Community of Wolves
The English language holds many untruths about animals: crazy as a loon, bat out of hell, lone wolf.
Ride with the Wolves is a community-focused event that Mike Phillips of Red Table Meat Co. and I dreamt up while sharing many woodsy rides of our own. The idea is simple. Ride bikes in the woods, eat good food, tell stories, listen to music.
The first installment of Ride with the Wolves took place near Two Harbors, Minn., in partnership with Spokengear bikeshop. On December 3, we led the first Ride with the Wolves in the Twin Cities.
Beginning at Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop, we made our way down to the Minnesota River Bottoms via Mendota. Heading upriver we stopped beneath the 494 bridge. We talked about the history of the Dakota people and the importance of spaces like the Minnesota River Valley Bottoms. It provides a chance to relate to the wildness that is inherent in the water, plants and animals with whom we share this planet.
Continuing upstream, the wolves took a hike-a-bike route through the sedge and rushes to wisely avoid a peanut butter stretch of mud near a place I call the “rivermarker.” After crossing over the Minnesota River at Cedar Ave., we headed back downstream to our lunch spot where my wife had ridden in ahead of us and built a fire.
After taking a moment to let the fire burn down to coals good for cooking, we filled the fire grate with Red Table Meat Co. Red Dogs. As riders enjoyed their beverages and meat, the sun jumped out for a brief moment from behind the cloud-banked sky.
It grew quiet, everyone eating and taking in the river moving slowly by. Mike took the opportunity to explain what sets Red Table Meat Co. apart. They don’t just use the whole pig, they are a part of the pig's whole life and diet. Understanding the tradition and practices of charcuterie as an art, not simply a craft novelty.
I followed Mike by playing some songs and telling my own stories.
If you pay attention, there are many “middle passages,” as I like to call them. Spots between roads and existing trails. Leaving our lunch spot, we took to these adventure routes in heading back to Angry Catfish, where the group parted ways.
If you see a lone wolf, it usually means something is wrong. Wolves are pack animals. They understand the importance of community. We are excited to expand the community of wolves with future rides.