Tag Archives: Ben Witt

Gambling at River Bend Nature Center pays dividends

Mountain bike meeting at River Bend Nature Center31st Annual Ramble - RBNC Raffle tickets - 31st Annual Ramble - RBNC 
I’ve been to several mountain bike-related meetings at River Bend Nature Center (RBNC) this year since I blogged about the first one back in April. I bought a RBNC family membership at that meeting, and then, at a meeting in September, I bought two raffle tickets for the 31st Annual Ramble, RBNC’s annual fundraiser wingding.

Milltown Cycles proprietor Ben Witt at RBNC RBNC Executive Director Barbara Caldwell and Griff Wigley pump/jump park bike Buying wool socks at Milltown Cycles 
I wasn’t able to attend the Ramble on September 29th but at about 9 pm, I got this email from Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles in Faribault and a big supporter of RBNC:

Griff, it is my pleasure to represent River Bend and inform you that you’ve won the River Bend Raffle, claiming a $2000 prize! Taxes will be withheld from that amount, and Barbara will inform you of the specifics.  Congrats sir, and thanks for supporting River Bend!

Cool. Playing bingo at DJJD is about the extent of my gambling habit and I think I won $15 at it once.

By the time I picked up my check yesterday from RBNC Executive Director Barbara Caldwell, I’d already purchased a pump/jump park bike with my winnings.  I then promptly went downtown Faribault to Milltown Cycles to purchase some wool socks for mountain biking.  Local bike shops are likely to see a little more of the winnings circulating through their stores but the bulk of it is going towards a little home improvement project that Robbie has been eager to finish.

Live downtown and own a car? Mary Witt says move it or lose it on the 4th. The Crit rules!

Mary Witt Criterium parking alert No parking after 5 am 2012 Race Flyer
If you live downtown and need your car tomorrow (4th of July), move it before you go to bed tonight because the barricades for the 13th annual 4th of July Criterium (bicycle races, for the clueless) start going up at 5 am on the 4th. 

One of Mary Witt’s sons, Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles, is the organizer of this event so she was out last night plastering flyers on the doors of all the downtown area residences. The flyer reads in part:

If you live within the course and will need the use of your car during the day of July 4th, you will need to move your car outside of the course prior to the event. Exceptions will not be made and cars will not be permitted under any circumstances during the duration of the day.

More than a few Northfielder bike nuts attend world premiere of ‘Reveal the Path’

Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater
Robbie and I attended the world premiere of Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis last night, along with a few hundred other bike nuts and quite a few Northfielders:

Reveal the Path, Presented by SalsaA visually stunning adventure by bike: Reveal the Path explores the world’s playgrounds in Europe’s snow capped mountains, Scotland’s lush valleys, Alaska’s rugged coastal beaches and Morocco’s high desert landscapes…

Filmed across four continents and featuring Tour Divide race legends, Matthew Lee & Kurt Refsnider, this immersive film is sure to ignite the dream in you.

Andy Palmer (background) and John Gaddo Andy Palmer John Gaddo, Jason Boucher
Luminaries from QBP and its Salsa Cycles division, the main sponsor of the movie and the event, were on hand. They were marginally adequate as movie theater attendants:

Left: Former Northfielder John Gaddo, QBP Outside Sales Rep
Center: Andy Palmer, Salsa Customer Service
Right: John Gaddo and Jason Boucher, Salsa General Manager. See Jason’s ImagineGnat blog ("Bicycles – Photography – People – Exploration")

Curtis Ness, Ben Witt, Mike “Kid” Riemer Ben Witt; Myrna Mibus Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path
Some Northfielders and other bike nuts at the schmooze fest in the theater lobby:

Left: Northfielders Curtis Ness and Ben Witt, Milltown Cycles, with Mike “Kid” Riemer, Salsa Marketing Manager.
Center: Ben Witt with Northfielder (Webster, actually) Mryna Mibus, blogger, freelance writer, and future mountain biker who was there with her husband Owen and kids.
Right: Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path and its predecessor Ride the Divide.

See the large slideshow of 17 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Ben Witt can teach you how to do basic bike maintenance

Ben Witt teaching basic bike maintenance  I attended a free basic bike maintenance class at Just Food Co-op last night. Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, teaches the class once or twice a year. Last night he was assisted by his sweetie, Meg Jensen Witt, Just Food Co-op’s wellness manager.

Ben has class participants do some hands-on learning: changing a flat tire, lubing cables, and how to handle the rear derailleur to make it easy to take the rear wheel off and put it back on. Cool.

See the large slideshow of 17 photos (recommended) or this small slideshow:

River Bend Nature Center and mountain biking: exciting possibilities

As I mentioned last week, I first blogged about mountain biking at the River Bend Nature Center (RBNC) in Faribault back in January and shortly thereafter, learned about the problems with it.

Mountain bike meeting at River Bend Nature Center Mountain bike meeting at River Bend Nature Center
So I was really pleased that RNBC staff hosted a meeting with about 25 local mountain bikers last night at the RBNC Interpretative Center.

Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Executive Director Garrett Genereux, Naturalist Educator; Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Executive Director Ben Witt, owner, Milltown Cycles 
After everyone introduced themselves, RBNC Executive Director Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Naturalist Educator Garrett Genereux, and Ben Witt, owner of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, each made brief presentations about the status of mountain biking trails in the park.

Barbara set a positive tone to the meeting right from the start, saying that they were genuinely eager to learn more about mountain biking, given the increase in riders that they’ve seen recently. She said that while they had no desire to become a mountain bike park ("We’re a nature center"), they are multi-use and see mountain biking as another way to engage the public in their mission.

Garrett showed a special map he’d created of all the trails in the park, both authorized and unauthorized. (I’ve obscured the map in the photo above.)

Ben Witt expressed his appreciation for the willingness of RNBC staff to even have the meeting, seeing it as a huge opportunity.  He explained how many sections of the authorized trails are not only bad for the park because of erosion, they’re also not the new style of mountain bike trails (eg, switchbacks for up-hills) that help to make the sport so enjoyable.

 John Ebling Glenn Holman DSC08829
The rest of the meeting was open discussion. I urged RNBC to see mountain biking not as something to do to accommodate to a group of users but rather as a strategy to protect the park. By putting in new-style mountain bike ‘flow’ trails that are fun and challenging for a range of skill levels, they’ll create a powerful incentive for riders to only ride on those trails, thereby protecting the rest of the park.

John Ebling made the point that local ‘ownership’ of these trails by local mountain bikers who work to create and maintain them eventually can create a culture of responsible use by the wider mountain biking community.

DSC08831 DSC08824 DSC08835
The plan now is to create a local task force or working group to figure out next steps. Contact Barbara or Ben (see right sidebar of his Milltown Cycles blog) if you’d like to be involved. 

RBNC Membership page

And above all, become a RNBC member.  Our voices as mountain bikers will be far more influential if we show we care enough about RBNC to support them financially.  Their online membership signup form makes it fast and easy.

Northfielder Ben Oney and the world’s toughest mountain bike race

Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ride the Divide
Last night, Milltown Cycles proprietor Ben Witt hosted a viewing of a feature film titled Ride The Divide at the Viking Theater in St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons. It’s about "the world’s toughest mountain bike race" called the Tour Divide, an "… ultra-cycling challenge to pedal solo and self-supported the length of Great Divide Mountain Bike Route…as fast as possible." It’s 2,700 miles from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican border.

Ben Oney and his Tour Divide Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike Ben Oney, Tour Divide Q&A 
Earlier this summer, Northfielder Ben Oney finished 13th (80 participants) in the race on a Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike. He hosted a Q&A session after the movie. See his old Tour Divide blog and his new Boney Bikes blog, but better yet, follow Ben Oney on Twitter.

See also:

Biking the gravel to Murphy-Hanrehan and back

Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt On the gravel: Bill Nelson and Griff Wigley. Photo by Ben Witt. Jerry Bilek and a crop duster. Photo by Ben Witt. On the gravel: Bill Nelson, Griff Wigley, Ben Witt. Photo by Ben Witt.
Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt, and I took off on our mountain bikes from GBM at about 7:30 this morning, riding primarily gravel roads to the mountain bike trail in the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, just south of Savage.

Murphy-Hanrehan mapJerry Bilek at Murphy-Hanrehan. Photo by Ben Witt. Ben Witt, Jerry Bilek, Bill Nelson,  
After riding the 7 mile advanced loop at Murphy, we chowed down at Chipotle in Apple Valley, biked through UMore Park in Dakota County, and arrived back in Northfield in time for dinner. About 85 miles, 9 hours. Whew!

Ben Witt wants you for the Crit

Ben Witt 2011 crit flyer
Northfielder Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, stopped by my corner office at the GBM earlier this week to make sure I would let LoGro readers know about the 11th Annual 4th of July Northfield Criterium on Monday. 

Ben could use some assistance during the event: corner martials and help with set up and take down.  Contact him at 507.331.2636 or at MilltownCycles@Gmail.com.

Annual 4th of July Northfield Criterium Annual 4th of July Northfield Criterium Annual 4th of July Northfield Criterium