There are a lot of cool things going on in the cycling community. We have the best fake race series in the world with Speed of Light. A Tuesday Night Ride that's harder and faster than most actual races. We've got two (count 'em) peninsulas with five minutes that deserve the title of being on international lists of places to ride before you die. We have a deep, beautiful forest two miles from the bike shop. We have four months of tremendous summer, and six to eight months of frozen hellscape, yet somehow we turn even that into an absolute blast with Short's Brewing Fat Bike Series and Friday Night Lights and solo fat bike adventures.
With so many big things to appreciate, it's far too easy to forget about the little things that make biking in TC so much fun, so friendly, and something that's so rewarding to be a part of. Here, in no particular order, are just some of the things we need to take a second to appreciate.
Don Marsh's Rice Pudding. If you haven't tasted it, you have no idea. It's not only delicious, it's (probably) healthy, with Don sticking to his Paleo diet ingredients and adding just the right amount of raisins to keep you on your toes. It's also has a talismanic effect on me; some of my best rides and races have been fueled by an ample dosage of this drug-like dessert.
Tom White's Trail Building. Tom White hasn't just built trails, he's built mountain biking in Traverse City. The amount of work he's put into giving us places to ride and new routes to explore measure beyond simply time and elbow grease. His efforts have seriously changed how and why people ride mountain bikes, and it is no exaggeration to call him the Godfather of Singletrack.
Ben Boyce's Bro Tanks. Our newest shop genius burst onto the scene this spring, and he's been adding an awful lot to Einstein Cycles. His biggest contribution is probably his repair work and great relationships with customers, but his contribution as the only employee capable of wearing a Bro tank and having the deltoids to pull it off certainly set him apart.
Brian Beckwith's Beard. JUST LOOK AT THAT THING!
Mike Starastanko. Mike Starastanko is an American treasure. How many customers end up 'working' the day before the Iceman? How many riders are more than happy to sweep rides like There Will Be Blood, Friday Night Lights, and almost everything else we end up doing? Nobody has a better attitude, or offers such sparkling conversation as Mike. Seriously, the man is keeping alive the art of being a gentleman.
The Wahoo Kickr. I love riding outside, but especially in this shoulder season, with rain, slush and armed hunters in the woods with a hair trigger and a half-killed 12 pack, hopping on the trainer and virtually joining riders from around the world is a pretty fantastic alternative to avoiding the eagerness of so many Elmer Fudds. Zwift is the flagship app, of course, and it probably deserves to be. How cool is it to 'ride' with professional cyclist and Tour de France top ten finisher Laurens Ten Dam on his morning wake up ride? Or ride with the legendary Jens Voight on Zwift before your turkey dinner tomorrow?
Thomson Stems and Seat Posts. There is a lot of beauty in simplicity, and that's probably the main reason Thomson parts have become the go-to nerd item for us at the shop. If you're doubting it, take a look at our personal bikes, especially Dan's silver-shiny stuff on his Salsa Blackborow.
Singlespeeds. Thanks for keeping it fun, singlespeeds. From Craig Fortuna's Salsa El Mariachi, to Brian Grossnickle's #SICK Kona Big Unit, to my All City Nature Boy, and all the what-gear-are-you-going-to-run talk in between, the world be a much shiftier place without you guys.
Breakaway Cafe. We can literally trip and fall into delicious coffee here at work. It's a delicious convenience and makes the day much more enjoyable for both us bike nerds and all our bike nerd customers, who can swing through before or after a ride, or get lunch and drool over both bikes and burritos at the same time!