If you're like me, you probably get wary when navigating your bike in the slicker-than-snot terrains of our local roadways once a fresh layer of snow hits the ground. In the end, you probably just learn to deal with it and hope you don't careen into a stop sign.
This week, you can pick up some tips on how to best avoid a potentially hairy wreck on your two-wheeler during the Icicles and Bicycles Celebration, a free winter bike riding celebration from 4:30–7 PM on Friday at Adventure Cycling Association, 150 E. Pine St., where experts share pointers on piloting your bike through the winter months. Mayor John Engen will also be on hand to discuss his "Bike Light Initiative" and local bike shops plan to show off their hottest winter clothing and gear. Also, bring an appetite, as you'll be able to munch on some food and drinks while taking in the simmering sounds of local bluegrassers Baba Ganoush. Call Beth Petersen at 721-1776 ext. 211.
But if you're situated up in the Flathead, or don't mind taking a trip up north, you should plan your Friday accordingly. Head to Whitefish to see the Patagonia Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, an event sponsored by the Flathead/Kootenai Chapter of the Montana Wilderness Association that features films about skiing, urban homesteading and our need for roadless areas. The films start rolling at 7 PM at the O'Shaughnessy Center, 1 Central Ave. in Whitefish, and tickets are $10 at the door or at all Montana Coffee Traders locations, as well as RMO and The White Room. Visit wildmontana.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're in Missoula, get some rest so you can rise early Saturday to join members of the Five Valleys Audubon Society for a free half-day birding field trip near the Smurfit-Stone Container mill. A similar outing in 2007 reportedly led to sightings of tundra swans, dunlins and other winged creatures. So if you've got an urge to see avians, meet at the UM Field House parking lot at 9:30 AM, or alternately meet at the main gate of the mill at 10 AM. Call Larry Weeks at 549-5632 or visit fvamissoula.org.
After feeding your birding addiction, spend the rest of Saturday relaxing and then scoot back up to the Flathead on Sunday to watch, or take part in, the 2009 Montana State Cyclocross Championships which start with registration at 9 AM and the first race at 10:30 AM at Herron Park, just west of Kalispell. It's free to spectate, but $25 to enter the race. If you're unfamiliar with the sport, think of it as a cross between mountain biking and street riding, except that these cyclists have to navigate a series of obstacles and varying landscapes. Call Steve Muller at 261-9250.
Later on, whiz back down to Missoula and stuff your face with pizza for a good cause during a pizza party fundraiser for Footloose Montana at Biga Pizza, 241 W. Main St., from 5–8 PM. You'll have to part with $10, but that nabs you as much pizza as your stomach can handle. All proceeds go to the organization, a group that aims to educate the public on the dangers of steel-jawed animal traps. Call 274-7878.
As your workweek begins, those in the Flathead should peep an audio/visual presentation Monday night by outdoor author John Fraley at 7 PM in the Community Room of The Summit, 205 Sunnyview Lane in Kalispell. Fraley plans to discuss the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, from its beginnings up to the present, along with a story or two about the rugged waterway during this free Flathead Audubon Society event. Call Paula L. Smith at 837-0181.
If surging waters don't get the hairs on your neck to stand up but massages do, sit tight in your cubicle in Missoula on Monday and then head over to Room 129 in UM's Skaggs Building from 6:30–9 PM so you can ease your tense muscles during a massage clinic hosted by UM's Physical Therapy Student Association which runs each night through Thursday. A 20 minute session costs $10 and 40 minutes of bliss costs $18, with all profits benefiting the student org. Appointments are required, so call 243-4753.
As your tension subsides on Monday night, kick your chill factor up a notch by soaking up the natural history and ecology of raptor migration in the western United States when Steve Hoffman of the Montana Audubon Society leads a discussion on the topic at 7:30 PM in Room L14 of UM's Gallagher Business Building. Free. E-mail email@example.com.
Once hump-day hits, engage your mountain climbing senses when those masters of mountaintop ascension, The Rocky Mountaineers, meet at 7 PM at Pipestone Mountaineering, 129 W. Front St. After you've pulled up a chair, get ready to hear Jim Wilson talk about his summer trip to the Alps during this free event. Visit rockymountaineers.com.
As we round out the week, make sure to end it on a shrubby note when you scuttle yourself over to hear Loren Bahls talk about "Weeds, Relicts, and Endangered Species: Exploring the Little World of Diatoms and a Parallel Universe of Montana Native Plants" at 7:30 PM in Room L09 of UM's Gallagher Business Building. Free. Visit mtnativeplants.org.
Also, it's come to my attention that any and all powder shredders shouldn't miss out on the Missoula premier of two snowboard films on Thursday, Neverland and B Movie, at the Wilma Theatre at 6 PM. The snow-porn fest costs $6, with tickets at the door or Edge of the World, and also features DJ Fleege spinning before and in-between screenings. It's also a fundraiser for the Montana Backwoods Project, a group of folks who want to create freestyle ski and snowboard terrain in Missoula. Visit backwoodsproject.com.
I've given you a lot this week, so don't waste anymore time. Get out there with haste.