Aaron here everybody. As you may already know Katharine and myself closed the shop this past week to attend Frostbike in Minneapolis MN. Frostbike is Quality Bicycle Products annual shindig where they display new products and hold educational seminars for their dealers. It's not hard to figure out why it's named Frostbike as it was 0 degrees when we got here on Wednesday and not much warmer throughout the rest of the week. We had a really great time there and the seminars and break out sessions were incredibly helpful. The best thing about the conference is that we were able to meet some great bike people from all over the country and even from elsewhere in the world.
We decided that it would be super cool if we road our bikes to the Pittsburgh International Airport to catch our flight. We figured if we were going to a bike convention we should start it off with a bike ride. We had heard about the Montour Trail Airport connector and thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to try it out. Last summer our Brompton rep John flew to Pittsburgh from Portland and then road his Brompton to the shop before continuing his ride to Washington D.C for the Brompton National Championships. We blogged about it here if you want to read about it. Importantly the Pittsburgh International Airport does offer cyclists overnight covered bike parking in their long term parking garage so we were able to leave our bikes and some gear safely at the airport.
Because of the cold weather and recent snow we decided it would be best to ride through the west end and take a more tarmac and traffic heavy route where in nicer conditions we would have most likely pedaled through McKees Rocks and Neville Island to Coraopolis to catch the head of the Montour Trail. You can check out our route via google maps here . Fortunately we were able to get up and over the West End without too much static from morning traffic. As expected the Montour Trail was snow covered with very minimal tracks. There was one set of fat bike tracks in the snow that both Katharine and myself attempted to follow without too much success. This 10 or so miles was definitely the most challenging part of our ride and did cause a fair bit of anxiety about missing our flight due to our slow than expected pace. It also began to snow at a fairly heavy rate for the last 5 miles or so. In retrospect these challenges were the best part of the ride. The snow was beautiful and really made the ride special. We also saw a coyote clear as day right on the Airport connecting trail which was really cool.
One really odd byproduct of riding through the airport was definitely going through security in my cycling gear. The TSA agents must have thought I was a little off coming through security wearing just bib tights and a base layer although it should have made their job easier as wearing tights gives you little room to smuggle contraband. I got aggressively questioned about my socks and what was underneath them to which I answered "more socks". They were not amused.
Being in Minneapolis and QBP was really cool for bike nerds like us. We have always heard MLPS was a great bike town but I was really impressed by all of the bike commuters we saw pedaling around town in 0 degree weather. QBP headquarters was awesome and checking out all the new gear was really rad. There was a snow bike course outside of the headquarters where we road some cool fat and 29er plus bikes. Again the best thing about the trip was all the really cool and weird bike people from around the country and world. Check out some of the pictures below. You will see some pics of a Surly bonfire party held on a frozen pond (seemed kinda dangerous to us but no one else seemed to care). I got an out of focus shot of Katharine riding a ski bike down a snowy hill while party goers looked on hoping for just a little carnage. All in all it was a great trip. We are super happy for the new friends we made and the chance to learn how to make Kindred better this year than last. Now that we are back in the Burgh we can't wait to get the shop back up to speed and ourselves back into the swing of things.