we have moved…!

•January 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Since the entire 600 block of South Dubuque is getting demolished & everyone is getting kicked out, we had to find a new place to go.

Come find us in our new location directly south of World of Bikes in the old Freeman Insurance building with Red Carpet Travel & Synchronicty Chiropractic located at 757 South Gilbert Street!

new shop (Large)

relevant for your winter cycling…

•November 29, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Here’s a thing that I wrote from two years ago for the Little Village!


Ride through the winter with these tips from Broken Spoke owner Michael Chamberlain.


Generally, a skinnier tire with knobby tread works best for riding in a city that salts and plows its streets. This will make it easier to keep the front end straight and heading where you want when the front wheel cuts through the snow and gets down to the hard surface.

A wider tire tends to get directed by the terrain, which causes the front wheel to go all over the place. Studded tires work especially well when it is icy and slick out. They have a knobby tread with metal studs to help dig in and provide grip on slick ice.

I personally use a 32mm studded tire on the front of my bike where traction is paramount for steering and control. I use a 35mm knobby cyclocross tire on the rear since it is lighter and cheaper than a second studded tire. If cost and weight are less of a concern than the utmost in traction, then double up on the widest set of studded tires that will fit your bike. Studded tires start at around $65-70 each.


A set of full fenders will protect the bike from most of the sloppy slush and snow. Even though fenders will keep the nastiness from spraying onto your back and legs, the bicycle is the bigger benefactor from fenders.

Your drivetrain will remain cleaner and your headset, bottom bracket, and seatpost will remain mostly healthy throughout the winter. Everyone wins with a set of full fenders! Expect to pay about $45-50 for a good set.


Your bicycle will require more regular cleaning when riding in the winter. Sand and salt is a terrible combination for your drivetrain. There are chain cleaners (about $30) that allow you to very easily clean it without removing anything from your bicycle. They simply snap onto your chain, after which you can pedal your bike backwards with your hand to start the process. Use some degreaser, and allow the cleaner’s small, rotating brushes to thoroughly remove the gunk and grit from each chain link. This should be done every week or two during the winter months depending on how much snow and slush we’ve had.


It has been said many times that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. A windproof shell is worth more than its weight in gold since it will keep the cold air out and your body warmth in.

Layers are usually key and wool definitely helps, allowing you to adapt to the temperature changes throughout the day. A cold morning commute might turn into a much warmer trip back home, for example. Generally, for rides less than a mile, it is best to overdress so you will be warm. For rides over two or three miles, it is best to dress so you are a little cold during the first few minutes of your ride, as you will be at an ideal temperature once you are warmed up.

If you find yourself colder than you would like to be, ride faster! This will create more body heat and warm you up surprisingly quickly. For those of us with cold hands and feet, a nice pair of insulated boots and wool socks are wonderful to prevent those toes from freezing.

Handlebar mittens are also fantastic for shielding your hands from the cold and keeping your hand warmth from escaping. These attach to the handlebar of the bicycle and are pretty much windproof.

The Right Attitude

Finally, no amount of gear will do you any good if you do not have a can-do attitude! My biggest tip for people is to just keep riding everyday into the colder months. By doing this, you will have a day to day experience of what works and what doesn’t as the temperatures gradually decrease.  Figure out what was too hot or too cold today and adjust accordingly for tomorrow.  It is amazingly easy to ride in the winter if you prepare and adjust and keep on riding when the weather gets cold!

Michael Chamberlain is the owner of The Broken Spoke (602 South Dubuque Street) and will be riding his 11th consecutive winter in Iowa City.

montague fit full-size folding bike…

•May 1, 2014 • 2 Comments

Here is the first update of many that I need to catch up on!
DSC_0050 (Large)
This is a custom frame up build of a Montague FIT full-size folding frame. It basically has a quick release lever that allows the bike to fold in half horizontally along the seat tube.

DSC_0052 (Large)
A nice look at the front end.

DSC_0089 (Large)
An Avid BB7 disk brake makes thing stop in a hurry up front.

DSC_0083 (Large)
A pair of sweet Paul brake levers; always made in the USA!

DSC_0079 (Large)
Portland Designs Whiskey leather grips add style & comfort.

DSC_0080 (Large)

DSC_0078 (Large)

DSC_0063 (Large)
Broken bike! A hint at its fold-ability.

DSC_0062 (Large)
A close-up of the business end.

DSC_0061 (Large)

DSC_0056 (Large)
A Brooks leather saddle: the standard for leathery comfort!

DSC_0055 (Large)

DSC_0053 (Large)
The Shimano Alfine internal 11 speed hub has a great gear range with the easiness of a simply maintained internal hub!

03-08-2014 030 (Large)
A look at the custom hand-built wheels. The Alfine rear & Paul front.

03-08-2014 040 (Large)

you can ring my bell…

•October 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Just look at all of this Japanese brass, copper, & stainless steel goodness!

10-14-2013 012 (Large)

There’s even _one & only one_ hand-painted maple themed one that was done by a kung-fu master(maybe)!

tenth anniversary of the broken spoke…!

•September 3, 2013 • 2 Comments

09-03-2013 005 (Large)

Ok, so this is a little late, but better late than never, right?

2013 marks the tenth year that The Broken Spoke has been in business & to celebrate, all Broken Spoke merchandise is ten to twenty percent off! We’ve got t-shirts, hats, & water bottles with your favourite bike shop’s logo on them!

Thank you & here’s to another ten years!

redline conquest 24…

•July 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

7-12-2013 001 (Large)
It’s hard to beat the awesomeness of a cyclocross bike. But one way to do it is to have it be a kid’s version! This little guy has 24″ wheels & a wee frame for those budding cyclocrossers in our lives.

7-12-2013 003 (Large)

hb weiner…!

•July 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

2-08-2013 036 (Large)

…Bill (aka The Weiner Posse) is ten years old today! Come in & wish him a happy birthday today & get ten percent off anything in the shop!