Holiday Gift Ideas for Cyclists-Part 1

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have put together a list of some some cycling products that are sure to please the cyclist on your list.  Some of these items are new while others have been around for a while.  I will have more gift ideas coming up in part 2 of this post.

Banjo Brothers Large Frame Pack

Banjo Brothers came out with their Large Frame Pack last Summer which gave gravel riders, commuters and bikepackers even more storage space than their small and medium frame packs.  This 200 cubic inch (5.75 H x 19 L x 2 W) frame pack gives the rider plenty of space for food and gear on those long rides.  It will also accommodate up to a 100 oz hydration bladder for those that prefer to carry water on the bike instead of their back.  Available from Banjo Brothers, Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops.  

Wolf Tooth Singletrack Pogies

Wolf Tooth Components introduced its new Singletrack Pogies at Interbike and they are now available just in time for Winter.  These pogies are made from waterproof and durable rip-stop nylon and have three warmth settings (Warmest:  Cuff up, zipper closed, Warmer: Cuff up, zipper open, Warm (singletrack mode): Cuff folded down) to adapt to changing weather conditions.  Wolf Tooth's proprietary quarter-turn bar plug mounting system makes for easy attachment and removal.  Compatible with most flat bars with an inner diameter between 17.4mm and 20mm.  Additional sets of bar plugs are available to make switching them between bikes a breeze.  Available from Wolf Tooth Components and some fine bike shops.

Race Face Aeffect Pedals

Race Face introduces their new Aeffect platform pedals which are perfect for the fatbiker, mountain biker or downhill enthusiast.  These lightweight, thin concave pedals have a 6061 T-6 aluminum body and chromoly steel axle with cartridge bearings and DU bushings.  The large platform (101x100mm) contains 20 SHCS hex traction pins per pedal for extra bite to keep feet positioned without slipping.  Weighs only 375gr and comes in Black, Blue or Red.  Available at Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops.

Sticky Pod
From MilesWide Industries, maker of cycling products designed by cyclists, comes the Sticky Pod.  This utility pack was first introduced in 2009 as a lightweight and water resistant pod for cyclists to store essential items like CO2 cartridges, tubes, tools, etc.  The Sticky Pod fits easily in a jersey pocket or hydration pack and the grippy surface on the back keeps it in place.  It even has a touchscreen pocket for your smartphone.  Large and Small Sticky Pods in Black and Camo are available from the MilesWide Industries website.

Saris Freedom SuperClamp

Saris has long been a leading manufacturer of all types of vehicle bike racks and with the introduction of the Freedom SuperClamp, they have one of the best tray racks on the market.  Available in 2-bike and 4-bike models, the SuperClamp holds bikes of any type and with the addition of Fat Tire Wheel Holders, can accommodate fatbikes with 5" tires.  This is by far the best rack I have ever owned and the most stable.  With its ratcheting arms, tire trays and no frame contact clamp design it is quick and easy to load and unload bikes.  Comes with a hitch pin lock to lock the rack securely to your vehicle.  Fits 1¼" and 2" receiver hitches.  Available from the Saris website, Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops.

Inspired to Ride Movie

Inspired To Ride is a documentary by Mike Dion about the inaugural year of the Trans Am Bike Race which takes a small group of unsupported cyclists from coast to coast across 10 states and 4233 miles.  This road trip along the TransAmerica Trail comes with many hardships, stories and beautiful scenery.  Available on DVD/BluRay + Digital Download and Digital Download with or without Extra Paks.  Also available on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Penn Cycle & Fitness
Holiday Savings Now Through
December 24th.


Minnesota Thanksgiving Weekend Bike Rides

If you want to burn off some of that Thanksgiving feast this weekend, there are several rides going on around Minnesota you can join in on.

The Turkey Trekk 2015 takes place on Thanksgiving Day at the Kiwanis Park Mountain Bike Trailhead in Mankato.  The ride is put on by the Mankato Area Mountain Bikers and will be a casual pace night ride starting at 4pm.  Bring your lights.

The Major Taylor Birthday Ride - Thanksgivings Meal Warm-up is on Thanksgiving Day starting at the Dunn Brothers Coffee shop on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis.  This group ride is to celebrate the 137th birthday of Marshall "Major Taylor".  Riders will gather there at 8:30am and roll out at 9:00am sharp.  The ride will last about 90 minutes and cover about 15-20 miles with a stop at the Dunn Brothers at 201 3rd Ave So.

The  Black Friday Ride p/b Koochella is on Friday, November 27th and will cover portions of the Minnesota River Bottoms Mountain Bike Trail.  Not much information as of yet on the Facebook Event page other than "Cross, mtb, or fat bikes! Bring snacks and your beverage of choice! Everyone is welcome!  **Meet at the light rail stop at American Blvd."

The Leftovers Ride also takes place on Friday, November 27th from the Freewheel Bike West Bank location at 3:30pm.  First stop is the Stone Arch Bridge around 3:45pm.  "We asked Mario Macaruso to lead this ride, so expect excitement."  Mountain bikes are suggested for this no-drop ride and bring lights as it will continue to roll after sunset.  "We will roll for 2 hours and end back at the Stone Arch Bridge around 6pm." 

The 3rd Annual "Pie Burner" Thanksgiving Weekend Fatbike Ride takes place on Saturday, November 28th with the start at the south parking lot of the Hibbing Community College in Hibbing.  Ride starts at 9:00am with a grace period if coming from out of town and you contact the ride organizer.  As far as what to expect on this ride, "The ride..... is around long abandoned mining area's in and around the Hibbing and Chisholm areas, in the heart of Minnesota's Iron Range... with lots of ups, and downs sure to follow.  The ride utilizes old mining roads, four wheeler trails, the Mesabi Trail and other various goat paths. Along with some frozen water to play around on.  "It's riding like you'll find in no other part of Minnesota".... "Unique in its own way"...."True FatBike country".....are just a few quotes I've heard."-Joe Sacco, Ride organizer.

This year's fee for the ride will be "in the form of a donation to The North St. Louis County Toys For Tots Foundation.....Donations can be.... a new unused/unwrapped toy, books or stocking stuffers.
Donations are for children 1-18 years of age.  Please limit the amount of whatever you donate to $10.00." 

More details and updates can be found on the Facebook Event Page.

BIKEFUN! Presents: Work off that Turkey on Sunday, November 29th starting at Smith Triangle in Minneapolis at 2:00pm.  "After a couple days of trying not to talk about politics around family while stuffing your face, you could probably use a friendly ride around town. Let's meet up and ride our bikes 9-10 miles.  Nothing fancy, no clever stops. Just riding bikes. We'll roll fast enough to stay warm but slow enough that anyone can join. Maybe we'll get some food or drinks afterwards.
9-10 miles."

Central Lakes Trail
Get out and enjoy the beautiful gem known as the
Central Lakes Trail


Get Phat With Pat Winter Fatbike Races Return to the MN River Bottoms in January

Penn Cycle & Fitness will hold the Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races for the fourth year at the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington on January 23rd and 30th.  They are co-sponsored by and are a part of the Bloomington Winter Fete.

The Details: 

Both races will be held at the Russell A Sorenson Landing at the end of Lyndale Ave. S. in Bloomington, MN underneath the 35W bridge.  Registration will start and 9 am the morning of each race and closes 30 minutes prior to race start. Registration will require a $10 entry fee and also a $5 donation to MORC (Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists) which will help the non-profit volunteer organization pay for trail maintenance, equipment and fund their 2016 season.

Fat bikes (3.8” tires and wider) are recommended. Depending on course conditions and entries, there may be a separate class for non-Fat-Tire bikes. Spectators are encouraged and welcome!  There will be three race classes for each race day; Beginner, Recreational and Advanced.  The Beginner class race will start at 10:15 am and consist of one lap, the Recreational class race starts at 10:00 am and is also one lap, the Advanced class race starts at 12 noon and will be two laps.

The race course will be similar to last year's race with a few areas that will be different.  Start and Finish will be under the 35W bridge with the course heading west past the railroad swing bridge before returning.  There will be an ice crossing for Nine Mile Creek but if the ice is deemed unsafe due to warm weather, the cottonwood tree crossing or a temporary bridge will have to be used.  The lap will be a loop of about eight miles with one section of trail heading out and another heading back.

An agreement with the City of Bloomington will allow many temporary sections of trail for the races.  The race course will be groomed and ready to ride one week before the first race.  Riding the temporary course once established is encouraged to pack down the trail.

Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in each category.  There will be plenty of swag given away to race participants at the conclusion of each day's races.  A Grand Prize Drawing for a Trek Farley fatbike frame will be held at the January 30th race for race participants*.  All prize winners must be present to claim their prizes.  *To be eligible for the Grand Prize you must race in both races.

Get Phat with Pat will not only be fun but the weather will also make it challenging as we saw at the second race last year.  Thanks to Pat Sorensen and Penn Cycle & Fitness for organizing these races and the City of Bloomington for allowing them to take place at the Minnesota River Bottoms.  I'll see you there.

Facebook Event Pages


Brookview Golf Course Opening to Fatbikes Again This Winter

Brookview Golf Course in Golden Valley will be welcoming fat tire cyclists again this Winter by grooming trails for riding and holding a fatbike race.  Two Winter multi-use trails of  ¾ and 3½ miles will be corduroy-style compacted 6 to 8 feet wide.  These trails will be unlit and rely on natural snowfall.  Opening date is set for December 11th, weather permitting and the trails will be groomed through the end of February. Fatbikes will also be available for rent during Winter Fatty Shack hours or call 763-512-2305 for reservations.  Visit the Brookview Fat Tire Biking page for more infromation.

The Fatty Shack at Brookview will be open for food, cocktails, beer and wine most Thursdays through Sundays and on school holidays.  There will also be warm-up areas inside the Fatty Shack or outside around the fire pit.  There is no charge for cyclists to use the trails and they will be available for use during the weekdays but the Fatty Shack will be closed.  See the calendars below for Fatty Shack and fatbike rental hours.

Fatty Shack & Fatbike Rental Hours

Brookview will be hosting one fatbike race this Winter, the Brookview Meltdown on January 16th. 

 Race Information
When: Saturday, January 16, 2016
First Race Starts at 10 am
Where: Brookview Golf Course, 200 Brookview Parkway, Golden Valley, MN 55426
Check In: Friday, January 15, 12:00-8:00 pm and Saturday, January 16, 7:30-10:00 am
Format: Categories will include Beginner (1 lap), Sport (2 laps), and Expert (3 laps). Each lap is approximately 3.5 miles. Races will be timed using computer chips with a mini-wave start format. Bike tires must be a minimum of 3.8” wide.
Fees: $15 per participant for pre-registration (limited to 160 participants)
$18 registration day of race (if space is available)
Registration and Payment to Brookview Golf Course
Questions? Call 763-512-2305

For more information on fatbiking at Brookview Golf Course visit the Fat Tire Biking page on their website, for updates visit their Facebook page.


45NRTH Makes Improvements on the Wölvhammer Winter Cycling Boot for 2016

45NRTH brings back its very successful Winter cycling boot, the Wölvhammer for 2016 with many improvements over the previous years' models.  The new design will make this boot easier to get on and off by doing away with the outer zipper/velcro for a gusseted tongue lace-up drawstring design.  For fatbikers and commuters it still maintains its 0°-25° F comfort rating making it a comfortable choice for Winter riding.

The outside of the boot now has a full grain leather and Ballistic Nylon Cordura shell for warmth and durability giving it the look and styling of a traditional mountaineering boot.

45NRTH added a protective rubber toe cap to help keep moisture out and to give some impact and abrasion resistance.  Though the new Wölvhammer is shorter than the previous model, it still comes to the mid-calf to help keep snow out and warmth in.  A slightly wider toe box and outsole allows for a better fit which means warmer toes.

The toe hook remains for use with gaiters in deeper snow. 

Gone now is the restrictive D-ring on the Power Strap at the top of the boot.  This will make putting them on easier and allow adjustments to be made while wearing gloves.

The single layer boot construction of the new model still maintains its waterproof membrane and allows for feet to breathe.  

Inside the boot is 200g Primaloft ECO Gold insulation with a fleece lining to wick away moisture keeping feet dry and warm.  The NASA approved Aerogel insulation of the footbed from previous models remains to eliminate cold transfer from cleats.  The drawstring lace now has a velcro tab at the top that can be attached underneath the Power Strap so excess lacing can be neatly tucked away.

Maintaining the deep lug pattern Vibram sole of previous models, the new Wölvhammer will come in an SPD compatible model only.  But it comes with a cleat plug giving it the versatility to be used with flat pedals or 2-bolt style clipless pedals.

For night riding, the reflective area on the heel is larger and very bright to get you seen on commutes or while riding in a group.

I will be writing a more in-depth review of the 2016 Wölvhammer boot with details on its performance in a variety of cold and snow conditions after more testing to come this Winter.

45NRTH Wölvhammer boots are now available in Mens extra wide 38–50 (no size 49), full sizes only at Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops for $325.

Disclosure:  45NRTH provided the review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.


2015 Minnesota Global Fat Bike Day Events

Global Fat-Bike Day is a worldwide grassroots campaign that started three years ago to bring people from the fatbike community together to ride and make new friends.  In honor of Global Fat-Bike Day there are several rides scheduled here in Minnesota on December 5th that you may want to get in on as well as the Winter Bike Expo, 45NRTH Vinterhammer Superfat Crit and the first race of the Frozen Frolic Fatbike Race Series.  I have complied a list of them so you can get your "fat on" and ride with others of the "well-endowed tire crowd".

Global Fatbike Weekend is a new event this year taking place at the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails in Crosby, MN. This three day event kicks off on Friday night with an opening ceremony at 7pm at True North Basecamp followed by a bonfire lighting and snow dance.  Saturday brings a morning group ride at 10:30am followed by a lunch break and an afternoon group ride at 2:30pm, both starting at True North Basecamp.  At 6pm a beer hour and pizza party will be held at Cuyuna Lanes in Crosby with presenters JP LaMere, Aaron Hautala and the Cuyuna Lakes Yeti.  There will also be a DJ, fortune telling, a meat raffle and bowling.  Sunday closes up the weekend with a morning group ride at 10:30am followed by a lunch break and an afternoon group ride at 2:30pm, both again starting at True North Basecamp.

Lodging is available for this weekend event at the True North Basecamp cabins, the Cuyuna Bike House and at Country Inn Deerwood.  Book now as lodging is bound to fill up fast.  Get your tickets now for this great fundraiser for the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain bike trails.  Facebook Event Page

"Global Fat Bike Weekend is a fundraiser for the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails.  All profit goes toward building and maintaining the fatbike trails and all the funds raised will receive a $1 for $1 match.  Activities include fatbike demos, meat raffles, music, pizza party and happy hour and multiple fatbike rides.  Tickets start at $9.  More information about tickets purchasing is available at  www.fatbikeweekend.com." 

The first race of the Frozen Frolic Fat Bike Race Series will be at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Champlin.  Registration begins at 10am and racing starts at 11am.  "Test your speed and skill in a time trial format racing a 10.5-mile loop through trees and snow. After, warm up at the trailhead for awards and door prizes. Divisions include men's, women's, and U-17."  Facebook Event Page

Jonathan Bistodeau will be hosting his weekly Faturday ride with a special Faturday / Global Fatbike Day Minnesota River Bottoms that will start at 10am at the Russell A. Sorenson Landing (Lyndale Ave. lot) in Bloomington and follow the river bottoms trails to the Sibley House in Mendota and back with more mileage afterward for those that want to continue riding.

"Faturday, the 5th of December, 2015. We will be participating in Global Fatbike Day. Plan on riding from Lyndale to Sibley House and back (20 mile round trip.) After this, we can continue on to Ferry Bridge and back for some extra miles (14.5 miles.) Same format as always. Hopefully we can get a massive group picture like last year @ A Power Line.
Who: Fat bikers, bikers, etc...
What: Ride bike, get fresh air, enjoy the views of the MN River.
Where: Lyndale and the MN River.
When: 10am, 05DEC2015
Why: Ride bike, stay healthy, get fresh air, shiver in the cold.
Post up if you can make it!"
- Organizer, Jonathan Bistodeau 

The Global Fatbike Day Ride-Northfield Edition starts at 1:30pm at Bridge Square in Northfield.  This no-drop "rain, snow, sun, or shade" ride will take participants on "some of our fair city's best fatbike terrain, like Sechler Park, the St. Olaf Natural Lands, maybe Odd Fellows or Lashbrook parks, and other points t.b.d."  After about 90 minutes of riding, it will conclude with refreshments at Downtown Bicycles.  Register online for free.

Charly Tri and Rochester Cycling will be hosting Global Fatbike Day-Rochester, MN at 5:30pm at Rochester Cycling.  "December 5th is global fatbike day which is just a reason to get a bunch of fatbikers together to ride, goof off, and have fun in the moment. Come ride with us and then hangout by the fire after with refreshments. The ride will be casual, have a few stops, and cater to those that want to have FUN on their fatbikes."  Check the Facebook Event Page for upcoming details.

The Iron Range Fat Bike Riders will be celebrating with the Hibbing Global Fat Bike Day in Hibbing, organized by Joe Sacco.  The start point is yet to be determined, but if I know Joe, you will not want to miss out on this one.  He knows and rides the Hibbing area year round and the route for this year's Global Fat Bike Day will not disappoint.

"Nothing too serious, low exertion, slow to moderate pace.
Our children will be joining in on the fun. Be prepared for plenty of stops.
We'll start from TBD.
The ride will consist of snowshoe groomed singletrack (snow dependant), and plenty of frozen water."

Nicollet Bike will be holding their 2nd annual Nicollet Bike Global Fat Bike Day Ride with the ride starting at the Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato.  The ride starts at 1pm and details are coming soon.  Check the Facebook Event page at the link above for updates.

The Winter Bike Expo presented by Freewheel Bike returns for its fifth year December 5th & 6th to the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center.  The expo draws hearty cyclists from all over to see and demo all that manufacturers have to offer for winter commuters & fatbikers.  Admission is free and the fun kicks off at 9 am each day.  Winter biking seminars will be held throughout both days and there will be fatbike demos, raffles and beer!  For a schedule of events, visit the Winter Bike Expo link above.

Stick around after the Winter Bike Expo on Saturday night for the Superfat Crit, a criterium race for fatbikes set up on a feature laden course along the railroad trench of the Midtown Greenway.  Racers must have fat tires of at least 3.7" or wider and lights since the race will be conducted in the dark.  Racing starts at 6:00pm and entry requires you to brink "a pack of something to share with your new friends."  Freewheel Midtown Bike Center is located at 2834 10th Ave. S. in Minneapolis right on the Midtown Greenway. 


Penn Cycle Renting Fatbikes This Winter

Penn Cycle in Eagan will have a fleet of rental fatbikes for this Winter.  If you would like to give fatbiking a try or see what Winter singletrack riding is all about, now you have the opportunity.  The Eagan store is in close proximity to some great nearby trails including Lebanon Hills, Murphey-Hanrehan and the Minnesota River Bottoms.  These trails are ridden all Winter long by fatbike enthusiasts who believe just because it is cold outside that doesn't mean their riding season is over.

Penn Cycle's rental fleet will include:

Trek Farley 5

Trek Farley Custom

Framed Wolftrax X5 Womens

Framed Wolftrax

Trek Farley 24
Great for kids and smaller riders.

Rentals can be reserved online through Velolet by visiting the Penn Cycle Bike Rental Page and selecting "Penn Cycle - Eagan" for the Location under the "Pick Up" and "Drop Off" dates and selecting "Update Results".  Bikes can be rented for 4 hours, Daily or Weekly.  If you decide to buy a fatbike from Penn Cycle after renting one from them the rental fee will be applied toward your purchase.

Faturday group ride

New to fatbiking?  There are plenty of group rides to join in on during the Winter months.  A good place to find these is on the MN Fatbike Group Rides Facebook Group.  A beginner-friendly, no-drop group ride that has become very popular with Twin Cities fatbikers is the "Faturday" ride. This weekly group ride usually takes place at the Minnesota River Bottoms on Saturday mornings at 10am.

A rental from Penn Cycle is a great way to give fatbiking a try before you buy.  Ride with a friend or join a group ride and once you see how much fun fatbikes can be, you're going to want one.  Visit the Penn Cycle Bike Rental Page for sizes and availability.

Maps for Lebanon Hills, Murphey-Hanrehan and the Minnesota River Bottoms  are available online.
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