The Freewheel Winter Bike Expo, located on the Midtown Greenway in the heart of Minneapolis recently concluded. The Expo, in it’s fifth year had something to offer every winter cyclist. While the bike shop itself appeared to be, business as usual, with a bustling crowd of cyclist ordering and enjoying coffee and snacks, the real event was all around. As my son and I rode in on the greenway from the south, the first hint of the expo to appear on the horizon was the large, brightly colored Freewheel Bike van, and a wide array of demo fat-bikes from the likes of Surly, Trek and Salsa. As the yellow ribbons of tape that outlined the Super Fat Crit course came into focus, so too did the muddy, water filled ruts caused by a recent warm-up in the area.
Despite the mud, there were plenty of people out enjoying the course on bikes that they surely would not be cleaning themselves. Not wanting to dirty my son’s and my own bike just yet, we hurried to the inside venue to sit-in on one of the many seminars going on throughout the day. We caught the tail end of Winter Commuting and stayed for Winter Bike Packing. Other offerings included winterizing your bike, as well as frame development from Trek, and equipping oneself for winter adventure from 45North.
Once out of the seminar, my son and I found our way to the south, warehouse sized room, filled with winter cycling goodness. Inside was everything currently available from 45North, winter riding helmets from Lazer, fat-bike tires, skinny studded tires, winter riding clothes, fenders, lots of fat-bike wheels and rims, more clothes and shoes, bikepacking gear and more fat-bikes than you could shake a stick at.
After several hours of milling about and catching up with friends my son and I headed out, but not before riding the demo course. Our ratio was 2 to his 10, as far as laps go. My boy took every opportunity to thoroughly muddy himself on his new 24 inch wheeled, Framed Wolftrax, as I got some last minute conversations in with friends. I would return later in the evening, dead set on merely observing the Super Fat Crit.
I intentionally rode my new Trek 9.8 Farley with the idea that I would never subject it to all the nasty mud at such an early stage in it’s riding existence. As a backup, I also went sans helmet and arrived about 15 minutes late. None of the three “road blocks” worked, upon arrival I was greeted outside by Kevin, owner of Freewheel Bike, and was asked, (told) “you’re racing right”. I, in a whiny Luke Skywalker voice and body position exclaimed, “I have a new bike and no helmet, I’m not riding in that shit”. Kevin replies, as we’re already walking into the shop, “ I’ll get you a demo bike, what do you want,… rigid, front suspension, or full suspension” ? Me… “ Ummm rigid” Kevin… “ok, here’s a Bucksaw”. As we walk outside to the start line the infamous Pete Giegle hands me his helmet.
Several minutes later I’m rolling through the standing water and mud at top speed. There is a large alcohol fueled crowd yelling and cheering as we all pass…..the mood is happy and energizing. Amongst the ruckus, as I roll past the cheering section on the first lap, I distinctly hear the voice of Ben (Salsa Rep) exclaim, (in Kip from Napoleon Dynamite voice) “Hey is that my bike “? The race goes on long enough for me to get a good feel for the Bucksaw on the extended demo ride I’m having, as well as soaking nearly every square inch of my body.
This pretty much sums up what one can expect on a fun, bicycle induced night, here in Minneapolis. With any luck the Winter Bike Expo will be back next year, watch for it and be sure not to miss out!
D Rider ……out
Read more from Deathrider at – http://deathrideradventure.blogspot.com/
Freewheel Bikes is the host of the Winter Bike Expo. Visit their website – http://freewheelbike.com/