City of Duluth’s parking services: Prompt, friendly, forgiving

Back in late October of 2013, I spent a couple days mountain biking in Duluth, MN. My blog post: Duluth’s XC MTB trails just keep getting better. Here’s partly why.

What I didn’t blog  was on the day I met up with then IMBA Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson (he’s got a new job now) for a ride on the COGGS Piedmont trail, I got a parking ticket in the Canal Park lot near his office. I had paid for parking using the PayByPhone service but inadvertently paid for parking in stall #138 when I’d actually parked in stall #136.  As you can see, the stenciling on the pavement makes the  number 6 look pretty close to an 8:

20131002_120022 20131002_120038

I was irritated but the fine of $12 didn’t seem onerous so I planned to pay it.  I lost the ticket and promptly forgot about it.  But a few weeks ago I got a notice that my fine had grown to $45 and was about to be turned over to a collection agency. Previous notices had ended up in a pile of my aging mother’s unpaid medical bills that I was contesting.

So on Friday morning I visited the City of Duluth’s Parking Services web page and filled out their form with this:  Continue reading City of Duluth’s parking services: Prompt, friendly, forgiving

Advocating for MTB trails: CROCT Board members meet with Rice County Commissioner Jeff Docken

L to R: Rice County District 5 Commissioner Jeff Docken, Marty Larson, Jeremy Bokman CROCT Board members Marty Larson, Jeremy Bokman and I had lunch yesterday at Tandem Bagels with Rice County District 5 Commissioner Jeff Docken.

It was a follow-up to the meeting that Marty, Jeremy and I had last August with Jake Rysavy, Rice County Parks & Facilities Director in which he expressed support for exploring the possibility of mountain bike trails at Caron Park and McCullough Park/Campground.

McCullough Park is in Jeff Docken’s district and he seemed intrigued about the possibility of having mountain bike trails on the large tract of park property across from the newly remodeled campground on Shields Lake.

See the August 21 photos in this CROCT blog post when Marty, Jeremy and I did a walk-through of McCullough. As you can see, the property has both a large sloping prairie and many ravines, making it ideal for mtb trails of all ability levels. And being adjacent to a trail head on a lake with a campground, picnic shelter, rest rooms, showers, boat access, etc, one could imagine McCullough becoming a destination mountain bike park someday.

We’ve expressed our preference for creating beginner-to-advanced mtb trails at Caron Park first. It’s situated half way between Faribault and Northfield, a more convenient (15-minute drive) for CROCT trail workers from both cities who would be investing hundreds of volunteer hours in constructing trails there. And after gaining a season’s worth of experience with trail-building at Caron, we would be in a better position to assess what we could accomplish at McCullough, a more demanding venue.

The next step will likely be for this to be an agenda item on an upcoming meeting of the Rice County Board’s Parks and Facilities committee before it goes to the full Board. The wheels of government don’t always move quickly but it’s possible that we could be authorized to dig at Caron Park this year.

Getting City of Northfield officials to walk the Sechler Park mountain bike trail when it’s zero degrees & windy

L to R: Dale Gehring, Marty Larson (with his dog Lexy), Dave DeLong, Griff WigleyCity of Northfield Ward 2 Councilor David DeLong and Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) Chair Dale Gehring walked the the Sechler Park mtb trail this afternoon, accompanied by yours truly and CROCT board chair Marty Larson.

The 1.5 hour hike of  about 3 miles (from the cul-de-sac behind Walgreen’s to the far pavilion and back) was a little challenging, as the temperature hovered around the zero mark with gusty northwest winds.

Marty and I wanted to give them a first-hand look at what CROCT volunteers have accomplished in Sechler Park since we got approval from the City to construct a mountain bike trail there last year. We’d like to add extensions and features to the trail this year, as well as install one or more trail head kiosks.  And we’re interested in discussing the possibilities of adding off-road trails and bike park features like pump tracks to other City of Northfield parks. (For example, see the CROCT blog posts about the Meadows Park community planning meetings.)

We’re not yet sure if Dave and Dale were impressed with what they saw, but given the weather conditions, it’s likely they’ll remember the experience.  ;-)

And on related note, Councilor Dave took a few spins around the River Bend Nature Center parking lot last Saturday on a fat bike during the RBNC Fat Bike Event. In case you missed the photos of him in the blog post/photo album:

City of Northfield Councilor David DeLong City of Northfield Councilor David DeLong

Slippery, snowy singletrack trails can provide the fun and skills benefits of riding mud without the damage

Harlan Price TakeAim Cycling

Harlan Price, owner/head coach at TakeAim Cycling (“Skills Instruction for Mountain, Road, Cross”) has an insightful, excellent article published on Dirt Rag Magazine’s website titled Riding in the snow, the modern mud.

He begins:

Dirt Rag article: Riding in the snow, the modern mudSnow riding today is all that’s left of the version of the chaotic two-wheel drifting we regularly did before trail stewards were abundant. Fortunately, some time riding the white-capped seas will benefit you in ways that only the traction-less trail can. A dirty little secret about this enlightened age of trail stewardship is that we lose out on opportunities to improve our handling skills. Riding in the rain gave us wet roots, some slick mud, climbs turned impossible, and every corner becomes a battle for traction. All from adding a little lubrication to the equation.

logo_groomedsingletrackIt’s particularly impressive that in the two photos accompanying the article, neither one is a fat bike. I’ve got nothing against fatties (I want one!) but it helps to convey that in many (most?) winter climates, a normal mountain bike does just fine in the snow, especially now in the era of ‪#‎ridegroomed‬ (see the new website GroomedSingletrack.com by the peeps at 45NRTH).  Continue reading Slippery, snowy singletrack trails can provide the fun and skills benefits of riding mud without the damage

CROCT and friends team up for River Bend Nature Center’s Fat Bike Event

Five above zero and windy? No problem.  River Bend Nature Center held their first Fat Bike Event on Saturday and it was a hit, even for those like me who spent most of the time in the cozy confines of the RBNC Interpretive Center.

It was a first for CROCT, too, where I’m on the board. Our volunteers staffed a table, complete with our new CROCT banner and CROCT brochure (PDF):

RBNC Education Coordinator Kaytlan Moeller, CROCT Board member Carl Arnold CROCT Board member Scott Koehler, Faribault Flyers member Mark Thacher CROCT brochures

Props to CROCT board members Galen Murray and Jeremy Bokman, as well as member Michael Lehmkuhl for getting the banner and brochure created in time. And special thanks to RBNC Education Coordinator Kaytlan Moeller (pictured above/left with CROCT board member Carl Arnold) for hosting us. She posted a thank-you note on the RBNC Facebook page, along with 18 photos.

CROCT member and blogger Christopher Tassava wowed the crowd with a presentation on his recent fat bike adventures: Continue reading CROCT and friends team up for River Bend Nature Center’s Fat Bike Event

Advocating for mountain biking to be part of Northfield’s new Meadows Park: Part 2

CROCT member Dave Berglund and I attended the second Meadows Park community planning on Wednesday night at the Northfield Middle School. (For background, see my blog post on the first meeting back in November.)

Dave Berglund at Meadows Park community meeting Meadows Park community meeting

The good news: All three of the proposed concept plans presented by the consultants would accommodate a mountain bike trail around the perimeter of the park:  Continue reading Advocating for mountain biking to be part of Northfield’s new Meadows Park: Part 2

Organizing a CROCT group ride: my first attempt

I polled our CROCT ridership last month, asking them to indicate which weekend days in Feb. would work for them to participate in a group ride along MORC’s Minnesota River Bottoms trail in Bloomington. I announced the results and the plan on the CROCT blog.

Yesterday, ten of us showed up at 1pm at the Lyndale Ave/I35W trailhead.

Curtis Ness, Michael Lehmkuhl, Joe Thorman, JC Ingebrand, Dave Wolf, Bill Nelson, Gary Duden, John Rinn, Scott ParkerThe group photo in the parking lot was taken by Pat Sorenson,  president of Penn Cycle who happened to be heading out on a ride with some buddies at the same time.

We opted to ride 8 miles west to the Bloomington Ferry Bridge (Hwy 169) trail head since several of the group had never ridden that route. Continue reading Organizing a CROCT group ride: my first attempt

O’er the trails she goes, laughing all the way: fat bikes do that to you

Myrna Mibus and son Ryan Myrna Mibus and son Ryan - crash

Back in the summer of 2013, I took Myrna Mibus, a friend who lives near Northfield, and her son Ryan to the Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trail in Inver Grove Heights for their first ride on a mtb trail. They both had fun (Ryan giggled the whole time, despite a few crashes) and not too long after that, Myrna and her husband Owen bought fat bikes.

Myrna Mibus, fat biking in Sechler Park Myrna Mibus, fat biking in Sechler Park 4

Today I accompanied her on her first ‪‎fat bike‬ ride on the more challenging sections of CROCT’s Sechler Park mtb trail here in Northfield.  Continue reading O’er the trails she goes, laughing all the way: fat bikes do that to you

CROCT’s presentation to BikeNorthfield’s Soup & Cycles

Marty Larson, CROCT presentation at Soup & Cycles 2015 Griff Wigley at Soup & Cycles 2015, photo by Michael Lehmkuhl Marty Larson, CROCT presentation at Soup & Cycles 2015

Last week, fellow CROCT Board member Marty Larson and I made a short presentation to BikeNorthfield‘s 2nd Annual Soup & Cycles community meeting. We reviewed our club’s  progress in 2015 and previewed our activities for 2015.  Many CROCT members attended, as did CROCT board members Galen Murray, Curtis Ness, and Scott Koehler.  Continue reading CROCT’s presentation to BikeNorthfield’s Soup & Cycles

Michelle Barker is IMBA Upper Midwest’s new Regional Director

Michelle Barker and her IMBA car Michelle Barker, Marty Larson, Griff Wigley

Michelle Barker is the new IMBA Upper Midwest Regional Director, replacing Hansi Johnson who resigned last summer to take a position as Director of Recreational Lands for the Minnesota Land Trust.

She met with me and fellow CROCT Board Member Marty Larson yesterday at Tandem Bagels in downtown Northfield, on her way back home to Iowa after attending the Cuyuna Lakes annual meeting on Thursday night.  Continue reading Michelle Barker is IMBA Upper Midwest’s new Regional Director

Guest post on Singletracks.com: The Jumping Dismount – 10 Drills to Make You Safer When Bailing Off High Skinnies

singletracks jumping dismount articleI have another guest blog post on Singletracks. com today:

The Jumping Dismount: 10 Drills to Make You Safer When Bailing Off High Skinnies

It’s my fifth guest post for them. The others:

 

Guest post on Singletracks.com: Why Lowering Your Seatpost for Skinnies and Other Technical Terrain Reduces Your Odds of Getting Injured

guest post singletracks lowering seatI have a guest blog post on Singletracks. com today:

Why Lowering Your Seatpost for Skinnies and Other Technical Terrain Reduces Your Odds of Getting Injured

It’s my fourth guest post for them. The others:

 

Rear wheel unweighting and lifts: neglected mountain bike skills

I’m thinking my next Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills instructional series should be about unweighting/unloading, paying most attention to rear wheel unweighting and rear wheel lifts.

Many intermediate/advanced riders I see rely only on their suspension for small-to-medium obstacles and don’t seem to realize the problems that this causes, eg, loss of traction, fatigue, etc. And then they also miss out on some of the fun that a gnarly section of trail or a technical obstacle can provide.

Here’s a 15-second video clip from last October when I was experimenting with some parking lot drills on my hardtail, first showing rear wheel unweighting over some small firewood and then a rear wheel lift up a curb (no front wheel braking): Continue reading Rear wheel unweighting and lifts: neglected mountain bike skills

Embedding an MTB Project trail map

MTB Project

MTB Project bills itself as the “next generation of mountain bike trail maps” and is in partnership with IMBA. Among their many map-related features and tools, they make it possible to embed their maps on a website. I’m the webmaster for CROCT and we now have a Sechler Park Trail page where we’ve done this.  Continue reading Embedding an MTB Project trail map

Singletrack, gravity, bicycling issues & more