Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer is coming, maybe - Country Bike Rally

This photo was taken on my commute home a few nights ago. While that snow didn't survive the sun, we're supposed to get up to 10 more inches tonight. It's April 22.

But next weekend it's gonna be 70F, so maybe Spring/Summer will actually be here soon. Maybe.

Assuming the meteorology catches up with the calendar, I'm expecting a good summer of riding. The first "event" of the year for me will be the Midwest Country Bike Rally. It's been easy for me to forget that this event is less than 6 weeks away, but it will be held June 1-2 in Spring Valley, MN. I expect warm weather and lush greenery, but who knows.

The riding will commence around 8 AM on June 1 and finish in the afternoon/evening on June 2 for a total of approximately 100 miles. The roads will be a mix of paved and "rustic", and there will be some big hills. Like last year, we will try to keep the group together, waiting for slower riders if necessary, and in general riding at a relaxed sightseeing pace. There will be a camping overnight somewhere near Preston, MN. There will be no sag wagon or support provided, so we'll have to carry our own stuff and hope for the best. You'll have to bring your own food and camping gear and have your bike in good working order. I'll navigate the route, and organize camping accommodations for the evening of June 1.

If two days of riding don't quite satisfy you, consider riding to/from Spring Valley on May 31 and June 3, respectively. It's about 130 miles each way. That's how I'm planning to do it. I'll be leaving HC early in the AM on May 31 and making a day of it. Please contact me if you'd like to join this part of the adventure. Alternately, you could cut the bike distance in half by taking Amtrak to Winona and riding to Spring Valley. Amtrak is somewhat risky though, because the train is routinely several hours late. If that happens, you could be in for a long day.


ATTW said...

Hey Jim,

If you extend the ride to Lanesboro that weekend you can hit the Rhubarb Fest!

Also there is camping in Lanesboro. Or at my place too just outside of Preston/Lanesboro.

Let me know if any of that sounds good.


Jim Thill said...

Hmm, that's a good idea! We may take you up on the camping! Thanks Fred!

Anonymous said...

Hello Jim -

Thank you for your generous offer to ride the country bike rally. I have one question - what type of bike is necessary? Specifically, are you riding one of the new 'gravel' bikes? I am very interested in this emerging category, but am hesitant to take the step of early adoption. I am also wondering what will be your average speed so that I am able to guage if I am capable of keeping up with the larger group. I have very little experience riding gravel, but I think my mountain bike could work well if I replace the slow, knobby tires with some lightweight 26x1.5 slicks (or possibly a minimal 'file' tread. My other concern is the ability (or lack thereof) to carry lightweight camping gear. I do not have the expensive racks and gear (including expedition style tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear, etc.)Do you know where or if I could rent the gear before I commit to a large investment like that? All in all it is very intriguing and exciting and my girl friend thinks that I should do it as a challenge. Like I say - you can't know the impossible if you don't try to shoot for the moon because if you miss you will still hit the stars! (I think Kasey Kassem used to say that) Thank you and I look forward to reply.

Ron, Blaine,MN

PS - I discovered your shop through the internet and I am planning a visit soon.

Jim Thill said...

REI rents gear.