Stuff We Ride: Trash Messenger Bags

I’ve had my Trash Bags Garbage Truck backpack for 3 months now and I love it.

It fits perfect when riding, no strap around your belly to pinch you, your helmet does not hit the top of the bag and it has many straps to tighten it down so your stuff does not rattle around in it.

The only thing I did not like about it at first was the sternum strap was not in the right place. However, I looked at it more and discovered it was super easy to move and now no complaints.  I’ve been in many downpours this summer and it has stayed perfectly dry. Thanx to Andy for sealing even the seams on the inside.

Other features I love include the out side pockets on the front and sides, the load straps to carry the extra large things I so often find myself trying to get home.

This bag replaced a Chrome Pawn backpack which I liked but I tried it on yesterday and no comparison anymore. I’m glad I sold it. The hand-crafted, made for me quality of Trash Bags really shines through.





When not quite good enough is good enough.

I just purchased a new pair of Raceface shorts and they’ve given me some unexpected insight into our American way.

I have last years model of the same short and love them, hence the desire for another pair. I wore them for the first time and right off one snap completely blows out, and another has a 50/50 chance of success.

My first thought was “I need to warranty these and get a new pair.” Then I began to think what that would’ve meant: The shorts are going to take how many trips back to the distributor (Quality Bike Products), the brand (Raceface), and maybe the manufacturer, somewhere not in the US and then sit in an ever growing pile of basically garbage.

Or maybe I could just accept what I received and deal/fix the problem and move on and continue to enjoy life.

After my seemingly altruistic decision, I thought “Well I’ll contact Raceface and tell them what I have done and ask for compensation”. Another good American ideal, but do I really need a pair of socks, another mini bike tool or whatever they decide to send me to assuage my ego.

This all struck me as being very relevant today. with the closing of the Minnesota government, the NFL and NBA lockout and the pending US Federal government financial issues.

Maybe we all need to decide that life is not perfect and we can’t always have things our way. Maybe it’s time for us as Americans to deal with what we have, make some compromises and try to make it work.



The Bicycle As a Basic Need

Out of Disaster, a Burst of Enthusiasm for Bicycling

There are almost infinite reasons to love bikes. Compared with other forms of transportation, they’re cheaper, better for the planet and a thousand times more fun.

The disaster in Japan has shown how basic the bike is. Sales of bicycles are surging, as people recognize that when everything else grinds to a halt, a bike will take you almost anywhere you need to go.

Maybe this is why we love the bike so much. We realize that our bikes can help us deal with some of the what-ifs in life.


Me and M(e) Bike

A year ago I purchased an electric bike from Varsity Bike & Transit. An EZ Torq to be exact. It was a bit of an impulse buy that I thought might be “somewhat” functional, but a heckuv a lot of fun. It’s more than fun, it’s a blast. It clips along at 20 miles an hour, making nary a sound, and requires minimal peddling (you can peddle as much and as hard as you want, but really, what’s the point with an electric bike?). It’s a unique amusement cruising past people on hills while peddling leisurely.

It’s also incredibly functional, and has proven to be a practical purchase, which is icing on the cake. I can commute to and from meetings for work, or get across town for really any old reason, in good time and without showing up drenched in sweat and out of breath – I’m not exactly built like Lance Armstrong. When you consider that and the fact that parking is both easy and free, compared to having to pay the expensive parking in the city, it makes a lot of sense.

Lastly, it’s a nice recreation ride for friends and family, when they want to spin it around the block. From buddies to my in-laws to my parents to my friend’s New Zealand family, anyone who takes the EZ Torq for a spin smiles ear to ear. They also typically stare in intrigue and amusement when they’ve finished their ride. The best part is that it is mine, so it’s always helping me get around town on a bike versus my truck, and to shadow what the folks at Varsity Bike & Transit say, I am peddling less oil. I love my e-bike. It’s electric!


Enjoying the Slow Lane in Lanesboro, MN

My wife and I recently got new Marin bikes from Varsity Bike & Transit. We test drove a few options in the vicinity of the store, took some consultation from the kind and accommodating (and patient…my wife isn’t exactly a cyclist) staff at Varsity Bike & Transit. Our decision to get new bikes was pretty spontaneous…about as spontaneous as our trail biking trip to Southeastern Minnesota, which was the reason for the new bikes.

We had read about Lanesboro, Minnesota and the surrounding area and decided it would be a neat weekend trip. So, we found accommodations, mapped out our commuter bike trails in the area – there are many – and got ready for our trip. But, wait! We needed bikes. Both of our current bikes were dated and were ill equipped for our cycling habits – they were clunky mountain bikes that wouldn’t fair so well on the paved trails. Frankly, they haven’t faired so well for much of anything over the last several years because we are not the kind of people who race through the woods on muddy, off road trails.

So, while we were excited that we could use a rare open weekend in August on a trail bike trip to the Lanesboro area, and we were lucky enough to find lodging with just a few days to spare, we didn’t have adequate bikes. Enter, Varsity Bike & Transit. All within a couple of hours, we had test rode some bikes, talked to different employees at the store and purchased our new bikes. And, wow are they awesome, as was the trip. The bikes are fun to ride and just glide along. They are comfortable and what’s funny is that they’ve really opened up a whole new opportunity of discovery.

That’s what we liked about our trip: it was active, adventurous, and memorable. I don’t think we’d have gotten the same experience without our bikes. We enjoyed the scenery and felt refreshed after the weekend. All told we logged more than 30 miles, which for us is a feat. Our new Marin bikes have opened up our eyes to a whole new world – cycling adventures, at our pace of course, and bike trails through beautiful countryside. I’d recommend every facet of the experience to anyone. It’s a welcome change of pace and after the weekend you’ll feel upbeat and recharged, which is (literally) a breath of fresh air.


METRO Magazine Reviews an Electric Bike from Varsity

With spring in full force and more local residents commuting daily, a reporter at METRO Magazine came to Varsity Bike & Transit to see what all the buzz of electric bikes was all about. As the provider of the largest variety of electric bikes in the Twin Cities and more than 7 different options available, it’s no wonder why he came to Varsity Bike & Transit. The writer reviewed the very cool Ohm XU700, which allows the user to set their “assist” level, meaning the amount of push the electric motor will add, and includes a throttle you can use to boost the bike to top speed (20 mph) instantly. It’s a pretty wild feeling when you’re riding it.


It’s Easy Being Green!

Kim Carlson, Star Tribune eco-blogger, gave her top tips on how to go green for Earth Day this year. One of the tips – “get out of your car and ride a bike.” Is there better advice? The best part of the Twin Cities Live segment was that it featured an electric bike from Varsity Bike & Transit, and the very awesome Detour bag made entirely from used juice boxes available at Varsity.
View the article here


Ironman Peddling On a Bike

Forget about Tony Stark being Ironman. Rob DeHoff is Ironman. In a recent FOX morning show segment, M.A. Rosko stated, “it’s almost like Ironman peddling on a bike” while referring to Varsity Bike Owner Rob DeHoff as he accelerated on an electric bike. Although, the FOX morning show segment explained how electric bikes are becoming less of a novelty and more common in everyday usage, you can’t help but laugh at (and feel bad for) the cameraman who Rob “Ironman” DeHoff was riding circles around. It looks like he’s done this before.


Save Energy and Live Green

At the kick-off of this year’s Living Green Expo, WCCO’s Holly Wagner interviewed Varsity Bike Owner Rob DeHoff to learn about the benefits of electric bikes. No, electric bikes are not scooters. They do, however, eliminate sweat, get you from point A to point B in a decent time frame and ride just like any other bike.