I’m doing some consulting work on the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit & Festival coming up at the end of January in the West Yellowstone area, so I’m locked in on the trend. And the Expo gave me a picture of how much enthusiasm there is here in Minnesota for fat biking.
I don’t (yet) own a fat bike. Last winter I didn’t need one, since we had so little snow. My hardtail 29’er worked fine just about everywhere I went. But with a solid 8 inches from our weekend snowstorm, things are looking up for a decent winter. And more and more of Minnesota’s mountain bike parks and other trails allow mountain bikes.
So let’s use the discussion thread attached to this blog post to discuss winter biking locations, conditions, equipment, group rides, and events.
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.
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.
Robbie bought her new hybrid bike (Trek 7300 WSD) at Milltown Cycles a month ago and was pleased with the advice/treatment she got from owner Ben Witt and manager Curtis Ness. The day she purchased the bike, we couldn’t wait for them to assemble it as we were due to meet some friends at the Cow. No problemo. Curtis delivered it to our table.)
A couple hours later, I got an email from Ben (he also uses Google Talk/IM which I found to be very helpful):
I hate to say it, but I can’t get that bike for you. They are sold out for the year, and they don’t list an estimated time of arrival for the new 2012 models.
He then recommended that I get the bike from a competitor which did have one in stock in my frame size:
I’m sorry to have that as the only option I can offer. There are not many bikes that are similar to that to offer as alternatives. I think you’d be very happy on that bike, and we can easily get the tires, pedals and other accessories here for you.
Whaaaa? Couldn’t he could sell me another bike in that price range with similar features? I wanted to buy a bike from him.
He was adamant. The X Caliber was the bike that was best for me and it made no sense to wail till fall to get one. He was confident I’d be a long-term customer of Milltown Cycles and that he’d make a fair profit from whatever accessories, parts, and service I’d need.
I got my bike later that day. And a few days later, he outfitted it with Eggbeaters and tubeless tires. Watch out, Hans Rey.
Robbie got a new bike from Milltown Cycles a few weeks ago and we’ve started exploring Minnesota’s bike trails. LoGro readers can expect an occasional blog post and tweet when we come across something y’all might find interesting. I’ll tag the posts bike trail travels.
Robbie immediately noticed the attractive Pizzeria 201 restaurant with Big Honza Giganticzech adjacent to its outdoor patio. So we stopped for drinks, a delicious thin crust pizza (Roman Holiday – see their PDF menu), gelato, and got to meet the friendly owners, Diane and Troy Domine, and a few of their five kids.
Many Northfielders pay a visit to Montgomery during Kolacky Days in late July. You now have another reason to go more often.
Hans is a god, even in my world of motorcycle trials, so I was thrilled to be invited to join him and some other mountain bike industry guys for dinner and beers. In the photo, L to R: Gary Sjoquist, Advocacy Director for QBP; Hans Rey; John Gaddo, Inside Sales rep at QBP; and Jeff Verink, sales rep with GT Bicycles and the talented master of ceremonies for the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Festival.
While chatting with John Gaddo, I learned that he grew up in Northfield. Many locals might know his dad, long-time general manager at the former WCAL-FM. John mentioned that he was also a trials bicycle rider but I had no idea the level of his skills until he teamed up with Hans for the bicycle trials exhibition on Saturday night.
Every time Robbie and I pay a visit to the Cheese Cave in downtown Faribault, we run into Northfielders. Last Saturday, it was John Metzke and Maggie O’Dell, shopping the retail section of the store and having wine with dinner, just like us.
Ben Witt, Northfielder, blogger, and owner of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, is once again hosting the annual 4th of July Northfield Criterium in downtown Northfield on Saturday. Races start at 9 am and continue throughout the day… which brings a lot of people to downtown Northfield to participate and support/cheer the racers. And Ben could use a little help. From his blog:
At Northfield, the biggest challenge has always been find people willing to be corner marshals. The race has 8 corners, all of which need to be staffed all day with competent people from 9am to 6 pm. This is a big role to fill. If you’re coming down to watch, please consider volunteering. We really need your help to continue to make this race a success.
This is a race that is put on for the community at large, Jake and I don’t make any money and spend a lot of our time to put it on. Please consider helping out if you can, even if it’s for an hour or two. We also need help at the registration booth. This is a crucial point for getting the race running smoothly, and we really could use some good people to help us out.
Contact Ben at 507-331-2636 or firstname.lastname@example.org