This morning an email in my inbox caught my attention: “Ride Together,Thrive Together,” read the subject line. The article shared the story of a mom who signed up as a volunteer mountain bike coach to support her sixth grade son. The article rang with familiarity as I thought about my team, West Range Composite, Rock Ridge, our neighboring team, and the Iron Range Offroad Cyclists gathering we happened upon at 30 West Bike Shop Saturday.
We have had unseasonably warm weather this winter. But on Saturday a front blew through, and we got wind and snow. My spouse and I decided to hike at Redhead Mountain Bike Park, where a person can escape the wind as they descend into the pit. As we pulled off the highway and passed Minnesota Discovery Center, we noticed lights on and cars at the 30 West Bike Shop. “‘Tis the Season,” I said, and we needed a couple of gifts. So we parked, hunkered down, and scampered in.
Sitting in the midst of the bike racks sat a half a dozen familiar bikers with pink cheeks and winter wear. A box of Black Bear Bakery doughnuts sat open in the middle. We were greeted with a hearty hello! The crew had gotten together to ride fat-bikes* for a member’s birthday. “Conditions were good!” they said, licking frosting from their fingertips.
I have mentioned in this blog that I am an introvert. Joining community things does not come naturally to me. But with the building of Redhead, the Iron Range Off road Cyclists (IROC) club, and our teams, I have found a place. I am not an air-catching, dare-devil mountain bike rider. But I love to get out on trails and sometimes get an adrenaline rush. And our mountain bike teams shared mission, “We build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling,” compels me to share this wonderful resource with others.
The Iron Range has room for us to build the things we want in our community. Redhead was an idea that my spouse and his friends pursued. Crescendo Youth Orchestra was another idea created by locals that has helped build another musical community. And VEMA in Chisholm, with their multicultural community center, is another.
The concept of “ride together, thrive together” is inclusive of much more than just mountain biking. It speaks to the power of gathering together and building community. As we march towards the new year, I invite you to think about what you might want to join or build. There are a lot of folks who support you!
*Fat bikes have fat tires that allow riding on snow!
P.S. IROC, West Range Composite, and Rock Ridge are all volunteer organizations. We LOVE for people to join us. Please follow the links, or we would be glad to connect you. Email us!