Beer

Shop Talk Workshops

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Shop Talk is an informal monthly series hosted by Cosmic Bikes at our NW Side Chicago location, during which we’ll go into a selected topic at some depth in a relaxed, social atmosphere. It’s a great way to hang out with other people who share your interests, or want to learn about certain aspects of biking, in a laid-back setting, where the aim is to share information and not sell you stuff.

Below is a preliminary schedule of Shop Talk topics for the year, although many details are yet to be ironed out. Shop Talk will usually take place on the first or second Friday of the month, except May, when we’re pulling out all the stops. May is our aniversary month (we’ll be 3 this year!!), and we will do a Shop Talk EVERY WEEK.

Shop Talks will be held on Fridays from 6pm to 8:30pm. Light noshes and beverages will be on hand, but please feel free to BYOB.

So, here’s what we have planned:

  • March 8: WOMEN’S CYCLING WORKSHOP., in which a panel of women cyclists will lead a discussion on a variety of issues such as bike fit, safety, motivation, training and more. Details and FREE registration here.

  • April 5: CRAFT BUILDS: SETTING UP A BIKE FROM THE FRAME UP, in which we’ll explore the intricacies of a personalized bike build.

  • May SHOP TALK BONANZA

    • May 3: BICYCLE FIT & SELECTION

    • May 10: GETTING STARTED WITH URBAN BIKE COMMUTING

    • May 17: TOOLS—SETTING UP YOUR HOME REPAIR STAND OR TOOL BAG

    • May 24: LIVE LARGE PACK SMALL—ALL ABOUT BROMPTONS AND COMPACT ADVENTURES

    • May 31: BIKE TOURING ESSENTIALS

  • June 7: LOCAL BIKING ADVENTURES

  • July 5: OUTDOOR COOKING & EQUIPMENT (outdoor cookout included!!)

  • August 9: LAZY SUMMER MOVIE & BEER

  • September 13: BIKE SECURITY

  • October 10: TRANSITIONING TO AN INDOOR TRAINER

  • November 8: WINTER BIKING

  • December 13: SPECIAL GUEST TBA

We’re looking forward to these evening, and hope you will come out and join us. And if you have ideas about topics, or questions you’d like to see answered, please let us know.

Milwaukee Meander

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The lake view is the same, but the minute your feet touch the ground, you know you are not in Chicago anymore. The vibe is different, more friendly, laid back.

It was a last-minute decision to come, but it's an easy drive to Milwaukee, and we arrived well before lunchtime. Milwaukee has more bicycle trails than you can shake a stick at, and, unlike Chicago trails, which are mostly linear, and therefore inherently somewhat redundant, the trails here make tantalizing loops, and you can often get back to your starting point without actually retracing your steps (imagine that!).

Originally, we thought we would ride a loop using the Hank Aaron Trail and the lower half of the monster 120-mile Oak Leaf Trail, but it was just too ambitious with almost half the day behind us. So instead, we headed north on the lakefront section of the Oak Leaf Trail, and then meandered along the trails that follow the Milwaukee River Greenway.

Along the way, we came upon the Riverside Park and lovely arboretum, and we poked around the unpaved paths for a bit before riding on. We were chatting idly about how nice a beer would be right about now, when, as if by magic, a iron gate appeared on the side of the trail with a little bearded  man in a red hat, crooking his finger at us in a beckoning gesture. (No, seriously, it was just a very tempting "Beer Garden" sign above the open gate.) Deliciously refreshing New Glarus selections were offered in .5 and 1 liter steins, and we consumed our half-liters with relish at a rustic picnic table.

This seems like a good place to note that ONE LITER is a heck of a lot of beer. It is, in fact, approximately three regular beer bottles. Yet no one seems to bat an eyelash when a 110lb lady who looks like your aunt (she was in line ahead of us) orders a liter of Oktoberfest Bier, and saunters over to her table, lugging a beer stein roughly the size of her torso. There, she joins several other patrons, some of whom are working on their second liter, with empty steins waiting to be returned for their $5 glass deposit. Interestingly, no one seems to be getting terribly drunk. This is due either to that laid-back air we picked up on when we first got out of the car, or perhaps the little guy with the red hat had something to do with it.

Further down the trail we found a large bulletin board with all the summertime beer gardens helpfully marked on a map! On our journey that day, we stumbled upon another one, and this time we indulged in a brat to go along with the second half-liter. We enjoyed this simple repast while listening to a lederhosen-clad accordion player.

Not having spent much time in Milwaukee, we were unfamiliar with beer gardens, but I assure you that they are a fabulous innovation, and there should be at least one along every bicycle trail. It seems like a sure-fire money making opportunity, as most bicycle riders I know are also devout beer enthusiasts, and I am mystified that other cities, specifically Chicago, are devoid of trail-side beer gardens. Until our city catches on, we plan to make regular trips back to Milwaukee to explore its vast network of trails, and sample beer selections along the way.