Josh Klauck’s long love affair with bicycles started at age 15 when he snagged a job at Easy Riders Bicycle and Sportshop in his hometown of Brainerd. In the beginning, he was hooked by the cool gear, but it didn’t take long for him to develop a passion for the freedom of the ride.
It’s no wonder that Klauck, 31, made it a goal to remain in the industry that so captured his attention as a teenager. That came in the form of Angry Catfish, a combined bike shop and cafe he opened in south Minneapolis in 2010. Since then, the shop has become a staple of the local cycling scene, serving riders of every ilk from all corners of the metro. It’s also a gathering place.
Taking all he learned about creating a combined retail and community locale, he and Mike Fischer opened a fly-fishing shop in 2013 right around the corner from Angry Catfish. To be sure, when Klauck isn’t riding, he’s probably fishing. The fly shop, called Mend Provisions, caters to anglers in many of the same ways his bike shop does for cyclists — not only peddling gear but also the lifestyle that goes along with the sport.
In a recent conversation, Klauck discussed why he’s so inspired by bikes, how fly fishing helps provide balance in his life, and the interesting intersection of the two hobbies that has driven many of his most recent outdoor adventures. Here are the edited excerpts:
On his love for cycling
It’s all about being outside, being able to move faster than walking, and being able to explore places you can’t explore with a car. Bikes attract a lot of interesting people too, so being able to meet people who are like-minded and interested in adventure and getting around without a car is a part of it. There’s definitely a group of us who can’t get enough of bikes and keep building different iterations and changing our bikes. It’s really a lifestyle. You don’t just get a bike and leave it the way it is and ride it forever: You tweak it, and change it, and make it different, and then build another one off the things you learned from the first one.
On the beginnings of Angry Catfish
There were already a couple bike shop cafes in Minneapolis, so it wasn’t 100 percent a unique idea, but there were certain aspects we wanted to do differently. We decided to include the cafe with the bike shop because of the community aspect. We wanted to create a gathering place for cyclists and also an environment for ourselves where we didn’t have to go anywhere to get coffee and food offerings. We were always hanging out and working 80 hours a week, so it seemed like a good option.
On his love of fly fishing
While standard fishing was a big part of growing up in my family, my friend and now co-owner of Mend Provisions [Fischer] got me into fly fishing, and I got superaddicted to it. It has become my happy place when I have had enough of bikes. Fly fishing to me is a lot like mountain biking. With mountain biking, if you’re not paying attention, you’re going to crash into a tree and hurt yourself, so you can’t really think about work or things that are bugging you. You have to pay attention to the trail and put effort into it. Fly fishing is the same way — you can’t just stand around and watch your bobber. You have to pay attention to your casting, the bugs coming off the water, what the fish are doing, and how your line is sitting on the water. So to a large extent, it’s a beautiful distraction — just standing in the water, feeling the water, listening to the water — it’s quite rejuvenating.
The world at large has been recently melding bicycle riding and fly fishing in the bikepacking world, which has been really cool to see. It has become big for us at the shop in the last few years. We go on bikepacking trips where we ride bikes fully loaded with packs and a fly rod that can break down into five pieces and travel really easily on a bicycle. I can bring a small bag with flies, leaders, a rod in a tube, and a reel, and it doesn’t add much weight or space. Last September we did a ride from Tofte to Grand Marais on the North Shore along some of the little streams that run down into Lake Superior which was really neat.
Mackenzie Lobby Havey is a freelance writer from Minneapolis.