The Chainlink

The Chainlink - Bicycling Articles including Bike Style, Gear Reviews, Trip Reports and More

"Must Love Hills: A RAGBRAI Virgin's Weeklong Love Affair With Iowa" By Liz Farina Markel

Deep Winter Riding Part 1: The Bottoms

By Jasmin Welter “You rode your bike in this weather? - I’m sure most if not all year round cyclists have heard this question, often paired with a stare of utter disbelief.   While riding through… 

Comfort Is King

Happy New Year!  How many of us made a New Years resolution to ride more?  Some of us may have even made that resolution in a drunken stupor.  However we resolve to spend more… 

2017 Chainlink Ambassadors 

Thank you to everyone that applied! We had so many great responses. The Chainlink Ambassador team of ten will be at events, on the road, writing articles, and attending races in the Chicago… 

Have You Taken The Ride Illinois Bike Safety Quiz? 

By Yasmeen Schuller If you aren’t familiar with Ride Illinois, they are a non-profit organization “working statewide for better biking conditions”. You’ll definitely want to check out their re… 

Product Review: Brompton H2L Folding Bike "B-Romp" 

Here's a picture of us together. Photo by John Ladner Article and Photos By Sarah Dandelles Unless Noted You’ll have to excuse me if I seem out of sorts. It’s not the weather, or the 201…

Planning Your 2017 Cycling Season

By Shawn Conley We all have our own cycling journeys.  We do different styles of rides.  We ride for different reasons.  We have varying opinions about what makes a great ride.&n…

Riding With An Injury 

By Shawna Carter 2016 hasn't been the greatest year in terms of fitness. It's been one set back after another. It started in April 2015 and feels like it's never going to end. I originally had… 

The Chainlink Top Ten for 2016: Articles, Stories, & Threads

Top 9 Chainlink Instagram for 2016 1. What's This Doing in the Bike Lane? (Forum Thread) Filling the thread, Twitter with three hashtags, or post pics on Instagram, Chicago cyclists deal… 

Product Preview: FitWell Bike 

By Eric Alexander The Fitwell Schratz is a new touring/monster-cross bike looking to enter the growing market of this type of bike. The company has a Kickstarter campaign live till the 28… 

Trainers & Rollers, Coaching, and Strength Training

Getting Started Kristen Meshberg's recommendations on getting started with training to prepare for the spring season. Indoor Training Resources This includes information about local classes… 

Opinion: Reframing the Idaho Stop Proposal 

By Peter Szabo, Photography by Ronit Bezalel As a person who follows local news on social media, I’ve seen many angry responses to the DePaul “Idaho stop in Chicago” suggestion. These response… 

Cyclists of Chicago

By Marcelo Marcos This is by far the weirdest project I’ve undertaken. I’ve started photographing cyclists in Chicago at random (#ChiCyclists). Aside from taking in more rejection than I’m… 

The Dog Days of Winter 

Article By Shawn Conley, Footnote by Yasmeen Schuller Typically, I do most of my riding from April to October.  Many Chicago-area cyclists ride in this manner.  So, what should… 

Rapha Excited to Join the Chicago Cycling Community

Intro by Yasmeen Schuller. All photography by Chris Dilts. The Chainlink couldn't be more excited about the recent opening of Rapha's clubhouse in Chicago. Not only is Rapha well-known… 

The Dog Days of Winter

Article By Shawn Conley, Footnote by Yasmeen Schuller Typically, I do most of my riding from April to October.  Many Chicago-area cyclists ride in this manner.  So, what should… 

Chainlink Spotlight: Grand Illinois Bike Tour

By Brett Ratner Does a week riding your bike along winding rivers and through rolling prairies sound appealing? Do you love exploring quaint, historic towns, while learning about our state’s… 


Product Review: PowerPod Power Meter

By Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin When I first started actually training for riding, everyone said to get a power meter. It was the holy grail of cool gear, and the science to back up why using one… 

Product Review: North St. Belmont Backpack

By Yasmeen Schuller   Most of us seem to be on the look out for the “perfect” bag to fit nearly every need. Sure, on days when I'm going to the grocery store, or carrying larger items, it…

Bike-Related Giving Tuesday 
Looking for a great organization to donate to for Giving Tuesday? Or looking for a great gift for a friend or family member that "has everything"? Here are some ideas - mostly bike-related! Have… 

Holiday Gift Recommendations from Local Bike Shops

In honor of holiday shopping at small businesses and shopping locally, we asked some of our friends from local bike shops to share their holiday gift recommendations. They came up with… 

Backpacking Essential Gear & Holiday Gift Guide

By Eric Alexander BIKEPACKING TRIP CATEGORIES Before we talk about gear, I’m going to break this into three backpacking categories: Weekend trip also known as a "Sub 48" Multi-day… 

Product Review: ONWEGO®️ Camping Pillows

By Eric Alexander ONWEGO®️ has sent me two pillows to test and review.  It is getting cold out so I will have to hold off on an actual field test, but I can tell you what I know from a… 

Commuter Casual: Fashion-Forward, Pedal-Forward with Shebeest 

By Jennah Dunham Bicycles, as we all know well and good, are not simply for recreation. For many city dwellers, it is the preferred method of transportation. We navigate the city on two wheel… 

Race Report: Chicago Triathlon Divvy SuperSprint

By Lisa Luttenegger and Cover Photo by Athlinks   The end of racing season is nigh and that means one thing: race registration season is upon us. 2017 Chicago Triathlon registration … 

Beestmode: Training in Polka (Dots, that is).

By Jennah Dunham All riders have their on the bike and off the bike personas. Let’s name it, sometimes, us cyclists cannot even recognize each other without helmet, kit and bike in tow… 

Trip Report: A Quick Bikepacking Ride to Zion 

Words and photos by Bill Brown unless noted. The concept of bike touring has always been something that's intrigued me. The ability to travel hundreds if not thousands of miles with… 


Long-Term Product Review: DZR Minna Clipless Urban Cycling Shoes 

By Brett Ratner While many of us occasionally like to ride mountain bikes, do centuries, or even sometimes race, the vast majority of our bike time is likely spent commuting to work, running…

Race Report from Crossidiot: Chicago Cross Cup - ABD Sunrise Park

By CrossIdiot (Words by Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin. Photos by Dad a.k.a. Alec Bloyd-Peshkin.) The last few weeks have not been kind to me from a racing standpoint. I missed a week… 

Product Review: ABUS Bordo 6100 Combination Lock by Commuter

By Peter Szabo There are people who steal bikes. I know this because I, people I know, and people I care about have been the victim of the worst form of larceny I, and I’m sure you, can imagine.… 

Product Review: State Bicycle Co. x Road Runner Bags Bike Tool Roll/Pouch 

By Brett Ratner Road cyclists abide by a lot of rules. So much so, in fact, there is an entire website called Velominati dedicated to said rules. To be honest, I'm all for it. Road cycling… 

Product Review: Abus Bordo 6000 by a Mountain Biker 

By Marcelo Marcos So, about the Abus Bordo 6000... I know you swear by your U-Lock.They are small and sexy and easy to carry around. Problem is, I can't use a U-Lock. Why you may ask? They call… 

Indoor Cycling Training Resources

By Yasmeen Schuller As the days get shorter and colder, it’s time to start thinking about indoor training on the bike as an alternative to long rides outside. There are lots of great resources… 

Product Review Follow-up: The Sufferfest

By Brett Ratner A couple of winters ago, we reviewed a series of bicycle training videos called The Sufferfest (read the review here). Combined with one of Sufferfest's training plans… 

Race Report: Chicago Cross Cup - Hopkins Park

By CrossIdiot (Words and photos by Jeremy Bloyd-Peshkin unless noted. Cover photo by Yasmeen Schuller) Let me begin by saying that my quads hurt. It was an early start to the day. Even… 

Don't Be a Bike Ninja 

By Brett Ratner On Sunday, November 6, the clocks change for Daylight Saving Time. And just like that, your afternoon commute turns into a night ride. Even now - one month out - we're starting… 

Race Report: Lots of Firsts for Chainlink Ambassadors Lisa & Anna at Kickstand Classic

Photo by Active Trans / Squatch Media Race Report by Lisa Luttenger The whole concept behind the Kickstand Classic, driven by Active Transportation Alliance's Ron Burke, was to make bicycle… 

Commuting Advice in All Seasons: Commute by Bike Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer 

By Leah Barry In 2014 my car broke down.  I lived in Uptown and worked in Oak Park.  That first day after it died, I rode my 50lb Schwinn beach cruiser (The Yellow Beast) the 14 mile… 

Chainlink Race Report: 2016 Trek Cyclocross Collective Cup and Jingle Cross

By Brett Ratner (Photos by SnowyMountain Photography unless otherwise noted) If you have an itch to compete on a bike, watch people race bikes, or both, we Chicagoans are pretty lucky… 

Chicago Garden Jam 

Article and Photos by Marcelo Marcos In response to the never ending tragic news during this heartbreaking weekend for cyclists in Chicago, I decided to ride my bike. While I'm positive that I… 

Trip Report: The Chainlink Goes to Colorado 

Whether Marcelo is launching his mountain bike off concrete steps in Chicago or shredding at Palos, his photos never disappoint. Recently, he had an awesome downhill mountain biking adventure in… 

Do Carbon Wheels Make a Difference?

By Brett Ratner Pretty much any experienced rider will tell you that if you're gonna upgrade your bike, your money is best spent investing in the wheels. More-so than that fancy new groupset… 

Product Review: Showers Pass Refuge Pant

By Brett Ratner (photos courtesy Showers Pass) Last June, the good folks at Portand-based Showers Pass cycling apparel were kind enough to supply The Chainlink with a pair of their Refuge…

Remembering Phyllis W. Harmon, The Grande Dame of Bicycling 

By Carol Terrazas Phyllis W. Harmon, one of the most influential people in the history of American bicycling, passed away peacefully on August 26, 2016, surrounded by her loving family. She… 

Product Review: Po Campo Uptown Bike Trunk Bag in Mosaic

By Shawna Carter Love my Po Campo bag. The bag has a super cute design that really stands out. I was originally drawn to the black version as most things I own are black, but decided I should… 

Epic Bike Story Contest: Progressive 75 Year Birthday Party Ride by Kathy Schubert 

I've spent 3 days pre-riding my birthday celebration the PROGRESSIVE BIKE RIDE. I'm inviting all who care to join Suzy Schnauzer and me to ride 75 miles in honor of my next birthday - over a… 

Epic Bike Story: What I Found on State and Madison by Kathy Schubert

I've been riding my bike near State and Madison several times a week at least for a long time.  One day a few weeks ago I happened to notice a man sitting in a wheelchair.  His head… 

Not So Epic Story of "Do the Divvy" Ride by Kathy Schubert 

I listed my Do the Divvy ride on The Chainlink and Chicago Cycling Club as an invitation to meet in my yard for coffee and bagels, walk a block to sign out a Divvy bike, and ride 13.5 miles… 

Epic Bike Story: What I Did This Summer On My Bike by Melissa Zammit

This has been my year of biking with over 3000 miles logged since January I am feeling pretty strong and confident.  I commute to work and ride longer distances on the weekends for fun...

Bike Safety Tips and Ideas - Courtesy of The Chainlink and WBEZ 

By Yasmeen Schuller and Brett Ratner, Photo by Ronit Bezalel The Chainlink's Yasmeen Schuller recently appeared on Chicago Public Radio Station WBEZ to discuss bike safety in the wake of… 

Epic Bike Story Contest: Read the Entries and Vote!

Vote NOW! A. "What I Did This Summer On My Bike" by Melissa Zammit B. "I Came. I Saw. I Bonked. I Learned." By Monica Freiband C. "Three Floyds Ride"… 

Chainlink Race Report: 2016 Palos Meltdown 

By Marcelo Marcos and Tiber Scheer (Photo Credit: Matt Slager) Marcelo's Recap Enrico Fermi developed the world’s first nuclear reactor back in 1942 and recently I got to do my very first… 

Epic Bike Story: I Came. I Saw. I Bonked. I Learned. By Monica Freiband 

I Came. I Saw. I Bonked. I Learned. An epic Italian summer biking story by Monica Freiband Bonk. A word every cyclist knows. The feeling of your body effectively running out of energy and… 

Epic Bike Story: Peninsula Century – Nice Weekend Getaway by Fai Mok

Peninsula Century – Nice Weekend Getaway One of my goal this year is to explore rides I have never ridden before. The Peninsula Century Spring Classic is one of those ride.  I made the 6.5… 

Epic Bike Story: Three Floyds Ride by Oscar Newman

A colleague wanted to go on a long bike ride this summer. He suggested a ride to Munster, Indiana to the Three Floyds Brewpub. (" A snug, funky hideout for beer and grub") The trip was over 75… 

Epic Bike Story: Shaving & Cycling by Patrick McBriarty

51-year-old Man with Shaved Legs   It feels strange once it’s done, naked and exposed.   I hadn’t planned to, although it wasn’t the first time.  It has been at least four years.… 

Epic Bike Story Contest: A RAGBRAI for Everyone by Patrick McBriarty 

Do the RAGBRAI!   Bicycling across any state, big or small, is quite a feat!  However, the Hawkeye State has turned it into an art form!   Every July the Des Moines Register… 

Epic Bike Story: How a Broken Bike and a Winter Walk Created My Chainlink Photos by Gene Tenner

I have had a camera in my hands ever since I was nine when my Brownie Insta-Matic was my weapon of choice. I have cycled as an adult since 1986 when my ride was a workhorse Centurion. Yet… 

Chainlink Product Review: Full Windsor "The Breaker" Cycle Multi Tool

By Eric Alexander U.K.-based Full Windsor's "The Breaker" Cycle Multi Tool was sent to The Chainlink for review and I was chosen to run it through its paces. Reviewing a tool like this is… 

A Three Day Weekend Tour: Oak Park to Genoa City to Kirkland and Back Again 

By Tim Heckman I always start thinking about bike camping early in the year, and then never manage to reserve the time until the fourth weekend of July. It always seems to be hot that time of… 

Rider Update: London Cyclist Stephen Ferns Finds Redemption at L'Etape du Tour

By Brett Ratner Last year, we had the pleasure of meeting and riding with London-based cyclist and writer Stephen Ferns. Ferns was in town visiting, and wanted to get a few final miles in… 

Try a Tri

By Jasmin Welter So, with the Olympics in full swing, I was thinking of my 8-year-old self glued to the TV watching all sorts of disciplines. Of course I told my parents that one day, I was… 

Must Love Hills: A RAGBRAI Virgin's Weeklong Love Affair With Iowa 

By Liz Farina Markel If Iowa had a dating profile, a top requirement would be a love of hills: long, steep climbs; fast and exhilarating descents; and gentle rollers that provide… 

Join The Chainlink Team

Photo by SnowyMountain Photography If you'd like to take your riding to the next level to do more challenging rides, join The Chainlink team. Having a group of people to ride with can make it…

Chainlink Interview: 2016 Tour Divide Finisher Bailey Newbrey 

By Eric, Lily, Evan, and Nora Alexander A month ago, one of the coolest guys I know, Bailey Newbrey, headed out on an EPIC adventure that adventure is called the Tour Divide. This is no… 

Help a Runner Prepare for Her First "Century" on a Bike! 

By Shawna Carter So you want to ride a century? Well let me tell you I have no idea what I'm doing so don’t ask me for advice! I'm a runner first and foremost, but due to an injury I...

Chainlink Wheel Size Comparison: 29er vs. Fat Bike vs. 29+

By Brett Ratner Last winter, we reviewed the Borealis Flume fat bike. While skeptical of this whole fat bike fad, it only took a few pedal strokes on a snowy trail for us to be completely hooked… 

Chainlink Ride Report: 2016 Tour de Fat, Chicago

Article and Photos By Peter Szabo Heat radiated off of the street as the 2016 Chicago Tour de Fat jammed into gear. Lavish ‘80s hair-band hair flips timed with the beat of a seemingly mad…

Trading Four Wheels for Two

At Tour de Fat, a Ravenswood Family Pledges to Live Car-Free for a Year By Nikolas Wright Wearing matching yellow T-shirts, green shorts and white kneesocks, Mary and Adam Arents took “Prancer…

Chainlink Ride Report: 2016 Bicycle Tour of Colorado

By Brett Ratner Having ridden RAGBRAI on multiple occasions, I've grown to become a fan of the multi-day supported bike tour. To me, they're a chance to concentrate solely on pedaling a… 

Chainlink Rider Profile: Daphne Karagianis

Photo courtesy Ethan A. Glading Photography It's unusual for a conversation about local road or track racing to take place without the name Daphne Karagianis popping up. Karagianis… 

Chainlink Rider Profile: Lee Diamond

Among the most uniquely "Chicago" bike rides featured in The Chainlink's event calendar are Lee Diamond's architectural tours. Diamond is not only an avid cyclist and cycling advocate, but a… 

Chainlink Ride Report: 2016 IMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

By Eric Alexander Overview: In hopes to teach safety, and promote responsible riding among young off-road cyclists, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) organizes their…

You Don’t Have to be a “Cyclist” to Enjoy Riding a Bike 2 Comments

Photo by J By Brett Ratner You may have noticed that as people evolve from a “person with a bike” into a “cyclist,” part of the process often includes the assimilation into a cycling tribe of… 

Get Your Bike in Shape for Chicago Bike Week

By Brett Ratner As you may know, from June 10 through June 17, the Active Transportation Alliance is hosting its 25th-annual Chicago Bike Week. It includes a variety of activities designed… 

Chainlink Ride Report: 2016 Gravel Metric 4 Comments

By Eric Alexander The Ride It's called the Gravel Metric. It’s on gravel and always more than a metric century (62 miles/100 kilometers). The ride is hosted by a non-profit group known as Axl… 

Chainlink Ride Report: Rapha Prestige Midwest

By Eric Alexander The Ride: Last weekend, we took part in the 2016 Rapha Prestige Midwest. As the name implies, the race is organized by the high-end clothing company Rapha, as well as a… 

Five Spring Riding Essentials

By Brett Ratner Last week, in celebration of some glorious weekend weather, we discussed five of our favorite Chicagoland bicycle adventures. If you're planning to embark on any of these…

Chainlink Ride Report: Grumpy Grind 4

By Eric Alexander The Chainlink is thrilled have Eric Alexander as our new gravel/adventure contributor. We first encountered Eric a few years back on the final stretch of a particularly windy...

Five Classic Chicagoland Bike Adventures 

By Brett Ratner I don't think I'm alone in the opinion that this spring kinda sucked, weather-wise. Happily, if the forecasts are correct, we are finally in for some premium cycling weather…

9 Things Cyclists Wish Anti-Bicycle Politicians Understood 

By Brett Ratner The late former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, was famous for (among other things) being staunchly anti-bicycle. I'd hate to make generalizations, but Mayor Ford was… 

Product Review: DZR H2O Waterproof Clipless-Compatible Bike Shoes 

By Mia Moore My bicycle commuting philosophy can be summarized into two succinct bullet points: LOOK OUT CHILL OUT My general MO is to disengage from the mania around me as much as possible…

Sometimes We Cyclists Bring It On Ourselves 

By Brett Ratner I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with some friends and fellow Chainlink members in Barrington Hills for a bit of riding. If you haven't ridden there before, you're…

Chainlink Product Review: Fitbit Blaze Smart Watch 

By Jaik Smith   I’m a fan of technology. I love the latest and greatest. My bout with Fitbit lasted less than two months last year. I’ve never really been a fan of carrying one in my pocket… 

Top 10 Tips for Buying a New Bike 

By Brett Ratner With spring on our doorstep, many of us have cycling on the brain! For a lot of seasoned riders, that means it's time to pull the bike out of the garage (or off the stationary… 

Bo Knows Cycling Too!

Bo Jackson with fellow cyclists, riding as a group. Ride participants include celebrities and local riders. By The Chainlink Staff It's no secret…

If You Love Your Bike, Make It Future Proof 

By Brett Ratner The advancement of technology is nothing new to the bicycle industry, but over the last couple years or so, we've seen some monumental changes in the bikes we ride. 

Chainlink Bike Review: Faraday Porteur 

By Brett Ratner I wasn't sure at first how to approach a review of the Faraday Porteur electric bicycle. Do I try to judge the Porteur based on its merits as a "bike," or do I attempt to… 

Chainlink Bike Review: Borealis Flume

By Brett Ratner We'll get straight to the point. The Borealis Flume is not only an outstanding fat bike, it's a fantastic bike, period. After a month with our matte black demo, the only thing…

Featured Ride - 35th Annual Bike MS: Tour de Farms 1 Comment

By Brett Ratner Imagine you're an avid, lifelong cyclist and runner, clicking off miles like they're nothing. Then one day you start noticing debilitating pain, fatigue, numbness, tingling, a… Edit »

There's No Riding Like Snow Riding 

By Brett Ratner Like many Chainlink members, I continue to commute by bike through the winter months. But beyond that, my cold weather pedaling is largely limited to stationary trainers… 

Featured Rides: Peninsula Century Spring Classic and Fall Challenge 

By Brett Ratner We all ride for different reasons. Whether those reasons include fun, fitness or competition, pretty much everyone appreciates a tasty meal and maybe a sudsy brew… 

Product Review: DZR Minna Shoes

By Yasmeen Schuller, Intro By Brett Ratner We here at The Chainlink are big fans of “skate” style bike shoes…particularly the type that can accept cleats to work with Shimano “SPD” ...

15 Things You Need On Your Commuter Bike 

By Brett Ratner For many, the shocking portion of a bike purchase is that part at the very end when it's time to choose the accessories. It kinda blows the mind how the number of necessary...

Women's Cycling: Racing Organizations & Resources, Local Clubs & Teams

Wanting to take your cycling to the next level? Thinking about racing? Looking for a team to join? In addition to these resources, be sure to check out The Chainlink's Calendar of Events…

Women's Cycling Resources: Women's Professional Racing & Inspiration

UCI World Cup Race #1: CrossVegas 2015 - Women's Elite, Photo by Yasmeen Schuller Professional Cyclists Elle Anderson  (San Francisco, Calif./SRAM Strava) Crystal Anthony… 

Women's Cycling Resources: Cycling Groups

Post-Race Lunch at Barry-Roubaix You are not alone. There are lots of cycling-related groups for women looking for advice, friendship, rides, social events, etc. In addition to these groups…

Women's Cycling Resources: Bikes & Gear

Liv Mountain Bike at Interbike Demo Day Betabrand (bike to work clothing) Bike-commuter clothing you can wear to work. They designed their Bike to Work line because "traditional cycling… 

Women's Cycling Resources: Rides & Events

Women's Dirt Days Photo by SnowyMountain Photography Looking for rides and events specifically for women? Check out the list below for some great local options. In addition, be sure to check… 

Women's Cycling Resources: Blogs & Websites

Photo by Chainlink Photographer Ronit Bezalel As more women become cycling enthusiasts, the number of cycling-related blogs and websites has increased. These blogs and websites…

Women's Cycling Resources: Advocacy

Photo by Chainlink Photographer Ronit Bezalel To continue the upward trend of women in cycling and to support new female riders and racers, many new organizations have formed. You can get… 

Connecting the Dots: Local Organizations Work to Empower Female Riders in Chicagoland

By Cathy Frampton   I knew I was at BFF Bikes when I saw the stream of women lining up on the sidewalk. It was January 14 and we fortunately were having one of those unseasonably warm… 

Maria Larkin Takes 3rd in Irish Cyclocross National Championships

Photo by Sean Rowe By Cathy Frampton As an Irish native, Maria Larkin (Cuttin' Crew) returned home to compete in Ireland's Elite National Cyclocross competition on January 10th, the same… 

Book Review - Robert Penn, It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels

By Brett Ratner For a lot of us, January is a tough time to be a cyclist. This morning, for example, it was -3° Fahrenheit when I rode to work. And since they don't salt the roads around… 

Top 10 Tips for Winter Biking and Commuting 

By Brett Ratner On Wednesday, January 6, The Chainlink's own Yasmeen Schuller and Shawn Conley, chairman of the Major Taylor Cycling Club appeared on Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ. 

Winter Riding Resources 

Articles: Bike Commuting After a Heavy Snowfall http://www.thechainlink.org/page/bike-com Commuting Must-Haves  Local bike shops share their favorite gear. 

Holiday Rides and Bike-Related Fun

Holiday Bike by Chainlinker John Ladner In town over the holidays? Here are some great opportunities to get your pedal on...and burn off some calories in the process! So treat yourself… 

How to Stay Active When Bikeless Over the Holidays

By Brett Ratner Most people agree it's hard to stay fit this time of year. There's the treats everyone brings to work, the company Christmas parties, and finally the mountains of food waiting…

Holiday Gift Guide | For the Road Cyclist

By Brett Ratner and Yasmeen Schuller Thanks to an ever-growing and evolving bike industry, there truly are a mind-boggling array of products that we feel are worthy of praise.

Holiday Gift Guide | Commuter, Urban Cyclist and Casual Rider 

By Brett Ratner and Yasmeen Schuller It’s felt an awful lot like Christmas at Chainlink HQ the last few months.  For a little context, while attending the Interbike trade show last… 

Can One Bike Do It All?  

By Brett Ratner For many cyclists, the accumulation of multiple bikes is a pretty natural progression as one gets more involved with their favorite sport. Granted, it's a bit of a "first world…" 

Product Review: NiteRider Lumina OLED 800
By Brett Ratner While last Sunday's time change got us an extra hour of sleep (which was certainly nice), it added one more challenge to those of us hoping to stay in shape through the winter.

For Women Cyclists, The Struggle is Real

By Jen Groen (intro by Brett Ratner) Despite its image as a progressive, forward-thinking activity and sport, cycling inexplicably seems to be saddled with a 1950's attitude toward women.

Chainlink Favorites | New Cycling Apparel for Women

By Yasmeen Schuller Terry Wanderer Long-Sleeved Jersey ($120) Terry sent The Chainlink this jersey/knicker combo and I’ve really enjoyed wearing them. Lined with Italian microfleece…  

Product Review: Road Holland Edam Jersey & Bolsward Bib Shorts 

By Brett Ratner For a really long time, in my opinion, the bicycle industry has been plagued with some pretty tacky aesthetics. Few places has this been more apparent than in road cycling. 

Things That Make You Go WTF 

By Brett Ratner As a general rule, I tend to shy away from the political side of the cycling world. But there have been some real head-scratching moments over the last couple of weeks, so… 

Why Do You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated?

By Brett Ratner Over the course of my eventful (albeit disappointing) career, I've worked in the musical instrument industry, the powersports industry (motorcycles, scooters, snowmobiles, etc.)… 

Chainlink Ride Report: Apple Cider Century 

Article and Photos by John Woo (intro by Brett Ratner) One of the things that's great about being a Chicago-area cyclist is that you have countless miles to roam on a bicycle. Between the the… 

"You Must Be Brave" 

By Brett Ratner It's fall. And with the turning leaves and dropping temperatures come the inevitable conversations with our non-cyclist co-workers that we bike commuters must endure… 

Chainlink's Favorite Bike at Interbike: The Open U.P. 

By Brett Ratner While gobs of Interbike Demo Day attendees were fighting tooth-and-nail to get some seat time on the Cannondale Slate, another bike sat quietly under a small pop-up tent… 

Interbike 2015 Recap 

By Brett Ratner The Chainlink just wrapped up an eventful week at Interbike, the bicycle industry's largest US trade show. It should go without saying that if you love cycling, attending Interbike…

Fat Bikes of Interbike

By Brett Ratner Fat bikes can no longer be considered a trend anymore. Fat bikes are hot and based on this year's Interbike, continue to get hotter. As they grow in popularity, bike… 

Interbike Demo Day Recap

By Brett Ratner and Nathan Schneeberger (photo courtesy of SnowyMountain Photography) Brett's Take: A pet peeve of mine is when I see a bunch of "bike reviews" come out right after Interbike… 

By Brett Ratner "What are all those bikes for?" If you own more than one bicycle, you've likely heard these words, or at least some variation. And even if you own one bike, but actually use… 

Cyclocross Starter Kit

Cyclocross 101: The Basics Introductory Cyclocross Clinic on September 12 by BFF Bikes Chicago Area Weekly Practice Schedule 2015 Chicago Cross Cup Racing Schedule All races are held rain…

Cyclocross 101: The Basics 

By Brett Ratner To many of us, fall means raking leaves, Trader Joe's selling pumpkin-flavored everything...and our Facebook feeds being absolutely, completely overrun with pictures of our… 

Cyclocross Practice Schedule 2015 

Tuesdays 7 am Johnny Sprockets at Cricket Hill (Montrose) 5 pm PSIMET at Gail Borden Public Library (270 N Grove Ave, Elgin) 5 pm roll: Spidermonkey at Cricket Hill (Montrose) Wednesdays…


Cyclocross Videos  

Here are some videos featuring UCI World Cup Champion Lars van der Haar demonstrating various cyclocross skills...and another video featuring World Cup race highlights. Lars van der Haar… 

Which Fall 2015 Fashion Trends are Best for Biking?  
The Chainlink is thrilled to have Maria Boustead sign on as our Fashion Editor. In addition to her long-standing interest in cycling, she is the founder and owner of Po Campo, which offers… 

Travel Update: Jaik Smith Halfway Through 4300 Ride for Cancer Research 

Earlier in the summer, Chainlinker Jaik Smith shared his plans to ride from Seattle to Key West. The purpose of the trip - in addition to having an amazing adventure, getting quads of steel and… 

When Pro-Level Bike Tech is a Bad Thing 

By Brett Ratner (photo by Scott Wilson) The perfect race car crosses the finish line in first place and then falls to pieces. ~ Ferdinand Porsche Any race car which holds together for a whole… 

Active Trans Celebrates 30th Anniversary with "Throwback" Boulevard Lakefront Tour

By Brett Ratner If you're a cyclist in Chicago, it's hard to dispute that many good things have come to fruition over the last 30 years. Amenities and privileges we now enjoy - protected bike…

Ride Recap: Venus de Miles in Lake Forest

By Yasmeen Schuller Last winter, I was asked to apply to be an ambassador for the Venus de Miles ride. The ride raises money for a great cause (more on Green House Scholars in a minute) and… 

Million Dollar Challenge Grant Could Help Make South-side Bike Park A Reality

By Brett Ratner One of the coolest bike-related projects going on right now is the transformation of industrial land on Chicago's South Side (now currently known as Chicago Park District's… 

Product Review: Trackimo GPS Tracker 

By Brett Ratner One look at the report map on the Chicago Stolen Bike Registry, and it's pretty obvious that bike theft is, to say the least, a bit of a problem. As we discussed… 

Chainlink Ride Report: Bike Camping in Morris, Illinois 

Chainlinker Tim Heckman recently loaded up his Surly Cross Check and took the I&M trail to parts unknown for a little bike camping. We here at the Chainlink are always excited to hear about… 

Mountain Biking 101: What’s the Deal with Dirt, Anyway? 

The Chainlink is thrilled to have Becky Mikrut contributing articles to our site. She's an eight-year Chicago cyclist and a five-year racer, competing in cyclocross for Kinky Llama… 

Bike & Roll Serves Local Cyclists with Bike Share Program, Rentals and Tours 

By Brett Ratner Over the years, Bike & Roll has enabled countless people to explore and enjoy Chicago from the seat of a bicycle. Bike & Roll's fleet of Trek hybrids, adorned with… 

Venus de Miles All-Women Bike Ride

By Yasmeen Schuller This year I was asked to be an ambassador for Venus de Miles, a fundraiser for Greenhouse Scholars. Greenhouse Scholars is an organization which provides comprehensive… 

Worth a Second Look: The McDonald's Cycle Center, Operated by Bike & Park

By Brett Ratner The McDonald's Cycle Center made quite a splash when it was unveiled in 2004. From the eye-catching architecture to the state-of-the-art storage and repair facilities… 

London Cyclist Gets Taste of Riding in Chicago 

By Stephen Ferns (intro by Brett Ratner) One of the cool things about being involved with The Chainlink is that it leads to opportunities to meet new and interesting people. A few weeks back… 

Tour de France for Newbz

By Brett Ratner After one of the Tour de France stages last week, a fellow Chainlinker and good friend of mine asked me why André Greipel (from team Lotto-Belisol) won the stage, but Chris Froome…

Worth Checking Out: Camp Shabbona Woods

By Brett Ratner If you've ever wanted to do some weekend bicycle camping within reasonable riding distance from Chicagoland, your options have been fairly limited. Indiana Dunes State Park… 

Quite a few of us feel the call of the open road. Very few of us actually get to act on it. Chainlink member Jaik Smith is one of those people. Toward the end of the month, he'll be embarking...

July Bikey Goodness

So much bike-related awesome in the month of July. Where to begin? Here are a few of our favorites. July 4  July Fourth Metric Century - Is there any better way to spend the holiday...

Messenger Bags (or Backpacks) vs. Panniers (a.k.a. Saddlebags) 

By Brett Ratner Ok, I'll admit it. It would be kinda cool to have the Mavic neutral support vehicle (bristling with spare wheels) follow me around on my rides. Or to have a domestique fetch my… 

Featured Ride: Climate Ride Midwest

By Brett Ratner (photo courtesy of Climate Ride) Among the multitude of reasons people ride bikes, reducing pollution is, for many of us, at the top of the list. From the obvious advantages...

An Open Letter to New Bicycle Riders Shopping for their First Bike 

By Brett Ratner Like many avid cyclists, I have unwittingly assumed the role of "resident bicycle expert" at my workplace, amongst my family members, non-cycling peers, etc. While flattering,…

Product Review: Apple Watch Sport, 42mm 

By Brett Ratner As one of the most anticipated new tech devices to come out recently, there's already a bevvy of Apple Watch product reviews and product overviews hitting the virtual news stand…

Chicago Bike Week Events

Photo by Chainlink Staff Photographer, Ronit Bezalel   Looking for some commuter advice? Read Active Trans, “Get Ready to Ride” Friday, June 12 Bike Valet at the Chicago Blues Festival…

Chainlink Tech Corner: Check Your Head(set) 

By Scott Wilson A headset is a relatively simple set of bearings resting in cups that connect your fork to your frame. It’s one of the most overlooked components on a bicycle, but it’s absolute…

Zipcar Aims to Enhance the Cyclist Lifestyle 

By Brett Ratner When you think of Zipcar car share service, you probably think of...well...cars. If you take a peek under Zipcar's hood, however, you'll find that bicycles play a huge role in…

Chicago Snags top Honors for Bikes with Racks, Baskets or Buckets!

by Brett Ratner (photo courtesy CDOT) PeopleForBikes is two months into an eight-month search. The purpose of their quest is to determine the top city for what they call "Everyday Biking."…


Chainlink Tech Corner: Jam Nut or No Jam Nut...That is the Question
 

By Scott Wilson What’s this thing for? Here is a picture of a presta valve, exploded. You see the stem, the valve core, the cap… and that weird little nut. This is an installation nut, or a j… 


The 2015 Bike Commuter Challenge is June 12-19!

by Brett Ratner (photo courtesy of Active Transportation Alliance) If you're still basking in the glow of Bike the Drive, here is another Active Transportation Alliance-organized event you might…


Travel Review: Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours

By Brett Ratner Chicagoland offers a lot of great cycling. We have the Lakefront Trail, the Prairie Path, top-notch mountain bike trails, the North Branch Trail (which takes us to the Chicago … 


Chainlink Tech Corner: How to Sheath Brake and Shifting Cables like a Pro

by Scott Wilson A few years ago there was a thing called Gore Ride-On sealed cables and housing. By using multiple layers of sheathing they created a shifting system that was nearly immune to… 


How to Bike Commute in Unpredictable Spring Weather

by Brett Ratner (photo by Ronit Bezalel) Over the past few days, we've seen nearly a 40 degree swing in temperatures, in addition to wind and rain. This can wreak havoc on people who ride their… 

Bike the Drive Free Passes for New Members and the Best Profile Pics

Thanks for participating! The contest has ended and we received a lot of great entries. Winners of the Bike the Drive passes are listed below.  1. Aren't yet a member? What are you… 

Featured Event: Fox River Omnium Road Race

by Brett Ratner (photo courtesy of Psimet Racing) If you're a regular reader of The Chainlink, it's not a big secret that we like track racing. Among the things we enjoy about track are the…


How to Prevent Your Bike from Getting Stolen
 

by Brett Ratner Summer means MOAR of all things bikey and awesome...bar rides, trips to the Chicago Botanic Garden, leisurely pedals to brunch and so forth. But unfortunately, it can also… 


Women's Dirt Days Ride #1

Photo courtesy of SnowyMountain Photography By Brett Ratner Are you a lady who loves riding mountain bikes? Do you especially enjoy riding mountain bikes with like-minded, trail-loving women… 

The Northbrook Velodrome is Track-tacular! 

Photo courtesy of Bill Cassidy By Brett Ratner What the Midwest lacks in mountains we more than make up for in access to high-quality velodrome racing. And if you've ever tried racing on one…

Product Review: Clement X'Plor MSO Tires - 700x32mm, 120tpi 

By Brett Ratner I'll be honest. In my mind it takes guts to write a review of an off-road racing tire. I mean, if your last name isn't Nys, Compton, Absalon, Minnaar, or starts with "Van,"…

Chicago Area Training Rides

Tuesdays  Crit Practice (every other Tuesday, May 12th and May 26th) Join us for our continued series of criterium style practices. 8pm roll:out from roll: this is an ideal practice if you want… 

Chainlink Tech Corner: Causes for Bearing Failure 

Article and Photos by Scott Wilson This here is an original Shimano bottom bracket spindle off a 1980's Cannondale: Or rather, that's the diagram, this is the spindle: This particular… 


Featured Ride: 2015 Chicagoland Tour de Cure

By Brett Ratner Riding your bike is always a great way to spend a warm summer Sunday. The ride’s even sweeter when it takes you on a scenic route, fully-supported with SAG vehicles and nicely…

Do you have a weekly training ride open to new riders? We are compiling a list of all of the area training rides and we need your help! Please tell us about your training ride(s) and we'll share them… 

Featured Chainlink Feature: Maps and Route Tools

By Brett Ratner Ok, so you find yourself with an entire Saturday free. The weather is perfect and you can spend the day doing...Whatever. You. Want. Needless to say, you want to go for a bike ride!… 

Ride Report: Grumpy Grind 3

(Photo courtesy Fred Johnson) By Brett Ratner If you scroll to the bottom of the home page for the Grumpy Grind 80-Mile Bicycle Adventure, you'll read that "It's all about the journey man. But you …

Race Report: Gapers Block Criterium
For Chicago-area riders looking to get their feet wet at road racing, the annual Gapers Block Criterium, hosted by Half Acre Cycling, is a "can't miss"… 


Chainlink Tech Corner: Target Fixation
Normally these Chainlink technical articles are about cycling hardware, i.e. bikes and components and how they work. For this article I’d like to discuss the… 

Product Review: Wahoo Fitness RFLKT+ Smartphone-Powered Bike Computer
Bike computers have come a long way, to say the least. More than a decade ago, the introduction of stand-alone GPS running and cycling computers represented a quantum leap...

From Broken Bones to Barry Roubaix
Few things are more frightening to a cyclist than a bad crash. Dealing with the physical injuries and the rehab is bad enough. Then there's the struggle to gain back your confidence. Last fall, …


Should We Set Up an L.A. Bike Trains-style Program in Chicago?

By Jared Verbeke Five years ago when I first started cycling, I often rode with a bike club in Champaign Illinois. I used to love going out on the back roads with the local bike club to … 

Race Report: 2015 Founders Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race

Photo Courtesy of SnowyMountain Photography Road season is officially here. The last night of the Half Acre Gapers Block Criterium Series takes place this evening (you should check it out… 

Volvo Life Paint Reflects Well on Cyclists
Back in January, car maker Volvo (partnering with Ericcson and POC) unveiled The Connected Bicycle at The Consumer Electronics Show. The technology, which utilizes...

Gravel Bikes Let You Party Like It’s 1989
There I was, fresh from finishing my third 62-mile Barry-Roubaix Gravel Road Race. Thoughts were primarily focused on sore quads and the stark realization that I REALLY need to spend...

Chainlink Tech Corner: Causes for Wheel Failure
By Scott Wilson Wheels die for a lot of expect-able reasons: crashes, potholes, drunk college bros stomping wheels at the bike rack. But there are some other, more insidious ways a wheel can… 
First Impressions: Louisville Mega Cavern Underground Bike Park
By Nathan Schneeberger “We sure don’t, but we can order some and have them in a few days.” There were almost 50 bicycle shops along the Interstate…
Chainlink Clothing, Accessories, etc.
With the kit being created, we are adding some additional accessories and gear. Sign up if you want to be contacted with updates. Also, let us know what Chainlink gear you'd like to have.

Product Review: The Sufferfest
Everyone has a different reason for getting into better bike shape. Maybe it’s to keep up with the Saturday morning group ride, to ride a century, to finally tackle that…

New Chainlink Kit for 2015
We are a week away from taking orders for our new 2015 Chainlink kit! Ordering details will be coming soon. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at our new kit with our new logo...

How to Kick Start Your Spring Fitness
We don’t want to jinx it, but it seems like spring has finally sprung. If you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of your favorite back road, limestone path, or mountain bike trail.

Product Comparison: Kinetic Road Machine Fluid Trainer vs SportCrafters OverDrive Pro Rollers

By Brett Ratner Since The Chainlink was lucky enough to have one of the area’s top cycling coaches, Kristen Meshberg, share her thoughts on getting in shape for spring, we thought...

Chainlink Tech Corner: Cables & Cable Housing, Part II

By Scott Wilson   In this article we’ll go over how housing is properly installed, but I’ll also show you some tricks that will lengthen the lifespan of your housing.

 

Introducing Chainlink Photographers, SnowyMountain Photography

The Chainlink is thrilled to announce yet another fantastic addition (make that two additions) to our ranks of writers and photographers. The husband and wife team of Nathan and Morleigh...

Bikes N’ Roses Loses State Funding, Seeks Public Support
By Brett Ratner Politics in Springfield has left a local not-for-profit youth program fighting for its life. In January, Bikes N’ Roses was kicking off an initiative that was to provide...

South Chicago Velodrome Association Aims to Save Former Chicago Velo Campus Track
By Brett Ratner Chicago’s rich history of track racing dates back to the 1800s. Over these past 120 years, Chicago was home to one of the most decorated bicycle racers in history.

Routes to and from Oak Park to Chicago
How To Get Downtown from Oak Park - Andy Moss There are a number of decent routes between Oak Park and Downtown. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Tips For Renting Bikes When Traveling, 2/26
By Brett Ratner Unlike most people, I’ve always dreaded going to Las Vegas. First off, casinos don’t interest me. More importantly, I frequently have to travel there for work to attend trade shows...

Chainlink Tech Corner: Cables & Cable Housing, Part I, 2/26
The Chainlink is thrilled to introduce Scott Wilson as our new Technical Editor. Scott’s an MFA writing student at Columbia College as well as a seasoned professional bike mechanic. 

Chainlink Spotlight: Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Bike Tour , 2/19
By Brett Ratner Does a week riding your bike along winding rivers and through rolling prairies sound appealing? Do you love exploring quaint, historic towns, while learning about our state’s…

Recap: Winter Bike Swap 2015, 2/19
By Brett Ratner Much like that famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil, the Winter Bike Swap always seems to mark the slow transition from winter into spring.

RAGBRAI 101, 2/12
Photo by JustWill  By Brett Ratner The last week in July may seem like an eternity away. And planning for a ride that far off probably sounds a little premature. But, if you’ve ever considered…

Chicago Bike Winter Art Show, 2/8
The 18th installment of the Chicago Bike Winter Art Show kicked off on Friday, February 6 and continues through Friday, February 27. The art show offers a great opportunity express your love of bikes.

Introducing Chainlink Staff Photographer, Ronit Bezalel, 2/7
Ronit Bezalel - Chainlink Staff Photographer Ronit is a well-known figure in the Chicago cycling community. Over the years, she has earned a reputation for impressive mountain biking and cyclocross

Chicago Bike Winter Art Show, 2/6
The 18th installment of the Chicago Bike Winter Art Show kicked off on Friday, February 6 and continues throughFriday, February 27.

Bike Commuting After a Heavy Snowfall, 2/5
By Brett Ratner In my opinion, there’s been no shortage of recent press concerning the hardships endured by winter motorists. I mean, we get it. People have to dig their cars out of parking spots

Chicago Women’s Elite Cycling: Teaming Up to Take on The Nation’s Best, 1/29/15

By Brett Ratner A 90mph fastball won’t get you to the big leagues, no more than 4.30 40-yard dash guarantees you a trip to the Super Bowl. Athletic potential can only be realized when combined with...

Maria Larkin: 2015 Irish Cyclocross Silver Medalist, 1/29/15

It’s always fun to hear about a local racer succeeding at events in other states. It’s extra cool when one of our own podiums in another country. It’s sweeter still when she earns a medal at a nationals...

World Champion Marianne Kron: A Master of Racing, 1/29/15

Story by Joe Beemster, introduction by Brett Ratner When you think of hotbeds of bicycle racing, cities in Belgium, France, Spain and even California usually come to mind. 

What's the Best Bike for a Zombie Apocalypse?, 1/22/15

A few months back, the Chicago cycling scene’s Internet was temporarily “broken,” thanks to a timely question posed by Manuel Tenorio, Owner of Johnny Sprockets bike shops.

Winter Commuting Must-Haves, 1/22/15

If you’re looking to gear up for winter riding, the best place to start is your local bike shops. First off, they’re staffed with veteran riders willing to share their know-how...

How to Dress for Cold Weather Bicycle Riding, 1/22/15

With temperatures recently hovering in the single digits, winter is definitely upon us.

Race Report: 2015 U.S. Cyclocross National Championship in Austin, Texas, 01/16/15

A lot of people left the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships, held last weekend in Austin, Texas’ Zilker Park, dissapointed. The reason was that the final day of the event was unexpectedly postponed…

2015 CES Recap, 01/16/15

By Brett Ratner The annual Consumer Electronics Show is a massive event that takes place in Las Vegas every January. Taking up all three football-field sized halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center,…

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