Category Archives: People

Downtown Bicycles to support CROCT-NCS youth summer mountain biking camps

Tom Bisel, CROCT Member, CVVC Founder and President and Owner of Tom’s Downtown Bicycles, will be helping support our CROCT-NCS youth summer mountain biking camps!

Tom Bisel

Tom BiselOnline registration for the mountain bike summer camps opens tomorrow. Scholarships are available through Melissa Bernhard (MBernhard@northfieldschools.org). Please contact CROCT Board Member Sarah Jansen (guild44@gmail.com) for any additional assistance, or if you are interested in volunteering to help with the camps. We will NOT let income be a barrier to participating in these camps.)

The three summer mountain biking camps run for one week (June 12-16, July 24-28 and July 31-August 3). Bisel, who is committed to “giving kids the tools so that they can succeed on two wheels”, will be offering mountain bikes for rent for $25 (for the entire week!). Bisel is excited to see more and more families out riding bikes together, noting that Northfield is a great community to ride your bike, whether on road, gravel or mountain bike/fat bike trails.

Downtown Bicycles will also check over summer camp participants’ bikes, in order to make sure they are safe before the classes commence. “We’re just here to help”, Tom explains, “one of my roles as a bike shop owner is to be a resource to all the cycling communities in our area”.

Bisel opened his shop eight years ago, when he noticed a lack of support for the growing active community in Northfield. Since then, Bisel has supported numerous efforts to get kids on bikes, not just volunteering his time, but also donating bikes to Northfield Public Schools.

Thanks Tom Bisel!

Those interested in the summer mountain bike camps may also be interested in local bicycling Advocate and CVVC Member Bruce Anderson’s Nature Immersion Club, at the Greenvale Park Community School. The class begins today and continues every Thursday evening (6-7:30 pm) through May 18.

Anderson describes the class as follows:

“Nature Immersion Club gives kids the opportunity to learn how to bike safely on Northfield-area streets, gravel roads, and off-road trails, and go on outings to experience and learn about the natural world. Rides will be taken to the Carleton Arboretum, St. Olaf Natural Lands, Hauberg Woods, Sechler Park, and McKnight Prairie for hikes, nature photography, and bird, tree, and wildflower identification. The emphasis will be on having fun in nature! Parents are welcome as well! Don’t have a bike? No problem — we will help you find one.”

Exciting things are happening for kids’ biking in Northfield!

Please contact Bruce Anderson (bruce@sustainablecommunitysolutions.com) and/or Community School Co-Coordinators Kathryn Lozada (klozada@northfieldschools.org) and Laura Berdahl (lberdahl@northfieldschools.org) for more information.

You can also follow Downtown Bicycles at their Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Bill Nelson’s Ford tractor helps to transform the Sechler skills park

Last week, CROCT member and uber volunteer Bill Nelson drove his Ford Tractor back home. It had been on duty for the past couple of months in the Sechler skills park. 13-second video:

Bill originally brought his tractor to the skills park to sculpt dirt into a beginner table top jump:

Bill Nelson, Ford tractor

Bill Nelson, Ford tractor

I soon discovered it could do other things, like move logs and boulders. I put Bill to work:

Bill Nelson, Ford tractor

Bill eventually got sick of me bossing him and his tractor around so he gave me a few operator lessons:

Griff Wigley, Ford tractor

I teamed up with CROCT member Jason Decoux from Faribault to fashion the table top:

Jason Decoux

Jason Decoux

I eventually began to see how the tractor could expand the possibilities for more features in the skills park:

I got better at sculpting with it:

By late fall, I graduated summa cum laude from the Mountain Bike Skills Park Tractor Operators Academy. Thanks to Mr. Bill for the mentoring, the keys, and the hat:

Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson, Ford Tractor guys

Tom’s Downtown Bicycles donates a chainsaw to CROCT

Tom Bisel, CROCT member, CVVC founder and president, and owner of Tom’s Downtown Bicycles on Division St in Northfield, donated a brand new Stihl chainsaw to CROCT a couple weeks ago.

That’s Tom and CROCT president Marty Larson at the Sechler skills park in the photos below.  Chainsawing in shorts and a printed polo shirt? No worries. Photos were staged. And we’ve since obtained a full complement of protective gear that our skilled volunteers will be required to use.

See the Downtown Bicycles website, Facebook page, and follow their @DowntownBikesNF Twitter feed.

Thank you, Tom!

Tom Bisel, Tom's Downtown Bicycles, with donated chainsaw

Marty Larson, CROCT president, with chainsaw donated by Tom Bisel, Tom's Downtown Bicycles

Tom Bisel, Tom's Downtown Bicycles

Sarah Jansen to talk about her Tour Divide experience: Aug 13 at F-Town Brewing

CROCT Board member Sarah Jansen, a member of Milltown Cycles cycling & adventure team, is giving a presentation about her recent experience riding the Tour Divide.
Sarah Jansen on the 2015 Tour Divide

It’s tomorrow night (Thursday, Aug 13) at the new family-friendly F-Town Brewing Company in Faribault. A food truck will also be on hand.

F-Town Brewing

DNR’s ‘yurt guy’ Peter Hark rides Sechler and saw that it was good

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.

Marty Larson, Peter Hark Marty Larson, Griff Wigley

I first met Peter in March 2013 at the MN Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota’s Day on the Hill. Later that year, he was part of a DNR team that met with local Rice County public officials in Dundas for a Mill Towns Trail update.  And he may have gotten his first real taste of mountain biking at the 2013 PedalMN Bike Summit, held at the DNR’S Cuyuna Lakes MTB Trail system in Crosby/Ironton.

2013 DNR Mill Towns Trail meeting, Dundas Peter Hark, photographer, 2013 PedalMN Bike Summit, Cuyuna Lakes MTB

Peter’s also been the main guy behind the DNR’s installation of 7 yurts in MN state parks this year, including three at Cuyuna.  See the DNR’s yurts page, an October article in the Strib titled Yurts arrive in Minnesota State Parks, and this WCCO-TV video clip titled State Parks Offering New Camping Experience — Yurts that features Peter: Continue reading DNR’s ‘yurt guy’ Peter Hark rides Sechler and saw that it was good