BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) — Dealers and suppliers flocking to Quality Bicycle Products’ Frostbike were greeted by the harshest winter storm to hit Minnesota this season, dumping as much as a foot of snow overnight Thursday to Friday in the Twin Cities and prompting widespread school closures as well as traffic snarls on icy highways. But QBP said there has been only mild disruption to its annual open house, which started Friday morning.
More than 200 flights into Minneapolis St. Paul International were canceled Thursday, with an additional 100 scratched early Friday due to snowy and icy conditions on runways, said Patrick Hogan, the airport’s director of public affairs and marketing.
QBP worked to find out-of-luck attendees alternative flight arrangements, according to marketing director Jason Gaikowski, and “for the most part, we’ve gotten people rebooked,” he added Friday morning.
At Friday evening’s opening reception, QBP founder and president Steve Flagg said the company had received only 50 Frostbike cancellations despite inclement weather.
While local media reported hundreds of road accidents and stranded cars on frozen roads Friday, several Frostbike exhibitors said they experienced only minor delays reaching QBP headquarters for expo setup.
“Minneapolis has learned over the years to deal with snow, and does it pretty well,” said Gaikowski.
“Is the weather affecting the event? Yes. Is it ruining the event? Absolutely not,” he added.
Frostbike kicked off Friday with a full day of VIP seminars, happy-hour topic sessions and an awards dinner.
The Clay Mankin Award, honoring a retailer who advances bicycle advocacy, went to Joe Brown, owner of Methow Cycle and Sport in Winthrop, Washington. A champion for mountain bike and fat bike trail access in the Methow Valley, Brown will accept his award at QBP headquarters on Sunday.
Flagg honored Garmin as QBP’s vendor of the year, saying the company has become “a huge partner for the bike industry” due to its efforts in recent years to enforce pricing. “Their support of the IBD has been tremendous,” Flagg said.
QBP also introduced the new Londonderry Award — named after Annie Londonderry, the first woman to bike around the world. Recognizing women who work to foster cycling in their community, the honor went to Lisa Kanno, owner of women’s specialty retailer The Unlikely Cyclist in Costa Mesa, California.
In addition to selling women’s-specific bikes and apparel for female cyclists of all sizes, Kanno has made women’s clinics and rides a cornerstone of her shop since opening in October 2012.
“Please help to support women’s cycling,” she urged the crowd in accepting the award. “It’s a wonderful cause.”
Frostbike continues Saturday and Sunday with an expo and full slate of seminars at QBP’s headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota.