If you haven’t visited the Angry Catfish Bicycle and Coffee Shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota, you’re missing out. Whether you live in the area or are just passing through, make it a point to stop in.
We recently had a moment to sit down with Parker, the store manager, to get some answers about their name and other stuff.
Niner: Where’d the name, Angry Catfish, come from?
Parker: There was a time in the Angry Catfish history where there was no name, but there was a shop. Before the shop even opened, there was a lot of construction that had to happen, and it was customary to finish up a long day of working on the space with beers and some brainstorming about what to actually call the space. On one particular night, the frustration hit an all-time high and the crew at the shop departed for the evening and headed to a party nearby. It was many hours into the night before Josh (the shop owner), was approached by a very…”colorful”, and very drunk gal who proceeded to point straight at him and tell him that he “…Looked like an Angry Catfish…”. And well, it stuck.
Niner: What’s your favorite thing about working at Angry Catfish?
Parker: The Community. It’s amazing here. The amount of people that we genuinely enjoy seeing come through the doors is staggering. Everyone here in the city of Minneapolis is really looking out for each other, and looking to help grow the love of cycling in the metro. On any given night there’s a group hitting the trails, headed out for a rainy urban assault, or rolling to a concert together. It’s just a really good scene, no matter the weather, and no matter the time of the year.
Parker: All-Road bikes reign supreme around these parts. We have this funny little thing called “Weather” that not only messes with the temperatures and amount of moisture we see, but really changes our roads, paths, and trails throughout the year. You might ride the same route every day of the year, and I promise you that it won’t be the same from Spring to Fall. A new pothole here, some new ruts there and the only real help is a higher volume tire that allows for a bit more forgiveness than your typical road slick. In recent years, the RLT has been the prime example of how to attack the roads and terrain around here. Add the ability to pack on some fenders and a light rear rack and our huge community of commuters stays very happy.
Niner: Do you have many people who walk into the shop that are interested in bikepacking? What’s the most useful thing you tell them?
Parker: Heck yeah! In the recent years we’ve tried to make ourselves a destination for that type of gear. We carry a multitude of bikepacking bags, straps, cages, stoves, and the occasional sleeping bag and pad of our liking. It seems that more and more we see the traditional cyclist exchange their lycra-clad group rides for weekend Sub-24 camping rides.
A lot of questions come up about bikepacking, for sure. What I try and remind people is that if they’ve been here in the midwest, and they’ve done any sort of camping in the past, they probably already have A LOT of the gear needed. Sure, I’d love to sell more and more gear to people, but it’s really about helping each individual figure out what works best for them. In order to do that, you have to encourage them to go out with a lot of the gear they already have and figure out what could be better, or what they’re missing.
Niner: Have you done any bikepacking? If so, what’s your favorite experience?
Parker: Not as much as I’d like to, but I get out for my fair share of exploring and bikepacking throughout the year. Recently my girlfriend and I packed up a tandem we built for the shop and headed out to a local state park about 30-40 miles away. We stopped at a couple dive-bars, took our time, and eventually ended up in the park staying at one of their newly built Yurts with some friends. It wasn’t the longest ride, and the scenery wasn’t crazy epic. But being able to leave from home and escape the city with friends is always a joy. And doing it on bikes is the BEST!
Niner: If you could give readers one tip for being a successful rider, what would it be?
Parker: Ride for you. Don’t ride because you feel obligated. Don’t ride because you feel like you need to be fast. Don’t ride because you think you had one too many beers this week. Ride because you love it, and because being on your bike gives you the freedom that we all need in our lives.