10/30/2014

Product Review: Scosche boomBOTTLE


Scosche introduced the boomBOTTLE last year at Interbike and it caught my attention right away.  It's a rugged IPX4 Splashproof/Weatherproof Bluetooth connectivity speaker designed to fit in a water bottle cage or cupholder.  I liked the idea of the boomBOTTLE so much that I included it as one of the 20 products in my 4-part series of posts Interbike 2013 Cool Bike Gear.

Image Credit: Scosche Industries
First of all, let me go over some of the features of the boomBOTTLE.  As mentioned above, this speaker has IPX4 Splashproof/Weatherproof construction meaning it can withstand splashing water from any direction.  It's lightweight at less than 1 pound and has a shock absorbing non-slip exterior with dust and debris protective screens around the speakers.  Bluetooth connectivity gives it a wireless range of up to 33 feet and it has a 3.5mm auxiliary input for non-Bluetooth devices.  The dual 40mm drivers and passive subwoofer omni-directional speakers deliver sound 360°.  Control music playback with the multi-function button to pause, play and skip tracks.  Phone calls can be taken while riding using it as a speakerphone.  A long lasting Lithium polymer rechargeable battery provides up to 10 hours of use.


I enjoy listening to podcasts and music while I ride but the use of earbuds can interfere with me hearing approaching vehicles or passing cyclists.  The boomBOTTLE would be a safer alternative that would let me still hear the sounds around me while listening in on my favorite podcast.

I ride a lot of gravel roads so sand, dirt and mud do end up all over me and my bike on rainy days and wet conditions.  This I thought would be a good test of the boomBOTTLE's splashproof/weatherproof IPX4 rating.  Rides in the rain and on wet roads did not affect the performance of the boomBOTTLE and it continued to deliver a rich quality sound.  The slip-resistant outer coating and screens over the speakers protected it from the the water and debris flung at it from my wheels.

After these wet rides the boomBOTTLE was good and dirty and in need of a cleaning.  This was easy, I lightly rinsed it off under the faucet to remove all of the road muck it had picked up on the ride.  A quick wipe down with a dry towel and it was like new again.

The boomBOTTLE fit nice and snug in my water bottle cage and stayed put even on washboard gravel and bumpy "No Motorized Vehicles" doubletrack.  The battery life was exceptional giving me 10+ hours of playback on a single charge.  Using it 1 to 2 hours a day, a charge seemed to last the whole week.  When the battery status reached 25% a voice prompt stated "Battery Level 25%" letting me know it would soon need a recharge.  To protect the battery when the charge is too low it would beep three times, the power down tone would sound and it would shut down.  To conserve battery it would automatically shut down after 10 minutes when there was no longer a Bluetooth signal input.  Charging the battery does take some time, usually around 3 hours, but the long battery life definitely makes up for that.  The charging status LED let me know if it was charging (red) or had reached a full charge (blue) and was ready for use.


Pairing my phone with the boomBOTTLE for the first time was very easy and I was able to do so without reading the instructions.  Once paired, when turned on connection is almost immediate and a voice prompt will state "Power On" and "Connected".  The large buttons and placement of them made it easy to adjust the volume or pause and skip a track while riding.  When turning up the volume on the boomBOTTLE it would beep once when maximum volume was reached.  During windy conditions or when riding fast (16+ mph), maximum volume was needed to hear the audio over the wind noise and was sometimes hard to hear.  To overcome this, I recommend using a product like Wind-Blox to reduce the wind noise and give a better listening experience.  Don't get me wrong, the boomBottle is loud and has good bass with rich sound but wind noise across the ears can sometimes be even louder.  Another way to direct the sound from the omni-directional speakers to better hear the audio is to place the boomBOTTLE in a bottle cage on the down tube like pictured in the photo above.  This will better point the sound toward the rider than placement in a cage on the seat tube.


Integrated Music Controls (Multi-function button)

The multi-function button (MFB) located between the up/down volume buttons has many useful controls of the paired device.  A single tap of the MFB will play or pause an audio track, while a double tap will track forward and a triple tap will track backward.  To answer a phone call and use the boomBOTTLE as a speakerphone, tap the MFB once and do the same to hang up a call.  For phones that have voice control function, hold the MFB for two seconds and release and this will access the phone's voice control feature.  These integrated music controls work nicely when riding because they allow leaving the phone in a pocket and give the ability to control it with the touch of a button.

On the bike or around the house, this compact Bluetooth speaker delivers rich, clear and loud sound whether listening to music or spoken audio podcasts.  Using it is much safer than headphones or earbuds when riding my bike because I can still hear things around me like cars, pedestrians and other cyclists.  The battery life is great and the unit's construction is durable and water resistant for rides in any weather on the road or singletrack.  I would definitely recommend the boomBOTTLE to anyone that likes to listen to music or podcasts while riding their bike.  

The Scosche boomBOTTLE retails for $129.99 and is available in a variety of colors from Scosche, Amazon and many other online retailers.

*Note:  The Scosche boomBOTTLE was paired with a Samsung Galaxy S4 via Bluetooth the duration of testing for this review.

Disclosure:  Scosche Industries provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

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10/27/2014

Twin Cities Area Winter Fatbike Trails

Winter fatbiking is big in Minnesota and the Twin Cities have quite a few trail systems that are groomed or snowshoe stomped by volunteers to pack the trails for riding.  I have compiled a list of these trails open to winter mountain biking with links to maps, trail information, trail conditions and Facebook/Twitter pages if available.  Trails that have Facebook or Twitter pages will post trail openings and conditions or closures due to warm weather.  Low tire pressure, usually 10 psi or lower and tires 3.8 inches or wider are recommended for use on these trails in the Winter.  Skinny tires can be used when trails are firmly packed enough to not cause ruts or damage.

Credit: Carver Lake Park Off-Road Cycling Trail Facebook Page
Carver Lake Park  
Woodbury 
Map     Trail Info     Facebook  

Carver Lake Park is host to the Cold Catfish Cup that takes place in January.  Watch the MORC Racing Forum for the 2015 race date and updates on the race.  Group ride information can be found on the MORC Group Rides Forum.

Elm Creek Park Reserve
Maple Grove
Map     Trail Info     Facebook

Elm Creek is home to the Fatbike Frozen 40 taking place on February 14, 2015 and three of the the six races in the Frozen Frolic Winter Mountain Bike Race Series.  The Frozen Frolic race dates are December 6th, January 10th and February 7th.  Group ride information can be found on the MORC Group Rides Forum.

Credit: Mistermoose.org
Hillside City Park* 
 Elk River

Hillside has a set of three races taking place in January and February called the Cold Bear Challenge Winter Racing Series that ends with FatBikeFest on the day of the third race.  This will be the 9th year of the Cold Bear Challenge.  Watch the MORC Racing Forum for 2015 race dates and updates on these races.  *Day Pass fee required.

Lebanon Hills Regional Park-West
Eagan
Map     Trail Info     Facebook     Twitter
 

Check in with the Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trail Facebook page for trail openings and closures from Dakota County Parks due to weather.

Mendota Trail (MN River Bottoms)
Eagan
Map     Trail Info


This multi-use trail has access points in Eagan at the Cedar Ave. bridge and in the town of Mendota.  It follows the Minnesota River through Fort Snelling State Park and access to the Minnesota River Bottoms on the North side of the river can be done by taking the pedestrian bridge on the Cedar Ave. bridge.

Minnesota River Bottoms
Bloomington
MORC Trail Conditions


The 3rd Annual Get Phat With Pat Winter fatbike races will be held at the Minnesota River Bottoms on January 17th and 24th.  These races will include new and challenging groomed trails through sections of the Minnesota River Bottoms you don't normally get to ride through.  There are several weekly group rides held here and more information can be found about them on the MORC Group Rides Forum.

Image Credit:  Deathrider
 Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve
Savage

Murphy-Hanrehan hosts three of the the six races in the Frozen Frolic Winter Mountain Bike Race Series.  The Frozen Frolic race dates are December 13th, January 24th and February 28th.  Group ride information can be found on the MORC Group Rides Forum.

Credit: Minneapolis Off-Road Cycling Advocates Facebook Page
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis
Map     Trail Info     Facebook     Twitter

The mountain bike trails at Theodore Wirth Park are monitored and maintained by MOCA volunteers.  Closures and trail conditions can be found on the MOCA website in the upper left-hand corner of the page and rider reports are listed on the Theodore Wirth MORC Trail Conditions Forum page.

Other informative Twin Cities mountain biking links can be found below and remember to always follow IMBA's Fat Bike Best Practices to maintain and gain more trail access and give our sport a good name.

MORC-Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists

Minneapolis Off-Road Cycling Advocates


For a complete listing of this Winter's fatbike events, see my post Winter '14-'15 Minnesota Fatbike Events.

Bookmark this post for quick reference. 

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10/20/2014

2015 Minnesota Bike Tours, Rides, Races & Events Schedule

The 2015 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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January

No Name Alleycat Race-January 4, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Frozen Frolic Winter Mountain Bike Race Series-January 10, 2015
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN
10.5 miles 

Penn Cycle Get Phat with Pat Race #1-January 17, 2015
Minnesota River Bottoms
Bloomington, MN

4th Annual Global Fat Bike Summit and Festival-January 23-25,2015
Snow King Resort
Jackson, WY 

Frozen Frolic Winter Mountain Bike Race Series-January 24, 2015
Murphey-Hanrehan Park Reserve
Savage, MN
10.5 miles 

Penn Cycle Get Phat with Pat Race #2-January 24, 2015
Minnesota River Bottoms
Bloomington, MN 

B-B-BRRR Winter Classic-January 25, 2015
Community Gardens
Fargo, ND 

Arrowhead 135-January 26-28, 2015
International Falls, MN
135 miles
Registration for race veterans opens 9/1/2014
Registration for newcomers opens 10/1/14
Race Registration Information 

Penn Ice-Cycle Loppet-January 31, 2015
Lake Calhoun
Minneapolis, MN
Online Registration

 February

No Name Alleycat Race-February 1, 2015
Minneapolis, MN

Penn Cycle Fat Tire Loppet-February 1, 2015
38 km
St. Paul, MN 

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout-February 7, 2015
Cuyuna Country SRA
Crosby, MN 

Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN
10.5 miles 

Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN 

Fatbike Frozen 40-February 14, 2015
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN 
200 rider cap

Murphey-Hanrehan Park Reserve
Savage, MN
10.5 mile

March

No Name Alleycat Race-March 1, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 
Giants Ridge
Biwabik, MN
40, 20 km 

2015 Parks & Trails Annual Dinner-March 24, 2015
Town & Country Club
St. Paul, MN

April

No Name Alleycat Race-April 5, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Falls Duathlon-April 25, 2015
Hannah's Bend Park
Cannon Falls, MN
2 mile run, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run 
Washington County Fairgrounds
Stillwater, MN
100, 58, 29, 27, 14 miles

May

Cinco Du Mayo Duathlon-May 2, 2015
Square Lake Park
Stillwater, MN
5k run, 20 mile bike, 5k run
2 mile run, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run 

Minnesota State University-Mankato Sprint Triathlon-May 3, 2015
Minnesota State University-Mankato
Mankato, MN
300 yd swim, 14 mile bike, 5k run 

No Name Alleycat Race-May 3, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Bike to School Day-May 6, 2015
Nationwide 

Oakdale Spring Classic Duathlon-May 9, 2015
Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Elmo, MN
3 mile run, 14 mile bike, 2.5 mile run
Online Registration 

Tour de Red Wing-May 9, 2015
Red Wing, MN
43, 37, 16, 10 miles 

CycloFemme Ride-May 10, 2015
Worldwide 

National Bike to Work Day-May 15, 2015
Nationwide 

Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour-May 16-17, 2015
Red Wing, MN
Approximately 85 miles 

Root River Triathlon-May 16, 2015
Houston, MN
6.5 mile canoe, 8 mile bike, 3 mile run 

Sanford Health Triathlon-May 16, 2015
Thief River Falls, MN
500 yd swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run 

Apple Blossom Bicycle Tour-May 17, 2015
La Crescent, MN
60, 30, 16, 5 miles 

Twin Cities Tour de Cure-May 30, 2015
Minnehaha Falls
Minneapolis, MN
100, 62, 43, 26, 18, 7 miles

June

Lifetime Kids Tri-Winona-June 6, 2015
St. Mary's University
Winona, MN
Ages 5-7:  25 yd swim, 1 mile bike, 1/4 mile run
Ages 8-10:  75 yd swim, 1 mile bike, 1/2 mile run
Ages 11-13:  125 yd swim, 2 mile bike, 3/4 mile run
Online Registration 

New Bri Tri-June 6, 2015
Long Lake Park Reserve
New Brighton, MN
1/2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run
Online Registration 

Tour de Pepin-June 6, 2015
Lake City, MN
100, 72, 50, 32 miles 

Trinona Super Sprint-June 6, 2015 
Winona, MN 

Box of Frogs-June 7, 2015
Mississippi Riverfront
St. Paul, MN
60+ miles
Facebook Page 

Buffalo Triathlon-June 7, 2015
Sturgis 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
Online Registration 

Lifetime Tri-Trinona-June 7, 2015
Winona, MN
International Course:  1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Short Course:  1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 3.1 mile run 

No Name Alleycat Race-June 7, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Chippewa Triathlon-June 13, 2015
Chippewa National Forest
Cass Lake, MN
14 mile canoe, 29 mile mountain bike, 7 mile trail run 

Fairmont Triathlon-June 13, 2015
Fairmont, MN
Mini Course:  25 yd swim, 3.1 mile bike, .5 mile run
Sprint Course:  .25 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course:  .93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run 

Liberty Triathlon-June 13, 2015
Lake Rebecca
Rockford, MN
Olympic Course:  1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Long Course:  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run 

Water Carnival Bike Ride-June 13, 2015
Hutchinson, MN
100, 65, 20 miles 

Capitol City Tri-June 14, 2015
Lake Phalen
St. Paul, MN
500m swim, 16 mile bike, 5k run
Online Registration 

Bike and Engineering Camp-June 16, 2015
Eastman Nature Center
Dayton, MN 

Bike Bemidji: Loop the Lake Festival-June 20, 2015
Lake Bemidji
Bemidji, MN
17 miles
Online Registration 

Lake Minnetonka Triathlon-June 20, 2015
Excelsior Commons
Excelsior, MN
.5 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run
Online Registration 

Rotary Ride for Clean Water-June 20, 2015
Pequot Lakes, MN
54, 30, 16, 7 miles
Online Registration 

Manitou Sprint Triathlon-June 21, 2015
Ramsey County Beach
White Bear Lake, MN
1/2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3 mile run
Online Registration 

Rochesterfest Triathlon-June 21, 2015
Foster Arend Park
Rochester, MN
Olympic Tri:  1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Sprint Tri:  1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 5k run 

St. James Triathlon-June 21, 2015
St. James, MN
Sprint Distance: 
175 yard pool swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run
Kids Triathlon: 
5-7:
  15 meter pool swim, 1 mile bike, ¼ mile run
8-10:  25 meter pool swim, 2 mile bike, ½ mile run
11-12:  50 meter pool swim, 4 mile bike, 1 mile run
13-14:  50 meter pool swim, 4 mile bike, 1 mile run 

Fit City Kids Triathlon-June 27, 2015
Wabasha, MN
4-6:  60 ft swim, .9 mile bike, .4 mile run
7-8:  80 ft swim, 1.7 mile bike, .5 mile run
9-10:  160 ft swim, 1.7 mile bike, .5 mile run
11-12:  240 ft swim, 3.5 mile bike, .75 mile run
13-14:  320 ft swim, 3.5 mile bike, .75 mile run
15+:  320 ft swim, 3.5 mile bike, .75 mile run 

Lutsen 99'er-June 27, 2015
Lutsen, MN
99, 39, 19 miles

UCare Tri-Loppet-June 27, 2015
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN
7k paddle, 5k trail run, 13k mountain bike 

Lake Waconia Triathlon-June 28, 2015
Lake Waconia Regional Park
Waconia, MN
1/2 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 4 mile run

July

The ZTri-July 4, 2015
Zorbaz on the Lake
Grand Rapids, MN
1/3 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 3.15 mile run
Online Registration

No Name Alleycat Race-July 5, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

St. Croix Fat Cat Triathlon-July 11, 2015
Marine, MN
3.8 mile paddle, 5.2 mile run, 11 mile bike 

Graniteman Clearwater Triathlon-July 11, 2015
Warner Lake
Clearwater, MN
Sprint Course:  .44 mile swim, 14.34 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course:  .9 mile swim, 28.68 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Online Registration 

Lifetime Tri-Minneapolis-July 11, 2015
Minneapolis, MN
International Course:
  .93-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run
Sprint Course:
  .25-mile swim, 15-mile bike, 3.1-mile run 

Timberman-July 11, 2015
Sugar Lake Resort
Grand Rapids, MN
Sprint Course, International Course (TBD)
Swim, Bike, Run 

Lifetime Kids Tri-Plymouth-July  12, 2015
Lifetime Fitness-Plymouth
Plymouth, MN

Mountain Bike Camp-July 13-16, 2015
Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve
Savage, MN 

Red Ribbon Ride-July 16-19, 2015
Locations TBD
300 miles
2015 Registration Form 

J.A.M.S. Duathlon-July 18, 2015
Bunker Hills Regional Park
Andover, MN
1/4 mile run, 1 mile bike, 1/4 mile run
1/2 mile run, 2 mile bike, 1/2 mile run 

Paul Bunyan Triathlon-July 18, 2015
Bemidji, MN
Short Course: 
.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run
Long Course: 
1 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 5 mile run 
Online Registration 

Toughman Minnesota Triathlon-July 26, 2015
Paradise Park
Chisago City, MN
Sprint Course:  1/4 mile swim, 22 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Half Course:  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run

August

Minnewaska Triathlon-August 1, 2015
Glenwood City Beach
Glenwood, MN
400 yd swim, 11.1 mile bike, 2.5 mile run 

Tour de Tonka-August 1, 2015
Minnetonka, MN
100, 67, 52, 44, 26, 16 miles 

No Name Alleycat Race-August 2, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Backus Rainy Lake Triathlon-August 8, 2015
International Falls, MN
1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 5k run 

Graniteman Big Lake Triathlon-August 8, 2015
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
Online Registration 

Northwoods Triathlon-August 8, 2015
Nevis, MN
1/4 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 5k run 

WingKids Triathlon-August 8, 2015
Colvill Park
Red Wing, MN
Age 4-7:  25m swim, .7 mile bike, 1/3 mile run
Age 8-10: 
75m swim, 2.1 mile bike, 3/4 mile run
Age 11-13:  
150m swim, 2.8 mile bike, 1 mile run 

Woodbury Days Bike Ride-August 8, 2015
Woodbury, MN
60, 30, 10 miles 

Headwaters of the Mississippi River-August 9-15, 2015
Itasca State Park to Grand Rapids, MN
135 miles
Brochure 

North Mankato Triathlon-August 9, 2015
Hiniker Pond Park
North Mankato, MN
1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run 

Rochester Echo-Tri-August 9, 2015
Zumbro Falls, MN 
4.5 mile kayak, 7 mile mountain bike, 3 mile trail run 

Wingman Triathlon-August 9, 2015 Colvill Park
Red Wing, MN
500 meter swim, 12.7 mile bike, 3 mile run 

Bike Duluth Festival-August 15-16, 2015
Duluth, MN 

HITS Triathlon Series-Waconia-August 15-16, 2015
Waconia, MN
Open:  100 meter swim, 3 mile bike, 1 mile run
Sprint:  750 meter swim, 12.4 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic:  1500 meter swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Half:  1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Full:  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run
Online Registration 

Tour de Pines-August 15, 2015
Mississippi Headwaters Hostel
Itasca State Park
Shevlin, MN
75, 50, 25 miles
Facebook Page 

Lake Marion Triathlon-August 16, 2015
Antlers Park
Lakeville, MN
Short Course:  1/4 mile swim, 17 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Olympic Course:  1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Online Registration 

St. Paul Triathlon-August 16, 2015
Lake Phalen Park
St. Paul, MN
Sprint Course: 
.5 mile swim, 20k bike, 5k run
International Course
1 mile swim, 40k bike, 10k run
Online Registration

Mountain Bike Camp-August 17-20, 2015
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN 

Lifetime Tri-Maple Grove-August 22, 2015
Maple Grove, MN
International Course
.9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run
Sprint Course
.3 mile swim, 12.7 mile bike, 3 mile run

September

Harvest Duathlon Kids Duathlon-September 4, 2015
Alexandria, MN
4 & under: 
100 yard run, 200 yard bike, 100 yard run
5-6 years: 
1/4 mile run, 1 lap bike (.7 miles), 1/4 mile run
7-8 years: 
1/2 mile run, 2 laps bike (1.4 miles), 1/2 mile run
9-10 years: 
1/2 mile run, 3 laps bike (2.1 miles), 1/2 mile run
11+
can register for the Duathlon and there will be a separate category 

Harvest Duathlon-September 5, 2015
Alexandria, MN
2.5 mile run, 14.75 mile bike, 2.3 mile run 

No Name Alleycat Race-September 6, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Blaine Triathlon-September 12, 2015
Lakeside Commons Park
Blaine, MN
.3 mile swim, 16.7 mile bike, 3.5 mile run
Online Registration 

Jesse James Bike Tour-September 12, 2015
Northfield, MN
100, 60, 45, 30, 10 miles 

Square Lake Triathlon-September 12-13, 2015
Stillwater, MN
Short Course
-September 12
.5 mile swim, 16.5 mile bike, 5 mile run
Long Course
-September 13
1.2 mile swim, 54 mile bike, 13.2 mile run  
Short Course Online Registration
Long Course Online Registration 

Park Tool Fall Classic Duathlon-September 19, 2015
Lake Elmo Park Reserve
Lake Elmo, MN
3 mile run, 13.5 mile bike, 2.5 mile run 
One Last Tri-September 20, 2015
Ramsey County Beach
White Bear Lake, MN
Short Course: 
400 yard swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run
Long Course: 
800 yard swim, 27 mile bike, 10k run 
River Valley 100-September 20, 2015Mankato, MN
100 miles paved, 100km gravel

October

Lebanon Hills Mountain Bike Trails
Eagan, MN 

No Name Alleycat Race-October 4, 2015
Minneapolis, MN 

Cuyuna 5-0-October 10, 2015
Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails
Crosby, MN
50 mile race, 25 mile race, 12 mile ride

November

No Name Alleycat Race-November 1, 2015
Minneapolis, MN

December

No Name Alleycat Race-December 6, 2015
Minneapolis, MN


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10/15/2014

Pedal Hub Podcast Keeps Listeners Updated on Growing Twin Cities Bike Community

http://www.mprnews.org/topic/pedal-hub
Pedal Hub is a weekly podcast brought to you by Minnesota Public Radio and is hosted by owner of One On One Bicycle Studio Gene Oberpriller, Amber Dallman from St. Paul Women on Bikes and 30 Days of Biking founder Patrick Stephenson.  These 30 minute episodes cover a number of cycling topics, what's going on with cycling in the Twin Cities and include guest cycling enthusiasts providing interesting discussions.

Image Credit: Banjo Brothers

Pedal Hub started back in August and continues to gain new listeners with each new episode.  This podcast is for all cyclists, beginner or experienced and is full of useful information and insight into cycling in the Twin Cities.  Visit the Pedal Hub page on the MPR News website for new and past episodes.  Subscribe to Pedal Hub on iTunes or the RSS Podcast Feed.  Stay updated on Pedal Hub by following on Twitter.

Penn Cycle & Fitness
After the Season Clearance Sale
http://penncycle.com/page.cfm?pageid=1414
Save up to 75% on Select Jerseys, 
Shoes and Clearance Accessories.
Trek Models at Trek's Lowest Allowed Clearance Prices.

10/13/2014

Registration Now Open For The Fatbike Frozen 40

http://frozen40.com/registration/

Registration for race #6 in the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series, the Fatbike Frozen 40 is now live.  The 2015 Fatbike Frozen 40 will take place on Saturday, February 14th at Elm Creek Park in Champlin, MN.  As in past years the race will be capped at 200 riders and is expected to fill up quickly.


The Fatbike Frozen 40 will consist of four 10 mile laps and can be raced Men's Solo 40 Mile, Women's Solo 40 Mile, Team 40 Mile (2 people), Team 40 Mile (3 people) and Team 40 Mile (4 people).  Teams will be relay style and can share fatbikes.  There will be equal cash payouts for Men's and Women's Solo racers.  Earlybird registration pricing now through October 31st.  Register online today.


The Fatbike Frozen Forty is well known for planning and communication.  Racers will be kept updated on the Fatbike Frozen Forty News page, Fatbike Frozen 40 Facebook page, RideFatbikes.com and the RideFatbikes Twitter account.  Media Partner Mountain Bike Radio will also be providing a pre-race interview/report.

10/09/2014

Product Reveiw: GeigerRig Rig 500 Ballistic

Staying hydrated while cycling, especially during long rides or hot weather, is very important and when I used water bottles I did not drink as much as I should have.  Taking my hands off the bars to grab the water bottle and drink was somewhat inconvenient especially when riding singletrack or hilly gravel roads.  This resulted in waiting until I was thirsty and gulping instead of continually sipping small amounts to remain hydrated.  A hydration pack definitely makes drinking during rides much easier and can be done while both hands are on the bars.

I first saw GeigerRig pressurized hydration packs and a demonstration of their Hydration Pack Engine at Interbike last year.  The pressurization feature and their durable Ballistic Nylon construction set GeigerRig's packs apart from traditional hydration packs.  Immediately I knew I wanted to try out one of their packs on my rides and see the difference for myself.  I needed a pack that was lightweight with enough storage for small items, maybe a jacket and had a 2L reservoir.  The Rig 500 seemed like the perfect fit.

 After receiving the Rig 500 from GeigerRig, I put it to the test on many gravel training rides, the Almanzo 100 and the Tour of Filmore, mountain biking on both the 29'er and fatbike and commuting to work (48 miles round-trip).  This was more than enough to get a feel for the performance of this pack.

Image Credit: Kristin Clark

I'll start with the pack itself which is constructed of 100% Ballistic Nylon making it super durable.  I have ridden in the rain with clothing in this pack and the Ballistic Nylon, though not waterproof, kept my stored items dry because it doesn't absorb much water.  The Rig 500 pack is full of these useful features:
  • a pack handle for easy carrying when not wearing 
  • two adjustable buckled compression straps to hold pack contents tight and secure
  • two external pockets which are great for keys, snacks and other small items
  • industrial size 8 coil zippers
  • a sternum strap that is easily adjusted to help support the weight of the pack and to ensure proper fit, especially if loaded with gear
  • a removable hip belt, which I did not use but may come in handy for hiking
  • two zippered mesh pockets in the main compartment that have plenty of room for snacks, hats, gloves, spare tubes, socks, etc.
  • shoulder straps that provide an ergonomic fit and support the load of the pack comfortably
  • a bulb holder for the bulb pump located on the shoulder strap that is easily reached for quick pressurization or depressurization by turning the release valve at the top of the bulb
  • main compartment with 500 cubic inches of dry capacity for larger items like a jacket, I have even carried a full size bath towel for showering when commuting to work
  • storage compartment that holds the hydration engine (reservoir) securely in place without any movement or shifting
The 2L (70 oz) hydration engine (reservoir) has two compartments, one for air pressurization and another for water.  The quick release valves on the hydration engine do not leak and connect easily to the drink tube and the air tube that contains the bulb pump.  The top of the bladder has a slide seal that does not leak and a wide opening for easy filling with fluid and ice cubes. 


Once filled, connect the air and drink tubes and place into the hydration engine storage compartment in the pack and lightly pressurize using the bulb on the front of the shoulder strap.


I really enjoy using the Rig 500 for those hot summer days and long rides where I know I will need to bring enough water to stay hydrated.  I put it to the first real test on an all day ride at the Almanzo 100 back in May.  With the warm weather that day and all of the hill climbing that the Spring Valley countryside offered, I was glad I had it with me.  The most beneficial aspect of this hydration system was that I didn't have to suck to drink, all I had to do was bite down on the valve and water sprayed into my mouth.  This was a welcome feature when I was breathing heavily on big climbs and sprints.

The only problem I had with the Rig 500 was when the hydration engine was over-pressurized water flow would be cut off and I would have to turn the release valve on the top of the bulb pump to depressurize it restoring flow once again.  I am not sure if this was due to pinching of the water line or if it caused the quick release button at the connection to be pressed.  After a while I learned how to keep the pressure at an optimum level to not interfere with the flow.  Other than this, the Rig 500 worked perfectly and its size is just right for mountain biking and riding long distance gravel.  It had plenty of pockets and room for the things I needed to bring along for the ride.  The back pads of the pack have channels to provide some air flow but where the pack contacted my back sweating still did occur on warm days.  The shoulder straps are comfortable and the sternum strap helps support the weight of the pack more evenly.

Cleaning the hydration engine was very easy.  The bladder can be turned inside out and placed on the top rack of the dishwasher or washed by hand.  Afterward it can be set out to dry.  The drink tube can be pulled out of the pack to rinse but I usually just leave it in while resting the pack next to sink and putting the bladder connection end under the faucet squeezing the bite valve to allow flow through the tube.


After many rides I have come to rely on this high quality pack/reservoir combo.  The Rig 500 has the storage space that I need without being to big or bulky and fits comfortably.  The hydration engine is convenient to fill, connect and clean but my favorite feature is the ability to pressurize it.  A pressurized reservoir helps me continuously hydrate while riding where I may not if just using water bottles.

The GeigerRig Rig 500 is available direct from GeigerRig for $135 and comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Disclosure:  GeigerRig provided the review sample for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

9/29/2014

Product Review: Finish Line No Drip Chain Luber

Lubricating my bike's chain used to cause drips that either ended up on my garage floor or my wheels and chainstay.  After seeing the No Drip Chain Luber from Finish Line last year at Interbike I figured this may be a solution to that problem.  In theory it seemed like a good idea but how would it work with lubes of varying viscosity and would it coat the chain evenly without drips?  After receiving some of samples from Finish Line I decided to test it out and see if it would live up to its name.

The No Drip Chain Luber is simple in its design, it comes with an empty 2 oz. bottle, a unique applicator head, 3 wicking pads and a travel cap.

The two lubes I use most are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of viscosity.  ProGold Extreme is very thin while Chain-L is as thick as honey.  I would put the No Drip Chain Luber to the test and see how it would handle both of these lubes and maintain its No Drip claim.


I used the the ProGold Extreme on the 9:Zero:7 fatbike all last winter and was surprised how well it penetrated the rollers without the No Drip Chain Luber delivering too much thus dripping onto the floor.  A little squeeze and a couple of back pedal revolutions while the wicking pad was in contact with the top of the chain was all it took.  A quick wipe down on the side plates of the chain with a rag and I was ready to roll.


For my gravel bike I use Chain-L lube.  I like this lube because it lasts a long time and delivers a very quiet and shift responsive drivetrain.  This stuff is thick so I wanted to see if the No Drip Chain Luber would distribute it evenly onto the chain.  I squeezed the bottle upside down until the wicking pad was thoroughly soaked with the lube.


Now I was ready to lube the chain.  Lightly squeezing the bottle with the wicking pad in contact with the top of the chain, I began to slowly back pedal until lightly coated.  Because Chain-L is so thick I repeated this process on the bottom side of the chain and gave the lube time to work its way into the rollers.  After about 10 minutes I wiped the excess (which was very little) off of the chain and was ready to ride.


The No Drip Chain Luber did a very good job applying the necessary amount of lube to the chain using both thin and thick lubricants without a mess or dripping.  It made the task quick and easy, I used less lube and there wasn't a lot of excess to be wiped off afterward.  I now keep several No Drip Chain Lubers labeled with the lube they contain so I can use which ever one I desire depending on the conditions or bike.  No dripping on the concrete in the garage or on my wheels/chainstay were a welcome change from the old method of lubing my chains. 

The No Drip Chain Luber is available from Penn Cycle and other fine bike shops for $8.99.

Disclosure:  Finish Line provided the review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.
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