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  • Introducing the Northwoods Ramble Podcast

    We're excited to introduce the launch of The Northwoods Ramble, a brand new podcast that celebrates accessible everyday adventure by bike in the Upper Midwest. This video and audio podcast is geared towards a wide variety of riders looking to explore the outdoors on their bikes, be it through bikepacking trips, gravel rides, or discovering the growing MTB trails and culture in the region. Hosted by Dave Schlabowske and TJ Barnes, The Northwoods Ramble will be a deep look into Northwoods bike adventures. Dave, the former Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bike Fed, spends his time curating bikepacking routes and assisting with local bike races in the CAMBA area. TJ, a trail builder with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, brings his trail-building expertise to the show. Together, they make a rowdy duo to guid you through discovering new bike adventures, events, and Northwoods culture and history. Dave and TJ, hosts of the Northwoods Ramble You can join Dave and TJ as they explore the Upper Midwest from their base camps in Seeley, WI. Located near the Chequamegon National Forest, CAMBA MTB trails, and Birkie Ski Trails, Seeley serves as great central HQ for bike chatter. On the podcast, Dave and TJ will review regional bikepacking routes and banter about their gear. They'll also keep you informed about the MTB scene in the Minnesota Iron Range, the UP, and Wisconsin. And to round things out, they'll also share historical tidbits, cultural insights, regional tips, and a few local beers they enjoy. The Northwoods Ramble will feature a diverse range of guests, including regular biking enthusiasts, route creators, members of the bike industry, and trail managers and builders. Each episode will provide a fresh perspective and valuable insights into the world of biking in the Upper Midwest. If you're looking to connect with more adventure content and community, keep an eye out for regular episodes moving forward.

  • You Guys Doing The Short One?: 2023 Snacking Bear Race Recap

    Hannah Burch of New Moon Ski & Bike recently rode the 60 mile Snacking Bear race as part of the Hungry Bear gravel event in Cable, Wisconsin. Here she shares her event recap of the race that felt anything but "short" as well as celebrating with finish line pie at Tilly's. Story by Hannah Burch. Edited by Judy Young It was May 12, 2023, and I was looking forward to my first Hungry Bear gravel event the next day, the Snacking Bear 60. I was usually stressed on prerace days - worried about forgetting something important, not drinking enough water, and making good time - anticipating the moment the gun would go off and I would leave it all out there on the table. Not that day. I was strangely calm and able to focus. Was it because the 60 was more of a tour and less of a race or because I knew I couldn’t compete with the big guys at such a distance? Living in the Northwoods, I've dabbled in just about every outdoor sport the area had to offer. Last summer I started bike racing, mostly MTB, but a little gravel too. I always told myself I was just in it for the fun, for the camaraderie. But the adrenaline high from finishing, from feeling fast, and being proud of the accomplishments…it was absolutely glorious. But was it worth the anxiety leading up to that moment? With three distances to choose from, there is something for everyone on Hungry Bear weekend. These events are all inclusive. Cost is minimal with discounts for minority groups including women. In 2022, women only made up 30 percent of the startline. NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association) youth receive free entries. Even ebikes are allowed. Proceeds from the event go to the Cable volunteer fire department, CAMBA, and for a community bikepacking gear library in our lil neck of the woods. Who doesn’t benefit from getting outside with like-minded gravel junkies? Up early before the sun the next day, I grabbed my gear and headed to the start to meet up with the rest of my team from New Moon Ski & Bike shop. None of the pre-race jitters that usually plagued me the morning of an event were present. The air was crisp and a little cool, but the sun was out and the wind wasn’t strong. Soon it warmed up to a very comfortable temperature. It was forecasted to rain, but I was optimistic. The pace was just about right for the first 25-35ish miles. We had six in our ride group including myself, and used a playlist to stay on pace and motivated. A guy from Madison doing the Hungry Bear 100 also starting early, hopped on a draft with us for a bit and hung out for a while. He was telling me they’d been having their group rides for near six weeks by then, and we’d only had ourselves about two. Our snow hung on for a long time here in Hayward. Reckon we were still too busy skiing! As the day wore on I struggled to keep up, but our group took hydration breaks where we all came back together and checked in. The route was alluring and drew us ever onward. We hardly saw any cars but were passed by the occasional UTV. Mostly it was just us and the glorious crunch of rubber on gravel. Something about that sound boasts of adventure and holds motivation, spurring on tired legs and weary lungs. Birds sang joyfully as if to cheer us on. Around mile 35, we were caught by some folks doing the 100. “You guys doing the short one?” a man from the group called out in passing. Justine and I exchanged looks and laughed. The short one!? We’d already been in the saddle for a few hours and still had a little less than halfway to go. To us, there was nothing short about it! We began to be passed by small clusters of bikers in kits that looked like they’d never been worn, followed by the droves. Their heads were down and they were moving in sync. A feeling of awe washed over me, experiencing them flow around me. It was beautiful. Dusty, my co-worker from New Moon, was in one of these groups and dropped back to encourage us. At this point our group was a lot more spread out. Seeing another friendly face spurred me onward. He brought news of our progress. The lunch point was in sight! Thoughts of that tantalizing sandwich in my backpack brought me to life again as I tried to keep my butt off the saddle as much as possible. My whole body hurt but it was worth the pain. I don’t think you can really ride forever on gravel without feeling like it might break you. We weren’t near close to forever, but it sure was startin’ to feel like it. The last 15 miles were pure agony. I dragged myself up each hill and gratefully took each downhill at top speed. Unexpectedly, A man with a boombox, cold water and… Coca Cola sitting on his tailgate was there cheering me on. “Have a Coke!” he called out cheerily. My eyes were drawn instantly to the red perspiring beverages - I didn’t even like Coke, but dang! I shook my head. I knew if I stopped now I’d never finish. It took me just under 5 hours to finish, and I was the last of our tired group to roll across the line... almost right into a group of riders in green & black Fulton kits having a beer. They sent up a hearty cheer when they saw me stumble to a stop - a cheer only someone who’s been out there in the trenches themselves sends up. I was tired, I hurt everywhere, and felt like I hadn’t eaten in years, but it was the best feeling, a feeling of connection to total strangers who shared my accomplishment. Our accomplishment. Pie from Tilly’s and stone-fired pizza from The Rivers Eatery awaited our return. Photos courtesy of Linda Shydlowski.

  • Summer Jersey Store is Now Open for 10 Days

    For 11 days, we've opened up an online shop for The Nxrth gravel jersey orders. These jerseys and bibs come in both men's and women's cuts and are designed and stitched in Coon Valley, Wisconsin by Borah Teamwear. The store closes on Thursday, June 15. Shop Jerseys.

  • One Gravel Weekend in Iron Mountain, Michigan. A Ready-to-Plan Itinerary for Your Next Adventure.

    We recently published a complete Gravel Guide for Iron Mountain, Michigan. It's a ready-to-plan tool for an epic gravel weekend in the Upper Peninsula and it's now available to Patrons on our Adventure Team Tier. Today we used the Gravel Guide to plan a full weekend itinerary full of woodsy gravel rides and small town exploration. Enjoy! To get access to 8 routes, 5 best lodging options, 10 local picks for eating and drinking plus 6 non-bikey things you should check out, join us on Patreon. Photos by Dylan Juchemich @jukendorf . This itinerary is based on the Iron Mountain Gravel Guide that was built in collaboration with Andy Cabrera of U.P. Sport & Spoke. Day 1: Friday Check In to Your Cabin on the River Check into the Edgewater Resort, a riverside spot that offers several country cabins along the Menomonee River, providing a tranquil and picturesque setting for your gravel weekend. Gravel Ride for Burgers at Solbergs In the afternoon, kick off your gravel biking weekend with the Out and Back to Solbergs route (13.4 miles each way, starting at the DNR gravel pit). To start, drive out to the DNR gravel pit or leave right from town if you prefer a longer ride. This route takes you through the woods to Solbergs Bar & Grill, a small town bar with a rustic hunting vibe. Make it a leisurely social ride and enjoy some small town burgers or a fish fry. Need more miles? Start right from town and go the full distance. Summer Evening on the Roof After your ride and after the sun sets, head to Sandstone Terrace, a rooftop bar that offers a great evening experience during the summer months. Enjoy the warm weather, grab some food from the bar or Carlos Cantina, and gather around the fire pit. Take in the panoramic views of the surrounding area while sipping on your favorite drink. Day 2: Saturday Breakfast & Coffee Plan Start your day with breakfast at your cabin or venture out to one of the local coffee options. Contrast Coffee in Kingsford is a perfect spot to get a strong cup of coffee that will wake you up before your early morning ride. Alternatively, you can explore Moose Jackson, which not only offers custom roasted coffee blends and an espresso bar but also has a European-style bakery for those craving a fancy pastry. A Big Gravel Day Through Norway, Niagara, & Wisconsin (52 miles) First, stop at at Crispigna's Italian Market and pick up some fresh sandwiches for your ride. Connecting all the small towns, the Norway, Niagara, & Wisconsin Route is a nice and accessible gravel route from anywhere in the area. You’ll do the entire Norway Truck Trail and also connect Old Carney Lake Road and go right by Strawberry Lake. When you get into town, this route cuts through the golf course and then rides some singletrack for a little bit and also runs right by Piers Gorge. There is some pavement connecting the towns and a big climb coming back to Kingsford. When you’re in Kingsford, feel free to stop at 51st State Brewing or Contrast Coffee. Other Non-Bikey Stuff to Do In the afternoon, go explore the area off-bike. There is tons to do in Iron Mountain. Check out the fishing along tranquil trout streams or exploring the breathtaking Piers Gorge with its cascading rapids. Go nuts at the Millie Mine Bat Cave, home to a thriving bat colony. Sample local brews at 51st State Brewery or venture into the expansive Fumee Lake Natural Area for biking, hiking, and wildlife viewing. For even more outdoor adventures like whitewater rafting, climbing, and more, visit True North Outpost in nearby Norway. Or if you just want some non-gravel bike adventures, hit up the local mountain bike trails around Fumee lake or in Norway. Dinner Out (steak, baby) Head back to your cabin at Edgewater Resort, freshen up, and chill by the Menomonee River. If you're in the mood for dinner out, head to Kingsford for the area's best steak at Henry's Steakhouse. Call it a night or grab a drink at Sol Blu which is housed in a historic downtown building and is your central taproom with beer, spirits, and food. Day 3: Sunday One Last Lake-y Gravel Ride Enjoy your last morning around the lakes on the Two Lakes Loop and stay close to town. Lake Antoine is mostly paved and includes a bike lane so you’ll see a lot of runners and families with kids. Lake Antoine also has a campground and a natural spring where you can get water. Once you get to Fumee Lake, you’ll find more gravel and double track around the lake. There are no motorized vehicles around Fumee Lake so it’s pretty peaceful and if you’re wanting some singletrack action, there are mountain bike trails on the north and south side of Fumee Lake. Breakfast (or ice cream?!) on your way out of town Before hitting the road, grab breakfast at Organic Grounds Coffeehouse which is located in Kingsford. They serve coffee, espresso, gluten-free treats, and some healthy organic options. Or if you're sticking around a little later in the afternoon, make sure to stop and get ice cream at the Ice Cream Barn then hit the road. To Get Access to 8 Routes Plus All the Local Picks for Lodging, Food, Drink, & Iron Mountain Fun, Join Us on Patreon.

  • Frame Bag Charcuterie Boards Are Now in The Nxrth's Web Store.

    This year we've been inspired The Heywood boys' gravel charcuterie rides but didn't have any hardwood that fit in a half frame bag. So we designed some and had a small batch of boards made from an Eau Claire, Wisconsin black walnut tree with a local woodworker. We've got about half a handful left and they are now for sale in our web store until they are sold out. Pick one up here or learn more about how we picked the wood and designed the shape over here. They ship free and have a cutout for fitting in angled frame bags plus six notches for voile-strapping under a saddle or to a cargo cage.

  • ENDS TODAY: Gravel Pizza Early Bird Pricing

    Early Bird pricing for the 2023 Gravel Pizza Overnighter ends today, May 31st, at midnight. To join us, head over the Gravel Pizza Overnighter page. This year we're adding an optional Friday night of social gravel, stopping at Boondock's bar for drinks and apps, and then a campfire back at base camp. Join the community and experience the best woodsy gravel in the middle of nowhere, Wisconsin.

  • We Made a Small Batch of Frame Bag Charcuterie Boards

    I wanted to do some gravel charcuterie rides but didn't have any hardwood that fit in a frame bag (or any hardwood actually) so I designed one for my own rides plus a few extras that I'll put in our web store soon. Details here. My friend Tim Brudnicki from Tree Purpose of Eau Claire, WI helped turn this idea into reality and here are the details. If you have any thoughts on whether these seem neat or if I'm just overthinking this, shoot me at email at josh at the nxrth dot com. NOTE: We only made a small batch and they will be for sale HERE to our Patrons first in the next few days. They are the special team of supporters who are helping build more adventure cycling resources up north. If there are any left, we'll make them available publicly after that. About the angled cutout I've tried shoving a few different pieces of wood into my frame bag but always run into two problems. First, my bike is very small which makes my half frame bag also really small so it's hard to find a piece of wood that fits and second, the angles of a bike aren't conducive to wood with right angles. So we cutout the corner giving it a nice angle that mirrors the common angle on a bicycles down tube. About the notches Not everybody rides with a frame bag. We put notches along both sides so that it's easy to strap to anywhere you have room on your bike such as under the saddles or on a cargo cage. About the wood The wood is from a black walnut tree that came down about a mile from my house and probably lived a jolly life. It was milled, kiln-dried, and machined in Eau Claire. Black walnut is great for cutting boards because it is hard wood and has tight pores that resists bacteria and is easy to clean. About the Sizing One size fits most.These are 4" x 11". If you're looking to show up at your in law's house with a big spread of exotic meats, cheeses, crackers, olives, and organic jalapeño cranberry spread, this is probably going to be too small. Also, if you're wanting to put this in a half frame bag and don't have 4 inches of vertical space, you're out of luck. 3 Ways to Carry it On Your Bike Have fun with it. Ride like a hooligan and eat like royalty. 1. In Your Frame Bag This board was born for frame bags. You're going to slide it in and just feel good about having a little living piece of the northwoods tucked right in where it fits beautifully. 2. Strapped Under Your Saddle Every saddle is different: rail length, rail angle, room between the rails and the seat post, etc. So the fit will be different for every bike. But no worries. We're gravel bikers. We're ok running to garage for a few Voile straps and taking the time to get it right. 3. Strapped to a Cargo Cage If you're lucky enough to have triple mounts on your fork blades, you're going to look real nice with a charcuterie board and a chunk o' meat hanging on for dear life under a pair of bikepacking straps. Want one? These will be available HERE to Patrons first in the next few days. If there are any left after that, we'll put them out to everyone.


    Last week we announced our first "Dangle Mug Midnighter", a June bikepacking overnighter challenge for everyone up north. In order to celebrate the loving companion that is our dangle mugs, we wrote a poem to all the dangle mugs out there. Dangle on, friends. To join us, check out the Dangle Mug Midnighter. In the realm where adventure rides, Midst bikepacking trails and countryside, There hangs a mug, clipped with care, Dangle mug, on journeys we share. Pedals spin, wheels whir and hum, As landscapes change, our spirits thrum, The mug, a companion, steadfast and true, Swinging with us, a view brand new. Morning sun or twilight's embrace, Dangle mug brings warmth and grace, Clipped to the bike, it takes a role, Savoring moments, stirring the soul. Brewing tales of the open road, Caffeine-infused, a traveler's ode, With each sip, a story unwinds, In the wilderness, where freedom finds. Dangle mug, a symbol of wanderlust, On handlebars, it quietly thrusts, A reminder of joy, a simple pleasure, As we pedal onward, beyond measure. So let it dangle, this spirited mug, On bikepacking journeys, a cozy hug, Through trails unknown, our spirits soar, Dangle mug, companion we adore.

  • REVIEW: Untapped Now Has Bulk Maple Syrup Energy Bottles

    Untapped from Vermont recently announced new bulk versions of their popular maple syrup energy gels. With 16 one ounce servings each, they allow you to stock up and reduce the need for single serve packets. To learn more about their bulk bottles, visit Untapped. I'm pretty hooked on maple syrup energy for cycling, especially the salted varieties. They have many of the exact same nutrients that come in artificial gels while being all natural and easier to digest. But nearly all of them come in single use individually packaged containers of one ounce. They're small and the packaging is sticky and impossible to get off if you get it on your hands while cycling. Untapped's new bulk bottles delivery more servings in a single container while pretty much eliminating the sticky mess that comes with tear off packets. How Untapped Bulk Bottles Work The bulk bottles have a pretty neat design that pre-measures one ounce at a time. This makes it really easy to control how fast you use up syrup servings and minimizes spilling while pouring it into your reusable container. Your first bulk bottle comes with a free soft flask (a $14.95 value). The soft flask is great because it easily packs down when empty but can hold all the way up to 5 servings. The material is impressively strong and also spill proof. The maple syrup can't come out unless you're sucking on it and instantly stops when you're done. With the flasks being five ounces, the bulk bottles' integrated one-ounce reservoir almost seems unnecessarily small. In practice, I almost always filled the flask up either half or all of the way and had to re-squeeze the one ounce pre-pour reservoir three to five times to get the syrup out that I needed. My preference would be to either have smaller flasks to more easily carry only 1-2 servings with me at a time or have even larger sized bulk bottles that fill the flask more than three times. Using the Soft Flask on the Bike I love the ritual of preparing my tires, chain, bottles, and energy the night before my early morning rides and I like measuring out my maple syrup using the bulk bottle that easily fits in the back of the fridge. I had no issues with spilling whatsoever (have I mentioned how impossibly sticky maple syrup can be?) though I'd love to see how long the soft flask lasts and I imagine it could get a puncture if I shove my keys in my stem bag without thinking. The cap is slightly hard to open while riding. It usually requires two hands but so do all of the tear off packets. The translucent siding is also nice to know how much syrup I have left at a glance. Pros and cons Between the pre-measure feature of the bulk bottle and the durability and spill-proof nature of the soft flask, this is a fantastic system for those who go through a lot of syrup. Buying in bulk is also a cost savings. The bulk bottle is about $1.56 per ounce whereas a 10-pack of one ounce packets is $2.00 per ounce or $1.85 per ounce in a pack of 20 one ounce packets. As mentioned previously, I'd like to see these be even larger, especially since they're accompanied by a 5 ounce soft flask. I also imagine that at this size, the packaging of a thick plastic bulk bottle probably isn't much less than a corresponding amount of several of the ultra thin single serve packets. Untapped bulk bottles come in Salted Cocao, Salted Citrus, Salted Raspberry, Coffee, and Unsalted Maple. To learn more or shop bulk bottles, visit Untapped.

  • Iron Mountain, Michigan Gravel Guide: NOW LIVE

    Today we're sharing our very first Upper Peninsula Gravel Guide for Iron Mountain. Located on the border of WI and MI, Iron Mountain is a doorway to a mixed catalog of gravel adventures, lakes, rivers, and perfect towns to spend the weekend. It is now available to Patrons on our Adventure Team Tier. To get access, join our Adventure Team tier on Patreon. Photos by Dylan Juchemich @jukendorf We collaborated with Andy Cabrera from U.P. Sport & Spoke to get local knowledge of gravel roads in varying distances and great stops along the way. In this guide you'll find everything you need to plan an entire gravel weekend (and much more) in Iron Mountain, Michigan. Inside the Iron Mountain Gravel Guide 8 quintessential Iron Mountain gravel routes 329 miles of woodsy U.P. gravel to explore 3 top lodging picks 2 recommended campgrounds Breakdown of 7 best restaurants 3 spots for evening drinks 3 spots for coffee 6 non-bike activities to make it a full weekend adventure Photos of Iron Mountain Gravel Biking

  • Bike Fit Friday with Paulie at GO PHYSIO (4 of 4): The Biggest Mistake Everyone Makes With Bike Fit

    Paulie from Go PHYSIO has the been around the block a time or two and I asked him what's the most common mistake people make when setting up their own bike. Here he discusses the relationship between the rider and the bike and why LOOKING fast does not always equal RIDING fast. About Paulie Glatt: As a competitive cyclist with a history of low back pain, Paulie has a great understanding of how critical a proper bike fit is to our experience on a bicycle. He rides Road, Gravel, Mountain, Bike Packs, and commutes by bicycle throughout the entire year. His longest race was The Day Across Minnesota, a 240-mile gravel race that he completed in 17 hours. To learn more about Paulie or to schedule a professional bike fitting, visit GO PHYSIO. Hey Paulie, what's the biggest mistake people make when setting up the fit on their own bike? Paulie Glatt: Trying to look like the pros tends to be one of the most common mistakes I see. Looking fast does not equate to riding fast. More often than not, this approach results in discomfort, poor efficiency, and limits a rider’s ability to endure long rides. In general, riders tend to overlook their physical limitations. Factors like hamstring mobility, core strength, and hip range of motion need to be considered for a proper fit. An ideal bike fit is about more than achieving recommended joint angles and getting your knee over the pedal spindle. It’s not about simply molding a bike around a rider. It’s about the relationship between the rider and the bike. Usually both can be improved. Every rider leaves my studio with a few recommended exercises.

  • Gravel Pizza: There Are Now 12 Gold Tickets Left

    For the 2023 Gravel Pizza Overnighter, we added Gold Tickets which include an additional Friday night camping, slow roll social gravel ride, and a stop for drinks and apps at Boondock's Bar before. We want Friday night to be an intimate community night and are limiting ticket sales to 30 and there are now 12 left as of noon on Tuesday, May 9. If you'd like to join us for Friday night, grab a ticket while they last.

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