Who are you, and what’s the best way to describe your relationship with bicycling?
My name is Chris Chavie and I’ve always loved cycling and that passion was reignited later in life by a friend who just happened to own a bike shop. Cycling had changed a lot since riding BMX bikes as a kid and I found myself to be a novice rider again, but Pat Sorensen, owner of Penn Cycle & Fitness saw to it that I got back in the saddle. I credit him for removing some of the barriers that newby cyclists experience. As I became a better rider, I wanted to pay it forward and help others through some sort of bicycle advocacy to get more butts on bikes. Cycling for me is a lifestyle, it’s my favorite way to get to work, it eliminates stress, maintains my fitness and lets me see the world around me in a different way. Life on two wheels promotes positive mental health and has really changed my outlook on life for the better.
Why did you start MN Bike Trail Navigator?
I got back into cycling in 2011 and found myself heading to the internet frequently to find information about where to ride in Minnesota. I would search for details about trails, hours, parking and sources for bike maps. I quickly realized there was no aggregated website containing cycling information for the state of Minnesota at that time, so I decided to create one in December of 2011. By January of 2012 I had published the MN Bike Trail Navigator blog. I ended up using it quite frequently to plan my own rides and pick cycling events I was going to attend. From then my content grew and I gained a large following in the Minnesota bike community. Over the years I have put in thousands of hours writing articles, updating event calendars and creating resource content for anyone who wanted to access it. It’s definitely a labor of love and my way of giving back to the cycling community at large.
What’s a recent MN bike event you attended that was a great experience?
It would be my ninth Filthy Fifty gravel race last October in Lanesboro, MN. I’ve raced every one going back to its start in Stewartville in 2013, but this one was special because my wife joined me for the first time. She has really gotten into gravel riding over the past few years and will be joining me on several rides and races this upcoming season.
What do you think the next 10 years looks like for the state of Minnesota bicycling?
I see continued growth of all types of recreational cycling since Minnesota has something for every type of rider from beginner to expert. The Minnesota Cycling Association has done a wonderful job with student athletes “building strong minds, strong bodies and strong character through cycling”. I applaud the organization and see it creating many more life long cyclists in the future.
With groups like the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and the League of American Bicyclists advocating and lobbying for safer roads and better cycling infrastructure, I believe there will be many more people taking up cycling, not only for its mental and physical health benefits but for commuting and the simple enjoyment of the ride.
Where can people find you and your presence online?
My content can be found on the MN Bike Trail Navigator blog, MN Bike Trail Navigator on Facebook, @MNBTNavigator on Twitter and @chris_chavie on Instagram.
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