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Minnesota Outdoors

Star Tribune

It's about time for 30 Days of Biking -- that rite of April

“I think the American thing is getting the bigger number, but the more important thing is to focus on meaningful stories.”

The words of Patrick Stephenson, organizer and creator of 30 Days of Biking, on what after eight years has become an April rite: People pledge to roll every day at least once and share the experience online using #30daysofbiking. Begun in 2010, the movement has a global following after its humble start. In fact, the challenge’s popularity has forced some changes this year.

Unlike previous years, Stephenson said he has focused on engaging with prospective riders on social media over fixating on the tally of pledges at 30DaysofBiking.com. “It’s not that important to people,” he said.

Too, there isn’t a large, central kickoff ride like recent years. Last year, more than 600 riders showed up testing organizers and physical space. Instead, this year, a kickoff party is planned at noon March 31 in Minneapolis at Surly Brewing Co., a major supporter of 30 Days of Biking.

There also are six community rides planned. Each has a separate organizer. The St. Paul Bicycle Coalition, Freewheel Bike and Erik’s Bike Shop are among them.They will be free rolls with a casual tone — aka slow rolls in riding circles. “Everyone is welcome,” Stephenson said. “[Inclusiveness] is a really important component.”

30 Days of Biking is trying to raise $30,000 for World Bicycle Relief — double its 2017 total.

Surly will help with that number, donating $3,000 after the challenge hits 5,000 signups and $3,000 raised by cyclists.

The April challenge culminates with a “grand finale" campout May 5-6, organized with Surly, and limited to 200 ticket-buying participants. It’s sure to fill fast.

Steger begins solo Canadian Arctic trek in harsh conditions

Minnesota explorer Will Steger has begun his solo spring trek in the remote, rugged Canadian Arctic.

Steger last updated followers in a blog post on his Wilderness Center web site Monday. He said he is “geared-up and anxious to leave” – and monitoring high winds and harsh weather.

“There’s supposed to be somewhat of a snowstorm (Tuesday). … I’ll be vulnerable to the wind, but the wind is actually good news because it’ll keep the snow off the trail.”

Steger, 73, said he intends to check in from Black Lake in northwestern Saskatchewan after day one on his 1,000-mile, 70-day trek. It will be Steger’s longest solo expedition. “It’s going to be all very interesting,” Steger told the Star Tribune late last month. “It’s one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken in my life for total adventure.”

Steger traversed the region on expeditions in the 1980s.

Steger plans to reach his final destination at the Caribou Inuit community of Baker Lake in Nunavut near Hudson Bay in early June. 

Check back to startribune.com/outdoors for updates, or go online to stegerwildernesscenter.org to check posts from Steger.