Thanksgiving Weekend MN Cycling Events

There are plenty of cycling events going on around Minnesota over the long Thanksgiving weekend to burn off those extra calories from your feast.  Join in on a social ride, mountain bike/fatbike ride or do some cyclocross racing.

Slow Roll MPLS will be celebrating Major Taylor's birthday with the Major Taylor Turkey Day 30K on Thanksgiving Day from the Dunn Brothers Coffee on Lake Street in Minneapolis.  Ride starts at 9am.  "Join us for a ride celebrating Major Taylor's birthday, life and the unity and spirit of our amazing community of bike clubs, businesses and bike shops that make this one of America's best places to own a bike. We will follow a course using River Road, the Grand Rounds, Cedar Lake, The Midtown Greenway. This is an unsupported ride other than coffee and water at the start. Please be prepared to support yourself and any youngsters that you bring on the ride. We will maintain a social, recreational pace. Our goal is to grow this into an annual event supporting communication, diversity, and youth."

Search and State and Angry Catfish will be hosting an 85 mile Black Friday Ride starting at 9am on November 24th from Angry Catfish in Minneapolis.  "We'll be meeting for coffee and donuts around 8:30 at Angry Catfish to roll out at 9:00AM sharp. If you have any shopping to do ACF will be launching their holiday sale so come early! This is a no-drop (unless you're really slow) group ride with some prizes for KOM's and town line sprints. We're going west to Delano and finishing at Surly Brewing in time for happy hour - with a mid-ride stop at Dave's Town Bar at mile 45."

The Joyful Riders Club and Freewheel Bike will be hosting their Third-Annual Leftovers Ride on November 24th from Surly Brewing in Minneapolis.  "We'll meet at Surly Brewing Company at 4 p.m., ride at 4:30 p.m., bike somewhere special at whistling pace, build a fire, and perform the ceremonial Burning of the Table. This is the perfect way to mash off all those mashed potatoes. Please bring snacks and drinks to share! And we'll probably head to Hipshaker Minneapolis after the ride. Dance it up!"

Touright Bicycle Shop will be joining in on the Little Falls Parade of Lights with bicycles for their Little Falls Lights on your Bike Parade at 5:30pm on November 24th.  "Meet at Touright, 124 2nd St NE, Little Falls at 5:30 to cycle over to the start of the route and ride with lights along the route! Following the Parade the first one is on the Bunny as we gather at Johnny C's Sports Bar !"

North Star Mountain Bike Guides will be hosting their #optoutside Social Ride on November 24th at 11am at the Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail in Woodbury.  In the event of a trail closure the ride will take place at Lake Elmo Regional Park instead.  "Burn off the pumpkin pie with North Star Mountain Bike Guides. We will meet at Carver Lake Park for social, no drop ride. Roll out at 11:00am from the main trailhead."

The Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend Fatbike Ride started 5 years ago by my friend on the Iron Range, Joe Sacco. This yearly tradition will take place on Saturday, November 25th at 9am with the start and finish at Palmers Tavern in Hibbing.  "There is no registration for this ride, however there is a ride fee..... in the form of a donation to the Northeastern St. Louis County Toy for Tots Foundation. What's the donation?? New, unused, unwrapped toys, books/stocking stuffers and/or cash or checks are also excepted as donations!! Show up at Palmers Tavern, get your donations done, and we ride!! The ride will take you on a varied terrain, which is smack dab in the heart of Minnesota's Iron Range; terrain varies from four wheeler/double track, goat paths, long abandoned iron ore mining pits, with the Mesabi Trail connecting it all."

Larsen Cycle Racing and Hollywood Cycles will be hosting the last cyclocross race of the season in Minnesota, Cross Fer Tots on November 26th starting at 9am at Riverside Park in Cambridge.  "Race for free!! Bring a new Toy to donate for Toys for Tots is all you have to do. Come Join us, race yer bike, have some fun on this season finale for this great cause!! "

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Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races Scheduled for Sixth Year

Penn Cycle & Fitness will hold their annual Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races for the sixth year at the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington on January 20th and January 27th, 2018.  They are co-sponsored by and are a part of the Bloomington Winter Fete.

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 2018 season.

Fat bikes (3.8” tires and wider) are recommended.  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, the Recreational class race starts at 10:00 am and the Advanced class race starts at 12 noon.  Distance and laps for each race class yet to be determined based on the course layout.

Start and Finish will be under the 35W bridge with the course heading west on existing trails and some new sections.  Lap will be a loop with one section of trail heading out and another heading back.  Lap distances and number of laps for each race class to be determined based on trail conditions.  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.

Get Phat with Pat will not only be fun but the weather will also make it challenging as we have seen the past few years.  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.  Check out the video below to see highlights from last year's race.

For more information and updates on the races visit the Get Phat With Pat Race #1 and Get Phat With Pat Race #2 event pages on Facebook.


New MORC Trail Conditions App Released for Android and an Update For IOS

The MORC Trail Conditions Forum is the best place to get up-to-date trail conditions for singletrack around the Twin Cities area.  There has been a mobile app for IOS for some time now and Apple device users have had trail condition updates at their fingertips.  Just recently an Android version of the app was launched for the rest of us.  I have been waiting a long time for this release and now it's finally here.

Although the MORC Trail Conditions app for Android is still pretty limited in its first release, it still uses data populated from the MORC Trail Conditions Forum in a list form with easy to understand icons as seen below.  Information for Monticello, Memorial Trail in Red Wing, Jail Trail in St.Cloud, Whitetail Ridge in River Falls, WI and Woolly in St. Croix Falls, WI are also included in this first release.

Andrew Reitz, the app's developer stated "the plan is to keep adding features such as the ability to get push notifications for your favorite trail when the trail status changes, see twitter updates and much more. Stay tuned!"

The MORC Trail Conditions app is free and feedback can be submitted by contacting @andrewreitz_ on Twitter.

For Apple device users, the MORC Trails app has been updated on November 9th to be compatible with IOS 11.  The app is a little more advanced than the Android version because it has been out much longer and has had updates along the way.  Links to the Trail Conditions Forum and Trail Forum are found at the bottom of each trail's page.  The MORC Trails is free and available in the iTunes App Store.

This app requires IOS 9.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Both of these apps let you see the latest MORC Trail Conditions on your phone or mobile device anytime so you can plan accordingly and avoid showing up to a closed trail.  With winter fast approaching these mobile apps will be a useful tool for fatbikers to help determine tire choice and pressure to get the best traction out on the trail.  Remember, never ride wet trails.


2017 MN Global Fat Bike Day Events

Global Fat-Bike Day is a worldwide grassroots campaign that started five 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 2nd and one on the 3rd that you may want to get in on as well as the Winter Bike Expo, and the Superfat Crit.  I have complied a list of them so you can get your "fat on" and ride with others of the "well-endowed tire crowd".  New events will be added to this post as they become available.

Maple Grove Cycling will be hosting their Faturday-Global Fat Bike Day-MN River Bottoms ride from 10am to 2pm starting at the MN River Bottoms Lyndale lot in Bloomington.  Contact Gus@MapleGroveCycling.com for more info.

Tonka Cycle & Ski will be leading a Global Fat Bike Day ride out of their shop in Minnetonka from 10:30am to 4:30pm. "Join us for group rides leaving Tonka Cycle & Ski at 11:00. There will be multiple groups - fast, slow, tall, short, young, old, everyone is welcome! Beer and brats at the shop afterward."

Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato is leading Global Fat Bike Day 2017 from their shop at 1pm and will last until 3pm.  "Destination will be dependent on conditions. The ride will be casual followed by socialing with beverages and a fire. All abilities welcome!"

Across the border in Neillsville, Wisconsin there will be the Global Fat Bike Day-Levis Mound that starts at 10am.  "Riders can choose any route they want to arrive at the GFBD overlook high on Dan's Berm (Goat Dance loop). Beverages from Sand Creek Brewing Company (Thank you for your support!), & NATA with snacks provided, but feel freel to BYO as well-a fatbike potluck! Campfire, comradery and beautiful riding completes the day. Please join us!"

Touright Bicycle Shop in Little Falls will be celebrating Global Fat Bike Day, Little Falls style from 10am to 1:30pm starting from the shop.  "Global Fat Bike Day, thousands around the world who like it Fat gather on this day and ride. We will as well out of Touright.  Pete & Joy's Bakery doughnuts before we leave and Domino's Pizza when we return. And there will be Reality Roasters Coffee Company Coffee for you to drink before and fill your bottle to take along and drink when you return. Bring the family!"

Downtown Bicycles in Northfield will be hosting its fourth annual Global Fat Bike Day event from 1 to 5pm from the shop.  "Event will include a group ride, snacks and Craft beer."

Several friends will be hosting La Crosse Global Fat Bike Day starting at Myrick Park Center in La Crosse, WI from 8 to 11am.  "A fat bike ride for Global Fat Bike Day. Meet in the lower parking lot, near the Gun Shelter. If the trails are rideable, we'll go up to HPT. If they aren't, we'll stick to the state trail. Plan for an hour or two, but you can go shorter or longer if you want. Fat bikes encouraged, mountain bikes acceptable if trails aren't groomed."

Penn Cycle Celebrates Global Fat Bike Day with a moderate pace/no drop ride starting from the Sibley House Historic Site in Mendota.  "Penn Cycle will be celebrating Global Fat Bike Day with a ride through the Minnesota River Bottoms you won't forget. We will meet at the Sibley House Historic Site in Mendota at 9:45am and roll out at 10:15am, led by the Penn Cycle Mountain Bike Team and travel along the river to Nine Mile Creek and back. Lunch and beverages will be provided as we take a break at the Lyndale lot on our return."

The Woolly Bike Club is hosting Woolly Global Fat Bike Day in St. Croix Falls, WI from 10am to 1pm.  "No specific plans are set yet as it will be very weather dependent. Anticipate riding fatbikes with other cool Woolly people. If the Woolly trails are open, we will ride there. If not, anticipate a repeat of last year riding fat bikes in the sand barrens."

Image Credit: Freewheel Bike

The Winter Bike Expo presented by Freewheel Bike returns for its seventh year December 2nd & 3rd at 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.

Image Credit: Freewheel Bike

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 bring "a pack of something to share with your new friends."  This year $500 in cash prizes will be up for grabs.  Freewheel Midtown Bike Center is located at 2834 10th Ave. S. in Minneapolis right on the Midtown Greenway.

Trailhead Cycling will be holding their Global Fat Bike Day 2017 on Sunday, December 3 at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in Brooklyn Park from 10am to 12:30pm.  "Meet at the Coon Rapids Dam Brooklyn Park Entrance off West River Road. We'll ride the Trails along the River and thru the BP Environmental area. Those that feel up to it; we'll pedal to Omni Brewing for a little refreshment. Last year we had over 70 riders; this year let's break 100!"


45NRTH Introduces Wölvhammer Red Wing Edition

Image Credit: 45NRTH

45NRTH has teamed up with Red Wing Shoes to come out with a new Limited Edition Wölvhammer design.  The new boot was unveiled at a 45NRTH Limited Edition Product Launch at Angry Catfish in Minneapolis on October 20th.  This new boot has all of the technical features of the previous year model including lace-up design with gusseted tongue, 200g Primaloft® aerogel insole under the foot and a 45NRTH rubber outsole with Hypergrip for added slip resistance (2-bolt compatible). Suggested temperature range remains the same as the original at 0° (-18°C) to 25°F (-3°C).

Image Credit: 45NRTH

According to 45NRTH this limited edition boot has a "Waterproof-breathable membrane for moisture control, mid-calf height for weather protection and comfort, gaiter hook for fatbiking in deep snow and added insulation above the ankle" and is made from "100% full grain locally sourced Red Wing Leather®."

Image Credit: 45NRTH

Look for them to start showing up 45NRTH Dealers including Penn Cycle soon for $344.99.


Interbike 2017 Cool Bike Gear-Part 2

This year's Interbike wasn't what it was in past years, there were a lot of big players in the industry that were no-shows at this year's show, however that didn't discourage me from finding some cool new bike products.  This is the second installment of my recap of the cool Interbike 2017 finds that I came across during the convention and if you ride like I do, I think you'll find these products as useful as I see their potential.

TOGS Flex Model

I have been a big fan of TOGS since first seeing them at Interbike '15.  TOGS was kind enough to set me up with a pair of hinged carbon TOGS at that show and they have been standard equipment on my bike ever since.  TOGS stands for "Thumb Over Grip System" which gives a rider multiple hand positions without the use of bar ends.  I found them most useful during long gravel rides and for climbing to keep my hands and wrists from becoming fatigued or to give me a little better leverage without loss of control for braking and shifting.

New this Fall are the TOGS Flex Model.  This design incorporates a raised hood with a flexible rubber tip that has a some give to it and provides a little shock absorption compared to the original models.  The Flex model will be available soon in numerous colors at bike shops that are supplied by QBP or directly from TOGS for $22.50.  To learn more about TOGS, watch the video below from this year's Interbike.

Wren Fatbike Suspension Fork

I got a chance to meet Kevin Wren, the founder of Wren Sports at Interbike '17 and discuss the Wren Fatbike Suspension Fork and what makes it different from other fatbike suspension forks.  The first thing I noticed about this fork is the stanchions are on the bottom which which I was told are lighter making the fork react quicker out on the trail.  The seals also face downward to help keep grit and grime from getting into the fork.  It has keyes to "perfectly align the stanchions in the uppers and are designed to shear should you take a really big hit. This protects the channels and your fork from damage. The fork will still function and the keys are easily replaced." 

This fork also has a TwinAir System that can be easily adjusted and fine tuned with an air pump.  A single positive air chamber is located in one stanchion that has a floating piston with valves on the top and bottom which allows pressure to equalize on either side of the piston as you add or release air.  "More air in the top chamber will increase its volume relative to the bottom chamber and the fork will exhibit a more plush ride. If the bottom chamber volume is larger relative to the top, the fork will exhibit a stiffer, more progressive ride."

The Wren Fatbike Suspension Forks come with carbon bash guards in hub widths 135mm with 110mm or 150mm of travel for $899.99 (add $50 for 150mm travel) and 150mm with 110mm or 150mm of travel (add $50 for 150mm travel) also for $899.99 directly from Wren Sports.  For you Winter fatbikers, there is an available new Winter Damper that I was told is good down to -20 degrees F. that can easily be changed out from the stock one.  Contact Wren Sports for more information.

Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive XL

Being a fatbiker, the Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive XL caught my eye right away.  Its compact size is just under 12 inches tall and weighs a little over 12 oz.  This pump was designed for fat and plus bikes due to its high volume chamber.  It has an integrated 1.6 inch digital gauge on the flexible hose that is said to be highly accurate.  A stainless steel folding foot peg helps keep it stable during use.  It also has a patented air bleed system built in and is Presta/Schrader compatible.  Available from Lezyne, local bike shops and Amazon for $89.99.


Interbike 2017 Cool Bike Gear-Part 1

This year's Interbike wasn't what it was in past years, there were a lot of big players in the industry that were no-shows at this year's show, however that didn't discourage me from finding some cool new bike products.  This is the first installment of my recap of the cool Interbike 2017 finds that I came across during the convention and if you ride like I do, I think you'll find these products as useful as I see their potential.

Garmin Charge™ Power Pack

For those that have the new Garmin Edge 1030 there is an available Garmin Charge™ Power Pack that gives users an extra 24 hours of battery life.  It fits seamlessly with the new Garmin Edge 1030 mount and if you would like to use with an older Garmin model it can be done by using an additional USB charging cable.  Available from Garmin and numerous Garmin retailers for $129.99.

Brilliant Reflective Strips

Brilliant Reflective Strips are a great way to give cyclists extra visibility to motorists and other cyclists in low light and night riding conditions.  They are made with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material tape that is highly reflective which come in stick-on (removable) and iron-on (permanent) packs.  The stick-on strips work great on helmets and bike frames while the iron-on strips are an option for cycling apparel to use bio-motion to be better seen.  Colors available are Red, Blue, Black and Purple.  Available from the Brilliant Reflective Strips website, Erik's Bike Shop and on Amazon.com for $14.95/pack.

Maxxis Moosetrak

New to the Maxxis lineup for fatbikers is the Moosetrak studded tire, their first studded fatbike tire.  It comes in a 60 & 120 tpi folding bead, tubeless-ready casing that has a dual winter rubber compound.  This is a 26" tire that is an extra wide 4.8".  It has 258 concave studs and a tread pattern that is designed to have a low rolling resistance in hard pack conditions.  Price has not been determined yet, but expect them to start showing up at your local bike shop this Fall.


New from RideAir Innovations is the RideAir Portable Air Tank.  It is a compressed air capsule that fits in a standard water bottle cage for inflating flats or adjusting tire pressure on the fly.  RideAir is refillable using a compressor or gas station air pump.  It can even be used to seat tubeless tires.  It has an inflation gauge so you know how much air you have left in it and is Presta/Schrader compatible.  RideAir is available in a variety of colors with or without a cable lock to lock it to your frame.  RideAir retails for $59.99 or with a lock for $69.99.  Available from RideAir Innovations and Amazon.com.
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