Despite the horribly warm & snowfree winter day, yesterday’s local Global Fat Bike Day #GFBD2015 brought out two dozen riders for an afternoon 13-mile group ride around Northfield, culminating with snacks & refreshments at Downtown Bicycles.
At the August CROCT board meeting, we discussed conducting a fall/winter fundraising campaign. What do we most need? Our experience with summer youth group rides led us to discussing the feasibility of constructing a dirt pump track somewhere in a city park. But after hearing about the labor-intensive challenges to maintain them, the discussion turned to considering the pros and cons of a modular, portable pump track, for example:
We liked that a portable/modular pump track could be moved from park to park and school to school several times over the course of a season, introducing more kids and their parents to its fun and benefits. And if funded, we could partner up with Community Services again for some programming with it (clinics, ride nights, etc). At the September meeting, the board voted to pursue two grants to initiate the fundraising.
In early October, CROCT member Christopher Tassava wrote a grant application to Northfield Shares. And three Northfield High School mountain bikers — Ellis Orjala, Patrick Welch, and Christof Zweifel — teamed up to apply for funding from the Northfield YouthBank, thanks to an alert about it from another Northfield High School mountain biker, Cole Trebelhorn.
Christopher and his two daughters got their first taste of a pump track in the town of Cuyuna when CROCT traveled to Cuyuna Lakes in August for our overnight youth group ride:
Brian Welch and I took the boys to the Cottage Grove Bike Park a couple weeks ago for their initiation:
We won’t know the outcome of the grant applications till some time in December. If we’re successful with either one, we’ll launch a round of community fundraising to supplement the grants.
Planning for an overnight youth group trip to the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System began way back in January when Melissa Bernhard, Recreation Coordinator with the Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division, contacted us via email:
I am specifically looking for your group to lead a mountain biking adventure…..anywhere for youth and their families. I received a grant for the Adventure Mania program and would like you to be involved in giving the youth in our community a great experience on a mountain bike. Any ideas? This past summer a group of ours went to Lebanon. Since I have grant money, I’d like to really use it by traveling somewhere special and then later on if there is no grant, I’d plan to be as local as possible.
When I forwarded her email to fellow CROCT Board members, Carl Arnold wrote:
Do you have a location in mind, since they are looking for an adventure trip that doesn’t have to be local? Cuyuna? Less than 3 hr drive. Great campgrounds! Could we get a bus?
Carl’s vision became reality.
On Thursday morning, Aug 13, kids and families met at the NCRC Building where we stuffed bikes, Gear Resource Outfitters camping equipment including lots of binoculars and a rangefinder to view nature, many bodies into an EcoTrans mini-bus and CROCT President Marty Larson’s trailer:
Melissa and some parents gave us a proper send-off:
Three hours later, we arrived at our group site in the DNR’s Portsmouth Campground in the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. Marty’s wife Lisa Neitge had taken charge of the grocery shopping and meal preparation so we all got a terrific lunch after setting up camp:
Since the bikes were still in the mini-bus, we hauled them to the bike park/pump track in the little town of Cuyuna, about 3 miles from the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System which is adjacent to the twin towns of Crosby-Ironton. For most of the kids and parents, riding the rollers and berms and jumps was a new experience: Continue reading CROCT leads an overnight youth group mountain bike trip at Cuyuna Lakes
Nick Gerhardt (@NorthfieldNick), the new sports reporter for the Northfield News, has an article in today’s paper titled that mentions CROCT: Fat bike fanatics becoming growing base. CROCTers mentioned include Ryan Hutchinson, Christopher Tassava, and Jerry Bilek.
Mountain bike enthusiasts in the Northfield area have formed an organization named Cannon River Offroad Cycling and Trails, which has met three times and selected a board of directors. The group has started early discussions on making a trail near Sechler Park in Northfield, Hutchinson said.