“It wasn’t until Frank started the bike shop, that all the mountain bikers in the area finally had a place to come together.” Explains Keith Velaski of the Woolly Bike Club in St. Croix Falls, WI. “There were plenty of people riding and getting out, but we were not connected. As soon as we had this place, we met a new friends who have become our close friends that we travel with, adventure with, and build trails with”, adds Kristen Velaski. A nice trail system with space for expansion and an excited group of both men and women working toward a common goal is obvious proof the bike community in St. Croix Falls is coming together. They have their priorities straight – “getting more young butts on bikes so there are more old butts on bikes”, explains a older gentleman in our Better Living Through Trails presentation.
Our time in St Croix Falls, though short was enlightening, as we worked closely with this enthusiastic group through a weekend they labeled as the “high point in the clubs existence.” This was apparent by the attendees at our presentations and the additional events that the Woolly Bike Club planned for this weekend. We worked with a variety of local groups, business owners, and community members in our Better Living Through Trails presentation to help aid the club in their dream of developing a midwestern bike destination. Despite their small size, St Croix Falls is located just an hour from the Twin Cities, Minneapolis/ St. Paul, a huge population center with more than 2 million residents. “It really became apparent when we started seeing so many unfamiliar faces out on our fatbike trails in the winter” explains Frank Lundeen, a board member of the Woolly Bike Club and owner of the Cyclova XC bike shop in town. “I opened this shop in the area because I saw its potential and knew what the area offered in terms of community and access to the outdoors.”
As we pulled into town Wednesday night we were immediately welcomed in by this enthusiastic crew, who happened to be hanging out on a deck near our hotel. They kindly invited us to ride with them Thursday morning and their passion and connection to the area was contagious from here on. Combining this beautiful landscape, diverse area amenities, and proximity to a large population center are all key elements to creating a destination, but St. Croix passionate community and devoted core group are the components that will make it happen. It was an uplifting weekend of events and we are excited to see the progress!
Thanks to the Woolly Bike Club, Cyclova XC, Dalles Coffee House and Bakery, and everyone who made our weekend so successful. We hope we helped your forward momentum in developing and expanding trail access in the area and we look forward to returning. More photos can be found here: St. Croix Falls Flickr