Evidently there are MANY crazy people who want to ride bikes in winter.
We hosted our Winter Clinic & GORE Bike Wear Release Party last Thursday night and we were humbled, astounded, and greatly encouraged by the turnout. Over 60 souls were in attendance and only one came for the free beer (that I can prove). We were happy to see so many old and new faces, coming from so far as the Far East (Bolingbrook), the Great White North (Roscoe), the Wild West (Sterling), and the Dirty South (Plano).
We know a thing or two about the crazy people who like to ride bikes in winter, so we had the bar stocked and an in-house blazito going. The indoor s’mores were a hit – especially the ones made with Honey Stinger Waffles.
It’s one thing to say you buy local when you get honey at the co-op. It was another thing entirely having marshmallows that were made 3 hours before the event. Local and freshly harvested marshmallows – only at NCC (Thank you, Lynn!)
Our generous vendors had given us a pile of reasons for people to come. The door prizes for the winter clinic were the nicest we’ve ever seen. We handed out goodie-bags at the door, so everyone was a winner. Some people just happened to be big winners. Especially the ones who walked away with a new GORE jacket or a Lazer Snow Dissent helmet. Thank you to our wonderful vendors – GORE, Knog, Salsa, Lazer, 45NRTH, and GORE, again.
No, the Beargrease was not a doorprize.
We set it up town-hall style, with a panel of “professionals” (put “bunny ears” on those quotation marks) up front – consisting of Brendan Gecik from GORE, Brian Mark from Knog, Eric Frederickson from Salsa, Legendary rider and all around great guy Paul Carpenter, NCC Chad, and myself. Our goal was to keep the night upbeat and engaging instead of just listening to one person talking the whole time.
The format was very successful. We had great participation and it was evident that we had dedicated riders and new riders in the crowd. The most exciting element of the night was seeing how many people were excited to keep riding into the winter. We weren’t just preaching to the choir, we were equipping new riders to keep going with their fitness, their commute, and their excitement.
We covered the mind-blowing technology from GORE and Knog, the new bikes from Salsa, and shared some of our personal techniques for staying comfortable in all sorts of conditions. Paul Carpenter’s stories from riding 320 days a year, down to temps of 20 below, made us all feel like chumps and inspired us at the same time. He had sprained his ankle on Tuesday night, but still rode to work (30mi), to the clinic (2mi), and rode home afterwards (30mi). I got a papercut on Wednesday and called an ambulance…
We spent some time talking about Fatbikes, including the Beargrease (special order yours today), and talked about some of the new products coming out from 45NRTH, a company dedicated to equipping winter riders for the harshest conditions. The Wölvhammer boots are their pièce de résistance – a game-changing SPD-compatible winter cycling shoe.
After an intermission, we had Brendan share a few demonstrations of GORE technology. The most amazing was the “comfortability” test – proving that Gore-tex products will be comfortable and continue to breath even in the wettest conditions. Check out this quote from Riding Against the Grain:
“They had a demo where you’d get your hand wet, and stick your wet hand in a goretex gloveliner. You’d then put your wet hand, in the glove, in a bucket of water. You would then move your hand around vigorously.
I kid you not…when you pulled your hand out, it was dry. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it.”
And if that wasn’t enough, Brendan had set up a Rain Booth for the full-body Gore-tex experience. Here’s a video from RATG of our friend Mattias putting it to the test:
The stuff works, I tell ya.
The clinic was the informal release of our “Fat Pack” program for fatbike buyers this year. We wanted to introduce a way to make people aware of the most common items that go along with fatbiking that may or may not be obvious if you’ve never done it before. It’s not always apparent that you’ll need a digital air gauge, but when your riding quality can be affected by 2 lbs of pressure, you’ll need something that can read individual units. The Fat Pack offers a discount on the best sellers and hottest products, divided into 3 tiers: Needs (10% off), Wants (15% off) and Desires (20% off). Stop in today to take a look at the program.
Thanks again to everyone for coming out. I think we’re going to have a great winter!