12/15/2017

Gift Ideas for Cyclists-Part 2

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have put together a list of some more 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.

The Weatherneck System
$40

The Weatherneck System is a 3-in-1 modular balaclava consisting of Mullet Hat and Facemask that has a variety of uses depending on the weather you'll be riding in.  The Mullet Hat covers the ears and neck and can be used alone for those days when only a hat is needed.  It also comes with a secret pocket in the back that is great for stashing cash or a chemical hand warmer and has a pony tail pass through.  The facemask has a unique mesh design that makes it easy to breathe during rigorous activity and helps prevent fogging of glasses or goggles.  Magnets in the facemask adhere to metal on the back of the Mullet Hat to combine the two pieces for use as a balaclava.  One size fits all and the metal/magnet positioning for the facemask helps achieve this.  Available from theweatherneck.com and select bike shops.

Yeti Rambler-18 oz.
$30

The Yeti Rambler 18 oz. is a product that I used a lot last winter to prevent my water from freezing up while riding in below freezing temps.  This vacuum insulated container fits in a standard bottle cage and works much better than plastic water bottles especially when the temps dip below zero Fahrenheit.  It also keeps hot beverages hot for hours if you need a little warm-up out on the trail.  Available from Yeti, Amazon, Cabela's and other outdoor retailers.

Fork Cork
$30

The Fork Cork is a new item from Miles-Wide Industries that is designed to fit in the hole at the bottom of a tapered steerer tube creating a secret storage spot.  With the Fork Cork in place it will create a water tight seal for storing items like money, gps bike theft tracker, a multi-tool, matches/lighter and many other small items.  Installs quickly and stays put.  Available from Miles-Wide Industries and select bike shops.

WSI Sports HEATR Baselayer
$30-$149

My go-to baselayer for the coldest weather Minnesota can dish out is WSI Sports HEATR Baselayer.  This specially engineered fabric actually warms up when skin comes in contact with it.  HEATR Baselayer provides excellent thermal protection and wicks moisture away from the skin to keep you warm and dry.  Pair this baselayer with a windproof breathable outer shell and you're ready for an all day Winter adventure out on the trails.  Shown in the picture above are HEATR Socks, HEATR Glove Liners, Full HEATR Shirt and Full HEATR Pant.  Available online from WSI Sports or at their Eagan showroom.

Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter
$49

For the adventure fatbiker that likes to go where others don't, there's the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter.  This gaiter features a waterproof/breathable upper, is contour-fitted and lightweight.  The zipper makes them easy to put on and the adjustable straps at the top and bottom make for a perfect fit with your boot.  Not only will the keep your legs warm, but will prevent snow from getting into your boots for those deeper hike-a-bike sections.  I also like to use them in the late Fall and early Spring when conditions tend to be a little more wet to keep my legs dry.  Available from Hillsound and outdoor retailers.

Gravel Cycling
$25

If you have a gravel cyclist on your list, they will love Nick Legan's new book "Gravel Cycling: The Complete Guide to Gravel Racing and Adventure Bikepacking".  Nick writes about the gear, bike setup and tips to get you riding as well as profiling some of America's best gravel and bikepacking events.  Available from Velo Press and select bike shops.

Penn Cycle & Fitness
We have the bike gifts every cyclist loves.

12/08/2017

Gift Ideas for Cyclists-Part 1

Now that the holidays are almost here, I have put together a list of 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.

Sticky Fingers Lever Covers
$7

Sticky Fingers brake lever covers from Miles-Wide Industries have been a long time favorite of mine and now they have been redesigned for 2017 to make them even better.  They are made of silicon rubber for long-lasting durability.  I leave them on year 'round for a better grip of the brake levers in all kinds of weather.  In the Fall and Spring there is no more grabbing hold of an ice cold brake lever and when wearing gloves during the Winter my fingers hold tight to the silicone without slipping.  Fits any brake lever as they can be cut to the size you want.  Comes in colors Black, Blue, Clear, Gray, Neon Green, Pink and Red.  Available from Miles-Wide Industries and select local bike shops.

Park Tool PCS-10 Repair Stand
$206
Park Tool's PCS-10 Home Mechanic Repair Stand is a great gift for any cyclist that likes to work on their bikes.  It features a cam-type clamp that allows single action clamping of tubes 7/8" to 3" and has 360-degree rotation.  Height of the repair stand can be quick-release adjusted from 39" to 57" and when your done working it can be folded down to 41" and stored away.   Available from Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops.




Bar Mitts Winter Bot
$30

I came across the Winter Bot this year while talking with the folks from Bar Mitts at Interbike '17 and immediately knew this would be a great product for winter cyclists.  The Winter Bot is made from 5.5 mm Neoprene and comes complete with a plastic water bottle cage, screws, washers and an allen key for installation.  It will hold an average 20 oz. water bottle and has enough room for chemical hand warmers to extend ride time without your water bottle freezing up.  I have used it for a while now and its zipper with an extended pull is easy to open even with gloves on.  Commuters and fatbikers alike will love this product.  Available from Bar Mitts and local bike shops.

Brilliant Reflective Strips
$15

Brilliant Reflective Strips are the perfect gift for anyone that rides after dark.  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 and local bike shops.

True North Basecamp Gift Certificates
$25-280

True North Basecamp Gift Certificates make a great gift for the mountain biker on your list.  Located  in the heart of Cuyuna, guests can bike right from their cabin or campsite to the world class mountain bike trails of the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

The cabins are clean and modern while maintaining a rustic feel.  Amenities included heater/air conditioner, a full and three twin beds, table and chairs, plug in with USB charging ports, wi-fi, picnic table and portable fire pit.  Located just a short walk behind the cabins is the shower house with heated floors, showers, bathroom and changing area.  Campsite amenities include fire ring, picnic table, wi-fi, bike rack, bike wash and nearby vault toilets.  Gift certificates can be purchased from the True North Basecamp website and are personalized.

11/22/2017

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!! "

11/19/2017

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.

11/12/2017

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.

11/09/2017

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.


MORC members will be holding their weekly Saturday morning fat bike ride, Faturday ride #7 (GLOBAL FATBIKE DAY) starting and finishing at Bald Man Brewing in Eagan.  Ride starts at 9am and will cover 20+ miles with a big group meetup at 9:15am on the south side of the Old Cedar Ave. Bridge for a photo op.  "You know the drill, wear your gear including a helmet, have plenty of food and water, and medical supplies recommended. This is an unsupported ride. We just create a time and place for this ride, individuals are responsible for their own actions. Ride with in your limits, ride responsibly."


2017 Global Fat Bike Day will be hosted by Duluth Women MTBers and COGGS at the Riverside Bar & Grill at Spirit Mountain in Duluth from 9am to noon.  "Meet at the Grand Avenue Chalet of Spirit Mountain at 9:00 am for Duluth Coffee Company Coffee and getting ready for the ride to start promptly at 10 am. We will head out on the Duluth Traverse towards Brewer or on the Cross City trail for a shorter ride. Choose to ride however long you’d like as we will start and finish at the Grand Avenue Chalet."


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."


My Bike Guy will be hosting Global Fat Bike Day and Social Ride at Gamehaven in Rochester starting at 6pm.  "Ride fatbikes. At Night. On the open (none Bambi hunted) trails at Gamehaven. Socially interact and goof off on fatbikes after."


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!"

10/22/2017

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 W√∂lvhammer 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.
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