Women and Bicycles

Doreen Snell, Gretchen Larson, Amy Middleton, Wendi Lindenmuth, Kristen Velaski and Lori Gonzalez attended an Aug. 2 meet and greet of Women and Bicycles at the Watershed Café in Osceola. Photo by Suzanne Lindgren

“You have to ride with girls with big backpacks,” quips Lori Gonzalez to the women surrounding her, “and good tools.” 

It’s a meet and greet for members of Women and Bicycles, a loose-knit group of female cyclists in the river valley. The group gathered at the Watershed Cafe in Osceola on Aug. 2 to talk bike trails, maintenance, and preparedness. 

“A hands-on bike clinic is a really good thing to do,” says Gonzales. “Even a refresher, because the fun stops if you break your chain or your tire pops. And at least have some bug dope with you, if you have to wait for help.”

When one in the group confesses that she’s never learned how to repair a flat, another is incredulous. 

“Are you serious? You need to know how to change a tire. It’s not that hard.”  

With that, the conversation moves seamlessly to an upcoming bike maintenance clinic for women at Cyclova XC, a bike shop in St. Croix Falls. 

Although the official formation of Women and Bicycles is new, the community of female bikers in the valley has been growing for the last couple of years. 

“Wendi [Lindenmuth] started the Facebook group in June,” says Kristen Velaski, “but we’ve kind of had a women’s movement the last couple years and we’ve been trying to grow. I work at Cyclova, so that’s how we started connecting.”

The transition to an organization with a calendar of events mirrors a statewide effort to support bicycling, and female cyclists in particular.

“This group is through Wisconsin Bike Fed,” said Lindenmuth, who spearheaded the local iteration of Women and Bicycles. “They wanted to start a program to get more women involved in biking in Wisconsin, and I just happened to see it.” 

Though the group is just getting started, it’s been a success so far. Members have ridden the Stower Seven Lakes Trail, which runs from Dresser to Amery, the Woolly Mountain Bike Trail in St. Croix Falls, and the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail near Lake Mille Lacs.

“It’s been really cool with everyone getting involved,” says Lindenmuth.

And members are doing more than riding trails and eating brunch together. Amy Middleton, for one, is part of an effort to connect two trails that end in Dresser, the Gandy Dancer and Stower Seven Lakes Trail. Both are crushed gravel trails; the Stower leads to Amery and the Gandy to Duluth. 

“I’m on the Town of Osceola’s planning commission,” says Middleton. “We’re trying to connect the two [trails] at some point off-road. But in the meantime we’re going to put down stencils, pending approval. They’ll be little bike images and arrows to route people. It’s a kind of complicated, winding road. So if anyone wants to graffiti the roads, I’ll be looking for volunteers.” 

Several women say they’d like to help. From group rides and shared meals to making cycling more accessible to everyone in the valley, Women and Bicycles is set on positive outcomes for the surrounding communities. 

The group is looking for more female cyclists to join in, and has several events through the end of September. 

Find more information on the group’s Facebook page, Women and Bicycles — St. Croix Valley Region, or contact Wendi Lindenmuth at wenlinden@live.com.

  

Upcoming Rides

Ladies Adventure and Tech Night

A bike maintenance clinic with guest speaker Lisa Thompson, a gravel enduro-racer and adventure cyclist.

Thursday, Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Cyclova XC in St. Croix Falls

Wine and Ride Night

Friday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m.

Dancing Dragonfly Winery in St. Croix Falls.

Woolly Mountain Bike Trail Ride

Monday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.

St. Croix Falls High School

Women’s Road Group Ride

Thursday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m.

Location to be determined.

Woolly Mountain Bike Trail Ride

Monday, Aug. 25 at 6 p.m.

St. Croix Falls High School

Bike Brunch in 

the Twin Cities

Sunday, Aug. 31 at 8 a.m.

Meeting locally, heading to The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis.

18th Annual Autumn Trek Bicycle Ride

Sunday, Sept. 21, all-day

River Falls, Wis.

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