’ve got to get out there. A hearty crew of trail workers has been diligently pluggin’ away for the past couple months to open up a new section of singletrack that is riding great and going to snowshoe wonderfully. In fact, just yesterday we finally connected the brand new stuff to the existing and now there’s about a mile of twisty fun that highlights some of the rock features and some great sinkholes. Sitting on the bench enjoying my reward, as cozy as could be, I had one of those “Life is real good” moments and wished that there was a way of capturing it all in photos or something. Of course there was not. I hope that some of you can read this though and think about your last trip into the snowy woods and how special it was and embrace what is about to happen to our local paradise.
The snow is coming.

Staff Picks- Bar Mitts

I just got back from one of the best trail rides I've taken this year. It was so special that I also wrote an entry about it, but this is all about the new product that I've been testing and think that you should all know about. I first heard about Bar Mitts when I was checkin' out some of the Iditabike reports. If you're not familiar with this event, here's the scoop. Folks who are way more dedicated than myself will head up to Alaska every winter to race mountain bikes across the frozen landscape some 1000+ miles and endure 40 below temps. Beyond the obvious question of "Why", the next question is "How"? How do they stay warm (and alive)? Introducing Bar Mitts. These groovy handlebar covers of sorts are the warmest answer to cold weather riding I've found yet. I've had mine now for about a month. And while we haven't had sub zero temps, we have had teens and we've had freezing rain. I've been out on the Pugsley in both and my hands have been toasty warm. In fact, just the other morning I headed out for a pre-work ride. The temperature was in the teens and I ended up having to stop and take my lobster mitts off cuz my hands were sweaty hot. Bar Mitts attach to any standard mountain bike or road bike handlebar easily and can be used with or without gloves. Come on in to the shop, check mine out and pick up a set for yourself and the rider on your Christmas list. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coffee, Super Sales, and Parades!!
We’re planning a big week here at Bluedog Cycles and here’s the scoop.
It’s official!!! Brewdog is open. The coffee shop has been under construction for some time now and we are finally opening the doors. We have been licensed, trained by the pros at Kickapoo Coffee. We put together a menu, and Kait, Alycann, and Bryn are ready to pour it on.
Stop by this week and enjoy a cup of coffee while you do your Christmas shopping, or just belly up to the coffee bar, grab a fancy espresso drink, and hang out with some friends. We will be open late on Friday for the Twinkle Fest Parade so you can warm up before the fun event.
Bluedog will be open this Friday on the “big shopping day”. We will open our doors at noon (we need to ride off the Thanksgiving turkey first) and stay open through the Twinkle Fest Parade. For the big sale we’re blowing everything out. Everything is on sale on Friday and Saturday. All items are 20-50% off including 2011 bikes, Ibex wool, Atlas snowshoes, Rossignol Nordic skis, and Vernon Trails’ garb. Some of last years bikes, clothes, bags, and accessories will be marked down as low as 50% off. Come by and do your Christmas shopping locally for your favorite outdoor player.
And finally, Bluedog Cycles will be participating again in the Twinkle Fest Parade. This year we will be meeting in the large parking lot behind Nelson’s Agri-Center right next to the Warehouse (look for the Bluedog Cycles white van) at 6:45pm for the short, but super fun parade. Afterwards we will be partying at the shop. Prizes will be given to the best decorated rider and/or bike.
We look forward to seeing you this week and hope to play with you all soon.

Twinkle Fest Parade

Calling all riders and parade lovers!
The Twinkle Fest Parade is quickly approaching the town of Viroqua, and Bluedog Cycles is looking for parade riders. Every year, on the Friday night after Thanksgiving we decorate our bikes, don our warm wears, and ride our trusted two-wheeled steeds through the streets of Viroqua as the most enthusiastic group in the Twinkle Fest Parade. This year we will be meeting in the large parking lot behind Nelson’s Agri-Center right next to the Warehouse (look for the Bluedog Cycles white van) at 6:45pm to do our pre-ride warm-ups and practice our choreographed riding tricks. As always, the best decorated rider/bike will be rewarded with a gift certificate from your favorite local bike shop. After the parade, we will head to the shop for a little party. Please pass this along to anyone that you think might enjoy being in a parade, and we’ll see you on Friday night.
Happy Thanksgiving from our staff and please eat responsibly.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Update

As I sit here bloggin’ this it’s blustery and cold. The wind is whipping, the rain is sheeting sideways, and the branches falling off the trees in my front yard make me wonder what’s happening to our trails right now. We haven’t had a new post here in awhile and I guess that’s because we have had such a busy season that we haven’t had the time. That said, there is a lot going on at the shop that y’all should be aware of and I’m going to fill you in right now.

For starters, with the exception of the weather we’ve had this weekend, the riding has been amazing this fall. The roads are clear and we’ve had very few windy days, the Cyclocross practice series is going great (thanks Newlin), and the trails have never ridden better. We opened up a new section at Sidie and a new mile of trail at Hubbard Hills (with more to be completed yet this year). We have added a half dozen fancy new lighting systems to the crew of regulars and now we are seeing a full-on “train” of lights on our Friday night group rides in the woods.

While those fun activities are going on outside, here’s what is happening inside.

We added Felt Bicycles to our already strong line of bikes at the shop. We are very excited to be working with these fine folks and have seen some beautiful bikes come through the shop. I was feeling that Bluedog Cycles was missing out a bit on the road market and with Felt onboard I feel like we have it all now. I guess others feel that way too, as we’ve sold more road bikes in the past month than we did all season long. But don’t overlook Felt when it comes to mountain and Cyclocross offerings. I’m now personally in possession of a gorgeous new carbon fiber 29er that tips the scales at just 23 pounds and a Cyclocross bike that is way faster than I.

On a day like today when the wind rips through to the bone, it’s great to be wrapped from head to toe in wool. If you’ve paid attention to my rants and strong opinions in the past, you know I love wool. Ibex wool wears are starting to come in and if you haven’t pulled the trigger on this stuff in the past, now is the time. Nothing feels better in the fall and winter than wool. It is warm and cozy and it doesn’t build up that nasty stink that all your poly-plastic does. To sweeten the deal, Bluedog Cycles offers all of the Ibex line at 20% off all the time. Whether we have it in stock or we have to order it for you, you will get it on sale and not pay shipping. Makes mail order seem like a rip off eh?

On November 1st, our Atlas snowshoes and Rossignol Nordic skis are shipping to the shop. We have been a proud supplier of Atlas snowshoes for four years now and last year was our first year with skis and it went great. We are renting both snowshoes and skis and with both you can apply that rental fee towards a purchase of new stuff for you and your family. We are also moving stuff around in the repair shop to make room for the ski tuning equipment and we will be providing the area skiers with great ski tech support.

Lastly, Brewdog is coming!! The coffee corner has been in the works for some time now and hopefully by next month we will be pouring steaming cups of Joe from the gang over at Kickapoo Roasters (Roast Magazine’s 2010 Roaster of the Year). Kait Keeley will be bringin’ it with her barista skills and lovely charm very soon, and the shop will smell better than ever.

To all our loyal followers over the years, Thank You! And to you folks that haven’t made it in yet, we are excited to get to know you and hear about your adventures. Stop in and see what we’ve got going on at the shop and let us help you make the most of your valuable “play” time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sidiefest 2010 and Map!

On Saturday, September 25th, Vernon Trails hosted their 5th annual Sidiefest at Sidie Hollow County Park. Over 50 volunteers arrived ready to do various trail work tasks in the morning and worked until mid-afternoon. Over 250 hours of volunteer work was logged and trail maintenance tasks included raking, brush cutting, invasive species eradication, and bench cutting.

The event, which always falls on National Public Lands Day has logged over 1000 volunteer hours, seen 300+ volunteers, and produced 9 miles of wonderful “shared-use” trails for all park visitors to enjoy. Over the past four years Vernon Trails has been working closely with Vernon County Parks to create a trail network that has become an invaluable resource for the community and a considerable draw to silent sports enthusiasts from a much broader regional scope.

After the work day concluded, volunteers were invited to stay for a barbeque, a door prize raffle, and entertainment from four local bands. Over 150 people attended the event to “play in the park” for the day. Several attendees stayed to camp for the night and have a big pancake breakfast on Sunday. Guided trail tours were given by bike and foot after breakfast and the new sections of trail were “stomped down”.

Vernon Trails would like to thank the many, many volunteers who showed up to work in the woods, the great bands that entertained us, The Cakery, The Viroqua Food Co-op, Organic Valley and Central Waters for the food and drink, Dairyland Printing, Bluedog Cycles, Mt Borah for their continued support, door prize schwag, and the use of their cool shuttle van, Human Powered Trails (of La Crosse) for the use of their trail tools, and the tireless friends who help out all year long with the random volunteer efforts.

Trail work will continue well into the fall at Sidie Hollow as well as on the 150 acres of private land that Vernon Trails is building upon. The long term vision is to connect the Sidie Hollow trail network all the way back to the town of Viroqua. Please contact Vernon Trails for more information on how to become a volunteer or to make your tax deductible donation to the non-profit group so we can continue to create this silent sports paradise.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

IMBA Visit and New Trail!!

Hello Friends

The IMBA visit went great! We learned a lot, heard a lot of really great things, opened some political doors, built some beautiful trail, and made some new friends. We have a lot to talk about and digest, and I'm really excited about it.

Check out the blog entry posted by Chris and Leslie of the IMBA Trail Care Crew below:

On the Trail with IMBA

Click HERE to view more pictures from the visit.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm

Pete Taylor
Volunteer Board President
Vernon Trails Inc.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Blue's News!

Wow! What an amazing spring.

While Bluedog Cycles settled in it's new dog house, we sure hope you have been out enjoying this fantastic riding weather.

Here's this week's Blue's news:

  • DAWG ~ 1st of the season Ladies Night Ride a big success. I was certain my 6 o'clock ride was going to be rained out, but 10 wonderful women turned out, and the rain stayed away. It felt great to get out on the bike. Being surrounded by such supportive, and fun women makes it all the better. Thank you all who joined in the kick off party and first ride. Hope to see you, and many more faces! Happy Riding.
  • Dallas is back! Our first employee ever Dallas Seevers has completed his first year of college and returned to Bluedog for the summer. Dallas was born with a wrench in his hand, and will always greet you with a smile. Come down and welcome Dallas back.
  • Welcome Kate Bergen. Kate is the newest member of the Bluedog team. Kate has been riding with the DAWG's, since it's beginning 3 years ago. You will see Kate helping out behind the counter. Kate is a great fit to the Bluedog Team.
  • Brewdog. Coffee corner construction soon to get underway. Excuse our mess as we begin this renovation. More details to follow.

Special Thanks to all the Bluedog Supporters out there!

Hope to see you out peddling.


Monday, March 1, 2010

We have moved and we're open! We are in our new digs at 210 South Main Street (the old Dahl pharmacy building). We have tripled our size, we've splashed "Tully" color everywhere, and our carpenters built the sweetest layout I could have asked for. We're still living out of boxes a bit, but it's looking great. We're already taking in bike work and still rolling with the snow sports.
The rumors of the coffee shop are right on. We're working with the gang over at Kickapoo Roasters to set up a super cozy little hang out and that should be going in the next month or so. The flat screen will be looping all the coolest videos and any helmet cam productions that y'all bring me.
I have a returning staff this season that is ready to start rockin' and the group rides are going to be bigger and better than ever.
We had at least 60 folks that helped us move (too many classes, families, and Bluedog campers to mention). Thanks a million, we couldn't do what we do without you friends.
Stop by to see the shop and tell us your stories about where you've been playing these days.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Staff Picks - Ibex Woolies

Well, I reckon it’s time to throw my opinion into the ring and write a “hot pick” of my own. The Taylor Clan just returned from a great week’s stay at the cabin up in Bayfield County. The girls and I loaded up the van with Oscar the dog, just about everything in our home refrigerator, some good tunes, and a tremendous amount of gear.
In fact, as a quick side note, it’s difficult to “hot pick” just one thing since every time we went out to play we were technically using some gear from the bike shop. I skied some new Rossignol skate skis, I rode the Surly Pugsley on miles and miles of winding snowmobile trail, we snow shoed on our Atlas shoes while pulling the Burley with the “We Ski Kit” adapter, and I ran in my waterproof Pearl Izumi running shoes with the Yaktrax traction chains strapped on for the ice. But with all that stuff, the thing that I kept forcing Alycann to listen to me rave about was the Ibex woolies that I sported the whole week.
Much wiser folks than I have been wearing wool for about as long as there have been sheep, and pretty much every one in the land that lives above the 42nd Parallel has a favorite pair of long johns. Ibex melds the two and creates the most functional and comfortable long underwear I have worn.

Embrace winter with Bluedog!

While it’s looking like another snowy winter, we’d like to let you all know what we have at Bluedog to keep you outside having fun this season. Bluedog Cycles is now officially a “ski shop”, with new Rossignol Nordic skis coming in every week. You can buy a ski package from us, rent a package, or have us fix and wax your favorite old sticks.
This is also our third year with Atlas snowshoes. We have several models for men, women, and kids including all the accessories for sale, as well as a large rental fleet. Come on in and our staff can help find the perfect winter toy for you.

Skis- We have Rossignol skate, classic, touring, and
backcountry skis for rent.

Snowshoes- We have Atlas 10 Series snowshoes for
men and women to rent.

Rental Pricing:
Item- ½ Day, Full Day, Weekend

Skate Skis $15.00 $25.00 $35.00

Classic Skis $10.00 $20.00 $30.00

Snowshoes $7.00 $12.00 $20.00