Today: Kurt Stafki is marketing manager at Otso Cycles, a bicycle-maker in Burnsville.


Bikepacking Journal is a twice-yearly periodical that’s a collection of photos and essays of bicycle tours. Issue 03 highlights the 2,700-mile Tour Divide mountain bike race, a weekslong trip along America’s southern border; tours in Oman and East Timor; and more stories that inspire two-wheeled wanderlust. I’m into Peter Wohlleben’s “The Inner Life of Animals.” The book has completely changed my perspective of animal psychology. Where I once thought that animals possessed only primal thoughts, I’ve learned that they possess so much more: communication and memory with honeybees, self-awareness and deception in squirrels, and varying culture between whale pods as a few examples. The Edward Abbey classic “The Monkey Wrench Gang” was given to me by my dad and I’m thoroughly enjoying the fictitious story about four environmental activists with a healthy dose of humor.


We’ve just entered an election year and I’ve been following primary polling more closely than ever. To be an environmentalist living under the current administration has been trying to say the least. Between climate change and water crises, there’s more at stake for our planet than ever. With the bushfires in Australia, the Environmental Protection Agency’s stripping the Clean Water Act, and 2019 falling just shy of being the warmest year on record, it’s clear that our country needs to step up and enact policies that drastically reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment. A recent victory in the fight to save the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness provides some hope. The next couple months will give us a good picture of how our environment will look in the next five years.


European soccer season is in full swing, and I religiously follow Chelsea Football Club in England’s Premier League. It’s been an inconsistent season for the team and supporters have learned to expect the unexpected. Uncertainty is an exciting emotion. “The West Wing” was just added to Netflix, and my wife and I have embarked on our journey into Aaron Sorkin’s White House-led-by-Martin Sheen for the first time. Lots of good stuff right now.


Winter is for playing in the snow and planning trips and bike races for the warmer months. I cross-country ski and ride my fat bike any chance that I get. The Rennet fatbike race was earlier this month and the Fat Tire Loppet (part of the City of Lakes Loppet) is the first weekend of February. Gravel bike racing season starts again in March and I’ve got many miles and rides for which to prepare: Mid South (in Oklahoma), Le Grand Du Nord (in Grand Marais), Dirty Kanza (in Kansas), and a few others. I also spend a fair amount of time fly fishing in icy rivers to stay sane. Sure, my fly rod may freeze every 10 minutes or so, but it’s far too enjoyable to swing nymphs and streamers in the cold than spend a winter day indoors. Bring on the snow, at least until early March.