Friday, April 27, 2012

Paul Components Stem Light Mount

So it looks a little goofy because I need to cut my steer tube a bit more, but using the Paul Components stem cap light mount helps free up some real estate for my lights.  This will come useful in night mountain bike rides when I have two headlamps or on a tour and my front rack is in the way of the light beam.  I plan on spending a lot of time on the trails and roads during the night so it's nice that I won't have to work around the cable housing or my handle bar bag in the dark.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ellis 650b Randonneur

Last week Dave of Ellis Cycles dropped by to finish up a customer's bike.  Absolutely stunning.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A little Ben's Cycle Nostalgia - Then & Now

   Larry (Ben's son and Vince the current owner's father) came in today with a handful of old photos and it really brought into light the history of the shop.
   To give you some background as to how the business was started...It was 1928; Ben Hanoski was laid off as a tool and die maker. He couldn't afford the gas to put into his 1926 Ford that someone offered him 100 bucks and a bicycle for it; he couldn't pass it up. A couple days later as he was riding his bike, someone offered to buy it and it all began.
   That next day Ben took a walk to the local salvage yard eight blocks away and picked up another bicycle. It definitely needed work but it didn't take long to get it into tip top shape. He sold that one a couple days later, was back down to the salvage yard the same day and so on and so on....
  It didn't take long for word to get out and Ben had a good business running. He would make trips to Chicago every other week, buying up used bikes to bring back, fix them up and sell them at a reasonable price. Chicago was the bicycle manufacturing capital at the time; having more than a dozen bike manufacturers in the hay day which equated to lots and lots of bikes...

 For several years Ben's Cycle was run out of the basement of his house in this very same neighborhood. It was right behind the first Ben's Cycle storefront rented in 1938. Two doors down from where we are today...

The 1004 Lincoln Ave shop operated in the same building until the mid 60's when a fire totaled the shop and the building next to it; the shop needed a new home.

The photo below below was taken by Roman Kwasniewski in 1914 and shows the building that would be the future Ben's Cycle. Here it's called The Orient and to the left is Kwasniewski's Park Photo Studio. Kwasniewski documented Milwaukee's Polish South Side for over forty years.

A couple of the buildings have been rebuilt over the years but the Ben's building has been standing strong. Ben's son Larry, and his brother Roman took over the business in 1956. Roman separated from the business in 1970 to pursue other endeavors.

Ben's Cycle was one of the first Schwinn dealers in Milwaukee. Below shows the shop in the new 1018 W Lincoln Ave location.

Larry ran the shop for over 30 years and in 1992 his son Vince took the business over. In 1996 Vince bought the dilapidated Riviera Theater right across the street to add another larger retail space. When he bought it, it was being used as a lighting storage space with massive pallet racking from floor to ceiling. He put a lot of effort in the building to get it as close to the original space as he could. A lot of external brick work was needed as well the interior was completely rejuvenated.

Below is a picture of the theater's interior soon after construction around 1920 taken by Roman Kwasniewski.

This is how it looks now...

Lots of storage for our retail and online businesses!

More to come.....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Miwaukee Road in Australia

Photo via Fyxo

John put his Milwaukee Road Bike (equipped with a Carradice bag and rack) to the test through some grueling Australian mountains.  Looks like hell of a good/painful time!  Check out the rest of the adventure here and here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mountain Bikes are Happier...

...when they're muddy!  Here's Jim's MKE 29er and my ZR 650b (designed around a 29er 80mm travel fork) both equipped with our trusty Manitou Minute forks (which are now remodeled as the Manitou Tower).  I believe this fork is an essential component to my enjoyment on the trails. 

Yes I love my rigid forks, but this fork has allowed me to enjoy longer trails with less fatigue.  I have ridden it for a whole season and have yet to feel any wear from the day I got it.  Not to say that they are impervious to being rebuilt, but I am just amazed by it's quality.  Hope to catch some of you on the trails!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Lots of frames coming back from our painter.  See the Ellis in the mix?  With Battle for the Midwest tournament coming up in a couple of days, we've seen a lot of Polo Bruisers go out the door.  Some of these frames are being built up into complete bikes, updates on those soon.

Braze On

Can we put braze ons for a dynamo hub on a Milwaukee frame?  We sure can!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Aliza's Milwaukee Single Speed

Aliza came all the way up from Chicago to get a bike from us.  She had searched around her city and could not find exactly what she wanted.  Some bikes had great parts but with horrid paint jobs and vice versa.  When she found out how much we emphasize custom builds on our frames, she opted to get a Milwaukee Orange One.  

Aliza wanted a simple and classy bike but that felt like her own.  After a couple of emails about color/parts and a simple fit (which is included with a local purchase of any of our Milwaukee bikes), Aliza got her bike.  We are all pleased in how it turned out.  Sometimes all it takes is the right set up to get anyone excited to ride.  Thanks for making the trip Aliza, hope you have many many enjoyable miles the bike!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Flavor Cycle

Our good buddies at Cog Mag have started Flavor Cycle, a new food courier service here in Milwaukee!  I love the food that Milwaukee has to offer and I'm so glad that we now have a company that can deliver from some of the best restaurants in town.  Go check them out, and while you're at it, go Save the Bike Messenger!

AJ Austin

Lawnmowers all day.  Very smooth AJ.

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