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Fun biking, skiing or walking on water with these ice safety tips

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

For many, not familiar with the bold north, biking or walking on water is a fun winter tradition when incorporating a few ice safety tips into the experience. Here in the upper Midwest, Mother Nature’s annual temperature swing allows many to safely move or frolic on frozen water, by December. Then, typically for three to four months, riding a bike across a body of frozen water is a regular occurrence. This year, with below-normal temp’s early, ice is already forming and the fun may begin sooner and extend the season.

Biking across a lake opening up new places to explore and view the shoreline from a different angle.

Biking across a lake opens up new places to ride and view the shoreline from a different angle.

Along with the proper clothing for a comfortable ride in the winter, here are some ice safety tips you need to know to ensure a safe time pedaling across a lake or stream frozen over.

Ice safety tips – First and foremost know the thickness of the ice

There’s no way around it. While many visual cues can help you determine if it is safe to roll out or step onto the ice, the most reliable way to find out is to measure the thickness.

There are a few tools you can use to measure the ice. An ice chisel can be stabbed into the ice until it penetrates all the way through. A cordless drill with a wood bit also works well to auger a hole to measure the thickness.

What is a safe thickness?

Any ice thickness less than four inches, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources states on ice thickness, should be avoided at all costs. At four inches the ice can support activities like bicycling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and walking. At five to seven inches the ice can sustain the weight of a snowmobile or an ATV, while eight to twelve inches is needed to support the weight of a small car. And while these guidelines are generic, ice conditions vary, and the above is for newly formed ice. Make sure to read more on thickness before going out there.

Measuring in one place is not enough. Take measurements in several different areas (approximately 150 feet apart) to ensure that the entire area is safe. Ice thickness can vary, even over a relatively small area—especially over moving water.

Asses the area visually

A visual assessment can help supplement your measurement, and can also help if you’re relying on someone else’s measurements.

Visually keep an eye out hazards that may be developing in the ice.

Visually keep an eye out hazards that may be developing in the ice, especially through connecting lake channels.

Watch for signs of danger like cracks, seams, pressure ridges, dark areas (where the ice is thinner) and slushy areas—even slight slush signals that the icing isn’t freezing at the bottom anymore, which means it’s getting progressively weaker.

The color of the ice

Check out the color of the ice. Clear, blue or green ice that is thicker than four inches should be ok enough to bike on. White ice typically has air or snow trapped inside, weakening it. Dark ice might be an indication that the ice is quite thin—probably not thick enough for biking or hiking.

The Fresher, the better

New ice is typically stronger than older ice. As time passes, the bond between ice crystals decays even in freezing temperatures. When the spring thaw begins, the ice weakens considerably. It can be tempting to head out for one last ride across the ice, but it is safest to say no. Even if ice fits the measurement criteria, it can still be hazardous.

No ice can ever be considered “safe ice”

Along with knowledge of the thickness of the ice and a visual assessment here are four more suggestions to help minimize the risk when biking on the ice:

  • Carry ice picks and a rope
  • Have a cell phone or personal locator beacon along
  • Don’t go out alone; let someone know about trip plans and expected return time
  • Before heading out, inquire about conditions and known hazards with local experts.

Know the proper rescue techniques

Anyone doing anything on the ice outdoors should know the ice rescue technique. Even kids should be familiar with the protocol, so be sure to educate them ahead of time. If someone in your party falls through the ice, the first thing to do is call 911. Anyone still on the ice should slowly lie down, distributing their weight over a larger area.

Reach the person in the water using a long-reaching assist—a large stick, a rope or a ladder if available. The person in the water should be instructed to kick and slowly ease their way out of the water. Once they make it to the surface, they should crawl or roll away from the broken ice area.

Anyone on the ice, including the victim and rescuer, should avoid standing up until they are far away from the broken ice. As soon as possible, get the victim into dry clothing and treat them for hypothermia.

Now have some fun!

Enjoy the ice safety tips for a safer true north experience!

Tips on cleaning and storing your summer bike gloves for next year

As winter soon approaches it’s time to store away your summer gear. Especially your bike gloves which shouldn’t be ignored when putting them away. Besides their intended use, gloves are often used for wiping the sweat away and worse as a tissue. That makes them disgusting bacteria collectors if not cleaned regularly and before storing. So what is the best way to clean them, as a good pair of gloves can be a bit expensive and may not be machine washable?

A gentle washing with a little bacterial soap and /or white vinegar may clean and sanitize them.

Gentle washing with a little bacterial soap and/or white vinegar may clean and sanitize them

Preparing bike gloves for storage

Thankfully, like shorts, jerseys and other articles for bicycling, most bike gloves are made from materials that can be machine washed. By using a little care and hanging them up to air dry, many gloves can easily be machine cleaned. So, before packing away your summer bike gloves follow these steps for healthy and extended use – whether they are cloth and leather.

Supplies you may already have on hand for cleaning your cycling gloves:

  • Antibacterial hand soap
  • Detergent
  • Leather conditioner
  • White vinegar

Cloth Gloves (handwashing)

Step 1 – Close the Velcro or other glove fasteners.

Step 2 – Wash the bicycle gloves using cool water and mild liquid soap in a sink. If the gloves are dirty/smelly, add 1/8 cup white vinegar to your wash water.

Step 3 – Rinse the gloves well and inspect them for soap suds. Rinse again if necessary.

Step 4 – Lay the gloves flat or hang them up to dry. If you can hang them out in the sun, that is even better. The sun is a “natural sanitizer” and can also disinfect your clothes. Plus, if you dry your gloves under the sun they will smell cleaner and fresher.

Cloth Gloves (machine wash)

Step 1 – Close the Velcro, snap, or button that is on your gloves.

Step 2 – Put the gloves in your washing machine, set it on cold water and add laundry detergent. Do not use bleach. You may wash other items with the gloves. If your gloves are particularly smelly, add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener slot of your washing machine.

Step 3 – Rinse the bike gloves by hand after the wash if any soap suds remain.

Step 4 – Lay the gloves flat or hang to dry. Again, if you can hang them out in the sun, that is even better. The sun’s ultraviolet rays will help kill bacteria on your workout clothes, but only if your clothes dry completely in the sun.

Leather Gloves (handwash only)

Step 1 – Put on the bicycle gloves. Then, run some cool water over your hands and then apply a very mild soap, such as castile soap or leather soap, into the dirtiest parts of the glove.

Step 2 – Rinse the gloves well, spending two to three times as long on the rinsing as you did on washing to make sure all the soap is gone. Do not wring the moisture in the gloves. Squeeze gently to remove water.

Step 3 – Remove the gloves from your hand and place them between layers of a bath towel. Then press to remove excess water.

Step 4 – Put the gloves back on and flex your fingers a few times to mold the gloves back into shape. Then, remove and lay the gloves flat to dry without pressing them again.

Step 5 – If desired, massage your cycling gloves with a pea-sized amount of leather conditioner when almost dry – use less conditioner if only part of the glove is leather.

Other Helpful Tips

  • In between washing your gloves in the steps above, if they become smelly and damp while on the go, keep a small bottle of white vinegar close by. While wearing the gloves, lightly rub some vinegar into them and let them dry as you ride.
  • Both leather and cloth gloves may be stiff once dry, but they will soften up with a little use.
  • Wash leather gloves as infrequently as possible. If you are a dedicated long-distance rider, they may not last more than one season regardless of how often you clean them.

by Sommer Adams, a HavefunBiking contributor

Using visibility for safety and fun in fall’s limited light

by John Brown

With school now in session and fall in full swing, we should all consider using the visible gear now available as a key component so we are better seen while riding our bikes. The two main forms of visibility we need to focus on are passive and active visibility. Things like reflectors and bright colors are forms of passive visibility. While lights and blinkers are great examples of active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Using passive visibility

Most autumn rides start in the light and only devolve into darkness as the ride stretches on. In these cases, most riders rely on passive visibility to get them home. Provided that your ride is under street lamps or some form of light, that passive visibility will get you home safely. The most common form of passive visibility is a lowly reflector. These plastic devices are required by the CPSC to be installed on all bicycles sold in the united states. You will find reflectors come in two colors, white (front and wheels) and Red (rear). Additionally, many apparel companies install reflective materials on their products. Like the reflector on your bike, these reflective materials will take any light thrown at you, and return it back to the source of the light. Where passive reflectivity falls short, is when there is no light source to activate the visibility.

This jacket offers excellent visibility through color and reflective materials.

Sealsinz makes some cool winter gloves that are both visible and insulated

Using active visibility

When the area is devoid of a light source, as a rider, you need to create that light to keep yourself safe. For cyclists, Lights and blinkers are the most common devices for light. Where the light and the blinker differ is that blinkers are designed to be seen while lights allow a rider to both see and be seen.

Great lights are usually rechargeable and use an LED bulb. For riders who spend a lot of time off-road or on unlit paths, these lights are a necessity. While most mount onto the bars or helmet, there are a few companies who integrate lights into the bike or your helmet.

MagicShine Bike Helmet and remote (inset)

MagicShine Bike Helmet and remote (inset)

Blinkers are usually battery operated and use an LED to flash intermittently. These blinkers can easily be mounted to your bicycle. In some cases, blinkers are incorporated into helmets, gloves, shoes, saddles, and handlebars.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photo receptor covered and lights on.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photoreceptor, covered and lights on.

What to use this Fall

For the fall season, mount a pair of blinkers to the bike (one front an one back). When you get stuck in low light and high traffic, simply switch on the blinkers. If your route is going to be unlit for any portion, a front light makes things safer. Overall, just think ahead before your next ride and pack to ensure you can see in the dark while others can see you.

Being visible and noticed doesn’t end when the sun comes up

by John Brown

With summer in full swing, consider taking center stage by wearing clothing that makes you more visible to others while riding your bike or walking. Being noticed by others is the key to avoiding accidents. There are two forms, passive and active visibility to focus on. Things like reflectors and bright colors especially in patterns that make you stand out are forms of passive visibility. While lights and blinkers are great examples of active visibility, most people focus on nighttime visibility. Though, far more hours on the spent under the sun while riding a bike. Here are a few tips to keep you safe and visible whenever you ride.

Clothing that makes you more visible

Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

If you were driving a car which cyclist would grab your attention first?

The easiest way to be visible is to wear highly visible clothing. Whereas black may be slimming, it doesn’t offer others the best chance to see you. The most visible color available is high visibility (hi-vis) yellow. It is bright yellow not found naturally and sticks out against the backdrops on most normal roads and paths. If hi-vis yellow isn’t for you, try to wear other colors that would stand out, like bright blue, red, or orange. Better yet, an obnoxious pattern of several above mentioned color, so you are sure to be noticed.

The most visible color available is high visibility (hi-vis) yellow.

Lights

Many companies are recommending riders use their lights during the day as well as at night for a great reason. Active forms of visibility like blinking lights do a lot to attract the attention of others. For best visibility and longest battery life, use your lights in “blink mode” rather than a steady beam.

Reflectors

Most cars sold in the US are equipped with daytime running lights. For that reason, the reflectors on your bike will shine back at drivers during the day and alert them to your presence. Beyond the standard reflectors, your bicycle comes with, think about adding adhesive reflective tape to bags, helmets as well as your bike.

Position

Being visible while riding can be as simple as your position on the road to be noticed. In situations where there isn’t enough room for a bike and car, be sure to take up enough space as to ensure no driver could miss seeing you and try to “squeeze” past. Also, ride at a controlled speed where there may be blind corners, driveways, or crosswalks. Additionally, don’t stop in places where others can’t see you until it’s too late.

When making a lane change, signaling your turn and try to make eye contact with those you are approaching.

Signal

No amount of visibility will make up for erratic riding. Be sure to signal where you are going so auto drivers, other cyclists and/or pedestrians know where you are headed. When overtaking riders or walkers from behind, be sure to let them know where you are going with a simple “on your left” or “on your right”. Then, give them a moment before passing and ring a bell if you have one.

Kids

Kids riding bikes is something we need to preserve in this digital world. The best way to keep kids on bikes is to keep it fun and safe. Try to have two adults riding with kids if possible, one leading and one following. Be sure to remind children of how and when to signal, and dress them colorful clothing. Because kids bikes are lower to the ground than an adult bike, they can go unnoticed, a flag mounted to the bike reminds drivers that there is a bike below.

Following these tips will limit the chance of accident and keep your ride fun and safe.

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. So, when you do get caught in the rain, use these bike maintenance tips to protect your equipment.

Quick and easy post bike maintenance tips after riding in the rain

by John Brown

Sadly, it is sometimes unavoidable to ride in the rain. In my experience, the rain actually waits for me to get as far from home as possible before starting. So, when you do get caught in the wet weather, how do you protect your bicycle from the damages of water? Read on for a few helpful bike maintenance tips.

The First Step In Bike Maintenance Tips Is Get It Clean!

The first step after riding in the rain is to get your bike clean. Road grime, mud, and other muck that has accumulated on your bike will hold moisture and encourage corrosion. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge is the best way to clean out that crud. Try to resist the urge to point a hose at the bike because pressured water gets into bearings promoting wear.

The Second Tip – Get It Dry

Once your bike is clean, use an old towel to get it dry. Rubber parts like tires and grips don’t need a lot of attention, rather focus on all the metal parts. Really try to address the steel hardware and make sure it’s dry to the touch before you’re done.

Then, Clean The Rims

Unless you have disc brakes, riding in the rain takes a toll on both the rims and brake pads. All the road grime that attaches itself to the rim works like sandpaper, wearing both the rim and the brake pads when you stop. Therefore, after riding in wet weather you will want to focus on getting all that abrasive grime off the rims and pads. If the dirt is left in place, your brakes can start making noise, be less efficient, and wear out quicker.

Lube The Chain

Water and motion will do a good job of scouring all the lubricant off your chain. Additionally, the same road grime that wears rims and brake pads will wear your chain. Additionally, that wear leaves your chain particularly susceptible to rust. To lube your chain, start by propping the bike up so you can rotate the cranks backward freely. Next, Backpedal the bike, while dripping lubricant onto each chain link. Once the chain is well saturated, give a few moments for the lubricant to penetrate the chain. Finally, wrap a rag around the chain, backpedal, and remove all the excess lubricant. Done!

Lube The Cables

Like the chain, cables will lose lubricant and wear quicker in the rain. To keep your bike shifting and braking well, drip a small amount of lubricant onto the cables where they enter the housing. Once capillary action carries a few drops of lubricant into the housing, shift through your gears a few times and squeeze the brakes repeatedly to help the lubricant find its way.

Drain The Bike

A bicycle may appear to be sealed from the elements, but it is, in fact, able to take on water when you ride in the rain. The water that collects inside the frame of your bicycle can destroy bearings, rust a frame from the inside, or freeze in the winter and burst frame tubes. To drain a frame, pull the seat and seat post out of the bike, and turn the bike upside down. Leave the bike for a few hours to drain and then replace the seat and post.

Overall, when servicing your bike after you ride in the rain be aware of the corrosion and wear rain can cause. Focus on getting the bike clean and re-lubricated, ready for your next ride.

During bike month and any time of the year Winona is a fun place to visit with a bike.

It’s bike month in Winona and fun anytime of the year to visit!

Celebrating communities coast to coast with National Bike Month, we wanted to share what residence of Winona, MN are saying. A Bronze Bike Friendly Community, this area offers many bike-related activities for you to enjoy any time of the year while visiting.

Located in Southeast Minnesota along the Mississippi River, the city is a very comfortable place to explore on two wheels. Thanks to Pam Eyden, who profiled the following cyclist, we think you will agree that Winona is a place to consider while visiting with your bike.  Don’t miss the fun, also check their May Bike Month web page www.visitwinona.com/may-is-bike-month to find out what’s happening.

Fun biking around Winona and the 6-day 500-mile ride, Profile #1

Enthusiastic as a kid about riding her bike, Deb Hegland rides 500 miles in Six Days and loves it! Whether alone, with her husband Bryan or with friends, she gets out as often as she can. When together they both enjoy riding the roads at home and away. This winter Deb and Bryon went to Australia, where they did city tours on e-bikes.

Deb and Bryon Hegland in Duluth on a ride.

Deb and Bryon Hegland in Duluth on a ride.

Biking in the Habitat for Humanity Minnesota 500 Ride, every summer, is another high point of Deb’s year. This will be her eighth year of riding for the charity. Her goal is to do 20-consecutive years. “I wish I’d started earlier,” she laughed. Eight years ago, a friend talked her into signing up for what was then a seven-day fundraising ride in support of Habitat for Humanity and its aim of providing safe, affordable housing for all who need it.

Riding 500 miles in seven days sounds daunting for the average recreational bike rider. Her husband was skeptical because Deb had never done anything similar before. “He said, “fine, sign up. Just don’t sign me up!” Deb recalled. “He fully expected that I would call and want to be rescued part way through the ride.” Her daughter expected the same thing but that didn’t happen. Early on, Deb was overwhelmed and considering dropping out.

Then she was befriended by a woman who knew the ropes. “She taught me everything!” Deb stated. Everything meant riding 90-miles a day, pacing yourself — it’s a ride, not a race — washing shirts in a sink at night and sleeping in school gyms alongside dozens of “new best friends” as Deb calls them.

Deb owns her own business and works out of her home, a perfect situation for someone who likes to create her own schedule and freedom to ride and train when she wants. “I will never retire because I love my business,” she said, “but I really love to have fun,” she exclaimed.

The Habitat Minnesota 500 Ride will be held July 14 – 19 (it’s now just a six-day ride) this year in northern Minnesota. Despite recuperating from ankle surgery, Deb said she and her husband, who joined the ride after that first year, will be there. They don’t want to miss the fun, and she suggests that you don’t want to miss it, either.                                                         — Pam Eyden

A family on wheels, biking around Winona, Profile #2

When they first met in Utah years ago, some of Sundra and Patrick Menton’s first dates were on mountain bikes. “He was already into it,” she said, “so I started riding, too.” They married, moved to Winona and now have two kids, Avri and August and biking is a total family activity.
“We ride wherever we can ride together,” said Sundra. Sometimes that means riding around Lake Winona; sometimes it’s gravel country roads, and sometimes it’s the Root River Trail out of Rushford, MN. At the end of that ride, there’s ice cream for a treat — a sure incentive.

The Menton’s taught their children to ride using “balance bikes,” pedal-less
bikes that toddlers can walk, stride, push and glide on. Kids seem to learn faster how
to steer and keep their balance than when they start with tricycles or training
wheels, Patrick said.

Avri has just finished her first year on the Winona Composites/Winona High School mountain biking team. She knows the trails up on the bluffs behind Holzinger Lodge and at Bronk Unit’s Cherry Hill pretty well by now. Her brother August just joined the team. The family will be taking their vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas, this spring. The town has become a mountain biking mecca because of its many miles of constructed mountain biking trails in nearby hills, ravines, and forests.

Patrick, who works as Winona’s assistant recreation director, is an enthusiastic supporter of the new “Bluff Traverse” trail system Winona is planning to build. It will connect the town with the blufftop, and offer both hiking and biking trails for people of all skill levels. “We have all the trailers and gear we need,” he said, “but when Winona’s new trails are built, we’ll be able to ride from our house, around town and to the top of the bluffs without driving.”          — Pam Eyden

Fun anytime, biking around Winona, Profile #3

Kay Peterson, a client services coordinator at Winona Volunteer Services, loves bicycle riding. She has six bikes — a road bike, a fat-tire bike, two mountain bikes, a winter bike with used snowmobile bar mitts to cover her arms, and her everyday bike, which she calls her “horse.” She rides her horse to work, a four-mile round trip most days.

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Kay said. “I started when I had an old car that burned gallons of gas just to drive short distances. It was a waste of money! I thought, ‘This is such a small town, I’ll try riding everywhere.’ After I started, I was hooked.”

She rides all year, even in the depths of winter, when wind chill temperatures are way below zero, in blizzards, ice, snow, wind, and rain. She’s got the gear, she’s got the clothes and swears she never gets cold. Or not very cold.

Biking clears her mind, she said. New ideas come to her while she’s wheeling down the street. In the summer she also loves gardening. “Biking and gardening are always competing for my time,” she laughed.

Mountain biking

A few years ago a friend persuaded her to try mountain biking. She soon came to love the challenge and the thrill of it. Her favorite trails are at Cherry Hill, in the Bronk Unit (location). “It’s a hidden gem,” she said.

She encourages friends and clients to get on bikes and ride. In an effort to get bikes to people who need them, she coordinates the Winona Volunteer Services Bike Program. Adventure Cycle and Ski accepts donated bikes, fixes, and tunes them up, then the Bike Program donates them to qualified people who need them. The program has given away 160 bikes in the last ten years.                                                                                                                                    — Pam Eyden

Bike around Winona, Profile #4

Emily Krall, 31, likes biking for the freedom and for the convenience of it. Manager of Blooming Grounds Coffeehouse, in downtown Winona, she usually bikes to work, at least when the weather’s good. She lives just a couple of miles away and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best. “I haven’t timed it, but biking is probably faster than driving,” she said. “Besides, the great thing is I don’t have to find a place to park! Before I got my bike I got lots of parking tickets. I work full time — having to move my car every two hours all day is no way to live.”

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

She also rides her bike to do errands, like to pick up a few things at Target. She carries purchases home in her backpack, which works fine, she said, because she’s not a person who likes to buy a lot of new stuff. She prefers the side streets and always rides defensively. “I trust that no one will hit me, but I watch everything,” she stated.

Bike touring after work

After work, she enjoys touring around Lake Winona and out to Prairie Island on a 13-mile loop near the river that passes the Minnesota City Boat Club and the airport.

Access to the natural world is one thing Emily loves about Winona. She recently moved here from Greenville, North Carolina, a city of 80,000, where the traffic was bad and biking was difficult. “Greenville wasn’t bike-friendly at all. I had to drive a couple of hours just to find a place to ride in nature. Here it’s so easy! There aren’t a lot of bike lanes in the town, but Winona is surrounded by so much beauty!”

Emily bought her bike on Craigslist for $150 from someone whose family had had it for three generations. It’s a classic Schwinn, with original green paint, original logos, and original seat. She mostly rides alone now, but will soon have company. Her four-year-old daughter is about ready to ride along.                                                                                                                 — Pam Eyden

Getting around Winona by bike, Profile #5

When Jo McGrath moved to Winona, from Rochester in 1997, friends told her to bring her bike because the town was flat and bikeable. She can’t remember why she was skeptical, but she did as they advised. Twenty-one years later, she’s still riding. She never bought a car. “I have a big bike with three baskets. That’s all I need,” she said. “If the weather’s bad or the trip is long, I can put my bike on the bus — although not if the baskets are full.”

Jo, who retired from work as a nursing assistant and personal companion, now volunteers one day a week at the Catholic Worker’s Bethany House. She lives on West Broadway and rides her bike to town several times a week — to the Bluff Country Coop, the library and farmers market. She also rides over to the river to see how the floodwaters are doing. “I just do the normal things,” she said. “I stay off of Broadway and take Seventh St. instead, which is easier.”

Using Winona’s quiet neighborhood streets to get around

She used to go on biking adventures with her husband and she also rode with the bike group at the Winona Friendship Center. One of her four daughters leads bicycling tours in Europe, but biking is just a part of everyday life for Jo. She’s happily riding her bike to the Center in Winona to play ping-pong. “As a child, I had training wheels on my bike until I was in seventh grade!” she said. “I didn’t give them up until my friends wanted to go on a picnic at Mayowood. Then I learned. I was not going to ride with training wheels on my bike that day!

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

“We all have to be aware of each other. Bikers can do crazy things, so can walkers and drivers. I believe in mindfulness. Of course, putting it into action is another thing!” she laughed.                                                                                                                                          — Pam Eyden

A mountain biker, Profile #6

Sheldon Morgan discovered the sport of mountain biking in the late 1980s and has been doing it ever since. Now he rides his mountain bike at least eight hours a week and travels to other parts of the country for trail events and races, besides organizing rides here in Winona.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Winter he rides fat-tire bikes in the snow

To work at his office in downtown Winona, where he consults on IT projects, he rides his everyday bike — a 20-mile round-trip commute. I ride more miles on roads, but more hours on trails,” Sheldon said. “I mostly ride on roads when the trails are wet.”
Mountain biking is number one for him. Trails put him closer to nature, which he enjoys. Riding through the woods is solitary and challenging. Endorphins and risk are also addictive.
“Even riding the same trails, you can always improve your speed, your grace, and your not-falling!” he said.

The Hillbilly Gravel Grinder

In early May he organized the Hillbilly Gravel Grinder, a 100-mile ride on the gravel county roads of Winona, Fillmore and Houston Counties. About 25 people started out at 9 a.m. and most completed the route by 6 — nine hours, including breaks. People enjoy the county roads because there isn’t as much traffic. “I ride for the mental stability and the exercise. I like to run, too, but I can’t run as long or as far as I can ride,” Sheldon said.

Winona’s mountain bike trail design

Over the years, Sheldon has developed an interest in and expertise in trial design. He and a partner formed a business, Dirty Deeds Earth Services, LLC, to help with trail maintenance and design at Holzinger Park, which, he says has “old school” trails, not well designed to counter erosion. He’s also helped the city at Sugar Loaf and has designed and created single-track mountain biking trails at the Bronk Unit of Minnesota’s Richard Dorer State Forest. This area, called Cherry Hill, is one of his favorites in the area.

Trails at Holzinger and Sugar Loaf will get a new, close examination for sustainability during the Winona City park planning process this summer.

Trails can be great therapy for kids

Sheldon believes mountain biking could be great therapy for kids who’ve lost touch with their roots and with nature. “There’s a lot of stress on teenagers these days. It’s higher than ever, because of social media and access to all kinds of media,” he said. “They need to re-engage with the world.”

Sheldon points out that parents and peers can do a lot to encourage kids, first maybe by getting on a bike themselves. “The city has to provide the infrastructure, but parents and peers bring will kids in.” That’s how he learned. “My whole family was very active in outdoor sports. It’s in my DNA, I think?”

He and his 26-year-old ride together, as they have for years. They go on mountain bike journeys together, riding and camping, and taking a break once in a while for rock climbing.
Biking, rock climbing, running and kayaking — he loves it all. “And it’s all right here in Winona!” he exults.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay stay for the hospitality.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay for the hospitality.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try. National Bike to Work Week 2019 will be held from May 13–19. Bike to Work Day is May 17!

What started as way to get more people active, the "30 Days of Biking" campaign has grown in popularity and shows added heart-health value.

Have fun, stay healthy with 30 Days of Biking in April

What started as a way to get more people active, the “30 Days of Biking” campaign has grown in popularity and shows added heart-healthy values as the drive moves forward. For many, biking in April leaves much to be desired, unless there is above normal spring conditions. But it doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. With 30 Days of Biking, you sign up with your own set of rules on how far and where you want to ride each day. It might be as little as a spin around the block, a few laps around the underground parking garage or spinning at the gym, all depending on the weather. Then as May approaches you will not only have bragging rights, you will feel a lot better and be at your peak ready for the summer bike season.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if its in April any any other time of the year.

The only rule, dress to meet your own bodies comfort level no matter if it’s in April or any other time of the year.

Cycling can improve your health keeping you on top of your game.

 Did you know that just 20 minutes of cycling in a day can cut in half your risk of dying from a heart-related disease? You will also feel better and may help improve your muscle for walking, general balance, and climbing stairs according to a recent study conducted by Purdue University, in Indiana. The study concluded that regular cycling can cut your risk of heart disease by a whopping 50 percent. Let’s see now, besides bragging rights, if I turn my bikes crank each day in April I will feel better – where do I sign up?

Signing up and pledging to ride 30 Days in April biking, it’s free!

The 30-day campaign is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, any distance, any destination and share your adventures online at  #30daysofbiking.  So tell your friends, sign up and ride together and make sure your bike is ready to roll.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

Join 30 Days of Biking through April, wearing this tee-shirt and feeling good about yourself.

30 Days of Biking is a springtime tradition founded in 2010 by two avid cyclists in Minneapolis. Last year over 10,000 bicyclists from St. Paul, to San Diego, to Düsseldorf, Germany, join this “community of joyful cyclists.” Will you join them?

Very simply, it’s a pledge to ride your bike every day in April, no matter, what the weather or if it is one or thirty-miles each day and trainer bike miles count too!

Join 30 Days of Biking biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner.

Join 30 Days of Biking, April 1 through 30 and be a winner with better health and more friends.

Sometimes you have to bike in the rain as spring arrives, so make it fun!

Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.Depending on the weather, you sign up and set your own rules as to how far you ride. It might be as little as a spin around the block.

Staying dry is the most important and difficult part of riding. The best way to keep dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. Therefore, a waterproof jacket and pants are a great way to start, but waterproof socks and gloves make the outfit complete. While a lot of materials are naturally waterproof, once perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” read on to understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Quick and easy bicycle maintenance tips for 30 Days of Biking

Like any other mechanical device, routine bicycle maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition when riding 30 Days in April. Additionally, routine bicycle maintenance will make your bike safe to ride whenever you need it. Where do you start? What do you use? Well, here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

After finishing your daily 30 Days challenge here are a few more tips to prepare your bike for the next day.

Get ready, make a pledge to 30 Days of Biking today!

 It’s easy and no monetary costs to you. Then you share your adventures online with #30daysofbiking #nextbikeadventure and have fun while supporting a good cause, your health!

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

This Sunday join HaveFunBiking for the latest in electric bike technology

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so and you are looking to extend your range of bicycle travel, you are in luck. Coming to Minneapolis, the E-bike Challenge, Today and Sunday,s March 23–24, 2019. Mark your calendar and plan to see and test all the latest e-bike models on the shows indoor test track.

So what is a pedal-assist electric bike

Also called a “pedal-assist” bike, an e-bike has a battery and motor that allows a bicyclist to ride farther, with greater ease. Some cyclists, using an e-bike, can reach a distance of up to 70 miles on a charge. With a pedal-assist system, the rider must pedal to engage the motor to enable a more leisurely ride. see more in the shows: E-bike/Hike Guide to prepare the questions you will want to ask.

With more than 30 bicycle brands exhibiting at the show. Each brand will have several models, so choosing the right type of e-bike for your style of riding. Making it easy to find an electric bike for commuting, recreational riding or hauling cargo, Plus options for shuttling the family, e-trikes, e-fat-bikes, and many e-bike accessories.

A fun test track, many workshop presentations and more

Just imagine, after narrowing down your e-bike selection, taking the bike out for a spin on the indoor track set up around the at the E-bike Challenge. The event also features breakout sessions, a kids’ bike test track, an e-bike theater space, fun family activities, and more.

Breakout sessions at the event include, “Easy commuting by e-bike” and “The secret of ice fishing with a fat tire e-bike.” Another keynote presentation will feature, “How to build the future bicycling friendly city.”

Tickets for the E-bike Challenge are six dollars at the door. When purchased online, they are four dollars; and children up to 12-years with a parent or guardian are free.

For more information about the E-bike Challenge, see the KSTP TV video clip.

If you are looking for a gently used bike in the south Twin City Metro, you may be in luck if you are in town on Saturday, May 11th.

Bicycle maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Like any other mechanical device, routine bicycle maintenance and cleaning will keep your bike in optimal condition. Additionally, routine bicycle maintenance will make your bike safer to ride when you need it. Where do you start? What do you use? Well, here are a few tips to put you on the right track!

Tip 1: For optimal bicycle maintenance stay away from the hose

Bike running smooth hose and bucket

Angry hose and happy bucket

Every moving part on your bicycle needs lubrication to stay in optimal condition. The pressure of water coming from a hose will force water into areas that need to be lubricated. The water will displace grease and leave your bicycle susceptible to corrosion and excess wear. Instead of a hose, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water (Dawn dish detergent works well) and use a large sponge to clean all the parts of your bicycle. Rinse all the soap and gunk off with fresh water, and let the bicycle air dry.

Tip 2: Focusing on the drivetrain

If you have a particularly dirty drivetrain* and want to get it clean you will need the following:Bike running smooth supplies

• Degreaser
• A stiff bristled brush
• Rubber gloves
• Protective eyewear

 

*(the gears, chain, and the little pulley wheels on your derailleur)

  • First: Start by applying a liberal amount of degreaser to the chain, gears, and derailleur pulleys. Also, pay close attention not to direct degreaser toward the center of either gear set. Doing so will drive degreaser into bearings that need to remain lubricated.
  • Second: Once well saturated, begin freeing up dirt and debris by scrubbing back and forth with the stiff bristled brush.
  • Third: After you have broken up all the contaminants, rinse the drivetrain with a warm soap/water solution.

Tip 3: reapply lubricant

Most areas of a bicycle are protected from the elements with rubber seals. Those rubber seals do a good job of keeping lubricants where they are supposed to be. Furthermore, it also means that the only areas of a bicycle that can be lubricated without disassembly are the chain and cables.

 Lubricating the chain

bicycle maintenance

Proper lubrication is essential to keep your bike in optimal condition

  • First: To lube the chain, prop your bicycle up so you can freely backpedal. While backpedaling, coat the chain evenly with a lubricant like in the image above.
  • Second: Fold a rag around the chain between the lowest pully and the chainrings. Next, backpedal with your right hand, while holding the rag in place with your left. You want to try and remove all the excess lubricant you can. When complete, the chain will feel almost dry to the touch, and that’s OK. Even though the outside of the chain seems under lubricated, there is still ample amounts of lubricant between the links of the chain and within the rollers.

Lubricating the cables

If shifting of braking feels rough at the lever, you may need to lube the cables. Here’s how to do that:

  • First: Apply lubricant in small doses where the cable enters the housing (see below).
  • Second: Cycle the gears, or squeeze the brakes until capillary action draws the lube into the cable housing.

bicycle maintenance

Making sure your bicycle is clean and properly lubricated is essential to make sure your bike is in optimal condition.

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Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

One more day, to test ride the latest in electric bike technology

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so and you are looking to extend your range of bicycle travel, you are in luck. Coming to Minneapolis, the E-bike Challenge is March 23–24, 2019. Mark your calendar and plan to see and test all the latest e-bike models on the shows indoor test track.

So what is a pedal-assist electric bike

Also called a “pedal-assist” bike, an e-bike has a battery and motor that allows a bicyclist to ride farther, with greater ease. Some cyclists, using an e-bike, can reach a distance of up to 70 miles on a charge. With a pedal-assist system, the rider must pedal to engage the motor to enable a more leisurely ride. see more in the shows: E-bike/Hike Guide to prepare the questions you will want to ask.

With more than 30 bicycle brands exhibiting at the show. Each brand will have several models, so choosing the right type of e-bike for your style of riding. Making it easy to find an electric bike for commuting, recreational riding or hauling cargo, Plus options for shuttling the family, e-trikes, e-fat-bikes, and many e-bike accessories.

A fun test track, many workshop presentations and more

Just imagine, after narrowing down your e-bike selection, taking the bike out for a spin on the indoor track set up around the at the E-bike Challenge. The event also features breakout sessions, a kids’ bike test track, an e-bike theater space, fun family activities, and more.

Breakout sessions at the event include, “Easy commuting by e-bike” and “The secret of ice fishing with a fat tire e-bike.” Another keynote presentation will feature, “How to build the future bicycling friendly city.”

Tickets for the E-bike Challenge are six dollars at the door. When purchased online, they are four dollars; and children up to 12-years with a parent or guardian are free.

For more information about the E-bike Challenge, see the KSTP TV video clip.