Cruising through cold is better together
Stephenson, like many other riders, uses his snow tires as means of recreation, transportation, and exercise. He and Mario Macaruso formed the Joyful Riders Club to bring together like-minded (or insane) cyclists for a monthly frozen ride that begins at Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center. The group has been off to an extremely strong start in its first year, with dozens of riders showing up each month to work up a sweat, drink some beer, and show off their general, two-wheeled badassery.
While the group caters to all ages and levels of experience, there is another contingent out there who apparently don’t think the sheer cold is extreme enough for their tastes.
The Freewheel Winterbike Expo takes place in Minneapolis every December, and is the mecca for snow-shredding cycle enthusiasts. The event features seminars on everything from proper packing to the best apparel for any weather, but the main event is the Superfat Crit.
The Superfat Crit is an obstacle course for fat bikes (bikes outfitted with fat and studded tires designed to handle the snowy conditions). The event has no cash entry fee, but all riders must bring a pack of something to share with their fellow bikers, whether that’s beer, brats, veggie burgers or whatever you need to fuel up before you ride.
For those looking to keep their winter riding skills sharp, there’s also events at ski resorts like Lutsen Resort on Lake Superior, which hosts a 16 or 24 mile snow race called the Norpine Fat Bike Classic each January. Likewise the Cold Catfish Cup, a winter bike race for all ages, abilities, and bikes is held in the suburb of Woodbury and the Penn Cycle Get Phat With Pat winter bike races take place in Bloomington on January 21 and 28.
If being extreme isn’t really your thing, you can roll over to nearby Stillwater every Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (keep it in mind for next year) for the BierCycle Adventures caroling tours. The BierCycle (also known in other places as pedal pubs, traveling taps, etc.) is a massive,10 person people-powered pedal cart where you can kick back and sip on hot chocolate, beer, and wine, while screaming your favorite holiday hits through the local downtown, terrorizing the ears of innocent bystanders.