I occasionally put on my mountain bike advocacy hat (helmet?) and in the past few of weeks I’ve had it on quite a bit in my role as a board member of my local IMBA chapter, Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT). One issue I’ve worked on has been addressing the concerns of some citizens who’ve had some objections about our mountain bike trail-building activities in Rice County’s Caron Park.
While we are reaching out to these citizens to meet face-to-face, I’ve used our CROCT blog to address the main issues and invite further comments and discussion from anyone who might be interested. The idea is not so much to communicate to our CROCT members about the issue but rather:
- to give elected/appointed officials and staff something they can see/read so that they can better understand what’s been done
- to provide a link to a blog post that those officials can send to others who contact them with concerns
- to help defuse the issue for some of the opponents who may feel that at least they’ve been listened to, even if we don’t agree with them.
See my post: Impact of CROCT’s mountain bike trails in Caron Park
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As a board member for Cannon River Offroad Cycling & Trails (CROCT), I’ve been taking the lead on our PR and social media, not just to inform local mountain bikers about what we’re doing but also the wider community of Rice County where our IMBA chapter operates.
This is my narration to the slide presentation that CROCT President Marty Larson and I did for BikeNorthfield’s 3rd Annual Soup & Cycles meeting back in January.
It’s an overview of CROCT-related activities, events, and accomplishments in the past year. Like most any online video, you can pause it, move the slider backwards and forwards, and watch it in full-screen mode. 23 minutes:
(Click here to view this presentation on the CROCT blog without the narration. Advantage: clickable titles to blog posts that provide more background on each topic.)
Last weekend I took photos of the Sawtooth Mountain Challenge, an annual mountain bike race in Grand Marais, Minnesota, hosted by the Superior Cycling Association (SCA).
I’m starting work on a bike advocacy project for Advocate Cycles, one of the race sponsors. (More on that soon.) So I thought it would be fun to capture the event while spending time with founder Tim Krueger and some of the SCA guys I’ve met in the recent past, (eg, Tim Kennedy, Adam Harju):
With sunny skies, temps in the mid-30s, and a gusty north wind, race director Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux sent the riders out at 10 am on the SCA’s Pincushion Mountain Trail System in one big group: Experts first (22 miles), followed by the Sport class (15 miles) and Citizens (4 miles):
I finally got together with Advocate Cycles founder Tim Krueger last week at the company’s headquarters in south Minneapolis (photo by Advocate’s general manager Adam Blake).
I first heard about Tim last year in a MORC Board meeting when there was a discussion about him taking over the MN Rusty Ride, given his history running the Chequamegon 100 for several years with 100% of the registration fees donated to CAMBA. At a subsequent board meeting, I think there was some mention about him starting a new company called Advocate Cycling Productions and adding more races but that was about it.
Last Saturday was IMBA’s Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (#TKMBD). I’m on the board of CROCT and we got a late start on planning activities for it. But rather than doing nothing, we decided at almost the last minute to invite CROCT members to meet at MORC’s Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail where Dakota County was hosting its annual Wild Ride Mountain Bike Festival.
We had 5 kids and 4 adults show up and we all had a blast among the many hundreds of others who attended. We’ll be better organized for next year’s TKMBD!
See the album of15 photos and a 1-minute video on the CROCT blog post.
Back in June I blogged about the weekly youth mountain biking group rides I was co-leading all summer, one of my activities as a CROCT board member.
As part of that collaboration with the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division, we recently took the kids and some parents on an overnight youth group trip to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System.
I’ve published a long blog post with dozens of photos about the trip here: CROCT leads an overnight youth group mountain bike trip at Cuyuna Lakes.
Fellow CROCT board member Marty Larson and I are co-leading weekly youth mountain biking group rides all summer, a partnership with Northfield Public Schools Community Services. It’s turning out to be a big hit, as you can see from these photos. And we’re pleased that over half of the kids thus far are girls.
It’s a big advantage to have a mountain bike trail (CROCT’s Sechler Park trail in Northfield) that young kids can ride their bikes to on their own or with their parents. Sechler Park is connected to a paved bike/walking trail adjacent to downtown Northfield that goes under Highway 3 and over the Cannon River. It also parallels the Mill Towns Trail between Northfield and Dundas.
And this is turning out to be good PR for CROCT. Building and maintaining mtb trails that serve ourselves and other adults is good. But going out of our way to get youth involved is better. Kids help spread the word, they get their parents involved, and we’re thinking it will help with our fundraising and getting local sponsorships.
Over three dozen trail workers (including 15+ kids) showed up at Rice County’s Caron Park on Saturday (National Trails Day) to work on the first segment of a CROCT mountain bike trail there (I’m a board member). The weather was gorgeous and the bugs were non-existent. Under the direction of trail steward and CROCT board prez Marty Larson, the crew worked from 9 am to noon.
The results? Amazing!
We don’t yet know the mileage on the new intermediate-level segment that we’re currently calling Loop 1, but it’s significant and it’s going to be a blast to ride. (If you stay connected via the CROCT Facebook page, Twitter feed, email newsletter, or Google Group discussion list we’ll alert you when the trail officially is open to ride.)
We broke for lunch and beverages at noon. Milltown Cycles in Faribault donated and served the hot dogs, brats and pop. Bauers Southside Liquor in Faribault donated and served a great selection of beer:
After lunch, we raffled off some swag donated by Milltown Cycles to CROCT members in attendance. John Ebling and Kevin Keane won helmets and Jeff Kreis won a jersey. Four others got 3-packs of cycling socks:
Peter Hark is a resident of rural Northfield, the DNR’s Field Operations Manager State Parks and Trails, and a Founding Supporter of CROCT. He joined me and Marty Larson on his first ride on the Sechler Park MTB trail on Wednesday, a day off for him because it was his birthday. He seemed to enjoy the ride and was complementary on what he saw. For a relatively new mountain biker, he’s not half-bad, and if he got a proper mountain bike with better tires he would definitely be more than marginally adequate.
With my CROCT board member hat on, I attended the BikeNorthfield steering committee meeting at the Northfield Public Library last night, as the agenda (PDF) included a discussion with City staff leaders (City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller, City Engineer/Director of Public Works Dave Bennett, and Engineering/GIS Technician Jasper Kruggel) about two upcoming street improvement projects that concern bicyclists: 3rd St. & Hwy 3; and Woodley St from Division to Prairie.