St. Paul Classic was a classic

St. Paul Classic riders arrive at St. Thomas University.

St. Paul Classic riders arrive at St. Thomas University.

Minnesota weather is always a surprise.
While it can shock us with feet of snow or stifling humidity, it sometimes amazes us with a wonderful day.
That’s what happened Sunday, Sept. 13, during the St. Paul Classic bike ride.
The thousands who rode could truly enjoy the city thanks to a sunny, not-too-hot day.
Of course the treats at the rest stops and live music added to the enjoyment.
Here’s a sample of the music by Brass Messenger.
If you missed the Classic, the Minneapolis Bike Tour is slated for Sunday, Sept. 20. Click here for more information.

Accidents like local bicycle-motor vehicle fatality becoming more common

The July death of Bruce “Leo” Kehrer-Schneider in a bicycle-motor vehicle crash — as reported in the West Central Tribune article posted below — is a type of accident that’s becoming more common.
A recent report on National Public Radio indicates how common. Here’s a link to that report:
As More Adults Pedal, Their Biking Injuries And Deaths Spike, Too

Man killed in crash biked to work for years


NEW LONDON — Bruce “Leo” Kehrer-Schneider was an avid bicyclist and a “wonderful individual” who will be missed at the Little Crow Country Club where he worked.

Kehrer-Schneider, 62, of rural New London, died July 21 in a bicycle-motor vehicle crash in rural New London.

Kehrer-Schneider was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to a release from the Kandiyohi County Sheriff ’s Office.

The vehicle was driven by Michael Schammel, 35, of rural Spicer, who was not injured.

(TO RUN WITH STORY BY TOM) Tribune photo by Bill Zimmer (081705 leo Schneider 1-5) Leo Kehrer-Schneider rides his bike from his home in New London to work at the WRTC in Willmar.

Leo Kehrer-Schneider is shown in August 2005 photo riding his bike from his job at Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar to his home in New London. Kehrer-Schneider, 62, died July 21 in a bicycle-motor vehicle crash in rural New London. Tribune file photo

The crash is still under investigation, according to a release from the Sheriff ’s Office.

Kehrer-Schneider and his 20-mile bicycle commute to work was the subject of a feature story in the West Central Tribune in 2005.

At the time, he pedaled the 40-mile round trip to and from Prairie Lakes Youth Detention Center in Willmar as much of the year as he could. He was director of transitional living for youth at Prairie Lakes.

Kehrer-Schneider had already been commuting by bicycle for nine years when he was interviewed in 2005.

Since 2008, he had been a fulltime seasonal employee of the Little Crow Country Club, said manager Sam Drodofsky.

Kehrer-Schneider took care of greens at the golf course. “He took great pride in making sure the greens were in great shape,” Drodofsky said.

Kehrer-Schneider was a friendly guy who was popular with the golfers and others at the country club, he said. “He’s going to be missed.”

In 2005, Kehrer-Schneider said, “It is a good way to treat the earth nicely,’’ when asked why he started biking instead of driving.

An environmentalist first of all, Kehrer-Schneider said he began his bicycle commute to avoid spewing vehicle emissions into the air. He also felt he served as a positive model for the young people he worked with each day.

While he used trails to get to work, he said in 2005, he often returned home on paved county roads, which offered more hills and a better workout.

Pedal for Project Impact, Day Seven

Day Seven
Sunday, June 14
Albany to Willmar
Mileage: 49.43 miles

Ride time: Four hours, 50 minutes
Looking out at the long hilly stretch that is Stearns County Road is what JP called a “soul sucking” sensation.
We saw as we rode out of Albany a sign stated that it’s 14 miles to Roscoe. All of those miles and steep climb out of that town make up the most challenging portion of the final ride of this year’s Pedal for Project Impact.
Bob got up and was making coffee by 5:20 a.m. according to JP, who shared a room with him.

JP heads down Stearns County Road 10.

JP heads down Stearns County Road 10.

He was on the road an hour before us with the goal of mowing the lawn and heading out with his wife, Carla, for Indiana where their daughter and family live.
That left four of us: JP; Gabby, my daughter; and Daven, Gabby’s fiance.
Gabby said she’d drive our gear to Willmar and pedal up the Glacial Lakes State Trail and meet us, She said she was our Uber.
Daven, who races for an amateur team in the Twin Cities, took off as if he was in a race.
That left two of us.
Once we climbed out of Roscoe, JP and I rode Highway 23 to Paynesville where we took a connecting path to the Glacial Lakes Trail.
An hour later we met Gabby and Sofia, my wife, in Spicer.
As we continued down the trail, JP and I were soon about a quarter mile ahead of Sofia and Gabby.
At the trailhead, JP and I shook hands as he headed home and I waited for the pair behind us.
The three of reached home at about 1:45 p.m. bringing another Pedal for Project Impact to a close.

Pedal for Project Impact, Day Six

Day Six
Saturday, June 13
Pequot Lakes to Albany
Mileage and ride time varied

Bob rode his third 100-mile ride of the week today and JP wasn’t too far behind him rolling into Albany with at least 93 miles on his odometer.

Daven and Bob replace an inner tube on Bob's bike.

Daven and Bob replace an inner tube on Bob’s bike.

But the day didn’t start out that well.
Bob had a flat tire within minutes of taking off from our hotel.
We rode the final 25 miles of the Paul Bunyan Trail, through Brainerd to Highway 371 on our way to Little Falls,
At Brainerd, Daven Kokkila, who joined us Friday night with his fiancee, and my daughter, Gabby, He left us in search of some gravel roads he wanted to try out.
Those roads turned out to be on Camp Ripley where Daven couldn’t go so he met up with us later in the day.
Gabby met JP, Bob and I at a steakhouse in the tiny town of Fort Ripley.
Then she and I drove the long and winding route to Albany where we left everyone’s luggage at the hotel and headed down the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail to Bowlus for pie with our fellow riders at Jordie’s Trailside Cafe and then to Blanchard Dam.
From there we headed back to Albany for dinner and some rest.

Pedal for Project Impact, Day Five

Day Five
Friday, June 12
Bemidji to Pequot Lakes
82.74 miles
8 hours, 21 minutes
JP and Gary meet the Manitobans

As regular readers know, Bob kind of rides circles around JP and I.
We’re just trying to get from point A to B while Bob pedals off and explores.
While we were riding to Pequot Lakes, Bob went to see Cass Lakes (that place has been sort of a obsession for him the past couple days).
The thing is, he got to Cass Lake last year, he just didn’t remember.
So he took off, leaving us in his dust, once we were back on the Paul Bunyan Trail.
We met up in Laporte where there’s a brand new rest area shelter near a grocery store where we usually stop for coffee and snacks.
Bob announced that he was heading down the Heartland Trail where it split with the Paul Bunyan and riding toward Cass Lake.
I remember following him along that same trail last. It took us past Cass Lake and added several miles to our trip to Bemidji.
Sure, we rode along several picturesque, but you can’t toss a dead cat in that area without hitting a picturesque lake.
We told him we’d stop in Hackensack for lunch and wait for him there.
Then Bob was gone.
As JP and I rode toward Hackensack, we encountered a group of women cyclists.
One of them pointed at me and said: “Hey you’re with that guy we met yesterday, You’re in the same jersey.” Bob and I have been wearing Pedal for Project Impact jerseys we had made a couple years ago.
I replied: “And I bet you’re from Manitoba.”
Several of them said, as they passed by us, how much they enjoy our trails and that they don’t have anything like them back home.
We were down the trail a few seconds when JP said it would be good to have a photo of that group.
I turned around headed a short distance to find the group had stopped at a rest area.

Members of FARC, a women's bicycle club from Manitoba, pose Friday for a photo along the Paul Bunyan Trail.

Members of FARC, a women’s bicycle club from Manitoba, pose Friday for a photo along the Paul Bunyan Trail.

As they gathered for a group photo, some of them told me that they call themselves FARC, which stands for fat a– cycling club.
They continue to call themselves FARC even after they discovered that a Colombian narco-terrorist group goes by the same name,
They bike together to get out on two wheels instead of four, one woman said.
What about the sisterhood, another asked.
While had a variety of reasons for being FARC members, they all agreed and repeatedly stated how much they enjoyed Minnesota’s trails.
I bid them farewell and caught up with JP.
When Bob joined us in Hackensack, he said he had met his friends from Manitoba again too.
He also realized once he pedaled up the trail toward Cass Lake, that he had been there before.
It was a discovery that added about 25 miles to his day’s riding and this wasn’t a day to do a lot of extra mileage.
We discovered the first time that we rode from Bemidji to Pequot Lakes that the Google Map distance estimation was about 10 miles less than what we actually rode.
That detail meant that Bob ended up riding 107 miles today.

Pedal for Project Impact, Day Four

Day Four
Thursday, June 11
41.71 miles
4 hours, 14 minutes

Today was our rest day.
That means Bob rode only 50 to 60 miles and JP and I did considerably less.
Bob wanted to ride around Lake Bemidji and possibly explore a trail to Cass Lake.
I said I’d go along and JP decided to stay to make some repairs to his bike and, maybe, ride a bit later.
Mine and Bob’s ride didn’t get off to an auspicious beginning,
Bob said he’d meet me outside the door at the end of the hotel hallway.
While he meant the exit near our rooms, I understood that he meant the door at the opposite end of the hallway.
We both waited for several minutes before realizing what was going on.
Once we found each other, we actually made it to the trail without having to ride the sidewalks along Paul Bunyan Drive, the heavily traveled street where our hotel is located.We found a way.

Bob studies a map posted on the trail around Lake Bemidji.

Bob studies a map posted on the trail around Lake Bemidji.

On the trail, Bob determined by studying the maps that are posted along the way that he was looking for the portion of the Mississippi River Trail that extends to Cass Lake.
The Mississippi River Trail is a network of roads trails that combine to create a route for cyclists to ride from Bemidji all the way to New Orleans.
We rode along a county road from Lake Bemidji to a golf course about 8 or 9 miles away. There some golfers told us it was another 12 miles to Cass Lake.
We decided we’d gone far enough for our day off, bought bottled water at the course club house and headed back to Bemidji.
Did mentioned we got lost on our way back to the hotel?

Pedal for Project Impact 2015, Day Three

Day Three
Wednesday, June 10
Park Rapids to Bemidji
65.93 miles
6 hours, 54 minutes
Bob and the Manitobans

I think JP would agree with me that Bob has at least the energy of both of us combined.
While JP and I were still eating breakfast at the hotel this morning, Bob had already pedaled off toward the Heartland Trail.
When he called as we were preparing to take off, I was surprised to hear him report that the trail was barricaded due to construction work.
I asked the women working at the front desk and ended up talking to one woman’s son who works at the local bike shop.
And I checked the Department of Natural Resources trail website.
Bob reported that he talked to a cyclist who had ridden in from her home four miles away and seen no sign of construction work.
After more conferring, Bob and I agreed that he should go around the barricade, ride down the trail toward Bemidji and report any construction work to us.
As JP and I pedaled toward the trailhead, we noticed signs warning of road work ahead.
As we approached the trail, we saw no barricade.
That’s when I realized that Bob had ridden past the turn to the trailhead and gone to a bridge over a pond that connects to the trail a quarter to a half mile down the road. That site was in the midst of the road work and was probably blocked for that reason, not work on the trail.
JP and I didn’t hear from or see Bob for a couple hours.

Bob Hines "eats" some Goo in preparation for a challenging stretch of Wedneday's ride.

Bob Hines “eats” some Goo in preparation for a challenging stretch of Wedneday’s ride.

We caught up with him at fork in the trail as he was eating (drinking?) some tubes of Goo, an energy “goo” for runners and cyclists.
Rather than taking the more direct trail to Walker and onto Bemidji, Bob was taking a rolling route full of sharp turns and steep climbs.
We agreed to meet in Walker for lunch.
When he joined us at the Piggy Barbeque in Walker, Bob said he met a group of 11 women cyclists from the Canadian province of Manitoba.
They told him they were in Minnesota to bike the “wonderful” trails in the area.
When they asked him what he was doing, he told them about Project Impact.
One of the Manitobans gave Bob $20 and said he was riding for a good cause.
After our lunch at the barbeque, the three of us rode back to the trail where Bob headed back to the trail fork where he’d left his trailer so he could ride the challenging trail segment without the added weight.
JP and I headed toward Bemidji challenged by a wind that wasn’t directly in our faces, but still slowed us down.
At dinner in Bemidji, Bob said he met two more Manitobans later in the day.
The couple also said they were visiting the area because of the trails and planned to return to Minnesota in July to bike in another part of the state.
Had Bob ever heard of the glacial trail, they asked.
Did they mean the Glacial Lakes Trail, Bob asked.
That’s it, they said.

Pedal for Project Impact, Day Two

Day Two
Tuesday, June 9
Long Prairie to Park Rapids
75.93 miles
6 hours, 44 minutes

There was a cool breeze to our backs as we rolled out of Long Prairie and back onto U.S. Highway 71 at about 7:20 a.m.
During the day, the temperature rose to near or slightly more than 90 degrees.
So it was a little warm but the weather wasn’t today’s challenge.
It was JP’s tire.
As we pulled into a convenience store in Bertha, he noticed that his bike’s front tire was flat.
When Bob pumped some air into to it, we could hear it leaking back out.
The inner tube had to be replaced.
JP got out his repair kit, removed the punctured tube and replaced it with a new one.
Getting the tire back on proved nearly impossible.

Bob Hines, left, and JP Cola repair JP's flat bike tire Tuesday at a convenience store in Bertha.

Bob Hines, left, and JP Cola repair JP’s flat bike tire Tuesday at a convenience store in Bertha.

At times all three of us were fighting the tire in the struggle to force it back on the wheel rim.
When we finally succeeded and Bob began pumping air into the new tube, we could hear the hissing of air leaking out.
We had punctured the new tube as we installed it.
Fortunately JP had a second tube and, as he installed it, the tire slipped without any struggle at all.
What can often be done in 10 or 15 minutes took nearly an hour.
JP was nervous for the rest of the ride because, if he had another flat, he was out of spares and would have to attempt to patch the leak. Also, his bike takes a less common size tube that not all bike shops keep in stock.
But the shop in Park Rapids does carry them so we’re good — on that score at least — for tomorrow.

Pedal for Project Impact 2015

Monday, June 8
Willmar to Long Prairie
67.36 miles
7 hours, 3 minutes

Four of us pedaled out of Willmar at about 7:20 a,m.
Bob Hines, JP Cola and I were headed for Long Prairie and Craig Schellberg Joined us as far as Paynesville.
Thanks Craig, we really appreciate your interest and support.

Craig Schellberg, left, and Bob Hines ride down the Glacial Lakes State Trail.

Craig Schellberg, left, and Bob Hines ride down the Glacial Lakes State Trail.

Rolling down the Glacial Lakes State Trail, each of us noticed different thing.
I noticed I was getting saddle sore pretty quick.
Bob said he noticed all the flowers along the trail between Willmar and New London. There are roses, daisies and some sort of blue blossoms.
But it wasn’t all bright colors and fragrance as we rode.
It got warmer later in the day and the wind picked up. We were tired and sweaty by the time we stopped at a restaurant after riding nearly 50 miles.
The air conditioning and plenty of cold water and pop was a nice change from warm winds and the sun-heated water in our bottles.
But the heat had gotten to JP he was feeling bad. The soup he ordered definitely wasn’t comfort food.
The wind seemed lighter and the air a bit cooler as we rode the last 20 miles to Long Prairie.
And dinner at the Ming Dynasty Buffet where the couple who own the place made dishes especially for us and talked to us about their business and lives in a small Minnesota town far from Taiwan.
While we were mostly having a good time on the first day of this year’s ride, Bob said he also thought about the reason for our ride: domestic abuse. It happens to people from all kinds of backgrounds and, so often, children who may not even be the direct targets of abuse, suffer nonetheless.
Those are the people Project Impact at Safe Avenues is intended to help — children who have experienced domestic abuse.
And that’s why we’re pedaling this week for Project Impact.

A meeting you might want to attend

There’s a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, at LuLu Beans in Willmar that may interest some of the area’s hardcore bicyclists.

It’s a planning session for Pedal for Project Impact 2015.

The ride is a fundraiser for Project Impact, a program at Safe Avenues, the Willmar shelter house. It provides a variety of services for children who have experienced domestic violence.

Cyclists participating in the ride raise money and awareness for the project.

It begins in about 50 days.

The third annual ride from Willmar to Bemidji and back is a week long and begins Monday, June 8.

A week is a long time and a lot of people don’t have that kind of time to commit.

But the riders will have a support vehicle and might be able to at least help an interested rider get to and from different points on the ride’s route if they want to join PPI for a few days.

If that’s not possible, cyclists can join the ride for as long as they want as the PPI riders leave Willmar at about 8 a.m. June 8 from the trailhead at the Willmar Civic Center.

Bob Hines, left, and Tom Meium pose with two of Bemidji's better known residents as they finish their day's ride during Pedal for Project Impact 2014.

Bob Hines, left, and Tom Meium pose with two of Bemidji’s better known residents as they finish their day’s ride during Pedal for Project Impact 2014.

Riders will take the Glacial Lakes State Trail on their way to Long Prairie, the first day’s destination.

Area cyclists are also invited to join the PPI peloton as the group returns Sunday, June 14.

They’ll head from Long Prairie on Tuesday to Park Rapids.

Bemidji will be the next day’s goal and riders will be spending the day riding on the Heartland and Paul Bunyan trails.

While there will be a day off in Bemidji, most participants spend at least part of the day riding in the area.

After the day off, riders will head back down the Paul Bunyan Trail to Pequot Lakes.

They’ll continue on the trail as far as Brainerd on day six of the ride as they head to Albany.

On Sunday, PPI cyclists will ride back to Willmar.

Cyclists can meet the group Sunday morning by riding the Glacial Lakes Trail to any point between Willmar and Paynesville.