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December 22, 2004

Sibley Bike Depot Closed, NOT

Tonight I went to the Sibley Bike Depot in Downtown St. Paul to look at the Mountain Bikes on sale. I found it tucked away behind some new apartment buildings on Sibley, between 9th and 10th Streets. Thatís between 7th Street and Highway 94.
When I arrived at about 6:30pm there was a dim light on inside. At first I thought they were closed, but then I saw someone walking around in there. I went up to the door and there was a big sign that said CLOSED, with a note that said, ďClosed for the season.Ē I thought, ďThatís weird," because I just checked their website and it said they were open. The guy inside saw me and motioned me to go to the other door. So I walked around and he let me in. That was Bill, one of the board members of the Minnesota Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance, which runs the Sibley Bike Depot. He told me the whole story. Evidently the construction next door damaged their foundation and they developed a huge crack in their floor, then their wall started falling, so they have to wait until January for it to be repaired. They decided that they would just close up shop until those repairs were done.
Bill happened to be at the shop tonight because he thought some volunteers might show up to work tonight, and while he was there he was just straightening up. He was getting ready to leave until I showed up. I was curious about the bike shop, so he invited me in. When I told him what I was doing, he enthusiastically showed me all of their mountain bikes and helped to fit me with one that would work for winter biking. He then told me about another place in town that MAKES their own studded tires. Iím going there next week to check them out. I left with a nice mountain bike in possession that I bought at a reasonable price. Itís a Mongoose Surge. Can you feel the power? I've never heard of that brand before but I don't really know brand names too well, except for a few that I see a lot, like Trek and Specialized.
This shop seems like a really good place to find used bikes that are totally repaired and in working order. And if you need to fix your bike, this is a good place to do that also. Anyway, now I have a bike to ride, so Iím going to ride to work tomorrow morning. The roads should be clear enough by then, so Iím going for it with just the standard mountain bike tires. It should be ok. I will look for studded tires next week and start building my snow chains.
Now for clothing, lights, reflectors, fenders...

I have to thank Bill for being in the right place at the right time tonight. Even though they are closed until the repairs are done, Bill let me in and sold me a bike. And I have to say thanks again to Jim for the inspiration and motivation to get out there and ride my bike again. This is truly an adventure and much more fun than my stationary bike, which I have not been very motivated to ride! It just doesn't move me. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at December 22, 2004 10:24 PM | Winter-Biking


Hey John, Congrats on your purchase. I got those Nokian studded tires from Peter White Cycles in New Hampshire. He has a web page and may well be the most knowledgeable and helpful bike guy I know of. Besides that, he might be the only dealer in the country who regularly stocks these.

I've read a fair bit on studded tires. I've even seen some for sale in the oddball rack at various local bike shops. Yes, you can make your own (or have others make them for you), and there are a number of factory-made models available. But I keep coming back to the Nokian brand being the most reputable for durability and smart design. The reason is that the studs are made of carbide, which is considerably harder and more durable than steel. This means that the studs won't wear down as quickly as steel ones.

The Nokians are a little pricey, but I understand that they often last for several seasons if used intelligently. So you have to consider replacement frequency when buying what seems to be a less expensive tire up front.

Posted by: Jim at December 22, 2004 11:15 PM