New MORC Trail Conditions App Released for Android and an Update For IOS

The MORC Trail Conditions Forum is the best place to get up-to-date trail conditions for singletrack around the Twin Cities area.  There has been a mobile app for IOS for some time now and Apple device users have had trail condition updates at their fingertips.  Just recently an Android version of the app was launched for the rest of us.  I have been waiting a long time for this release and now it's finally here.

Although the MORC Trail Conditions app for Android is still pretty limited in its first release, it still uses data populated from the MORC Trail Conditions Forum in a list form with easy to understand icons as seen below.  Information for Monticello, Memorial Trail in Red Wing, Jail Trail in St.Cloud, Whitetail Ridge in River Falls, WI and Woolly in St. Croix Falls, WI are also included in this first release.

Andrew Reitz, the app's developer stated "the plan is to keep adding features such as the ability to get push notifications for your favorite trail when the trail status changes, see twitter updates and much more. Stay tuned!"

The MORC Trail Conditions app is free and feedback can be submitted by contacting @andrewreitz_ on Twitter.

For Apple device users, the MORC Trails app has been updated on November 9th to be compatible with IOS 11.  The app is a little more advanced than the Android version because it has been out much longer and has had updates along the way.  Links to the Trail Conditions Forum and Trail Forum are found at the bottom of each trail's page.  The MORC Trails is free and available in the iTunes App Store.

This app requires IOS 9.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Both of these apps let you see the latest MORC Trail Conditions on your phone or mobile device anytime so you can plan accordingly and avoid showing up to a closed trail.  With winter fast approaching these mobile apps will be a useful tool for fatbikers to help determine tire choice and pressure to get the best traction out on the trail.  Remember, never ride wet trails.

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2017 MN Global Fat Bike Day Events

Global Fat-Bike Day is a worldwide grassroots campaign that started five years ago to bring people from the fatbike community together to ride and make new friends.  In honor of Global Fat-Bike Day there are several rides scheduled here in Minnesota on December 2nd and one on the 3rd that you may want to get in on as well as the Winter Bike Expo, and the Superfat Crit.  I have complied a list of them so you can get your "fat on" and ride with others of the "well-endowed tire crowd".  New events will be added to this post as they become available.

Maple Grove Cycling will be hosting their Faturday-Global Fat Bike Day-MN River Bottoms ride from 10am to 2pm starting at the MN River Bottoms Lyndale lot in Bloomington.  Contact Gus@MapleGroveCycling.com for more info.

Nicollet Bike Shop in Mankato is leading Global Fat Bike Day 2017 from their shop at 1pm and will last until 3pm.  "Destination will be dependent on conditions. The ride will be casual followed by socialing with beverages and a fire. All abilities welcome!"

Touright Bicycle Shop in Little Falls will be celebrating Global Fat Bike Day, Little Falls style from 10am to 1:30pm starting from the shop.  "Global Fat Bike Day, thousands around the world who like it Fat gather on this day and ride. We will as well out of Touright.  Pete & Joy's Bakery doughnuts before we leave and Domino's Pizza when we return. And there will be Reality Roasters Coffee Company Coffee for you to drink before and fill your bottle to take along and drink when you return. Bring the family!"

Downtown Bicycles in Northfield will be hosting its fourth annual Global Fat Bike Day event from 1 to 5pm from the shop.  "Event will include a group ride, snacks and Craft beer."

Several friends will be hosting La Crosse Global Fat Bike Day starting at Myrick Park Center in La Crosse, WI from 8 to 11am.  "A fat bike ride for Global Fat Bike Day. Meet in the lower parking lot, near the Gun Shelter. If the trails are rideable, we'll go up to HPT. If they aren't, we'll stick to the state trail. Plan for an hour or two, but you can go shorter or longer if you want. Fat bikes encouraged, mountain bikes acceptable if trails aren't groomed."

The Woolly Bike Club is hosting Woolly Global Fat Bike Day in St. Croix Falls, WI from 10am to 1pm.  "No specific plans are set yet as it will be very weather dependent. Anticipate riding fatbikes with other cool Woolly people. If the Woolly trails are open, we will ride there. If not, anticipate a repeat of last year riding fat bikes in the sand barrens."

Image Credit: Freewheel Bike

The Winter Bike Expo presented by Freewheel Bike returns for its seventh year December 2nd & 3rd at the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center.  The expo draws hearty cyclists from all over to see and demo all that manufacturers have to offer for winter commuters & fatbikers.  Admission is free and the fun kicks off at 9 am each day.  Winter biking seminars will be held throughout both days and there will be fatbike demos, raffles and beer!  For a schedule of events, visit the Winter Bike Expo link above.

Image Credit: Freewheel Bike

Stick around after the Winter Bike Expo on Saturday night for the Superfat Crit, a criterium race for fatbikes set up on a feature laden course along the railroad trench of the Midtown Greenway.  Racers must have fat tires of at least 3.7" or wider and lights since the race will be conducted in the dark.  Racing starts at 6:00pm and entry requires you to bring "a pack of something to share with your new friends."  This year $500 in cash prizes will be up for grabs.  Freewheel Midtown Bike Center is located at 2834 10th Ave. S. in Minneapolis right on the Midtown Greenway.

Trailhead Cycling will be holding their Global Fat Bike Day 2017 on Sunday, December 3 at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park in Brooklyn Park from 10am to 12:30pm.  "Meet at the Coon Rapids Dam Brooklyn Park Entrance off West River Road. We'll ride the Trails along the River and thru the BP Environmental area. Those that feel up to it; we'll pedal to Omni Brewing for a little refreshment. Last year we had over 70 riders; this year let's break 100!"


45NRTH Introduces Wölvhammer Red Wing Edition

Image Credit: 45NRTH

45NRTH has teamed up with Red Wing Shoes to come out with a new Limited Edition Wölvhammer design.  The new boot was unveiled at a 45NRTH Limited Edition Product Launch at Angry Catfish in Minneapolis on October 20th.  This new boot has all of the technical features of the previous year model including lace-up design with gusseted tongue, 200g Primaloft® aerogel insole under the foot and a 45NRTH rubber outsole with Hypergrip for added slip resistance (2-bolt compatible). Suggested temperature range remains the same as the original at 0° (-18°C) to 25°F (-3°C).

Image Credit: 45NRTH

According to 45NRTH this limited edition boot has a "Waterproof-breathable membrane for moisture control, mid-calf height for weather protection and comfort, gaiter hook for fatbiking in deep snow and added insulation above the ankle" and is made from "100% full grain locally sourced Red Wing Leather®."

Image Credit: 45NRTH

Look for them to start showing up 45NRTH Dealers including Penn Cycle soon for $344.99.


Interbike 2017 Cool Bike Gear-Part 2

This year's Interbike wasn't what it was in past years, there were a lot of big players in the industry that were no-shows at this year's show, however that didn't discourage me from finding some cool new bike products.  This is the second installment of my recap of the cool Interbike 2017 finds that I came across during the convention and if you ride like I do, I think you'll find these products as useful as I see their potential.

TOGS Flex Model

I have been a big fan of TOGS since first seeing them at Interbike '15.  TOGS was kind enough to set me up with a pair of hinged carbon TOGS at that show and they have been standard equipment on my bike ever since.  TOGS stands for "Thumb Over Grip System" which gives a rider multiple hand positions without the use of bar ends.  I found them most useful during long gravel rides and for climbing to keep my hands and wrists from becoming fatigued or to give me a little better leverage without loss of control for braking and shifting.

New this Fall are the TOGS Flex Model.  This design incorporates a raised hood with a flexible rubber tip that has a some give to it and provides a little shock absorption compared to the original models.  The Flex model will be available soon in numerous colors at bike shops that are supplied by QBP or directly from TOGS for $22.50.  To learn more about TOGS, watch the video below from this year's Interbike.

Wren Fatbike Suspension Fork

I got a chance to meet Kevin Wren, the founder of Wren Sports at Interbike '17 and discuss the Wren Fatbike Suspension Fork and what makes it different from other fatbike suspension forks.  The first thing I noticed about this fork is the stanchions are on the bottom which which I was told are lighter making the fork react quicker out on the trail.  The seals also face downward to help keep grit and grime from getting into the fork.  It has keyes to "perfectly align the stanchions in the uppers and are designed to shear should you take a really big hit. This protects the channels and your fork from damage. The fork will still function and the keys are easily replaced." 

This fork also has a TwinAir System that can be easily adjusted and fine tuned with an air pump.  A single positive air chamber is located in one stanchion that has a floating piston with valves on the top and bottom which allows pressure to equalize on either side of the piston as you add or release air.  "More air in the top chamber will increase its volume relative to the bottom chamber and the fork will exhibit a more plush ride. If the bottom chamber volume is larger relative to the top, the fork will exhibit a stiffer, more progressive ride."

The Wren Fatbike Suspension Forks come with carbon bash guards in hub widths 135mm with 110mm or 150mm of travel for $899.99 (add $50 for 150mm travel) and 150mm with 110mm or 150mm of travel (add $50 for 150mm travel) also for $899.99 directly from Wren Sports.  For you Winter fatbikers, there is an available new Winter Damper that I was told is good down to -20 degrees F. that can easily be changed out from the stock one.  Contact Wren Sports for more information.

Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive XL

Being a fatbiker, the Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive XL caught my eye right away.  Its compact size is just under 12 inches tall and weighs a little over 12 oz.  This pump was designed for fat and plus bikes due to its high volume chamber.  It has an integrated 1.6 inch digital gauge on the flexible hose that is said to be highly accurate.  A stainless steel folding foot peg helps keep it stable during use.  It also has a patented air bleed system built in and is Presta/Schrader compatible.  Available from Lezyne, local bike shops and Amazon for $89.99.


Interbike 2017 Cool Bike Gear-Part 1

This year's Interbike wasn't what it was in past years, there were a lot of big players in the industry that were no-shows at this year's show, however that didn't discourage me from finding some cool new bike products.  This is the first installment of my recap of the cool Interbike 2017 finds that I came across during the convention and if you ride like I do, I think you'll find these products as useful as I see their potential.

Garmin Charge™ Power Pack

For those that have the new Garmin Edge 1030 there is an available Garmin Charge™ Power Pack that gives users an extra 24 hours of battery life.  It fits seamlessly with the new Garmin Edge 1030 mount and if you would like to use with an older Garmin model it can be done by using an additional USB charging cable.  Available from Garmin and numerous Garmin retailers for $129.99.

Brilliant Reflective Strips

Brilliant Reflective Strips are a great way to give cyclists extra visibility to motorists and other cyclists in low light and night riding conditions.  They are made with 3M™ Scotchlite™ Reflective Material tape that is highly reflective which come in stick-on (removable) and iron-on (permanent) packs.  The stick-on strips work great on helmets and bike frames while the iron-on strips are an option for cycling apparel to use bio-motion to be better seen.  Colors available are Red, Blue, Black and Purple.  Available from the Brilliant Reflective Strips website, Erik's Bike Shop and on Amazon.com for $14.95/pack.

Maxxis Moosetrak

New to the Maxxis lineup for fatbikers is the Moosetrak studded tire, their first studded fatbike tire.  It comes in a 60 & 120 tpi folding bead, tubeless-ready casing that has a dual winter rubber compound.  This is a 26" tire that is an extra wide 4.8".  It has 258 concave studs and a tread pattern that is designed to have a low rolling resistance in hard pack conditions.  Price has not been determined yet, but expect them to start showing up at your local bike shop this Fall.


New from RideAir Innovations is the RideAir Portable Air Tank.  It is a compressed air capsule that fits in a standard water bottle cage for inflating flats or adjusting tire pressure on the fly.  RideAir is refillable using a compressor or gas station air pump.  It can even be used to seat tubeless tires.  It has an inflation gauge so you know how much air you have left in it and is Presta/Schrader compatible.  RideAir is available in a variety of colors with or without a cable lock to lock it to your frame.  RideAir retails for $59.99 or with a lock for $69.99.  Available from RideAir Innovations and Amazon.com.


Interbike '17 Outdoor Demo Finds

The last time I visited the Interbike Outdoor Demo was in 2015 and this year had quite a bit fewer vendors to visit.  Despite the smaller size, I did come across some cool finds that I wanted to share with you.

Skratch Labs is my favorite hydration mix for my water bottles and hydration pack and I was pleased to find that they have added two new flavors as well as a new package design.  I got a chance to try both of these new flavors in their Exercise Hydration Mix line.  They include Hydration Drink Mix with Strawberries and Hydration Drink Mix with Passion Fruit.  The Strawberry mix is light in flavor and sweetness but the Passion Fruit flavor is the one I liked and could see myself sipping on during an all day gravel or mountain bike ride.  Both flavors are now available from your LBS or from Skratch Labs in 16 oz. resealable bags, single serving 20 packs and single serving.

The Henty Enduro Backpack immediately caught my attention as I walked past the booth at the Outdoor Demo.  I saw multiple possibilities for this pack for use during mountain biking, gravel riding and especially winter fatbike riding.  This pack sits on the lower back close to a rider's center of gravity.  It is made from a tough Cordura 500D nylon to be lightweight (550 gr.) and for strength.  It provides lumbar impact protection and the molded foam used in this area is designed to have improved air ventilation for those hot days.

Not only does this pack hold a hydration bladder up to 3L. (not included) but has a bunch of  pockets for things like tools, tubes, nutrition and any other gear you need to bring along for the ride.  I see this as being a great pack for the fatbike crowd during the winter.  It can be worn underneath a jacket to be insulated from the outside cold thus using your own body heat preventing the bladder and water line from freezing up.  Comes in colors Black for $110 and Camo for $130 available direct from Henty.

Minnesota brand Otso Cycles was at the Outdoor Demo with a couple of new Voytek builds to choose from for 2018.  Co-owner Dan Dittmer took some time to tell me about the new Voytek Expert and Voytek Ultimate (shown in the picture above) models available.  These new 2018 models get a cool new paint scheme and can be upgraded to include a carbon wheelset (Voytek Expert), Rockshox Bluto, Lauf Carbonara or Fox F34 Factory (27.5 only) fork.  The Otso Voytek Ultimate is their top of the line build with a Shimano XX1 Eagle drivetrain, HED No Big Deal carbon wheels, Magura MT8 hydraulic disc brakes, Race Face Next carbon crankset, Race Face Next carbon seatpost and a Race Face Next carbon riser handlebar.  List price for the Voytek Ultimate is $8,099 and the Voytek Expert $4,099.  Available in October from Otso Cycles and look for them soon at Penn Cycle stores in the Twin Cities.

One thing I noticed in the e-bike class was camouflage fatbikes geared towards hunters.  These bikes included a camouflage paint scheme, racks or rack mounts to carry gear and have top speeds of 20 mph.  The Surface604 Boar Camo Fat Bike (pictured above) is budget friendly with a 750W (peaks at 1000W) rear hub motor and a torque sensing pedal assist with a throttle (range 35 miles), Tektro Auriga hydraulic disc brakes, a SRAM X5 10 speed drivetrain with a 11-36T cassette and Kenda Juggernaut Sport (26x4.5) tires.  Comes in sizes S/M 17.5" & M/L 19.0" for $2199.


2018 Minnesota Bike Tours, Rides, Races & Events Schedule

The 2018 bike season is filling up fast with all sorts of events, rides, tours, races and festivals.  I have compiled a chronological list of events with links to more information and some with online registration.  Earlier is better when planning which events you are going to participate in as some have a cap on the number of participants or registration deadlines. Use this event listing to save the day for the ones you want to participate in.

This post is a work in progress, so bookmark it and check back often for new event listings.  If you are an event organizer and would like to have your event listed in this post, send me an email (or visit my contact page) with the information and available links.

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3rd Annual Cuyuna Fat Bike Weekend-January 5, 2018
True North Basecamp
Crosby, MN

Norpine Fat Bike Classic-January 6, 2018
Lutsen Resort
Lutsen, MN
24, 16 miles
200 racer cap

Framed Bikes Pre-Loppet-January 7, 2018
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN

Freezer Burn Fatbike Race-January 13, 2018
Cambridge, MN
18, 12, 6 miles
Online Registration

Snow Crush Fat Tire Race-January 13, 2018
River Bend Nature Center
Faribault, MN
18, 12, 8 miles
Online Registration

Frosted Fatty-January 20, 2018
Spirit Mountain
Duluth, MN

Get Phat With Pat-Race #1-January 20, 2017
River Bottoms Mountain Bike Trail
Bloomington, MN

QBP Fat Bike Rennet-January 20, 2018
Hyland Lake Park Reserve
Bloomington, MN
39k, 13k
Online Registration

Carver Lake Cold Catfish Cup-January 21, 2018
Carver Lake Mountain Bike Trailhead
Woodbury, MN
18, 12 miles or 240 minute marathon
Online Registration

Faturday-Lake Rebecca-January 27, 2018
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve
Rockford, MN

Get Phat With Pat-Race #2-January 27, 2017
River Bottoms Mountain Bike Trail
Bloomington, MN 

Arrowhead 135-January 29-31, 2018
International Falls, MN
135 miles


45NRTH Whiteout-February 2-3, 2018
Cuyuna Country Recreation Area
Ironton, MN
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Fired Up Fat Bike Tour-February 3, 2018
The Jewel Golf Club
Lake City, MN

Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet-February 4, 2018
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN

Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN
Ham Lake City Park
Ham Lake, MN

Penn Cycle Fatbike Frozen 40-February 10, 2018
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN 
40, 20 miles
200 rider cap 
Facebook Event Page 

Fat Bike Vasaloppet-February 11, 2018
Lake Mora
Mora, MN
38k Race, 10k Tour
10K Tour Online Registration

Fat Forest Fourteen-February 17, 2018
Forest History Center
Grand Rapids, MN
14 miles

Faturday-Elm Creek-February 24, 2017
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN


Pledge Opening Day-30DOB2018-March 1, 2018

Northland Fat Bike Rally-March 3, 2018
Lake Bemidji State Park
Bemidji, MN
28k, 10k

TCBC Swap Meet-March 31, 2018
Hopkins VFW Post #425
Hopkins, MN
Facebook Event Page

2018 Kickoff Ride & Afterparty-March 31, 2018
Minnesota State Capitol
St. Paul, MN


30 Days of Biking-April 1-30, 2018

Falls Duathlon-April 28, 2018
Hanna's Bend Park
Cannon Falls, MN
2 mile run, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run


Superior Service Center
Apple Valley, MN

Alexander 380-May 18-19, 2018
Spring Valley, MN
380 miles

Duluth/Elk River, MN
Approx. 150 miles

Almanzo 100/Royal 162-May 19, 2018
Spring Valley, MN
162, 100 miles
Big Marine Park Reserve
Marine On St. Croix, MN


Tour de Pepin-June 2, 2018
Lake City, MN
100, 72, 50, 32 miles
Facebook Page

Tour of Lakes-June 2, 2018
Crosslake Community Center
Crosslake, MN
65-70, 35-40 miles

Buffalo Triathlon-June 3, 2018
Sturges Park
Buffalo, MN
Sprint Course: 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course: .9 mile swim, 24.6 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Bike MS: C.H. Robinson MS 150 Ride-June 8-10, 2018
Duluth to Twin Cities, MN
150 miles

Hillfest-June 9, 2018
Ptacek's IGA
Prescott, WI
100, 60, 35 miles

Liberty Triathlon-June 9, 2018
Lake Rebecca Park Reserve
Rockford, MN
Olympic Course: 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Long Course: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

Trinona Triathlon-June 9-10, 2018
Lake Winona
Winona, MN
International Course: .93 mile swim, 24.85 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Sprint Course: .25 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

Cuyuna Off-Road Triathlon-June 10, 2018
Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Crosby, MN
2 mile paddle, 8.5 mile mountain bike, 3 mile trail run

Tour of Minnesota-June 15-22, 2018
Willmar Civic Center
Willmar/Morris/Fergus Falls/Alexandria/Little Falls/St. Cloud, MN
Approx. 350 miles
Facebook Page

Bike Bemidji: Loop the Lake Festival-June 16, 2018
Sanford Event Center
Bemidji, MN
17 miles

Lutsen 99'er-June 23, 2018
Lutsen Mountains
Lutsen, MN
99, 69, 39, 19 miles
Facebook Page
Online Registration

Lake Waconia Triathlon-June 24, 2018
Lake Waconia Regional Park
Waconia, MN
1/2 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 4 mile run


Tour D'Amico-July 4, 2018
D'Amico & Sons
Golden Valley, MN
62.2, 45, 29 miles

Lifetime Tri-Minneapolis-July 14, 2018
Minneapolis, MN
International Course: .93 mile swim, 24.5 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Sprint Course: .47 mile swim, 14.8 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Super Sprint Course: .25 mile swim, 3.83 mile bike, 2.41 mile run

Graniteman Clearwater Triathlon-July 14, 2018
Warner Lake
Clearwater, MN
Sprint Course: .44 mile swim, 14.33 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course: .9 mile swim, 28.66 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

St. Croix Fat Cat Triathlon-July 14, 2018
Log House Landing
Scandia, MN
3.8 mile paddle, 5.5 mile run, 11 mile bike

Habitat 500 Bike Ride-July 15-21, 2018
Central Minnesota
500 miles

Heart of the Lakes Triathlon-July 15, 2018
Pleasant Lake City Park
Annandale, MN
Short Course: 1/4 mile swim, 9 mile bike, 2.5 mile run
Long Course: 1/2 mile swim, 21 mile bike, 5.3 mile run

UCare Tri-Loppet-July 22, 2018
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN
7k paddle, 5k trail run, 13k mountain bike

Memorial Park Stadium
Montgomery, MN
50, 33, 13 miles

Chisago Lakes Triathlon-July 29, 2018
Paradise Park
Chisago Lakes, MN
Half Course: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Aqua Bike Course: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike
Sprint Course: 1/4 mile swim, 22 mile bike, 5k run
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration


Graniteman Big Lake Triathlon-August 4, 2018
Lakeside Park
Big Lake, MN
Sprint Course: 1/3 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course: .9 mile swim, 24.6 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Facebook Event Page
Online Registration

Waseca Sprint Triathlon-August 4, 2018
Clear Lake Park
Waseca, MN
Super Sprint Course: 200 yard swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run
Sprint Course: 1/3 mile swim, 16 mile bike, 4.4 mile run

North Mankato Triathlon-August 12, 2018
Hiniker Pond Park
North Mankato, MN
1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run

Tour de Pines-August 18, 2018
Itasca State Park
Grand Rapids, MN
75, 50, 25 miles


Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trailhead
Eagan, MN


Mankato River Ramble-October 8, 2018
Mankato, MN
58, 50, 42, 26, 12 miles



Global Fat-Bike Day-December 1, 2018

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