11/17/2016

Thanksgiving Weekend Bike Events in Minnesota


Burn off some calories from your feast over this Thanksgiving weekend at one of these upcoming events.  There are several rides and a cyclocross race going on around Minnesota you can join in on.


The Turkey Day Fatbike Ride takes place on Thanksgiving morning at the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington.  This group ride will give you a chance to get out of the house for a fatbike ride through the floodplain forest of the Minnesota River in the morning and have you home in time for your feast.  The ride will start at 8am and last about 2 1/2 to 3 hours encompassing multiple areas along the Minnesota River.  You will have to "Bring everything you need to get yourself out of a jam as you are responsible for you."  Ride details will be updated on the Facebook Event page.


The Black Friday Ride is based on Koochella Racing's Black Friday Ride.  "Meet up at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Vis Center Parking Lot ( 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425) at 10:45 for an 11am roll out. Plan on a no-drop fun cruise. Run what ya brung - fat, cross, mountain, tevs. Be prpared for beer and snack stops - bring stuff! Dress for success. We'll ride 'til we don't want to and go where interest dictates. A post-ride migration to The Midtown Global Market for Taco Cat and East Lake beer should probably happen. If anyone has a venue for an evening bonfire and wants to step up, that person would be the star of the day."


Turkey Vengeance is a group ride that will be held on Black Friday so you can ride your bike instead of participating in the madness at the malls. This ride hosted by Ride Like a Girl Cycling's Teri Holst and Mel Cherry is open to everyone that would like to attend.  Taking place at the Minnesota River Bottoms from the Lyndale Ave. parking lot near the 35W bridge on the Bloomington side of the river, the meet up will be at 12pm with a roll out at 12:15.  Mountain bikes or fatbikes and helmets are required.  There will also be a Penn Cycle Otso Demo at the same time if you would like to test ride one of the new Otso Voytek fatbikes.


The second annual Joyful Riders Club: The Leftovers Ride will be held on Black Friday with the start point at Surly Brewing Company in Minneapolis.  The meet up will be at 4pm with the ride starting at 4:30 and lasting until around 8pm, so bring your bike lights for this one.


The "Pie Burner" Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride is now in its fourth year and will start and finish at Palmer's Tavern in Hibbing.   "the Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride has a ride fee..... a simple donation of new unused toys, books or stocking suffers.... or a cash or check donation. These donations stay local, and help underprivileged children have a bit more of an enjoyable holiday season." 

The ride will have two route options to choose from, 15 or 30 miles.  Fatbikes or plus bikes are recommended for the terrain and possible snow conditions along the route.  Full details can be found at the Facebook Event Page and my post, The Pie Burner Thanksgiving Weekend FatBike Ride Returns for Fourth Year.


Cross Fer Tots-will be held on Sunday, November 27th at the Cambridge City Park in Cambridge from 10am to 1pm.  "A great way to wrap up the Minnesota cyclocross season by helping with the Toys for Tots fundraiser with Cross Fer Tots."  Additional information and updates can be found on the Cross Fer Tots Facebook page.

11/11/2016

Get Phat With Pat Winter Fatbike Races Return to the MN River Bottoms for 5th Year


Penn Cycle & Fitness will hold their annual Get Phat With Pat Fatbike Races for the fifth year at the Minnesota River Bottoms in Bloomington on January 21st and January 28th, 2017.  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 2017 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 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.

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.

11/03/2016

Product Review: SKS Fatboard Fender Set


When I first saw the SKS Fatboard Fender Set at Interbike in 2015 I knew this was a product I had to do some field testing with.  So I contacted SKS-USA and requested a sample for a review and they were kind enough to send a set out, but with a warning on the package.


For those of you unfamiliar with this product, it is a two-piece reinforced plastic fender set that measures 5.5 inches wide by 19 inches long.  The front fender mounts on the downtube using straps with Velcro fasteners that will fit just about any tube shape.  The rear fender has a tool-free quick-release powerstrap attachment system that mounts to the seatpost with a two-hinge arm to fit any bike's geometry.  These fenders work with tires up to 5 inches wide and weigh in at 353 grams.


I wanted to put them to the test in a wide variety of conditions, so I took some time throughout the following year to see how they performed.  This would include mostly wet conditions during the Winter, Spring and Fall.  All types of terrain were ridden during this testing period including pavement, groomed winter singletrack, gravel and places where there were no trails.

My first experiences would be on some wet commutes to work on warm December days.  Wet pavement and puddles were everywhere along my route and those big tires can really kick up water, especially when rolling fast. As far as keeping me dry in these riding conditions, they did the trick so I didn't have to worry about all of that pavement spray getting on me.


In the early Spring when the singletrack is too wet to ride I switch my focus to gravel.  With all of the Spring melt the roads can get a bit messy and I prefer not to get covered with that peanut butter gravel mud.  As you may know, Minnesota Springs can be windy and when riding into a headwind, the front fender did act a little like a sail and slowed me down a bit, but the benefit of not having mud kicked up into my face was worth it.


This Fall in Minnesota has been very wet and my local singletrack has had frequent closures so I tend to venture to some spots where I can ride that won't cause trail damage.  This is where the Fatboard Fender Set was really put to the test.  Lots of puddles, sand and mud would have normally covered me on these rides, but I'm glad I had these fenders on.


They provided plenty of coverage whether I was rolling plus (27.5x2.8), fat (27.5x3.8) or really fat (26x4.7).


For the really wet conditions, my feet still did take on the occasional big splash but I found that if I wore neoprene shoe covers my feet would stay warm and dry.  In colder conditions I would wear my 45NRTH W√∂lvhammer boots which are waterproof making wet feet a non-issue.


With a significant amount of time for testing, the SKS Fatboard Fender Set performed well in regards to keeping me dry and relatively mud free.  Installation is quick and the two-hinge arm for the rear fender made it easy to get the right positioning, even with a seat bag installed.  The rigid reinforced plastic used in the fenders was strong so I didn't have to worry about cracking them during freezing conditions to knock the ice off.

They did a great job overall and I no longer ride messy conditions without strapping them on. Would I recommend them to my fatbike friends? Definitely yes.  I have had other fatbike fenders in the past and these are by far the best I have tried.  If you're a fatbiker that likes to ride everything, you'll want to add these to your fatbike arsenal.


The SKS Fatboard Fender Set is available at Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops for $55.

Disclosure:  SKS-USA provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.
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