From Marin Bikes

Product Update

Taking it to the Streets

Bicycles built for commuting have a special place in our hearts here at Marin.  There’s a very deep connection between a dedicated commuter and their bicycle.  Not only is the bike a vehicle to get you between point A and point B, but a good commute bike can become an intimate extension of the rider themselves. The usability, dependability, comfort, and joy of ride are crucial to forge this bond. Without each part on the bike working to create this synergy a bike will either be regularly cursed, or worst of all go unused.

As a company we have a long history making bikes for people to commute on.  I won’t pretend to know the exact genesis of the hybrid, but what I do know is that Marin was one of the first bike companies to really dial in a solid commute bike.
Back in the early days, these bikes were known as hybrids, and they were just that.  A mix between touring bikes and mountain bikes, hybrids were where you could get the reliability and upright comfort of a mountain bike, but the efficiency of a 700c wheel and a narrower, lower rolling resistance tire of a touring bike.  In some cities these hybrids caught on and became the most common bikes you would see on the road, but for the most part these practical machines were overshadowed by the popularity and allure of the fashionable mountain bike.  For years many riders thought a mountain bike would offer them greater stability and durability than a hybrid, and especially an anemic looking road bike.  Low-knob or slick 26” tires were selling like hotcakes, and people were happy to push a heavier and less efficient beast around, not knowing the difference.

During this time many companies pushed their hybrids the way of the comfort bike with many heavy, squishy, and comfy features, but a generally heavy and slow ride attitude.  At a similar time, many people started to put flat bars on road bikes to get away from the awkward old geometries and still maintain the speed and ease of riding longer distances.

Then, with some advances in technology and a gradual perception shift, shops and riders began to look back at the 700c wheeled bikes as a viable means of transportation. Lightweight bikes with rigid forks and durable drivetrains began to make a lot of sense again in cities as the roadways became more friendly and paths showed up on the sides of the roads, and bike companies started to make bikes that were meant for the day in and day out abuse commuting can dish out.
That mix between the original hybrid and the flat bar road bike bred a new class of bike we know within Marin Bikes today as a commuter.

One of the Urban Commute bikes Marin makes that I always have had my eye on was the Muirwoods.  The steel frame, solid 8-speed drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and overall rough and tumble look really spoke to me.  If Batman had a commute bike, I imagine this would be it. So, shortly after starting at Marin when I was offered the chance to jump on one of these bad boys and take a trip into the hectic environment of commuting in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance.

Coming from the MTB side of riding I tend to not be very nice to my bike while I go through cities.  I’ve always loved the parallels between mountain biking and commuting, and get the same level of excitement dodging cars, sprinting between lights, and hopping curbs that I do on the trail.  I must admit, I was not let down in any way with the Muirwoods.  It rips!  Everything that I could dish out the bike took and wanted more, and the speed was really impressive.  I’m also fond of changing my bike up depending on the time of year, and what I need it for this month or even this ride.  If you wanted to you could easily throw fenders on the Muiwoods to slog it out in the bad weather, and add a rack also if you felt like bringing some things along with you, or even change your tire volume if you have a bit more loose terrain on your commute.  You can even toss on a couple of water bottle cages if you have a long enough commute to need a drink, or if you decide it’s a cocktail kind of ride.  As you may be able to tell, I geek out over the possibilities the platform offers.

As a bike guy, I highly recommend throwing a leg over a Muirwoods and taking it out for a romp.  But only do so if you’re ready to have another bike in your quiver.  If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to say no when it begs you to go out for more and more rides.  And you can expect us to keep on making this bike even better, and adding some other great commuter bikes to our line.  We hope you develop as much love for commuting as we have here, and we’re happy to be your gateway bike!


Aaron Abrams
Product Manager
Marin Bikes

Wednesday’s Who’s, What’s, Where’s, and Why’s: Clark Eckel

Clark Eckel : Uses competitive road cycling as defense against Type 1 Diabetes.
Type of frame ridden and why?
Fastest Times Clocked?
What is the most attractive feature of Colorado in terms of training and improving as a cyclist?
Your motivation?
Happiest moment in cycling?
Lowest moment in cycling?

Clark is an impressive and imposing rider it seems. The few times I’ve spotted him on the speer trail, he looks intense, hunkered down and really looking for the most out himself and the bike and the trail itself.
That’s the way that I’d like to think I would approach cycling on a competitive level, on those three levels.

Here is how Clark Answered My Questions:
1-Specialized Tarmac SL4, because 
Specialized is sponsor of my team.

2-Max sprint without lead out is 70.01 kmh(43.45mph) putting down 1508 watts of power

3-Colorado has all types of terrain. For sprinters like myself, training in the mtns. is a way to stay efficient and lose weight. Climbing always gives you an edge. Views are stellar, and the racing scene is competitive beyond anywhere else.

4-To be a voice in the world of young diabetics and their families questioning their ability to do elite sports despite being a diabetic.

5-Winning Weld County Road Race 2013 and becoming a professional cyclist at age of 18 taking 3rd in junior Olympics: Durango, CO 2001.

6-Lowest moment is getting hit by car May 25, 2012. He was at fault. Concussion, ribs, 39 stitches, destroyed bike (same bike model ridden now), took only 4 weeks off before continuing competition.

Cycling is an amazing sport and is available to everyone from beginner to professional. Despite being in the elite ranks, it is the only sport that has given me the satisfaction of being healthy, strong, and mentally stable. It became my life.

We want to Thank Clark for answering our questions and wish him continued success and safety on the circuit:)Image

A Fortnight of Sunday’s.

I rode Halstead in from Hessville, Indiana on a early Sunday Morning ride, unable to bring bicycles unto the SSL (South Shore Line) a rail system that connects the two states by running a route around the base of Lake Michigan, hence the southern shore reference. The ride itself was intense and as unusual as most of my solo adventures tend to be. Michigan Ave. was my starting point and I rode that for about eight miles. Weather in the Midwest is always a peach, and on this morning it was a scant 59 degrees, with a mild drizzle. I just rode it out as hard as usual.

Upon arriving in Hyde Park. My Uncle Herman Thomas and I went to a shop he frequents on 94th. 27.00 was the ticket for a new Seca rear tire including install. All of the skid stops from South Broadway in Denver to those incurred on the NorthSide had taken a toll on the tire needing to be replaced, the shop hand finished quickly and after making plans to meet my Uncle later on in the dayI  I straddled “Black Betty”, rode with traffic, made a right on 84th. and took that  to Halstead, (familiar with the street because of some many advertisements by store owners on eighties radio with 107.5 WGCI ). It was 70 plus
blocks to Downtown. StreetsI’d imagine in every metropolis are being serviced in intervals, and this was no different equaling pot holes, concrete cratered in at points.
Cracks. Whatever! It’s not only the Midwest, it’s Chicago. By the time I get downtown, it’s plenty chilly and one of the five cans out of the six pack I started my voyage with that were remaining had popped. Leaving me soaked after that massive huff of fresh air that I had been taking in since I had gotten on the bike.

Where of all the places I could have ended up at on a sea faring Sunday weather wiseImage, I ended up at a fashion show! Sweating out empathy as the models traipsed across the catwalk mere inches it felt like from the lake. Overall, it was an amazing time, just myself, the bike and a huge city:)

Windy City Times and Trials: Part 3 of “Chicago’s Cycling Community.”

The Northwest section of Chicago was, as impressive, flavorful, and gritty as you should expect the “City of Big Shoulders” to be, the Wicker and Rodgers Park sections of the town were fairly entertaining to ride on, past restaurants, record shops, cycle shops, tree lined neighborhoods on avenuesImage like Western and others like Diversey.

Chicago’s Cycling Community Part 2

imageOne of the many mileage markers that you will see in city. Some shop heads said it was Mayor Daley that implemented city wide cycling culture as it stands in 2013. Others say that Rahm Emanuel current Mayor of the city really brought the city’s cycling to this era. Whomever started urban petrol free commuting in Chicago deserves great credit which includes mention of the men who rode through the streets of old Chicago on their Penny Farthings in the 1870’s.  Trails throughout the city that shift through historic neighborhoods, and parallel to Lake Michigan are phenomenal and deserve a visit if you’re ever there with a good set of wheels at your disposal.


Velowood Cyclery

Chicago’s Cycling Community

Chicago's Cycling Community

What’s seen here are photographs that I took while visiting The Tri-State Area for the first time in nearly 15 years. Since, Chicago is “the” Metropolis of The Midwest it’s only fitting that they comprise the largest and most refined bike community in all of the Midwest. Outside of The High Plains where I live. Haha:) Numerous shops. Tons of Concrete equalling miles of road and trail, made my visit. Along with my beautiful cousin Tasia and her husband Mike and their soon to be four year old Taj, my vacation couldn’t have been better! Thanks Velowood Victor for your
Patience and Thank You Chicago for your support:)

Morning Madness:)

For the two years I’ve lived in Denver, I’ve frequented Velowood. The reason why just came to me and it is hilarious as to why I’ve returned to their shop time and time again. Location! Location! Location! Maybe a mile and a half away tops from where I live, it’s all downhill from 8th Avenue and if you take Washington to Sixth and catch all of the traffic lights while green, it’s intense, because by the time you get to the left which represents Sixth Ave you’ve built up a significant amount of momentum and you can cruise right over to Marion outdistancing cars headed East. Yup, with that ride and the patience of Victor, Joe, and the shop technicians it’s been a easy choice to frequent. The picture taken speaks to how comfortable residents of the  neighborhood that border Velowood Cyclery are with the shop. Summer time is approaching?

Why not ride? This shop ensures that you can:)