Photo album: Tour de Nick 2012

 Bill Metz Don Anderson, Bruce Anderson, Cindy Anderson,  Tour de Nick 2012
Bill Metz and pals from the Cannon Valley Velo Club and SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) hosted the 9th annual Tour de Nick bicycle tour yesterday. The event raised over $6,000.

Dan Reidenberg and Delicia Jernigan CVVC members accompany Delicia Jernigan as she departs Northfield
Riders were joined by Delicia Jernigan who’s riding from Portland OR to Portland ME on her So Many Roads Tour which is:

… dedicated to raising awareness of suicide statistics, the survivors they leave behind, and bringing inspiration to anyone that has suffered from depression and loss.

See the large slideshow of 34 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

See the Nfld News article: Northfield’s ‘Tour de Nick’ to support suicide awareness.

Bicycle helmets redux: tough organizational choices, but I’m out

I’ve authored three blog posts in recent months about bicycle helmets:

These posts came to the attention of National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), the national body that governs high school mountain bike racing. I had taken their training to be an assistant coach this fall for the Cannon Valley Mountain Bike Racing Team for area high school students.  They also came to the attention of the Cannon Valley Velo Club (CVCC), where, as a member, I had volunteered to be the mountain bike ride coordinator and therefore became a club officer.

I wrote to NICA, summarizing my position:

I think public officials and other community leaders should stop the promotion of helmet-wearing for around-town bicycling and instead, work on all the other issues related to getting people, including kids, to ride bikes more, including doing what it takes to make the activity safer. There’s a considerable body of research to support this.

I have very few, if any, kids reading my Locally Grown Northfield blog. My blog post that’s titled “Photos of Northfielders biking around town without helmets: all the cool kids are doing it” was not aimed at kids and contains no photos of kids. The phrase “all the cool kids” is a generic, cultural reference that doesn’t directly refer to kids but anyone (for example, Suing Madonna, Self-publishing, Quitting Facebook).

But it’s very likely that kids will find out about my helmet-related blog posts, either on their own or from teachers, parents, or members of the local bike clubs. If they ask me, I’ll explain my position.

In Northfield and elsewhere in MN, the vast majority of high school age teenagers using their skateboards and BMX bikes in municipal skateparks don’t wear helmets. Insurance doesn’t require it as long as the obstacles are under 48 inches high. But if you go to a BMX or skateboard stunt show, all the performers wear helmets. Most kids would understand why: speed and height make a difference. An analogy: should parents let their kids play in the street? Pretty much everyone would say that it depends on the age of the kid, the type of street, and the type of play. Kids gradually learn the subtleties of playing in the street and by the time they’re in high school, it’s a non-issue. Likewise, with helmet-wearing.

Boys especially don’t want to appear to be overly concerned with safety. I insisted that my three sons wore helmets from the time they were toddlers but once they were 14 or so, they refused to do it for around-town biking. They had no hesitation on wearing a helmet when I took them mountain biking or road riding.

I’m 100% in favor of promoting the importance of wearing helmets for mountain biking, road biking, gravel riding, and all forms of bike competition and I would hammer this point home and enforce it rigorously with the high school student athletes. And I would not use my coaching/face time with them to promote my position about helmets and around-town biking.

NICA gave me a choice:

…while NICA’s rules do not govern what Griff does outside of the context of his high school mountain bike coaching, NICA does find his position on helmet use contradictory to our risk management and safety standards. Thus, NICA staff are not supportive of his position regarding helmet use nor his public blogging on this subject. NICA encourages Griff to chose between abiding by the NICA rules at all times – in order to serve as a role model – or not coach.

I replied in part:

One thing I didn’t state in my “Griff’s position” statement was that it never occurred to me that my blogging about helmets for around-town biking would have anything to do with mountain biking.  I simply never made the mental connection. If I had, I probably would have avoided the issue altogether.

While it’s unfortunate, I don’t regret doing it.  I really do believe in what I wrote about the issue so I can’t in good faith go back on it. So I have decided to withdraw as team director and assistant coach.

And while I’ve put in a lot of hours in this over several months, I have no regrets — no bad feelings whatsoever.  I’ve really enjoyed and benefited from all of it, especially the two-days of Leadership Summit training…

I met with the officers of the CVCC to clarify my position that I would always insist that anyone on a club-sanctioned mountain bike ride with me would have to wear a helmet. Their response:

In the end, most felt that we can’t as a Club endorse a position which suggests publicly that riding without a helmet at any time on the bike is advisable.  It was very tough to decide whether this meant that individuals within the Club are speaking for the Club, but in the end it was decided that anyone whose name is on the CVVC home page “Club Officers” table could be construed as speaking for the Club.  Given that your position as expressed in blog posts is in conflict with our helmet policy (and that you stand by this position), we decided that this means your name should not be listed as a club officer.

So as a club member, I can informally invite others to go on mountain bike rides with me. I just can’t be an official ride leader.

I harbor no ill will towards either NICA nor CVCC, even though I strongly disagree with them. It’s a tricky issue and insurance/risk management makes it even more so.

There are many ways for me to contribute to the sport of mountain biking and bicycling in general. I won’t be shy about letting you know what I’m up to.  If it’s Northfield-related, I’ll let you know here on LoGro. Otherwise, stay tuned to my Mountain Bike Geezer blog and/or follow MTBikeGeezer on Twitter.

Cannon Valley Velo Club’s group road rides: your choice of six ride categories

Cannon Valley Velo Club, A and B ride groups, Bridge Square CVVC logo

Two groups of road riding members of the Cannon Valley Velo Club (CVVC) met at Bridge Square this morning at 7 am. The B Ride route: a 38-mile ride from to Farmington and Hampton and back.   The A Ride, part of Bruce Anderson’s Long-Distance Laughing Ride Series:

This is a long sucker, but it rolls through some beautiful, quiet country. Main rest stop is projected at the Straight River Inn Cafe in downtown Hope, MN at about 67 miles. There will be opportunities for water and convenience store food/beverages in Waterville (35 miles) and Nerstrand (113 miles), but it’s wide open country otherwise, so plan food and water accordingly!

See the club’s road ride categories for more details on what to expect on the group road rides: A, A/B, B, B/C, C, D/Family.

Some photos of riders heading out on the A Ride:

DSC00996 DSC00999 DSC01001

DSC01003 DSC01004 DSC01006

Register your interest in going on mountain bike rides in the Cannon Valley area

Cannon Valley area mountain bike ridesSalem Hills Mountain Bike Trails, Inver Grove HeightsAs the new mountain bike ride coordinator for the Cannon Valley Velo Club (CVVC), I’m planning to lead some rides starting in June.

To help me plan the rides, please fill out this form. (You don’t need to be a member of the CVCC to fill out the form.)

I’m especially interested in beginners, even if you only own a hybrid bike.

Got questions or suggestions? Attach a comment (preferred) or contact me.

You can call me Coach. Northfield will soon have a high school mountain bike racing team

The Minnesota High School Cycling League held their first Leaders’ Summit last weekend. I attended both days (Head and Assistant Coach licensing) along with Northfielder Sue Welch, Community Coordinator for the Cannon Valley Velo Club.

Gary Sjoquist Austin McInerny Michael Hayes Sue Welch, Michael Hayes, Griff Wigley, Austin McInerny

Gary Sjoquist, QBP’s Advocacy Director, organized and hosted the event at their Bloomington headquarters.  Austin McInerny, (NorCal High School Cycling League, Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team) did the classroom instruction on Saturday. Michael Hayes, Colorado Rocky Mountain School, conducted the skills training (in the classroom and on the bike) on Sunday.

Austin and Michael were impressive instructors: very thorough, great storytellers, well-organized, interesting, and funny. Gary treated us royally with breakfast, lunch and even dinner on Saturday, with ample snacks throughout each day and happy hours at day’s end. The only disappointment: it rained all day Saturday and on and off on Sunday so the end-of-the-day-rides had to be cancelled.

I’m pretty enthused about all this. Sue and I will soon host a community info night in Northfield for interested student athletes and parents.

See my album of 27 photos (large slideshow recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Cannon Valley Velo Club adds support for gravel rides and mountain biking; git yer 2012 membership now

Scott Klein, Evan Watkins, Sue Welch, Tom Bisel and Kevin Keane. (Northfield News photo by Shane Kitzman) Cannon Valley Velo Club Griff Wigley, pretender 
I had lunch earlier this week with Kevin Keane, race team director for the 1 year-old Cannon Valley Velo Club (CVVC). (That’s Kevin on the right in left photo above – photo by Shane Kitzman, Northfield News.)  We discussed all things mountain biking and I’ve signed on to be the club’s new mountain biking ride coordinator—hence, the staged photo in my front yard yesterday. (I’m on a borrowed fat bike, as I’m on my way to the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout up in Crosby-Ironton for my first-ever race this weekend. More on that here on my Mountain Bike Geezer blog.)

I’ll only be coordinating the CVVC mountain bike rides, primarily on singletrack. Others will be coordinating the mountain bike racing and the gravel rides.

March 1 is the official start of the club’s annual membership term and Scott Klein, CVVC Secretary, posted this announcement this morning to the CVVC Google Group email list (open to anyone, not just members):

The club is officially one year old and we’re excited to keep growing the club and offering more rides and activities for all riders.  For this year, we are planning to offer more ride options with better organization (ie maps and short cuts for those of us with time constraints) and expand the awareness of off-road routes for gravel rides and mountain bikers. 

Cannon Valley Velo Club 2012 membership packageAdditionally, we will be working with the Mill Towns Trail organization to promote the completion of this bike trail from Red Wing to Mankato.  If you have any other ideas to help promote safe bicycling in our community, we’d love to hear about it. To keep offering these activities and to maintain our insurance policy for group rides in 2012, it’s time to update our list of active members and collect membership dues. 

The membership dues are the same amount as last year, so please take a look at the attached document for exact pricing. For existing members, please sign the insurance waiver and release form (even if you filled one out last year) and include it with your payment.  Both of these items can either be mailed to our club treasurer, David Foster, or dropped off in person at Tom’s shop, Fit to be Tri’d in Northfield.

For more about the CVVC, see this March, 2011 article in the Nfld News:  Cannon Valley Velo gears up for its inaugural season.

It’s April in December so get out there and bike

Justin London, Neil Lutsky, Joe Pahr, Merrill Lutsky Mountain bikers at Battle Creek Park Reserve
With no snow and temps in the 40s and 50s the past couple of days, it’s good to be a bicyclist.

Left: On Christmas Day afternoon, these members of the Cannon Valley Velo Club rode from Bridge Square to Cannon Falls and back. L to R: Justin London, Neil Lutsky (Santa Claus), Joe Pahr, and Merrill Lutsky.

Right:  I met these guys yesterday (L to R: Tim Larson, David Gavin, Eric Marr and Dan Malecha; Dan is a cousin of Arlen and Galen) while mountain biking the Battle Creek Park Reserve mountain bike trail system on the east side of St. Paul. (Details on my Mountain Bike Geezer blog here.)

Northfield’s bicycle clubs: not quite two

The Northfield Bike Club (NBC) has been around for years.  The Cannon Valley Velo Club (CVVC) is the new kid on the block. Doesn’t that make for two clubs? Quoting from the NBC site:

If you know anything about the Northfield Bike Club, you know that it is not really a club at all. The NBC is a bunch of bicycling enthusiasts who like to ride together. The only thing the NBC has that resembles membership is being on the club mailing list. That is free and never expires, but it’s also all you get – a way to communicate with other like-minded riders.

The Cannon Valley Velo Club is a full-fledged club with membership forms, matching jerseys – the whole deal. The club reaches out to all riders and also to the non-cycling community to promote good and safe cycling. It offers organized rides for everyone from the complete novice to the genuine racer.

More on the CVVC:

Category A ride departure from Mike's Bike Shop Category A ride departure from Mike's Bike Shop Category A ride departure from Mike's Bike Shop Category A ride departure from Mike's Bike Shop
Yesterday, a group of riders departed for a Saturday morning Category A ride at 7 am in front of Mike’s Bicycle Shop.

Category B ride departure from Bridge Square Category B ride departure from Bridge Square Category B ride departure from Bridge Square Category B ride departure from Bridge Square
Another group departed Bridge Square at 7:30 am for a Category B ride. See the CVVC Ride Categories page for more info.

FYI, the 8th Annual Tour de Nick ride is coming up next Saturday, Aug. 6. Both clubs’ websites have Annual Tour de Nick web pages (NBC here, CVVC here). There’s a Tour de Nick Facebook page, too.  The poster:

Tour de Nick 2011

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