Category: <span>Organizations</span>

Dorian Grilley and his new mountain bike Nick Mason and his new fat bike

I got an email last Friday from Dorian Grilley, Executive Director of Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), and at the bottom of the email he attached a photo of him standing with his new mountain bike.  He said that his experience on the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System at PedalMN Bicycle Summit this fall won him over. (See my blog post about the Summit: Minnesota is a state that works for mountain bikers).

Organizations People

Events Organizations Photo album

Although I ride mountain bike trails all around the upper Midwest, my local mountain bike club is MORC, Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists.  I’m constantly amazed that it costs ZERO to ride the dozen+  MTB trails around the Twin Cities metro area, so I’m happy to A)  be a member of MORC/IMBA; and B) kick some $ in the MORC Give to the Max Day bucket today.

If you ride a mountain bike in the Twin Cities metro area, MORC deserves your support.  Here’s a blurb from them that supplies more rationale:

Hello friends of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists,

gtmd13With snow already on the ground you may be hanging up the mountain bike, or maybe you’re taking the fatbike in for a tune-up; either way, the trails we all love give us access to some great riding here in the Twin Cities. MORC is constantly looking at ways for "gaining and maintaining trails" in the metro area. All of the construction and maintenance of our nearly 100 miles of trail is performed by volunteers, but the tools, equipment and resources cost our organization money.

Morc-Logo1This next season we are looking to raise funds towards a heavy equipment trailer, a vehicle capable of towing said trailer & a hydraulic tilt blade- roughly $12,000 of new equipment to continue building the trails you love to ride!

Give to the Max Day is a great opportunity to give to your trails. Your tax-deductible donation made on November 14th provides MORC the chance to win one of 24 "golden tickets", each worth $1,000; at the end of the day, one donation from all of Minnesota will be drawn to award a non-profit with a $10,000 gift.

Please consider giving to your trails by donating today!


MORC Board meeting, 11.12.13 L to R: Porter Million, Reed Smidt, Susannah King, Matt Andrews MORC Board meeting, 11.12.13 MORC Executive Director Matt Andrews

MORC agenda 11.12.13I attended last night’s MORC Board of Director’s meeting at REI in Bloomington. The agenda, as usual, was packed. But this one was the first with an Executive Director’s report, as Matt Andrews has been on the job for a month. Based on what I saw and heard, Matt appears to be more than marginally adequate. Winking smile

2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for MORC. The organization will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and Matt and the Board are cooking up some great ideas for it. If you ride a mountain bike in the Twin Cities metro area, you should be a MORC/IMBA member. You can join MORC/IMBA here.

MORC logo IMBA logo join



better-ride-logo Gene Hamilton

I subscribe to mountain bike coach Gene Hamilton’s email newsletter (excellent and free) and noticed last week that he had a blog post titled, Has IMBA Lost its Soul?

His criticisms seemed off-base to me and I thought about responding with comments to his post. But being relatively new to the sport (2.5 years), I thought I’d first try to engage some of my fellow mountain bikers in discussion about the issues he raises with a post to the MORC Forum. After several days of discussion (90+ comments thus far), and some email exchanges with IMBA staff and other mountain bikers I respect, here’s my take.

Hamilton on IMBA’s trail building style:

they … create predictable and boring trails! They have also dumbed down quite a few trails that I once greatly enjoyed. I realize some of this was done to make the trails more sustainable (which is good) but often it seemed like it was done to feed someone’s ego as the great “Trail Dictator”.

Having seen some of the expert/pro-level trails at Copper Harbor and Spirit Mountain that were designed and/or created by IMBA Trail Solutions, I don’t understand why Hamilton would make such a broad criticism. The thing that’s appealing at these parks is the range of trails: intermediate, advanced, expert, pro.  I see IMBA participating in and maybe even leading this ‘progression’ movement, both by its educational efforts and its trail building.

If there’s only one XC/single track trail in a large geographic area, I can see the rationale for making it safer/more rideable (“dumbed down”) for a wide range of abilities rather than just expert, because it could be argued that that’s better for the sport overall. That should be just a temporary fix, however. The beauty of what we have here in Minnesota is the increasing range of trails for all ability levels, often within a single park/trail system.

If a local club wants to keep a trail feature, and the land manager wants it tamed down but the club won’t do it, the land manager has every right to hire a trail builder/contractor to do it.   But then the trail builder should not be blamed. The land managers ultimately dictate/decide what happens to an existing trail or what type of new trails get created. IMBA doesn’t own the lands. The lands are in public hands.

I’m guessing in some of the instances that Hamilton is irritated about, the local clubs haven’t concentrated on developing close relationships with their local land managers like has been done here in Minnesota.

Hamilton on trail-building decision making:

“We know how to build great trails and what people like!”, seems to be their motto, but, I and thousands of other riders were not consulted and they obviously don’t know what I like! There are two things I really enjoy, flow and challenge and many IMBA created or fixed trails lack both of these (many SORBA and MORE trails do have both, props to the local chapters!).

Again, mountain bikers are most effective when they organize themselves into clubs and chapters and then try to work with/influence the land managers to get the kinds of trails that they think best. IMBA need not be part of that process but part of IMBA’s mission is to help clubs and chapters become more effective when dealing with land managers. And if thousands of riders were not consulted, that’s the fault of the clubs and/or land managers, not IMBA.

Hamilton on the importance of purpose-built trails and parks:

Development of trails and parks expressly for the purpose of mountain biking is cool, but we must not fool ourselves into believing that such development is crucial to mountain biking. Mountain biking can be done across the land with no trail, it can be done on animal tracks, and can be done on hiking trails as well as jeep roads. Much of the beauty of mountain biking is that one can traverse the land under their own power.

Sure, trails “can be done” on the types of terrain he cites but I’d argue that if that’s all the sport offered, its appeal would be extremely limited. I tried mountain biking many years ago when my three boys were teenagers. We quickly tired of riding on fire roads, hiking trails, and XC ski trails and quit riding. My world changed once I discovered Cuyuna Lakes and Lebanon Hills in the summer of 2011 and how different the trails were from what I had experienced. I’d argue strongly that purpose-built mountain bike trails are crucial to the growth of the sport.

I’d also argue that Hamilton wouldn’t likely have a successful coaching business if the only type of mountain biking available was on hiking trails and jeep roads. A large percentage of riders new to the sport want to ride the new purpose-built trails and as they progress in their skills, they’re more likely to want to upgrade their skills  even more with coaching services like his company offers.

Also, the regulatory landscape for trail building has changed in recent years. I stumbled on this BLM Powerpoint presentation on IMBA’s site titled Overcoming Regulations and Roadblocks in Trail Projects. The document’s intent:

Provide essential advice for solving the bureaucratic and permitting challenges nearly all trail projects encounter. Topics include: storm water and environmental permits, NEPA compliance, invasive species regulations, archeological issues, management reviews and more.

Many (most?) of those regulations didn’t exist (or if they did, they weren’t enforced) when some of old-style trails Hamilton laments were built. But they do/are now. IMBA didn’t create them, we citizens and our elected representatives and our government staffers did. And that’s probably both good and not-so-good. So IMBA’s job in part is to help clubs and land managers negotiate that thicket of regulations so that mountain bikers end up with a Sandy Ridge. That doesn’t mean IMBA has lost its soul. The world has changed.

Hamilton on IMBA’s MTB Project partnership:

Now IMBA has started a trails website with a database of mountain bike trails! There are already a few great for profit sites that do this and do it well. Also as friend pointed out many local shops get a lot of their business from selling maps…

I think IMBA’s partnership with MTB Project is designed to meet a need for mountain bikers that no one else is doing. It’s a map database, but it has crowdsourcing, i.e., everyone can contribute and their staff acts as editors to ensure quality. But the real advantage is that you can embed a map on your own website, just like embedding a YouTube video. But regardless, no one has to use the site. If competitors arise who do it better, that’s market forces at work. As for the argument that offering mountain bike trail maps via the web or phone apps will hurt the LBS that sells print maps, I don’t think that should be a concern. Both serve the needs of mountain bikers. More choice seems a good thing in this case.

Hamilton on IMBA’s Trail Solutions:

Slowly over the last 10 years they have been acting more like a for profit business by straying from trail advocacy and using their considerable clout to compete with private businesses. They started straying by marketing themselves as trail builders and competing with for profit trail builders.

I emailed IMBA’s Communication Director Mark Eller and asked him if IMBA Trail Solutions was a for-profit division of IMBA. Eller wrote:

Trail Solutions is a fee-for-service arm of IMBA, but just because they charge fees does not make them a for-profit entity. The IRS considers TS to be part of our 501 3 c organization.

It’s true that Trail Solutions often charges fees for their trail building services, which sometimes confuses people. In fact, many nonprofits collect fees and offer revenue-generating activities. So long as those activities fit with the nonprofit’s mission, there is no problem with collecting fees. IMBA’s mission is to create, enhance and protect great mountain bike experiences. If you read the Trail Solutions blog for even a few minutes you will find dozens of examples that show that their work fits perfectly with IMBA’s mission.


Why not have a bid system for trail projects where all the trail building companies can bid on the project?… Why not let the trail builders build and IMBA be the advocacy group. There is a huge conflict of interest here, as a friend said, “It’s like the places out here in California that’ll smog check your car- there’s a reason they aren’t allowed to perform the repair.”

Not quite. Smog certification checks are required by law so a consumer doesn’t have a choice. They need some protection from unscrupulous service stations who are trying to make a quick buck.

If you go into a service station and ask them to check the wear on your tires, there is a financial incentive for them to say you need new tires regardless and to try to sell you some immediately. But they know you have a choice of when and where to buy your tires. So they also have a financial incentive to be truthful because they want you as a long term customer, not just for tires but for other future repairs.  And they want the benefits of word-of-mouth positive marketing if you’re a happy customer. Those incentives aren’t nearly as strong for the slam-bam world of smog certification.

Likewise, IMBA has a strong long-term incentive to give its best advice to land managers, regardless of whether or not IMBA Trail Solutions ultimately performs the trail work.  Land managers can hire whoever they want to build trails and if the land manager is a public body, they must to go out for bid if the job is over a certain amount.  If a local mountain bike club has raised money on their own, they can hire whoever they want or they can put it out for bid.

I checked with a midwest trail system that’s used the planning/consulting arm of IMBA Trail Solutions (TS)and was told that the TS staffer they hired was very careful to let them know that there were many trail builder companies available, that TS didn’t push their own trail-building capabilities at all.  That’s an anecdote, of course, just like Hamilton’s anecdotes, and as we all know, the plural of anecdotes is not data.  So it’s best to look at the incentives in place (see above) and the overall long term results. Given the growth of IMBA Solutions, it would appear that land managers are increasingly comfortable with their services.

According to COGGS (here), “IMBA Trail Solutions has helped create a Master Plan for mountain biking at Spirit Mountain.” And according to the employee in this video, Flowline Trail Design of Colorado was brought to Duluth as “one of IMBA’s preferred trail-building companies.”  The pump park in Steamboat Springs, CO is another example of a land manager (the city), a local mtb club (Routt County Riders), IMBA Trail Solutions, and a private trail builder (Flowline) all working on the project.  This project manager role for IMBA Trail Solutions seems to be what’s needed when the project gets big/complex and there doesn’t seem to be any other organization in North America qualified to provide this.

IMBA’s Communication Director Mark Eller also emailed me this:

Many of the detractors are not willing to acknowledge how much IMBA and Trail Solutions has done to enhance the trail building profession:

  • IMBA’s books, Trail Solutions and Managing Mountain Biking, have a huge influence of land managers, helping them see the value of bike-friendly trail designs and construction carried out by trained volunteers and professional builders.
  • Our in-development book about bike parks strongly emphasizes the value of hiring professional bike park designers and builders.
  • Trail Solutions has built excellent examples of shared-use and bike-specific singletrack trails all over the nation, and indeed the world, providing land managers and the public with real-world examples of trails that enhance public lands. This has encouraged land managers to hire professional trail builders instead of relying on their in-house resources.
  • IMBA has successfully lobbied for legislation that enhances the professional trail building community, most notably the federal Recreational Trails Program which provides millions of dollars of funding for trails in all 50 U.S. states. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Act is another example of a bill that IMBA lobbied for successfully and has had a positive impact on the trail building industry.

If IMBA didn’t do these things, who would? There are many more examples of IMBA’s work that benefits professional trail builders.

I would find it objectionable if IMBA’s publications never featured a trail that wasn’t built by IMBA Trail Solutions or if they were somehow using unfair tactics to compete. But as far as I can tell from here in the midwest, that hasn’t happened. And Hamilton doesn’t cite any examples of them using their “considerable clout” that were unethical.

Looking at the Trails Solutions-related comments to Hamilton’s blog post, there are some accusations that they’re too expensive and conversely, other accusations that as a nonprofit, they can afford to lowball their bids. There’s also an accusation that they encourage public land managers to keep their trail building projects under a certain dollar amount so that they’re not required by whatever law to go out for bid.

It’s certainly possible that lowballing and consulting to stay under threshold have happened but again, the incentives seem to be in place for this not to be a pattern, ie, 1) market forces (IMBA needs Trail Solutions to be a profitable program so the money can be used to help fund its other initiatives); and 2) IMBA’s long term reputation with land managers is crucial to their long term financial success. It doesn’t take long for a pattern of unethical behavior to become known.

My conflicts of interest

In case anyone’s wondering about my motives in this issue:

So I have several of conflicts of interest, some of them conflicting.

What’s next? More conversation

I’m new to the issue and I’m eager to learn more. Conversation is a good way to do it so feel free to attach a comment to this blog post with your reactions, pro and con.

Use your real first and last name when you submit a comment. Hamilton allows anonymous comments on his blog post and I don’t find it constructive when there’s controversy. Stand behind your comments.

Also, I have a high bar for civility, including: no sarcasm or other subtle put-downs. It’s okay to be angry, just be straight about it.

Advocacy Organizations

Griff Wigley, John GunyouI had coffee at the Peoples Organic Café in Minnetonka yesterday morning with John Gunyou, Board Chair and District 4 Representative of Three Rivers Park District (3RPD). I got to know John back in the late 90s when he was head of the Office of Technology for the State of MN. Since two of 3RPD’s parks offer mountain biking (Murphy-Hanrehan and Elm Creek) and since John is a newly elected commissioner, I figured it might be a good time to catch up with him and talk mountain biking.

He completely failed my test questions (‘What is a flow trail?’ and ‘What is a pump track?’). He’s a bicyclist but not a mountain biker so I suppose I’ll eventually forgive him for that. I told him my stories on how I came to learn about both in the past two years. I also alerted him to some of the cool MTB-related activities that have been happening at Murphy (eg. nocturnal mountain bike racing) and Elm Creek (eg. off-road handcycling) recently.

Among John’s many stints on boards and commissions (see his bio page), he has served on the MN DNR’s Parks and Trails Legacy Funding Group. MN mountain bikers are benefitting from Legacy money (eg. Duluth Traverse, $250,000).

John’s quoted in a front page story in the Strib this morning, Chance to enhance Twin Cities parks clashes with cash crunch.

In much more populous areas closer to the heart of the metro area, meanwhile, the pressing need is to expensively re-engineer built-up areas for trails demanded by an aging population eager to bike and walk close to home. John Gunyou, who chairs the Three Rivers parks commission, covering suburban Hennepin and Scott, speaks of “shifting our organization from parks to trails, meeting needs a different way. There’s a huge increase in the use of our trails because of people like me, getting older, but still wanting to bike and jog.”

This is another reason to get him on one or both of the Murphy and Elm Creek beginner MTB trails this year. I want him to see how geezers like us can enjoy these trails, not just paved trails.

See John’s Three Rivers Updates blog, follow @jgunyou on Twitter, and like his Facebook page to keep up on his activities.

Advocacy Organizations

Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston IMBA Trail Care Crew logo C.J. Smith, Jesse Livingston, Lori Reed, Jay Thompson, Reed Smidt

Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston, the current members of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew, came to the Twin Cities last Friday at MORC‘s invitation for a weekend of their education program on sustainable mountain bike trail building practices.  I caught up with them for a bit of socializing on Friday night at Dick’s Bar & Grill in Osseo after their session in Monticello with some metro area land managers. L to R in photo above: Elm Creek Singletrack Dirt Boss C.J. Smith, Jesse Livingston, Lori Reed, Elm Creek Dirt Boss and MORC board member Jay Thompson, and MORC president Reed Smidt.

Jesse Livingston IMBA Trail Building School, classroom session, Monticello MN

Lori Reed Clay Haglund, Lori Reed, Troy David Grieves, Jesse Livingston
They did their one-day IMBA Trail Building School on Saturday for a couple dozen MORC members. The 3-hour classroom session in the morning focuses on:

  • IMBATrail Care Crew Quick Reference GuideTrail building theory
  • Essential elements of sustainable trails
  • Designing a trail
  • Constructing the trail
  • Rerouting and reclaiming trails
  • Advanced trail construction techniques

Since I started mountain biking in 2011, I’ve showed up to help a bit on a few local trail work sessions (2013 sessions here, here, here, and here) but I’ve been mainly a clueless laborer who retreated behind a camera whenever I got tired.  I took this IMBA Trail Building School because I wanted to have at least a beginning understanding of the art and science involved. As a newbie, I came away very pleased with the experience.  I thought their rapid-fire presentation in morning session was well done: lots of photos and videos, a few quizzes, hands-on with a clinometer, and thankfully, no Powerpoint slides of deadly text-only bullet points.

IMBA Trail Care Crew with MORC members Lori Reed and Jesse Livingston

Rhett Williams, Matthew Bailey, Jeff Leech MORC members with the IMBA Trail Care Crew
The afternoon field session was held at the Bertram Lakes Singletrack near Monticello.  After a quick demo by Jesse, we divided up into 3 teams of 8, each led by a MORC dirt boss (my team was headed up by Jeff Leech).  It was very helpful to have the hands-on experience and coaching. I don’t know how many feet of trail the crews created but I think we more than marginally adequate as we finished early.

MORC group ride at Elm Creek Singletrack with Jesse and Lori MORC/Elm Creek dirt boss C.J. Smith

MORC group ride at Elm Creek Singletrack with Jesse and Lori Jesse Livinston, Lori Reed, Reed Smidt
On Sunday morning, a group of us did a group ride with Lori and Jesse at Elm Creek Singletrack led by local Dirt Boss C.J. Smith.  ‘Twas a fast, flowy ride on a gorgeous autumn-like day and a fitting send-off.

You can follow Lori and Jesse on their IMBA Trail Care Crew blog (they have a blog post up about the weekend titled They Still Got It), their @Subaru_IMBA_TCC Twitter feed, and their IMBA Trail Care Crew Facebook page.

See my album of 40+ photos (large slideshow, recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Organizations Photo album Trail work

Last June I attended my first regional IMBA Summit, held in Crosby, MN near the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System. It was titled the 2nd Annual Great Lakes Summit.

This year, it was titled the IMBA Upper Midwest Regional Summit and it was hosted in Cable, WI, in the middle of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA)’s off-road bike trail system.

IMBA Upper Midwest gang, ready to ride Seeley Pass Trail Sawmill Saloon IMBA Upper Midwest gang at Sawmill Saloon Ron Bergin, Steve Morales
After the IMBA Upper Midwest Regional Leadership Advisory Council meeting on Friday afternoon (I didn’t attend), a group of us got in a 10-mile ride on CAMBA’s Seeley Pass Trail from the HWY 00 Trail Head. I was indeed “superb rolling, flowy singletrack.” We then made our way to the Sawmill Saloon in Seeley for refreshments and dinner and where I got a chance to chat with a couple of fellow geezers that I’d met briefly on the ride, CAMBA’s Executive Director Ron Bergin and longtime CAMBA trail coordinator/volunteer Steve Morales.

Hansi Johnson opens 2013 IMBA Upper Midwest Summit Hansi Johnson opens 2013 IMBA Upper Midwest Summit 2013 IMBA Upper Midwest Summit 2013 IMBA Upper Midwest Summit
IMBA’s Midwest Regional Director Hansi Johnson opened the Summit on Saturday morning at the Cable Community Centre, thanking the 35+ attendees for coming and citing examples of regional cooperation in the past year (e.g., teaming up on get-out-the-vote efforts for the Bell-Built Grant competition).

Adam Harju, Superior Cycling Association (SCA) Kit Grayson, Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS) Aaron Hautala, Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails (CLMTBT) Mark Fisk, Woolly Bike Club (W/B/C)

Reed Smidt, Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC) Scott Sherman, Winona Area Mountain Bikers (WAMB) Ron Bergin, Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) Jereme Rauckman, Chippewa Off Road Bike Association (CORBA)

Matt Block, Central Wisconsin Offroad Cycling Coalition (CWOCC) ?, Capital Off-Road Pathfinders (CORP) Aaron Rogers, Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC) Stephen Schmidt, Iowa Trail Bombers (ITB) Robert Peters, Southern Keweenaw (SöKē)
Representatives of the Upper Midwest IMBA chapters at the Summit (there are over 20) then each gave short summaries of their chapter’s activities and accomplishments in the past year, as well as their plans for the upcoming year.  In a follow-up email, MORC Board Secretary Susannah King captured my sentiments:

It was helpful to see so many other clubs working toward a common goal, dealing with similar (and different) successes and challenges that we do.

 Jeremy Fancher, IMBA Director of Public Affairs Aaron M. Smith DSC01219
IMBA Director of Public Affairs Jeremy Fancher (with support from colleague Aaron M. Smith) presented on the legal ins and outs of IMBA Chapters having  MOU’s, partnership agreements, contracts, etc. with land managers/owners.  Several Chapter board members I talked to afterwards seemed grateful, worried, and motivated to roll up their sleeves upon returning home to delve deeper into their land manager agreements and do what needs to be done to make them better.

John Gaddo, QBP Reed Smidt, MORC
John Gaddo from QBP gave an overview of the rapidly growing fat bike market (expected to double in the next two years). In the Western US, there’s a push with land managers to allow fat bikes to share the use of cross country ski and snowmobile trails for touring-type riding in the winter. But here in the Midwest, he felt it’s far better for Chapters to focusing on grooming some of their singletrack for both fat bikes and regular mountain bikes; hence, a good chunk of his presentation was about the variety of snow grooming techniques and equipment being used in the area. Reed Smidt, president of MORC, gave details on their grooming experiences in the past few years.

Adam Sundberg, COGGS Kit Grayson, COGGS Lori Hauswirth, Copper Harbor Trails Club Aaron Rogers, Copper Harbor Trails Club (CHTC)
The session on fundraising featured Adam Sundberg and Kit Grayson from COGGS and Lori Hauswirth and Aaron Rogers from the Copper Harbor Trails Club.

COGGS has learned 1) how to leverage small grants into a series of ever-larger grants; and 2) that face-to-face, ongoing contact with the grantee organization is critically important, ie, it’s not enough to just submit the application. They’ve also learned that 1) its annual Gala allows them to reach out to a segment of the Duluth population that doesn’t mountain bike but who believes in its importance to the area. Attendees include community leaders and the more financially well-off; 2) it’s best to have auction items have wide appeal rather than being mtb-related (eg, vacation packages, restaurant deals, etc); and 3) the committee in charge of the Gala works on it for the entire year.

Copper Harbor has learned 1) how to scale the value of its sponsorships from local business owners; and 2) how to conduct a raffle with large ticket items (2013 raffle: $6,000 camping trailer, $4,400 Trek, etc).

Leslie Kehmeier, IMBA Mapping Specialist
IMBA Mapping Specialist Leslie Kehmeier presented on their new partnership with MTB Project which this IMBA page describes as

a next-generation mountain bike guide and trail map web site. This robust platform for online mapping displays the known trails in any given area, complete with elevation profiles, full GPS routes, photos, detailed ride info and more.

They’ve just added a feature that I think will create an incentive for Chapters to participate/contribute: once a trail has been mapped, embed code for it can be put on a Chapter’s own website. The quality of the mapping is not something that a Chapter could easily do on its own, so this a pretty big deal IMHO.

Leslie blogs about the project at See all the IMBA blog posts in the Mapping Category, including her recent blog post, Understanding “rides and trails” on

If you’ve visited the MTB Project website you may have noticed two categories: “rides” and “trails.” Some have wondered what the difference might be — one doesn’t exist without the other, right?

Ron Bergin IMBA Upper Midwest gang, ready to ride new trail on Camp 38 rd, with Katie Johnson and Bonnie Finnerty
CAMBA Executive Director Ron Bergin led the group ride after the Summit was over. I took one photo as riders were getting ready to depart but the vicious mosquitoes created a strong incentive to keep it in my hydration pack thereafter.  His description of the new (built last summer) cross country flow trail:

5 miles of fast riding, open & flowing with dozens of bermed turns plus two super-fun gravity features and a 180-foot log ride. Start from our newest trailhead on Camp 38 Rd. – so new there are hardly any signs yet.

CAMBA log skinny - photo by Scott Anderson CAMBA gravity cavity - photo by Scott Anderson IMBA Upper Midwest gang at the Rivers Eatery in Cable, WI
I found some photos of this new trail in the CAMBA Trails Flickr group including the two above by Scott Anderson of that 180-foot log skinny (which can be ridden backwards) and the roller coaster Gravity Cavity section (which can be ridden repeatedly in a loop). These two photos are small thumbnail-sized screenshots that are linked to Scott’s originals. Be sure to click through to see them. After Saturday’s ride, we gathered for refreshments and stone oven pizza at the Rivers Eatery in Cable.

CAMBA Rock Lake Trail - MTB Project Rock Lake Wall Street section CAMBA No Hands Bridge
On Sunday, some did the 27-mile Rock Lake IMBA Epic ride and others, including me, just the 12-mile Rock Lake trail (click here to see the difference between a ‘ride’ and a ‘trail’). Most notable for me was 1) the steep rocky downhill section called Wall Street; and 2) the No Hands Bridge (I used both hands and road the angled cut board). The above right photo is from this blog post about the entire Rock Lake trail by someone named rlove2bike.

Here’s the information and live map (using their embed code) for the Rock Lake Trail:

All in all, ’twas a memorable weekend of great weather, good information, tasty food, excellent microbrews, and exhilarating riding, all stitched together with friends new and old.  Saaaaaweeeet.

Advocacy Organizations Trails

KYMN Anderson, President, Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and TourismBikeable Community Workshop BrochureBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MN
Northfield City Administrator and Faribault resident Tim Madigan alerted me to a Bikeable Community Workshop hosted by the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism last week.  I contacted Kymn Anderson, Chamber President, to see if there was room for any Northfielders and she graciously allowed me to attend. Northfield City Councilor Suzie Nakasian was there, too.

The Bikeable Community Workshop brochure (PDF) states:

A Bikeable Community Workshop trains local, county and regional staff, and advocates on how to plan and support more Bike Friendly Communities to encourage more people on bikes more often in Minnesota. Participants enjoy a short bike ride to assess their community’s bicycle facilities to base an action plan on. Target audiences include engineers, law enforcement, planners, public health practitioners, school administrators, elected officials, and advocates. The course includes a short bicycle ride auditing your community.

Bikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MN
The workshop was presented by staff from the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. These folks knew their stuff and presented it well.

Bikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MNBikeable Community Workshop, Faribault MN; photo by Rebecca Rodenborg, Faribault Daily News
After the morning session, we broke up into three groups for a bike audit ride around Faribault.

See the May 14 Faribault Daily News by reporter Rebecca Rodenborg (@FDNRebecca): Faribault leaders take on bikeability issue. Also see her earlier article on May 4: How bike-friendly is Faribault?

My take-away?  We need to begin working immediately with the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota to form a Northfield area bicycle advisory committee so we can begin tackling a myriad of bike-related issues. The City of Minneapolis’ Bicycle Advisory Committee page spells much of it out:

Advise the Mayor, City Council, and Park Board on bicycling related issues; help advance the state of bicycle infrastructure; encourage more people to bike; educate the public; work towards more compliance with traffic laws; help the City and Park Board make bicycle plans; work to increase equity between bicyclist and other modes of transportation; review and suggest legislative and policy changes; recommend priorities for the use of public funds on bicycle projects; help ensure Minneapolis keeps and improves its status as a bicycle friendly community; serve as a liaison between Mpls communities and the City and Park Board, coordinate between difference agencies that interact with bicyclists.

Props to Kymn Anderson at the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism and the Faribault area bicycle advocates for hosting the session. It was inspiring.

Advocacy Organizations

Dave Cizmas and Hansi JohnsonHansi Johnson nails the tabletop in the micro-rhythm section at Ray'sHansi Johnson (IMBA) and Charlie Johnson  (LAMBA)
Hansi Johnson, IMBA’s Midwest Regional Director (his IMBA blog is here, his Universal Klister blog is here), organized a two-days-for-the-price-of-one weekend for IMBA members at Ray’s Indoor Bike Park in Milwaukee over the weekend.

I’ll have more to blog about my memorable experiences in the coming days but for now, see the large slideshow of 50 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow (apologies for some of the crappy smartphone photos):

Update 5 PM: an 8-second video clip of Hansi on the Micro Rhythm feature:


Update Jan. 22, 7:30 am: an album of 140 photos of all areas of the park. I took these early on Saturday morning before it got busy so I could climb around without getting run over.  The photos are boring because there are no people in them.

See the large slideshow or this small slideshow:

Events Organizations Photo album

Ray's IMBA promo

IMBA and the two Ray’s Indoor Bike Park locations (Milwaukee and Cleveland) are teaming up to do a weekend advocacy event and membership drive this weekend. And I’m going to Milwaukee. Judging from the Facebook event page, it looks like 30+ from Minnesota are going.  The blurb:

IMBA members will receive two days of riding for the price of one and they will also be eligible for prizes via a drawing. IMBA is also going to carve out a space for clubs to represent themselves. IMBA envisions a very simple get together with a space for folks to promote the work and trails that they have going and to get folks to mix and intermingle during our off season.

Here’s a decent video overview by Subaru (a sponsor) of Ray’s Milwaukee:


Organizations Parks