Packing smart for a day on the trails.
With more than 55 miles of trails in Maple Grove, what better place to get out and explore. Whether you’re looking for the peace and solitude of a bike ride through the woods or planning a hike with a lakeside picnic lunch, Maple Grove has plenty of options. But how can you keep your load light while enjoying a day of adventure in the great outdoors? Alex Tadt can help answer that question. “I tend to pack just what I need,” Tadt says.
The Maple Grove resident started making bags for his bike during the pandemic, but what began as a hobby soon turned into a business: Bags by Alex. Today, Tadt offers a wide range of bags designed for adventure from biking to hiking to travel and beyond.
Tadt says it all started with a “weird obsession” to find the perfect half-frame bag to use on his long-range bike races. After a series of unsuccessful searches, he ran across a how-to article on the Internet and decided he’d try making his own. “The only way I can describe it is a blob,” he recalls of his first attempt. Tadt remained undeterred, and, though he had never sewn before, he quickly picked up on the skill.
Tadt spent about a year just making bags for fun. “I was challenging myself,” he says. “I had a lot of fun doing it.”
Then in July 2021, Tadt opened an Etsy shop. “I didn’t have a lot of business at first,” Tadt says. Fast forward six months and business began to grow. By May 2022, Tadt had left his full-time job to focus on growing his bag business. These days, there are no more blobs.
Tadt has upgraded his sewing machines and can produce cleaner, tighter lines. “I take a lot of time and make my bags with intention,” he says. His bags are solid and sturdy. They come in a variety of colors and materials, including lightweight nylon and 100 percent recycled ECOPAK, a waterproof fabric made from 100 percent recycled polyester fiber and film. “We offer options to support adventure,” Tadt says.
The collection also includes the EDC pack, a Feedbag and a Handle BarBag. Tadt recommends his EDC pack for a day of hiking the trails. It can hold all of the essentials: water, snacks, phone, cash, ID and an extra layer of clothes.
When hitting the bike trails, Tadt recommends that bicyclists carry a spare tube, tools to change and inflate the tube, water, food, an extra layer of clothing, a spare battery pack and phone, cash and ID. His favorite place to ride in Maple Grove is the Elm Creek Park Reserve area. “It’s easy to spend an entire day on their 20 miles of trails,” he says, noting an optional stop at Omni Brewing Company afterward. For biking, Tadt makes frame bags and handlebar bags to accommodate just about any bike and any length ride. (Tadt has used his own bags for 200-mile-plus bike races.)
While you can’t prepare for everything, Tadt says that’s part of the adventure. “I followed something that challenged me,” he says. “I learned that you never know what’s going to happen.”