Tag Archives: Ben Witt

This mountain bike geezer plans to vote no on the marriage amendment

Griff Wigley with t-shirt: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry Griff Wigley's laptop with bumper sticker: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry Griff Wigley with bumper sticker: Vote No, Don't Limit the Freedom to Marry
Local citizens were staffing a Minnesotans United for All Families table at the Taste of Northfield in late July. I purchased a ‘Vote No, Don’t Limit the Freedom to Marry’ t-shirt and a bumper sticker for my laptop. It’s been cool to have many people make a “I like your shirt” type comment when out and about. You can get ‘Vote No’ gear from the MN United online store.

I’ve been blogging my opposition to the marriage amendment on my Locally Grown Northfield blog for many months. See all my posts here. When I saw that Northfielder and fellow mountain biker Ben Witt, proprietor of Milltown Cycles, published a blog post titled If I May in which he states his opposition to the marriage amendment, it occurred to me that I should do likewise here. Ben wrote:

This decision is not one that I have come to without serious personal reflection. Weighing in in any political debate as a business carries risk no matter what you are advocating for. I have no doubt that this will upset some of our customers. I fully expect that this will lose us some of them. If I offend some of you I am sorry for it.

I do this for the love of my family and friends who are gay, because they deserve the right to share exactly the same relationship that I cherish with my wife.

Word.

‘Reveal the Path’ world premiere: adventure by bike

Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater  Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater
Robbie and I attended the world premiere of Reveal the Path at the Riverview Theater in Minneapolis last night, along with a few hundred other bike nuts:

Reveal the Path, Presented by SalsaA visually stunning adventure by bike: Reveal the Path explores the world’s playgrounds in Europe’s snow capped mountains, Scotland’s lush valleys, Alaska’s rugged coastal beaches and Morocco’s high desert landscapes…

Filmed across four continents and featuring Tour Divide race legends, Matthew Lee & Kurt Refsnider, this immersive film is sure to ignite the dream in you.

Andy Palmer (background) and John Gaddo Andy Palmer John Gaddo, Jason Boucher
Luminaries from QBP and its Salsa Cycles division, the main sponsor of the movie and the event, were on hand. They were marginally adequate as movie theater attendants:

Left: John Gaddo, QBP Outside Sales Rep
Center: Andy Palmer, Salsa Customer Service
Right: John Gaddo and Jason Boucher, Salsa General Manager. See Jason’s ImagineGnat blog ("Bicycles – Photography – People – Exploration")

Curtis Ness, Ben Witt, Mike “Kid” Riemer Ben Witt; Myrna Mibus Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path
Some other bike nuts at the schmooze fest in the theater lobby:

Left: Curtis Ness and Ben Witt, Milltown Cycles, with Mike “Kid” Riemer, Salsa Marketing Manager.
Center: Ben Witt with Mryna Mibus, blogger, freelance writer, and future mountain biker who was there with her husband Owen and kids.
Right: Mike Dion, producer and director of Reveal the Path and its predecessor Ride the Divide.

See the large slideshow of 17 photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

River Bend Nature Center and mountain biking: exciting possibilities

As I mentioned last week, I first blogged about mountain biking at the River Bend Nature Center (RBNC) in Faribault back in January and shortly thereafter, learned about the problems with it.

Mountain bike meeting at River Bend Nature Center Mountain bike meeting at River Bend Nature Center
So I was really pleased that RNBC staff hosted a meeting with about 25 local mountain bikers last night at the RBNC Interpretative Center.

Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Executive Director Garrett Genereux, Naturalist Educator; Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Executive Director Ben Witt, owner, Milltown Cycles 
After everyone introduced themselves, RBNC Executive Director Barbara Caldwell, RBNC Naturalist Educator Garrett Genereux, and Ben Witt, owner of Milltown Cycles in Faribault, each made brief presentations about the status of mountain biking trails in the park.

Barbara set a positive tone to the meeting right from the start, saying that they were genuinely eager to learn more about mountain biking, given the increase in riders that they’ve seen recently. She said that while they had no desire to become a mountain bike park ("We’re a nature center"), they are multi-use and see mountain biking as another way to engage the public in their mission.

Garrett showed a special map he’d created of all the trails in the park, both authorized and unauthorized. (I’ve obscured the map in the photo above.)

Ben Witt expressed his appreciation for the willingness of RNBC staff to even have the meeting, seeing it as a huge opportunity.  He explained how many sections of the authorized trails are not only bad for the park because of erosion, they’re also not the new style of mountain bike trails (eg, switchbacks for up-hills) that help to make the sport so enjoyable.

 John Ebling Glenn Holman DSC08829
The rest of the meeting was open discussion. I urged RNBC to see mountain biking not as something to do to accommodate to a group of users but rather as a strategy to protect the park. By putting in new-style mountain bike ‘flow’ trails that are fun and challenging for a range of skill levels, they’ll create a powerful incentive for riders to only ride on those trails, thereby protecting the rest of the park.

John Ebling made the point that local ‘ownership’ of these trails by local mountain bikers who work to create and maintain them eventually can create a culture of responsible use by the wider mountain biking community.

DSC08831 DSC08824 DSC08835
The plan now is to create a local task force or working group to figure out next steps. Contact Barbara or Ben (see right sidebar of his Milltown Cycles blog) if you’d like to be involved. 

RBNC Membership page

And above all, become a RNBC member.  Our voices as mountain bikers will be far more influential if we show we care enough about RBNC to support them financially.  Their online membership signup form makes it fast and easy.

Northfielder Ben Oney and the world’s toughest mountain bike race

Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ride the Divide
Last night, Milltown Cycles proprietor Ben Witt hosted a viewing of a feature film titled Ride The Divide at the Viking Theater in St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons. It’s about "the world’s toughest mountain bike race" called the Tour Divide, an "… ultra-cycling challenge to pedal solo and self-supported the length of Great Divide Mountain Bike Route…as fast as possible." It’s 2,700 miles from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican border.

Ben Oney and his Tour Divide Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike Ben Oney, Tour Divide Q&A 
Earlier this summer, Northfielder Ben Oney finished 13th (80 participants) in the race on a Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike. He hosted a Q&A session after the movie. See his old Tour Divide blog and his new Boney Bikes blog, but better yet, follow Ben Oney on Twitter.

See also:

Biking the gravel to Murphy-Hanrehan and back

Griff Wigley, Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt On the gravel: Bill Nelson and Griff Wigley. Photo by Ben Witt. Jerry Bilek and a crop duster. Photo by Ben Witt. On the gravel: Bill Nelson, Griff Wigley, Ben Witt. Photo by Ben Witt.
Bill Nelson, Jerry Bilek, Ben Witt, and I took off on our mountain bikes from GBM at about 7:30 this morning, riding primarily gravel roads to the mountain bike trail in the Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, just south of Savage.

Murphy-Hanrehan mapJerry Bilek at Murphy-Hanrehan. Photo by Ben Witt. Ben Witt, Jerry Bilek, Bill Nelson,  
After riding the 7 mile advanced loop at Murphy, we chowed down at Chipotle in Apple Valley, biked through UMore Park in Dakota County, and arrived back in Northfield in time for dinner. About 85 miles, 9 hours. Whew!