July 2017 Top Picks

Welcome to July, you hooligans. As most middle-aged folk will tell you, June flew by, and now we are truly in the heart of summer. Naturally, it is time for a wardrobe update and pop culture refresh. As always, I’ve got your back. Keep reading to feel like the cool kid on the block.

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Patagonia: a Company Dedicated to Keeping the Earth our Sanctuary

patagonia sportswear

If you are shopping at The House, chances are you care about our planet, because we, as outdoor enthusiasts, use the earth as our artistic and athletic playground.  The mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers, forests, deserts, and everything in between are ours to protect if we want to keep enjoying the beauty that our natural world has to offer. Especially with both the literal and the political climate change in 2017, it is important that we are making ethical and eco-friendly choices in everything that we do.  This includes when shopping for our recreational activities, so I’ve researched one of my favorite brands –Patagonia – and detailed its promise to sustainability, equity, and social change.  Read More

Coming Soon!

If you’re looking for The House Team, we’re in the process of updating and moving.

 

We hope to have the new pages up shortly. Thank you.

4th of July in Minnesota

A Lake & the Lights: Independence Day in Minnesota

 


 

If you live in America, chances are you take pride in the state you live in. If not, maybe consider moving, because let me just tell you that it is quite satisfying to partake in your state’s norms and rituals if you are a fan of that state. I am from Minnesota, where everyone is slightly passive yet kind to the core, where we say “The Cities” and everyone knows what we mean, where a lake seems to line every town, and where comfort and modernity meet in a perfect bond.  As a Minnesotan, I love our unique, quirky elements and enjoy days where these true colors shine, like the Fourth of July.  I’m about to give you a taste of what this holiday looks like in the land of 10,000+ lakes.  Read on and find yourself mesmerized by Minnie.  Read More

Top Ten Longboard Brands

The list of top longboard brands continues to grow as the sport is becoming more and more popular, and companies are joining the bandwagon. Though this is extremely cool, this also makes it harder to know what companies are making the best longboards. Not to worry, though. I’ve got you covered.

Today I’ve composed a list of our Top Ten Longboard Brands so that you can pick the right board for you and your lifestyle.  Read More

Father’s Day Gift Guide

2017 has been a year for the dad. For some reason, dad jokes and dad habits have taken over social media with stories, memes, and various forms of appreciation. If you google “dad jokes,” you will not be disappointed this year.  It is important, then, that this Father’s Day we take the time to truly thank our dads or fatherly figures for being themselves and supplying us with ample content for jokes (and I guess being loving and supportive, too, of course). Keep scrolling if you’d like to show the appreciation with some sick gifts for the dad in your life! Read More

Everything You Need for a Day on the Boat

Summer for many people (and especially me, because I live in the land of 10,000 lakes) means being out on the water, riding in the boat until the sun goes down, and making memories that will never fade.  When you’re on the water, chances are you’re in a good mood. Life feels simple and stress-free. To assure this, I’ve listed my picks of boat day essentials that will make the sun feel that much sweeter. Ride on.


 

 

 

 

#1: Sunglasses.

If you are squinting the entire day, you will undoubtedly be a) crabby, b) miserable, c) blind, and d) all of the above. Protect your eyes and sanity and invest in some shades. My pick: Electric Txoko Sunglasses.  Wearing shades on the boat will undoubtedly make you feel much more comfortable and cool.  And you can also stare at people, and no one will suspect a thing.

I’d have to choose the Dragon Marquis for those interested in men’s sunglasses. Seamless and modern, these shades will keep your gaze looking sophisticated. Get them here!

 


#2: Music. 

Silence isn’t a bad thing, but when the energy is high on the water, amp it up even more with a summer-approved playlist. Lucky for us, many artists have just recently released new music so making fresh choices will not be difficult.  SZA, independent R&B and “Glitter Trap” artist, dropped her latest album, CTRL, last week, and it is insanely perfect for a sweet, sunny party. She teamed up with Kendrick Lamar in “Doves in the Wind,” and it is already becoming my favorite summer jam. Another top hit from the album: “The Weekend.” The whole album, though, is memorable and is sure to keep the good vibes running.

Calvin Harris’s newest single is also vital for a boating day. Called, “Rollin,” the song is definitely just that: rollin. It’s going to make you want to jump in the water without hesitation. Energetic and catchy, Harris’s hit is essential for the boat.

Want a throwback? The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” just solidifies the greatness of summer. Simple and classic, the song will make everyone grin a little.  Or do you miss the early 2000’s? Never forget Weezer’s “Island in the Sun.” You cannot go wrong with a song all about the sunshine.

Here are a few more of my quick picks:

  1. “Chanel” – Frank Ocean
  2. “White Flag” – Joseph
  3. “Carolina” – Harry Styles
  4.  “American Teen” -Khalid
  5. “Shining” – Beyonce

#3: New Wakeboards.

I definitely think this is the summer to splurge on a new board (especially because we have really sick deals).  Get a new board, fly through the air, go up in the rankings of the coolest people to ever exist.  Maybe. My favorite new board is the Liquid Force Harley Classic. This board not only looks slick, but it also has the technology to pop you easily off the wake and high above the water. Crazy rad.


 

#4: Swimsuits (obviously).

If you hop onto the boat without a swimsuit, chances are you are going to regret it. You will either have to forfeit your spot to wakeboard, or you will be thrown into the water regardless by a smarter person on the boat (smarter in that they are probably wearing a swimsuit). Anyway, a swimsuit is a must. My pick of bikini this year is this Patagonia Halter bikini top and the Patagonia solid pink bottom.  Fun and colorful, this combination will make your day that much brighter.

 

One of my favorite pair of boardshorts this season is the RVCA Back Room. The different prints coincide with the flavors of the water and underline the fact that you are here to make a statement. They are winners, for sure.


 

 

#5: A Captain’s Hat. 

Okay, I guess you don’t necessarily need to get a captain’s hat, but it would be pretty awesome if you did. You could make a game out of it, too. The person wearing the hat has the most authority (duh) and thus has to pick the music played, speed of the boat, or victim to being thrown in the water.

If you do not actually want to get a captain’s hat, fine. You should then invest in one like the Bucket hats, at the very least, are conversation pieces and sun protectors. The Ride hat is also stylish and comfortable. Get it now!


If you have these five necessities on the boat with you, you’re  bound to have a good time. Go wild. Stay safe. Enjoy the water.

-Tessa

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Summer Essentials

The Fab Four Picks: Summer Essentials

You did it. You made it to the highly anticipated summer season that seriously could not come soon enough.  In honor of your survival through the thicket of long, cold months, you must treat yourself to a few new pieces that will make your summer that much sweeter.  Trendy, vibrant, and comfortable, these sunny essentials are definitely needed.  Oh, and welcome to Summer 2017! Read More

How to Clean a Bike

how to clean a bike

Cleaning your bike isn’t a luxury, It’s a necessity. Firstly, it just works better, and secondly, you’ll be able to spot any possible problems with your bike before they get out of hand — you can even clean your bike and do a bike tune up all in the same day.

With all its fine moving parts and components, cleaning your bike is not as simple as just soaping down your bike and washing it off. Many of those parts require grease or lubricants, so you can put that high-pressure hose down. Also be sure to have enough time to lubricate your bike after you clean it. It’s part of the bike cleaning routine.

If you’re new to all of this, don’t run away just yet! Once you obtain the necessary materials and set up your bike cleaning area, it will quickly become an easy routine.

In this article, we’ll explain how to clean a bike in just 8 basic steps. After you get the hang of things, you’ll be able to complete the whole process in just 15 minutes or so.

 

1. Set up your work area and materials

You need:

• two buckets of soapy water
• at least 2 clean sponges (old dish sponges will work)
• bottle brushes
• scrub brushes
• a big soft square-head brush for your wheels
• clean rags
• a hose
• dish soap
• degreaser

Using a workstand will make it much easier on your back and allow you to reach all of the parts of your bike. If you don’t have a workstand, you can also suspend it over a taut clothesline. Don’t have a clothesline either? Okay, try to MacGyver another setup to get your bike off the ground.

You can also remove your wheels before cleaning.

 

2. Cleaning a bike chain

Cleaning a bike chain is one of the most vital steps of caring for your bike, since it has to stay lubricated in order to work properly. If you’ve ever tried to ride a bike with a horribly rusted-out chain, you know what we mean.

To clean a bike chain, first apply a degreaser. Turn the cranks backward, allowing the degreaser to get on every link of the chain. Let the degreaser sit on the chain for 5-10 minutes — you can go inside and relax while you wait. Then come back and gently rinse the chain with water.

If the chain is extra grimy and needs something extra, you can apply small drops of dish soap and grip the chain inside a rough sponge. Keep the sponge steady while you rotate the cranks several times. Then rinse again.

In addition to lubricating your bike chain during every wash, you should also lubricate your chain whenever it squeaks or appears to be dry. If your bike frequently gets wet, lubing it more often will prevent it from getting rusty.

You can also buy a chain-cleaning device for exceptionally dirty chains.

If your bike chain needs replacing, check out our selection of chains.

cleaning a bike

 

3. Washing a bike frame

Next up is the frame itself.

First, hose your bike down with a low stream of water, or dip one of your sponges in a bucket full of soapy water and squeeze it all over the bike. Again, you don’t want to use a high-powered hose on your bike frame.

Let the water sit for a bit before you touch the bike with your sponge. This allows the dirt to loosen a bit and prevents scratching the paint.

Then use a clean sponge to clean the bike, working from top to bottom. Avoid using a rough or abrasive sponge on your frame, since you’re likely to mess up the paint.

Afterward, rinse your bike with clean, non-soapy water.

 

4. Cleaning a drivetrain

Follow the same process as for the frame, but use a separate sponge to prevent the grime and grease from the drivetrain from spreading to the frame. You should also use a separate bucket of soapy water.

It’s also a good idea to use a stiff brush dipped in soapy water to clean the chainrings and the various crevices around the teeth, pulleys and rings. You can use a thin screwdriver to dislodge any major build-ups or deposits, then continue cleaning with the sponge as usual.

Afterward, rinse again with clean water.

 

5. Scrubbing your wheels

Lastly, you’ll want to clean your wheels. You can use a bigger, softer brush here, so you’ll be able to quickly go over the surface of the wheels without having to worry about every nook and cranny individually.

For the wheels, you can use the same bucket of soapy water that you used for the frame. Start at the valve and then scrub all the way around the wheel. Don’t forget to scrub the spokes and the hub of the wheel as well. Flip the wheel over and repeat.

 

6. Taking care of your brakes

Different types of brakes require slightly different procedures.

For disc brakes (common on mountain bikes), you can use the soft side of a (new, clean) sponge, dip it in soapy water, and clean the rotors while cleaning your wheels.

For standard rim brakes (common on road bikes), use the abrasive side of a sponge and clean the brake pads while cleaning the frame. Rubbing alcohol or lighter fluid can help remove any rubber deposits.

Lubricating a bike doesn’t end with your chain — you should also lubricate your brake and derailleur levers, cables and assemblies, while being careful to keep the lubricant away from the brake pads.

Need replacements? Check out our bike brakes.

 

7. Give your bike some TLC

Different specific steps are necessary for different types of frames, as well as for different riding routines. You will likely need to individualize your bike cleaning routine a bit depending on how often you ride your bike, how often it gets wet and/or muddy, and the starting condition of your parts.

Cleaning your bike is the perfect time to inspect it for any wear and tear. Being aware of the state of your bicycle’s many moving parts will far lessen the chance that you’ll be surprised by a sudden squeaking chain or worn-out wheel.

Taking your bike in for an occasional bike tune up will further ensure that your bike stays ready for the road or trail, but you can also complete a bike tune up yourself after cleaning.

drying your bike

 

8. Finish up

After cleaning your bicycle, reattach the wheels and dry your bike with a dry cloth. You can also pat it dry and let it air-dry in the sun to save some time.

You’re done!

Congratulations — you now have a clean bike. Pat yourself on the back, have a cold one, and take your spotless bike out for a spin.

Now that you know how to clean a bike, there’s no excuse for letting your bike go into a state of disrepair. The materials necessary for bike washing are not costly, and they pay for themselves by keeping your bike parts usable for longer.

Shop The House for Bike Parts.

Insiders Guide to BMX Wheelie Domination

BMX Wheelie

 

God gave us BMX for wheelies and bike play. But we’re lacking.

We’ve all attempted a few half-hearted wheelies? We’re cruising with buddies, cracking jokes—life is grand. Then we make the attempt. We pull on the bars, lean back for a wheelie, and our tire barely gets off the ground. Reality sucks. So let’s change that. The BMX bike you ride was made for greatness. It’s time to up your game and learn the BMX wheelie. All you need to dominate this basic BMX trick is a few good pointers, confidence in your method, and quality alone time with your BFF BMX.

 

What you need for a Wheelie

Bike: If you’re reading this article, you probably already have a BMX bike. Unlike regular bikes, BMX bikes offer a tremendous amount of customization and personality. It helps to keep this in mind as you practice the wheelie. It’s in their nature, and your given right to learn the wheelie. Freestyling on a BMX bike is an amazing feeling that rewards hard work and persistence with style, finesse, and steez. If you do not own a BMX, no fear, these directions apply towards a regular bike as well. While it may not be as easy or styling, any bike with two wheels can pop wheelies. But you might need to adjust your seat a little lower – the higher the seat the more difficult the trick.

Helmet: Protect the melon, especially if you are just starting to learn wheelies. You can never be too safe. You’re probably going to fall once or twice (part of the sport), and if you want to be able to get back up and try again, you might as well buckle that strap.

Gloves: Gloves are optional when riding BMX. I personally wear them because scratching my palms is quite annoying. Any pair that protects your palms and easily lets you grip the handlebars will do.

Luckily, there isn’t much else you need. It may not come easily at first, but if you practice with persistence and determination, you will be doing wheelies in no time. Oh, and give yourself time. Remember, you are here to master the wheelie.

 

Steps to Learning a BMX Wheelie

1. Start biking at a comfortable speed while sitting and standing. Do not go too slow because controlling the bike will become too difficult. You want to be able to roll at least 40-60 feet without pedaling.

2. Pop the wheel off the ground a few inches while you move around. Do this a few times to get a sense of the weight of the bike and learn some basic bike handling skills.

3. Keep your knees level over the pedals. If you turn your legs out too much you can develop bad balance habits.

4. Shift all of your bodyweight as far backward as you can. Try to get your rear end past the seat towards the back wheel. Practice riding like this. This will seem uncomfortable, but this is the weight distribution method necessary to pop a wheelie.

5. After you feel like you have the weight of the bike dialed in, it’s time to give it a try. Pull with your arms on the handlebar. Stand up a bit more on your pedals and keep your weight back. As you pull your weight back push a bit with your feet to compensate for the backward momentum of pulling.

6. Practice doing this until you reach a point where you can ride 5-10 feet without the front wheel touching down. This is called a BMX manual. Congratulations! You’ve just pulled off your first BMX bike trick.

7. If you successfully found your sweet spot, your bike should be at a 40-45 degree angle off of the ground. Keep practicing manuals while your butt is off of the bike.

8. To pop a wheelie on a BMX (compared to a manual), you will be sitting on the bike. The motions are essentially the same as for a manual, except sitting down. Practice finding your sweet spot while sitting on the bike. If you are afraid you will fall, simply push the bike away and stand up on your feet. This is called a successful bail.

9. To actually perform wheelies, the next time you pull up to do a manual, pedal down and do not stop peddling. Find your sweet spot while peddling.

10. Eventually, you will be able to pedal, sit down, and keep your front wheel in the air all at the same time. This is a wheelie on BMX. Tip: Once you’ve mastered the wheelie, practice fluttering your back break a little bit for more control and styling.

Summary:
Lean back, place your body weight behind your seat. Remember, this part is uncomfortable but necessary. Pull up on the handlebars while pedaling with your feet. As you lean back you should be actively finding your sweet spot. Once you’re in the sweet spot, pedal away while pumping your legs to maintain balance.

BMX biking is incredibly fun once you have an arsenal of tricks at your disposal. Many tricks on BMX bikes require knowledge of manuals and wheelies. After practicing what you learned, you’re going to have a great starting spot for many other BMX tricks.

Shop The House selection of BMX Bikes.