Rochester has bloomed with outdoor activity after a cold winter. Summer brings our community outdoors. We asked several local sporting goods business owners what their go-to items would be for biking, hiking, walking, canoeing and tubing.
Bob Gritman, owner of Bicycle Sports, has a top-five for biking this year, whether you’re a seasoned rider or ready to hop on a new bike. “First off,” Gritman begins, “a bike helmet to prevent brain injury in case of a fall.” Nate Nordstrom, owner of New Spin Bicycle Shop, also places a “proper fitting helmet” as his top pick. Once the helmet is secured, Gritman’s remaining top biking items include: padded cycling gloves to increase comfort and protection, padded cycling shorts and jersey with SPF 50, cycling shoes to give a comfortable and efficient platform while pedaling, and a phone holder to keep in contact, listen to music or use one of the many fitness apps that provide data and ride mapping. Gritman adds, “Stop at your local retailer to talk with a consultant who rides in your same location and weather. Try on the items—fit varies in cycling clothing from street clothes. Also, brands have different fits depending on the purpose of the apparel. Performance cycling clothes fit close to the body for aerodynamics while a half-zipped jacket turns into a drag parachute when cycling into the wind.”
Nordstrom’s recommendation also includes a smartphone mount for trail GPS, in addition to bike sunglasses for eye protection, a water backpack/water bottle holder, cargo bags or kids’ seating, Ergon comfort hand grips, a comfortable seat, and good pedals. Nordstrom adds, “Start with a couple basics, but remember that the most important thing is a proper fitting and comfortable bike. A comfortable bike will encourage you to ride more often and explore longer rides, which in turn enables you to get good use out of your gear. Dusty gear on a shelf makes me sad and doesn’t do you any good. Also, consider trying an eBike, especially an e-cargo bike because it might just change your life. … It did ours.” Electric bikes can give a boost on long hauls and steep hills.
One safety note about electronics: Bikers should always be aware of their surroundings, and wearing headphones or using electronic devices while cycling can be distracting.
Tiffany Piotrowicz is the owner of TerraLoco in Rochester. She is geared up for hiking, running and walking. “My top recommendation for apparel is Tasc Performance,” Piotrowicz explains. “It is a bamboo-based performance apparel line. Bamboo is naturally moisture-wicking but feels and breathes more like cotton. It also has natural SPF protection!” TerraLoco carries a variety of Tasc options such as t-shirts, long sleeves, leggings, shorts and tanks. “Another apparel recommendation is called Nuu Muu. It’s a cute, moisture wicking dress/tunic that can be worn on its own or over leggings or bike shorts,” Piotrowicz says.
Piotrowicz also recommends any product from Hydro Flask. She adds, “And a new product called the Stash from HydraPak. It’s a silicone, collapsible flask for long outings. It’s lightweight and takes up minimal space before being filled.”
“We have great hiking boots,” Piotrowicz says, “but recommendations depend on any foot issues, as well as what kinds of trails will be hiked.” Footwear with good ankle support can help limit fatigue and soreness of your feet, especially if you are backpacking with a heavy pack.
“My final must-have is socks!” Piotrowicz exclaims. “I cannot stress enough the importance of socks for any activity. When sweating, avoid cotton, which traps moisture next to the skin. Look for moisture wicking fabrics such as Dri-Fit, polyester or nylon. Personally, I suggest wool socks from Darn Tough (made in the USA). Wool is a great temperature regulator, and when it gets wet, it dries quickly.”
Kristin Welch co-owns Tyrol Ski & Sports with her husband. For a fun day canoeing on a lake or river, Welch’s top pick is a PFD (personal flotation device/life jacket). Welch states, “Even the most experienced canoeists can find themselves in the water from tipping over the canoe. A PFD will allow you to safely get to shore, while also collecting your gear and righting your canoe.” As with hiking, dressing in layers is a smart idea. Welch explains, “Often the temperatures on the water can be windier or cooler than on land. By packing that fleece or jacket, you’ll be more comfortable and have more fun.” This recommendation leads to her next pick—a waterproof shell or rain jacket. Welch advises to look for one with a hood. “A hood paired with a baseball cap can provide the protection you need, while allowing you to see and continue canoeing,” Welch adds.
Next up, for safely canoeing in summer, sun gear is needed. Welch lists a hat, sunscreen and/or a sun shirt. She explains, “The sun can be intense and you get double the exposure due to the sun reflecting off the water; it is easy to get sunburned. Reapply sunscreen frequently.” And finally, be sure to pack a water bottle and snacks. Welch concludes, “When looking for the proper gear for outdoor recreation, talk to someone with experience in that activity. Whether it be a friend, family member or store employee, they can help steer you to what you need. If this is a first time, consider borrowing, buying second-hand or renting. When you decide to invest in outdoor clothing or shoes, remember that buying good quality items should last you a long time!”
Other local options
When looking for specific outdoor apparel and gear, remember there are many local options before buying online or at big name retailers. If you have children that will be participating, Schmitt’s Stride Rite has been locally owned since 1982. The friendly owner and staff can have your child’s feet fitted with the proper footwear. For second-hand attire items, Rochester is home to Janky Gear—an outdoor consignment store. Additionally, Clothes Mentor and Refashion often carry consigned outdoor apparel. ::
Remember to Shop Local
- Bicycle Sports • 1400 5th Place NW
- Janky Gear • 204 N Broadway Ave
- New Spin Bicycle Shop • 5335 E Frontage Road, Suite C
- Refashion • 1643 N Broadway Ave, Suite A
- Rochester Cycling • 1211 7th Street NW
- Schmitt’s Stride Rite (Children’s Footwear) • 1300 Salem Road SW, Suite 400
- TerraLoco • 1190 16th Street SW, Suite 150
- Tyrol Ski & Sports • 1923 2nd Street SW