2018 Biking Year In Review

Although not quite as big as my running year, 2018 saw me biking a lot more than I ever have in the past. I’ve really come to love the idea of two wheeled transport, and wish that my job was close enough for me to actually do it as a commuting option. I did commute a couple times this year, but not nearly as much as I would like to. My wife and I also didn’t get out quite as much as I had hoped together, but I did get her a new bike seat, so hopefully that will help encourage some additional adventures next year.

IMG_2248.JPGAt the beginning of the year I picked up some studded tires for my hybrid bike, and gave a little bit of winter riding a try. I only got out a couple of times, but it was a lot of fun, and showed me that you can actually do this year round. Once the snow cleared I was able to start getting out a bit more regularly.

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PC: Michael Tangen

One of the most consistent times that I ride is on Wednesday nights with our Beer & Bikes crew. My friend Michael started this years ago and it’s been a great way to keep consistently riding each week. Our little group grew a bit this year and we’ve added a few new regulars. It’s been fun getting to know more people through the biking community, as it’s still a group that I’m not quite as connected to.

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PC: Abe McEtheron

I also managed some nice weekend rides, including a trip down to Saint Paul to cheer on the Twin Cities Marathon. I had a ton of fun on this ride and might make it a tradition. I also did my third annual Fall Fifty+Five ride. This is a 50 mile bike ride that include stops at 5 different breweries. This year we had a ton of people join us, and from the sounds of it almost everyone had a great time.

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PC: Michael Tangen

One of the other joys of biking this year is learning more and more about how to maintain and fix bikes. I spent a lot of time learning about how to tune up my ride and even make some slightly more in-depth repairs, such as shifters and disc brakes. I then got to practice my skills with the wonderful organization Free Bikes 4 Kidz. They take donated bikes and fix them up to give away to kids who don’t have bikes. It’s a great thing to be a part of, and I’m super happy that our Beer & Bikes group did this activity again this year.

DSC08967Finally, this fall I took the plunge and purchased a fat bike. I’ve only managed a handful of rides so far this winter, but simply knowing that I have the option is awesome. Plus, I feel like I’m much more likely to connect with the adventure/off-road biking community than the typical road bikers. Similar to how I’m more of a trail runner than road runner. Maybe it has to do with the beer and beards?

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 12.09.07 PMAt the end of it all I had a new high mileage year of 735 miles, which is not too shabby for someone who also ran 1602 miles throughout the year. I’m hoping to break 1000 next year with my ability to get on wheels in the winter time now. The biggest challenge I’m currently facing is trying to sell my old bike rack so that I can buy one that will fit my fat tire bike. Hopefully, I’ll have that squared away soon.

Cheers to all my fellow beer loving bikers, and can’t wait to do more rides in 2019!

 

Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Wednesday night, my beer and bikes group gave back to the biking community. We signed up to work a shift at an organization called Free Bikes 4 Kidz. This group takes donations of old bikes, and then does some cleanup and repair, before donating them to kids who don’t have bikes. It was started locally by a gentleman who was asked to find a bike for a friend’s child, and ended up with 250 bikes in his driveway. From there it’s grown into an amazing charity that repairs and donates thousands of bikes every year.

23519172_10110952737373440_3613580133446880265_nThis was my first year, and because I know how to change a bike tire I was a “prepper”. This meant that I would take a bike and start some of the basic repairs, such as changing tubes, lubing the seat post and pedals, and replacing damaged seats and handles. I am only a novice when it comes to bike repair so it took me a little bit to get the hang of things, but by the end of the shift I had managed to work on 3-4 bikes to get them ready for the mechanics.

This entire experience was a tons of fun and it makes me want to do more bike work to learn more. My step-son left a cheap bike in the basement, and so I might spend some time this winter fixing it up and learning how to add new components to it. That way I’ll be ready to do some higher level fixing next year when we go back. If you’re in the Twin Cities, I’d encourage you to go check it out. Even if you have no experience you can help with cleaning bikes, and getting them ready for the preppers and mechanics. It’s a great way to give back to the biking community and get kids involved in the lifelong love of biking.

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