Tag Archives: Bill Nelson

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

CROCT’s first kiosk is in place at the Sechler Park MTB Trailhead

It’s been nine months since we opened the our first mountain bike trail in Northfield’s Sechler Park and we finally have a kiosk at the trail head. It’s adjacent to the paved Mill Towns Trail at the west end of the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge, a few yards from the cul-de-sac behind Walgreen’s:

Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

This type of kiosk was recommended to us by TJ Heinricy, Streets & Parks Supervisor with the City of Northfield. (There’s a similar one in the Babcock Park dog park just across the Cannon River. ) Since this portion of the park is in the flood plain, he thought it best to avoid anything too fancy and anything made of wood.  CROCT paid for it ($475) and TJ covered the not-so-insignificant shipping costs out of his parks budget.

CROCT member and uber volunteer Bill Nelson took charge of the kiosk installation yesterday.  I was his marginally adequate helper:

Bill Nelson installing the Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield

Griff Wigley & Bill Nelson, Sechler Park MTB trailhead kiosk, Northfield


So thank you Bill and TJ, and thank you to all CROCT members and CROCT donors. Your financial support paid for the kiosk.

Cannon River Tree Care brings logs for Sechler skills park. Skinnies reconfigured.

We began reworking the Sechler skills park beam skinny a couple weeks ago (blog post here). In the past week, our friends Matt and Jon Feldman at Cannon River Tree Care went out of their way to drop some logs at the gate to the skills park. So CROCT Dirt Boss/El Presidente Marty Larson and I used one of them with the available beams to reconfigure an intermediate-to-advanced-level beam/log/beam combination skinny:

Towing logs into the Sechler skills park

Marty Larson, configuring the beam/log skinny in the Sechler skills park

A few days later, CROCT uber-volunteer Bill Nelson put a fresh chain on his chainsaw and flattened the pine log between the beams. The skinny can be ridden either direction but it’s designed to be a progressively harder challenge when riding it south/towards the ball fields:

Bill Nelson flattening a log in the Sechler skills park

Bill Nelson flattening a log in the Sechler skills park

Josh Seifert on the Sechler skills park beam/log skinny

We’ve temporarily rolled the other logs together into a sizable logover. With the addition of a short beam at one end, the pile also provides a difficult skinny challenge:

Josh Seifert riding the Sechler skills park logover skinny

CROCT member Josh Seifert shows how to do it all in this short video:

The River Bend Winter Ride. A poem by Bill N.

Bill N, winter fat biking, River Bend Nature Center. Photo by John R Bill N, winter fat biking, River Bend Nature Center. Photo by John R Bill N and John R

CROCT member Bill N penned this poem after a recent fat bike ride at the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. With an assist from John R.

The River Bend Winter Ride

Considerate pause
Today’s bitter cold
For Fat Bikers
Young and Old

Bundled uncomfortably
We ventured outside
With tingly numb thumbs
Hope to warm as we ride

Frost builds on a beard
Or else pink on the cheek
With eyes on the trail
We occasionally peek

In the woods nothing moves
Only crystals and white
The only warm thing
Is today’s sun so bright

No critters are out
And the river is hard
This wind is for sure
Making drifts in my yard

There isn’t much talking
Above the steady crunch
Of 2 Buds and 2 Lous
Packed snow is their lunch.

For over an hour
The pedals we turned
Not to measure this ride
By just miles we learned

One last turn one more hill
Oh goodness we’re done
It’s warm in the shelter
This ride’s memory… fun.

CROCT organizes a group ride at the Minnesota River Bottoms trail in Bloomington

I polled our 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. Yesterday, ten of us showed up at 1pm at the Lyndale Ave/I35W trailhead. This 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:

L to R: Griff Wigley, Curtis Ness, Michael Lehmkuhl, Joe Thorman, JC Ingebrand, Dave Wolf, Bill Nelson, Gary Duden, John Rinn, Scott Parker

L to R: Griff Wigley, Curtis Ness, Michael Lehmkuhl, Joe Thorman, JC Ingebrand, Dave Wolf, Bill Nelson, Gary Duden, John Rinn, Scott Parker.

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.

Bike repair by Curtis Ness; photo by Michael LehmkuhlWe took our time, stopping several times for socializing and a little exploring on the railroad swing bridge.

There was one mechanical, a broken chain. But one group member had a chain tool and Curtis Ness, CROCT board secretary and manager of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, did the trail-side repairs. Whew!

There wasn’t much snow, and with temps in the low-to-mid 30s, the trail was a bit sloppy in places. The camaraderie, however, was first-rate.

We do it again on Saturday, Feb. 28. Deets here.

Chain saw crew adds two advanced-level skinnies to the Sechler Pk trail

I spotted this log along the Sechler Park river bottoms MTB trail last fall, thinking it would make a great skinny. After some discussion with CROCT president and trail steward Marty Larson, we decided it would be best to make it an intermediate-level skinny by shaving it flat like the log on the right that was recently created at MORC’s Elm Creek Trail:

Sechler log - fall Sechler log - fall Elm Creek skinny

So we organized a small trail work crew today, including two guys with the best electric chainsaw 2017 has to offer: Bill Nelson and Dave Nygren. Unfortunately, after they sliced the end off the log, we discovered that it was starting to rot. So it didn’t make sense to put all the work into slicing it flat for an intermediate-level skinny. So instead, they scored the top of it to make it an advanced level skinny. Likewise, a narrow log skinny next to it:

rotting Sechler Park log Dave Nygren Bill Nelson
Dave Nygren, Dave Berglund, Marty Larson, Bill Nelson Bill Nelson, Marty Larson, Dave Nygren Dave Nygren, Bill Nelson, Marty Larson
We still have to construct a ramp of sorts to make it easier to get up onto the bigger skinny.  We have the log pieces ready but the ice and frozen dirt prevented us from making it stable.
In the meantime, we’ll be looking for another log that would be a good candidate for a beginner/intermediate-level skinny.