Category Archives: Destinations

Picture yourself riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) through the wilds of Minnesota, pedaling America's famous 3,000 mile bike system

An adventure of a lifetime, along Minnesota’s Mississippi River Trail

by Russ Lowthian
Picture yourself riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) through the wilds of Minnesota.
Pedal with family and friends at your own pace on this Bold North adventure.
The first leg of America’s famous 3,000-mile bicycle trail system uses bike-friendly roads and multi-use pathways. You may find some of my observations of interest by leading several MRT bike tours over the years and referencing my book Road Biking Minnesota.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the Mississippi’s headwaters near Park Rapids to the Iowa border, the complete Minnesota section of the journey is roughly 620 miles. The following route descriptions are spread over nine days to keep the daily mileage comfortable for plenty of time visiting the river towns along the way. Depending on how much time you can spend on any bike vacation, this overview makes it easy to break it apart for multiple bike getaways.

Please visit the embedded links offering short video clips and maps of the Mississippi trail system as you read the following. See the first video clip to get a better feel for what you will see and experience leaving Itasca State Park on the MRT. The information in this video and subsequent videos are made possible by the MN DNR, the MN Historical Society, Explore Minnesota Tourism, and the National Park Service.

MRT – Day 1 from the Mississippi Headwaters to Bemidji

 

 

After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the historic Douglas Lodge, in Itasca State Park, it’s time to roll out. First, you will need to pedal a few miles through the towering pines to where the Mississippi River begins. At the Headwaters parking lot, walk your bike down the trail. There, dip your rear wheel in the stream to celebrate the beginning of your journey. You may hear one of Minnesota’s loons calling out. Following the internationally recognized Mississippi River Trail, depart from the park’s north entrance. Now pedaling a scenic county road in a northeasterly direction, this 30-plus mile stretch offers a beautiful rolling terrain. As you pass by patches of pine forests and an occasional old farm setting, smell the air. Soon you are pedaling into the first city on the Mississippi River.

Rolling into Bemidji

Arriving in Bemidji, the MRT enters on a city trail that connects to the Paul Bunyan Trail. As the river’s current flows into Lake Bemidji, consider spending your first evening here. While visiting, discover all this community has to offer.

A-League of American Bicyclists (LAB) Bike-Friendly Community. It’s easy to get around and explore the city by bike.

In the downtown area, metal sculptures, murals, and historic architecture are found on just about every corner. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor’s center to have your picture taken with
Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue ox. See our Bike Bemidji article for lodging and more things to do when not riding. You will find camping options in Lake Bemidji State Park.

MRT – Day 2 from Bemidji to Grand Rapids

Back in the saddle, the MRT takes the Paul Bunyan Trail north to where the Mississippi River pours out of Lake Bemidji. As the current flows east, enjoy the sites along the Great River Road as it rolls into Chippewa National Forest. This next stretch of the MRT to Grand Rapids is roughly 80 miles. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving Bemidji, watch the 2nd video clip here.

With an abundance of wildflowers along the road, pedal through the enchanted treasures this forested area offers. Along the way, notice a huge population of bald eagles and hawks as the
river meanders from one huge lake body to the next. Soon the river flows into Lake Winnibigoshish (Lake Winnie), and the MRT takes a course around the lake’s south shoreline.

The first Federal Dam on the Mississippi

 

 

 

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Passing several resorts, you may want to stop for a selfie by the significant fish monument. Riding up the east shoreline through towering pines, the MRT is soon up to the Federal Dam, where Lake Winnie spills back into the Mighty Mississippi. This dam was created in the late 1800s, making it the most significant river reservoir. Approximately 45 miles from Bemidji,
there is a campground. You will find a restaurant and some lodging options a few miles further east.

The MRT follows the river meanders, now in a southerly direction, passing through a Native American village called Ball Club. Here the river dips and then flows to the east again. Soon the MRT rolls into Schoolcraft State Park, where it meets back up with the Mississippi. This secluded park is the perfect place to take a break. Quiet and peaceful, the park offers a relaxing
environment with a virgin white pine forest over 300 years old. Take a panoramic virtual tour of the area here, and then it’s on to some Wizard of Oz trivia.

Rolling into Grand Rapids

Judy Garland, from The Wizard of Oz, spent time here as a child. Today the community offers visitors many fun options to explore, along with the Judy Garland Museum. Once settled in, visit the Forest History Center and the local art scene. This area is rich in forested beauty and offers many art forms, including many bronze sculptures and historic architectural sites. Grand Rapids is also the western gateway to the Mesabi Iron Trail and Range. Another LAB Bike Friendly Community, it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike.  The mining communities along this Mesabi trail are worth checking out if you have a few extra days.  See our Bike Grand Rapids article for lodging and more things to do when not riding.

MRT – Day 3 from Grand Rapids to Aitkin

As the Mississippi River pushes against the western slope of the St. Lawrence Divide, it
flows south, and the MRT hugs the west bank as it rolls out of Grand Rapids. This stretch of
the MRT is approximately a 70-miles ride to Aitkin.

Several yard art figures for a photograph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approximately 20 miles south, you will come to a crossroads. Here, by taking a left and crossing the river, you’re in the town of Jacobson. If you turn onto this half-mile side-trip adventure, you will discover many pieces of unusual lawn art and a rest-stop option.

Rolling into Palisade

 

 

 

Back on the route, continue south, and you will soon be in a town named for the high banks on each side of the river, another intriguing place to stop. The community has a restaurant
and a convenience store. Next to the river, the park here is an excellent place for a picnic or an overnight stay in the campground. Back in the saddle, riding out of Palisade, there are two options to reach Aitkin.

You can depart on the Great River Road, now a hard gravel surface, for the next 15 miles,
enjoying a peaceful ride along the river.

Rolling into Aitkin

Here, roll into a community with a riverboat full of history. Once a popular meeting point for Native American Indians and explorers, today, the town makes an excellent overnight choice that offers camping and lodging options. After you settle in, check out the museum converted from the Burlington Rail Depot. Here you can learn about the town’s steamboat history and other interesting facts.  For more things to do and lodging options, click here.

MRT – Day 4 from Aitkin to Little Falls

As the Mississippi flows, now in a westerly direction, the MRT roll into Cuyuna Country. As the river passes on the north side of an iron range of the past, the MRT meanders around several abandoned open mine pits, now some of Minnesota’s newest lakes. The MRT rolls towards the Brainerd Lakes Area as the river bends southwest.

Rolling into Brainerd

Just imagine riding in an area called Paul Bunyan’s playground. Legend has it that Paul and his blue ox, Babe (remember that mythical figure you can take a selfie within Bemidji?) were having fun, wrestling around after a long rain spell. Stomping and tromping made many large depressions that eventually filled with water to create the 464 lakes in the area. With the MRT and Paul Bunyan Trail merging back together in Brainerd/Baxter, you will find many fun adventures and good things to eat here. For more, see our  Brainerd/Baxter article.

Back in the saddle, the trail and river both head south again. As the Great River Road rolls
along the east bank, passing Crow Wing State Park, agriculture replaces the forested
landscape. Further down the MRT, cross to the west bank and visit Camp Ripley, which
offers a fascinating military museum. Here see hundreds of exhibits showcasing vehicles and field equipment of Minnesota’s military past. It’s still ten miles of pedaling to reach the next river town, “where the river pauses.”

Rolling into Little Falls

For centuries Little Falls has been where native inhabitants, early settlers, and recent visitors have used it as a ‘gathering place.’ Located where the Mississippi River pauses, this
river community is the town of Charles Lindbergh’s childhood. After settling in, check out the historic attractions and museums while experiencing the town’s original murals and frescoes. While here, if interested, you can discover who helped finance the production of the “Wizard of Oz.” See our Bike Little Falls article for lodging and more things to do when not riding.

MRT Day 5 from Little Falls to Monticello

Cyclists will pass by Charles Lindbergh State Park at the edge of town, where his childhood home still stands. Then the MRT passes by the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Memorial Museum before the river valley floor opens up to more agriculture. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving Little Falls, watch the 4th video clip here.

Rolling into St Cloud

The river offers several rapids through this stretch as the MRT rolls into St. Cloud. Another LAB Bike Friendly Community, it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike. While in this river community, check out some attractions, including the Munsinger-Clemens Botanical Gardens. See our Bike St. Cloud article for lodging and more things to do when not riding.

The MRT and river swing back to the southeast on the east side of the river. The route takes you to Clearwater through county roads that parallel several irrigated potato fields. Then, crossing the Mississippi again, cyclists will notice the river is a bit wider here as they pedal to Monticello.

Rolling into Monticello

Here you will find a river town, full of charm, tucked up against the Mississippi River and conveniently located between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. This vibrant community with many scenic parks is also home to thousands of geese and swans each winter. After settling in, check out the attractions in Monticello. For the lodging option in the area, visit the local chamber here.

MRT – Day 6 from Monticello to St Paul

Leaving Monticello, the MRT crosses the river and meanders through the farm fields of specialty crops to Elk River. To get a better feel for what you will see as you ride into the Twin Cities, watch the 5th video clip here.  Stopping in Elk River, cyclists passing through the downtown area will notice the fresco mural on Main Street. You will also find plenty of options for a rest stop here.

You will cross over the Mississippi River again on the Great River Road as you head out of Elk River. Soon you are passing through Dayton and entering the northern edge of the Mississippi National River and Recreational Area.

In the next twenty-five miles, MRT enthusiasts will enjoy stopping at several Twin Cities Gateway community attractions.

From here, enjoy paved bicycle paths through Minneapolis before reaching the St. Paul suburb of Inver Grove Heights.

MRT Day-7 from St Paul to Frontenac

As the Mississippi River Trail leaves the St Paul area, the route tentatively detours to the south to Hastings. To get a better feel for what’s ahead after leaving St. Paul, watch the 6th video clip here. The paved trail out of South St. Paul will connect to the Mississippi River Regional Trail, allowing cyclists a direct route to our next river town.

This new trail near Schaar’s Bluff is completed on the far end and will take cyclists into downtown Hastings’s historic district. You can find more about Hastings in our At-A-Glance article and a place to stop for cool refreshments or a meal.

Rolling into Hastings

Leaving Hastings, the MRT follows the Mississippi, winding along the backwaters of the river and past the Prairie Island Indian Community. About ten miles further, the route enters Red Wing, the next river community on the Minnesota section of the Mississippi River Trail.

Rolling into Red Wing

As the MRT runs alongside the river bank on the Great River Road, you will find the atmosphere in Red Wing both unique and charming. From the beautiful bluffs, historic sites, and world-famous boots and pottery, this river town also offers several dining opportunities for a stop here. If you decide to spend the night, see Visit Red Wing for more options.

Back on the Mississippi River Trail, it’s approximately another 10 miles to Frontenac State Park for the night. The city is on the National Register of Historic Places and contains many homes dating back to the Civil War era. Here you will find the Whistle Stop Café and a convenience store if you choose to camp in the state park for the evening.

MRT Day-8 from Frontenac to Winona

Back on the MRT, the route uses the wide paved shoulder of the Great River Road to Minnesota City. With a wide shoulder and rumble strip dividing you from the traffic, the Mississippi River is in sight, to your left most of the time. When you notice the river widening, the Mississippi flows into Lake Pepin, and you are close to the ‘Birthplace of Water Skiing.’

Rolling into the Lake City

Here discover the quaint shops and restaurants next to the harbor in the downtown area of Lake City. This river town is also a popular place for touring cyclists. In addition to the Annual Tour de Pepin bike tour, the site offers several other mapped rides. See the Lake Pepin Area Bike Map and checkout. Visit Lake City for more options.

As the river flows out of Lake Pepin, the next river community on the MRT is a town known for eagles and ‘Gumpy Old Men.’

Rolling into Wabasha

The oldest city on the entire upper Mississippi River, this community has been thriving since 1826. As touring cyclists roll into town, they will find 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places if time permits, enjoy their historic walking tour, and discover the stories that have made this town so unique. With Bald Eagles in abundance along the river, this is also home to the National Eagle Center, located downtown. Also, with the famous movie “Grumpy Old Men” its sequel shot here, dine at Slippery’s Bar & Grill for a nostalgic look at this river town. You can find more options at Visit Wabasha.

Rolling into Winona

Taking the MRT out on the back road through the village of Kellogg, it’s about 30 miles of pedaling to Winona along the bluffs. Arriving in this pristine river town, enjoy several views of the city nestled into a valley bordered by bluffs along the Mighty Mississippi. Here in Winona, there is plenty to discover, with so many attractions and museums. Be sure to visit the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. You will also notice many of the downtown buildings are on the National Register of Historical Places and self-guided history tours are an option. Being a LAB Bike Friendly Community, it’s easy to get around this river town and explore the city by bike. See our At-A-Glance Winona article for more tour, dinner, and overnight options.

A stop a the Pickwick Mill, 2-miles off the MRT

MRT Day-9 from Winona to the Iowa Boarder

Leaving Winona, the Mississippi River Trail creatively takes you up into the bluffs, past the historic Pickwick Mill, and then onto the Apple Blossom Drive Scenic Byway. A cyclist in the area enjoys a remarkable view of the Mississippi River Valley at the top of the byway. Then it’s a cruise down the Byway into La Crescent.

From La Crescent, the last leg of Minnesota’s section of the Mississippi River Trail is approximately 24 miles to Albin, IA.

Enjoy the fun of riding all or parts of the MRT for that unforgettable adventure.

Minnesota River bottoms, a fun year-round trail network

by John Brown, 

In the summer of 1849, the first Bloomington Ferry began operations next to the Minnesota River bottoms. It carried people from the Bloomington shores to Shakopee. Exactly 40 years later, the first Bloomington Ferry Bridge was opened. Carrying people, carriages, and motorists across the river for over 100 years.  No longer open to auto traffic, the current pedestrian bridge is a beautiful arch, spanning the Minnesota River and connecting Bloomington to the Highway 101 trail to Shakopee. The Bridge is also the starting point for The Minnesota River Bottoms trail. The River Bottoms are some of the metro areas’ last natural trails, famous for mountain biking, hiking, fishing, and bird watching.

Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikes on the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, near the trailhead of the Minnesota River Bottoms

What are the Minnesota river bottoms?

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them.

To locals, the “River Bottoms” is a trail network stretching from the southwest corner of Bloomington to the trails of Fort Snelling State Park. These trails are enjoyed by mountain bike riders and runners who frequent them. While under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, they are not maintained by any government entity and often take on a “path of least resistance” or direction. It is not uncommon for new tracks to spring up after heavy rains and high river flooding. While riding, expect dirt trails exclusively with some log crossings, sand sections, and occasional overgrowth. Warning, in the summer, pay particular attention to the Urtica Dioica plants, or stinging nettles, growing on infrequently used trails.

Wildlife of the Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Bikers, birdwatchers, and hikers can enjoy wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

The River Bottoms are great for all types of recreation. It’s not uncommon to see hikers, bird watchers, and people fishing along the banks of the Minnesota River. I have enjoyed sharing with my son the sights of Bald eagles and Beavers who make the watershed here their home. Additionally, being a natural area, the River Bottoms are home to countless animals, including white-tailed deer and mink.

What to expect

On the map, there are a few popular entrances to the River Bottom trail, including Lyndale Ave, Crest Ave, and Old Cedar Ave. These entrances offer ample parking and a clear trailhead. Once you start down the course, you will see that nothing is paved but worn-in enough to be firm under your tires. Except at the Lyndale trailhead, you will find a short section of paved, heading east, and perfect for walking and wheelchair use. While a mountain bike is best for unpaved trails, fat tire bikes navigate well in winter. If you need to cross a stream, there are bridges, and at 9-mile creek in the summer months, there is a rope ferry to get you across. Because the River Bottoms are so smooth, they are an ideal place to take kids mountain biking.

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

You will find runners who frequent the natural settings of the Minnesota River bottoms.

When to ride

Spring, summer, winter, or fall, the Minnesota River bottoms are a natural haven for cyclists.

The best part of the River Bottoms is that it is one of the first places to dry out each spring. It is also one of the first places to freeze when winter rolls through. Like most off-road trails, please avoid this trail in early spring as they thaw or after heavy rain. Other than that, these trails are sandy enough to drain quickly. One of the best things about the river bottoms is riding fat bikes. Fat bikes can trace their development directly to the river bottom in the winter. When the snow falls, the river bottoms are the perfect mixture of flat trails, bermed turns, and accessibility to create a near-perfect winter track.

Living in the Twin Cities, we are lucky to have a place like the river bottoms to ride. The fact that it is left free to change and natural is unique in a metro area. You will find some of the metro’s last natural trails from the Bloomington Ferry Bridge to Fort Snelling.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit and that particular fever was still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He is starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he can about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then as a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the cycle of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
This Bike Pic Thursday, we caught this biker dude out having fun in the Minnesota River bottoms near Bloomington, MN.

As winter approaches, fun fat biking ideas to stay fit

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Living in the upper Midwest with four unique seasons, fat biking can be a fun way to pass the time in the winter while getting a good cardio workout. Many studies state the benefits of staying active in cold weather, and riding a fat bike will do that. As an avid cross-country skier, times are changing. With climate change affecting us all, the fat bike is a great alternative to stay active throughout the winter when the ski trail turns into a bobsled run.

Don’t get me wrong; I have not nailed my skis to the wall as decoration. I still loved the thrill of kick-an-gliding through the rolling forests and open fields. But climate change is a growing concern making the trails icy and sometimes baron of snow for skiing. In the last several years, it seems we are seeing more freeze/thaw temperature swings making skiing hazardous. If you are like me and want to stay active when the trails are icy or sparse of snow, the fat bike is an option.

Options, with studded tires when conditions are not for gliding over the trail. Here are some places to ride the trail.

Fat biking trails are waiting for you in northern Minnesota

Please note: check before you head out. Not all federal, state, county, township, or city trails are open to fat biking, but the list is growing.

Here, north to south, are some Minnesota trails waiting for you as we enter the winter season:

This Bike Pic  Tuesday as the temps continue to drop, we caught this biker dude, with plenty of layers and a mask having fun in the Bold North, near Bloomington, MN.

With plenty of layers and a mask, this biker dude is having fun in the True North.

Split Rock State Park Trails, northeast of Two Harbors. Here on the shore of Lake Superior, ride 8.7 miles of groomed trails, perfect for fat biking and skate skiing. Currently, access is only allowed near Beaver Bay.

Giants Ridge Trail, east of Biwabic, is a resort on the edge of the towering Superior National Forest that offers several fat tire biking adventures. Ride their 37-mile -plus Nordic trail system or experience downhill fat biking via their high-speed chairlift!

Redhead Trails, at the Minnesota Discovery Center, in Chisholm. This new park offers all skill levels of fat bikers nearly 25 miles of hand-crafted mountain bike trails. Here you will find an oasis of fun riding through the diverse terrain around the old open mine pits.

Suomi Hills Trail in the Chippewa National Forest is north of Grand Rapids. Here you will find a 19-miles remote and stunning trail system in a semi-primitive non-motorized area. While in the area, you will also find several other primitive trails to explore in this National Forest.

Lester River Trail, in Duluth. Fat bikers will find this 12.5-mile trail one of the most beginner-friendly trails in the area (especially riding back down). Other trails in the Duluth area are rated intermediate to advance for the steady incline/descent and rocks/roots.

Winter fat bike fun is back in the upper Midwest as this biker takes a break for this photo opp.

Winter fun, as this fat biker takes a break for a photo op.

Jay Cooke State Park Trail in Carlton. Nestled along the St. Louis River, the state park groomed 5.4 miles of fat biking trails allows you to ride through and possibly spot white-tailed deer as they winter in this area. The trail here is intermediate, with uneven terrain and small hills.

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crosby/Ironton. A rugged park of old open mining pits, now lakes, with stockpiles of discarded quarried rocks scattered to create over 50 miles of groomed fat biking trails. Here you will find a few loops for beginners. Most trails here are designated for intermediate to advanced skill sets.

Detroit Mountain, in Detroit Lakes. The bike park here features approximately 4-miles of downhill flow trails that make the most of the natural landscape in the park. The trails mimic a rollercoaster, with a series of fast and flowing sections that take you up and down the mountainside.

Fat biking trails in the Twin Cities Its a perfect time of the year to jump on a fatty and hit the trail. This pic was taken last year at the Get Phat with Pat event in the Minnesota River Bottoms, in Bloomington, MN.

Come November; it’s a perfect time of the year to jump on a fatty.Anoka Nature Preserve, north of Anoka. The nature preserve here is nestled along the bank of the Rum River with over 5-miles of double-wide trails. The perfect trail system for the novice fat-tire biker looking to enjoy nature in the winter and preserves gently rolling terrain.

Elm Creek Trail, west of Chaplin, in the north metro of the Twin Cities, is a 4,900-acre park featuring amenities for many outdoor activities. Including trails for fat biking, built to accommodate all skill levels of riders. So grab your fatty for 10 miles of fast-flowing groomed trails of winter fun.

Here in today's bike pic this bold north biker dude commutes to work on his fatty, through the channel from Lake of the Isles to Lake Calhoun, into the Monday morning sun, in Minneapolis.

He was commuting to work on his fatty, along the frozen lake channels in Minneapolis.

Gateway State Trail, in North St. Paul. A favorite for a quick getaway from the city, this section of the popular trail offers almost 12 miles of riding for fat bikers in the winter. From Cayuga Street to Jamaica Avenue, the plowed trail is perfect for beginners taking you out to the open fields of Ramsey and Washington County.

Theodore Wirth Park Trail, in North Minneapolis. Winter fat bike enthusiasts flock to the woods of this north metro park for seven miles of tightly twisting singletrack and a skyline-view pump track.

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve, in Salvage. This peaceful wilderness park in northeast Scott County has its wild side. Another challenging trail intertwined in glacial ridges, hilly terrain, and heavy forests. Riding a fat bike here in the winter is a fantastic off-road experience.

Minnesota River Valley Trail, in Bloomington. Affectionately known as the “River Bottoms,” the trails attract a variety of nature lovers, bird-watchers, hikers, and mountain bikers throughout the year. The River Bottoms here is a fat bike paradise perfect for the beginner, intermediate, and those looking to race in the winter.

This Bike Pic Saturday, in the bold north, the winter temps are finally dropping so dig out the layers and have some fun!

As winter temperatures drop, it’s time to dig out the layers and have some fun!

Fort Snelling State Park, in south Minneapolis. Located in the heart of the Twin Cities, where the Minnesota River meets the Mississippi River, this park offers 6-miles of groomed for fat biking. Most of this state park is on the Minnesota River’s floodplain. It is easy to ride the trail along the river’s braided channels and see white-tailed deer, foxes, and wild turkeys.

Lebanon Hills Reginal Park, in Eagan. With nearly 12 miles of a single-use, one-way trail system, winter fat bikers are discovering the park’s popularity as one of the go-to trails in the metro area. The trails feature riding for all skill levels and world-class facilities to enhance your riding experience.

South Minnesota fat bike trails are waiting

This Bike Pic Saturday, dig out your favorite Christmas sweater and take a fat bike out for a spin. It's a great way to bring in the holidays, even if there is not a lot of snow yet. 

Dig out your favorite Christmas sweater and take a fat bike for a spin.

Kaplan’s Woods Singletrack, in Owatonna. For the avid fat biker, you will find 5-miles of fun loops. With a tight singletrack trail system winding through the hardwood forest next to the Straight River, climbs are short and punchy to leave you breathless on each descent.

Bronk Unit Plowline Trail, a part of the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest, is north of Winona. The fat biking trails of varying difficulty consist of a south loop and a north loop for 6.5 miles. Both loops generally follow the woods’ edge, or the plow line, as they go around the ridge, rising and falling, giving them a “more difficult” rating.

Do you have a fun trail for fat biking that we missed?

If you have a fat bike trail that you want to see added to this list and published in the Holiday Edition of the Bike/Hike Guide, send us the location and link to [email protected] – Thanks!

 

Anoka’s Halloween makes a fun setting for a fall trail ride

by Russ Lowtian, HaveFunBiking.com

With Halloween just around the corner, Anokw offers many fall trail riding options in and around the city, see the video. The charm of this riverfront community is everywhere that you turn, especially the last week in October. One of ten towns of the Twin Cities Gateway, Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World and offers a vast network of bike-friendly roads and trails. A perfect place to start your ride is the park alongside the confluence of the Rum River as it meets the Mississippi River. Here it’s easy to explore with your bicycle. To discover Anoka’s history and attractions in the historic downtown area.

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails in the Twin Cities Gateway.

 

 

 

A fall trail ride, especially around Halloween, is fun

Along with the many paved trails to ride in the area, the history and Halloween decor are several reasons why you should consider visiting Anoka in the fall. Stop by the local Chamber or call and ask about the festivities surrounding the week of Halloween.

Each October, planning a fall trail ride here adds to the fun

Anoka has many happenings throughout the year that you’ll want to check out. But in the fall, the most memorable event is the Anoka Halloween celebrations, where you will find spooktacular events, in late October.

Known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city brings out all the stops with everything from the largest pumpkin contest to a scavenger hunt. There are also two main parades: Light Up the Night and the Grand Parade, which takes place the last Saturday before Halloween.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade - the largest in the state.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade – the largest in the state.

Area trail to explore any time of the year

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) into Anoka.

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) from Elk River, back into Anoka.

Two major trails in Anoka are the Rum River Trails and the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  Looking at the Anoka Bike Map here provided by the Twin Cities Gateway. The Rum River Trail offers a scenic view of the river and several historic artifacts as the paved trail passes through the downtown area and connects to the MRT. Along ‘Old Man River’ are connections to the Mississippi River Trail on both sides.

Expand your options with a multi-modal tour

If you are staying in the area for a few days, consider a multi-modal tour. Board the Northstar Train, with your bike, to a station upstream or below along the MRT and ride your bike back. Just buy a ticket and hop on board. The train will drop you off close to the Mississippi River Trail, so you have plenty of time to ride your bike back to Anoka.

Returning to Anoka, check out some dining establishments to fuel your body for your next ride. Here are a couple of my favorites before, after, or in between a rides.

Hans’ Bakery

The bike ride to Hans’ Bakery, about a mile south of the downtown area, will excite your sweet tooth with a delicious assortment of legendary pastries.

With many specialties, another well-known favorite is the Texas Donut. The name speaks for itself and comes in a couple of different versions. No political jokes here, but it is larger than most peoples’ hands.

Avant Garden

This little cafe tucked into the historic downtown area is a great place to stop by if you’re looking for a supreme coffee fix that is local. This establishment has everything you would want from a popular cafe too. In addition, to their own unique daily sandwich options, your selection can be enjoyed with a Coke from a glass bottle, making it extra special!

Historic homes to see while visiting Anoka

Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, in the Twin Cities Gateway

Each year, in mid-summer, the Anoka Heritage Home & Garden tour will take you on a very memorable journey covering Anoka’s history. At a time when the gardens are in their prime. For a fall visit, ride your bike south of the downtown area into the historic Slabtown, Whiskey Flats, Swede Town, or Fireman’s Grove neighborhoods. Many homes in the area are decorated with Halloween decor, like the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, The Woodbury House is home to the Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tea House. These are just a few of the historic treats that will tease you to come back and explore the area again.

So come and discover Anoka’s hallowed history, food, and bike-friendly attributes for your next adventure. You will find plenty of lodging opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway to make your stay memorable.

What is the right type of e-bike for me?

With the popularity of e-bikes on the rise, many questions regarding electric assist bikes are surfacing at HaveFunBiking, com. Many of these questions covered below emerged earlier this year at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis and now at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Of the ten most asked questions, one of the first usually asked is what does an e-bike cost? Then it’s about the best battery/motor combination for your riding style and eight more that you can read about below.

Different types  of e-bike displays in the Eco-Building at the MN State Fair

Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike.

1. What does an e-bike cost?

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

Has the idea of touring by e-bike piqued your interest?

There are many variables when buying an electric bike, including the speed of the bike, distance, uses, weight (of the bike and battery), warranty, number of times you can charge the battery, and whether there is e-bike financing. Along with a good warranty, the quality of standard parts on the electric bike can increase the price from $2,000 to $6,000 or more. Plus, the added expense of having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability.

See more information on the cost of buying an electric bike here.

2. What are the payment options?

Enjoy the Micro-Mobility experience for hauling cargo or kids.

To get an electric bike that will fit your needs over the next two to five years, find out if the bike shop or bike manufacturer (if buying online) offers no- or low-interest loans, often for six to 36 months. Some lending institutions, like Affinity Plus, offer low-interest bicycle-specific loans and let you borrow 120% of the cost of the bike to allow you to buy accessories like helmets, locks, baskets/panniers, lights, etc.

See more information on financing here.

3. Does an e-bike come with a warranty, and how can I insure the bike?

Many bikes come with limited or full warranties. Typically, e-bikes may come with a 2-year warranty on parts, motors, and batteries. Some brands/companies have a 5-year, “no questions asked” comprehensive warranty. So, read the warranty before buying. A reputable e-bike company will have its warranty information on its website.

A warranty should be a part of the purchase price.

Insuring your bike is also recommended. Check if your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance can bundle an e-bike into your policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection, similar to automobile insurance, for your e-bike. Many companies, like AAA and Velosurance, even offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

For more information here on warranties and insuring an e-bike.

4. What are the different types and speeds of e-bikes?

There are two types of motors, the wheel hub type and a center crank model pictured here.

There are as many types of e-bikes or elect-assist bikes available! First, ask yourself, is your primary use for commuting, hauling cargo, off-road riding, touring, or riding in winter conditions? Once you know what your primary use will be, check out the nationally defined classifications below and your state DOT statutes for e-bikes:

  • Class 1: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph allow for throttle assistance.
  • Class 3: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, with a maximum speed of 28 mph.
    Most states consider e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph “bicycles that can use all non-motorized bike routes.”

See more on the types and speeds of e-bikes here.

5. What’s the battery’s range and life before recycling?

A centerpost battery for an electric bike

A center post battery mount is standard for many electric bike models.

The general rule with a 36 volt, 10.5Ah (ampere-hours) battery should get 20 to 40 miles per charge with the average weight of rider + gear & cargo less than 200 pounds in ideal weather conditions. You’ll get fewer miles the higher the assist level you use. On low assist, you might be able to get 60 miles or more on a single charge. To maximize the life of your e-bike battery, try to charge the battery when it’s near empty. Then ride your e-bike a lot and charge it often.

Recycling your battery: Call2Recycle is helping e-bike owners recycle their batteries. On the right side of their website, please type in your zip code to get a list of places that will recycle your e-bike battery when it’s time to replace it.

For a more in-depth look at how volts x amps = watts can give you an approximate range, click here.

6. What is the weight limit of an e-bike, and what do they weigh?

There are many sizes and types of e-bikes and trikes to test ride.

Most manufacturers recommend a maximum combined weight of around 275 pounds for a rider and gear & cargo on an e-bike. Cargo bikes are meant to carry small people or big loads and can accommodate riders + gear up to 400 pounds or more. Typically, e-bikes can handle total weights more than described by manufacturers’ specs. However, it may result in reduced range or increased maintenance and might require more repairs on bike parts like wheel spokes.

Most e-bikes weigh between 30-65 pounds, and the batteries weigh anywhere from five to 15 pounds. The weight of the battery goes up as the voltage goes up, but the capacity (range of the battery) goes up, too.

For more on weight limits and restrictions, click here.

7. How do I maintain an e-bike, and what if it needs to be repaired?

Just like a regular bicycle, do an ABC (Air, Brake & Chain) check each time before you ride to maximize your e-bike investment. On average, you should schedule a tune-up every six months or every 1,000 miles you have ridden. To protect your warranty, check their recommendations for service, as they may differ.

If you’re buying an e-bike online, see what sort of repair service or online support the company provides, or make sure your local or favorite bike shop can fix the electrical components of the e-bike you are selecting.

For more information on maintaining our preparing an e-bike, click here.

8. Can I ride an e-bike in the rain or snow?

Electric assist bikes work well year-round.

Electric bikes, like most standard bicycles, are water-resistant and can be used in any weather. Though, you may need some accessories (like rain gear or studded tires) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold. You can ride an e-bike at any temperature, but the colder it is, the more it may impact the battery’s range. Bring in your battery (or the entire bike + battery) inside if you’re not riding it. Do not leave the battery on the bike if parking the e-bike outside in the winter at any time.

Click here for more information on riding an e-bike in rain or snow.

9. How do I keep an e-bike safe and secure?

To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock when locking your bike outside (also recommended for indoor storage). Consider having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability.

For more information on securing your e-bike, click here.

 

The perfect place to test-ride the model you like before purchasing.

 10. What else should I do before purchasing?

A test ride should be part of the plan indoors or out before purchasing.

Have fun and test-ride the e-bike(s) you want to focus on. One of the essential parts of buying an electric bike is taking the model(s) you are most interested in for a test ride. Similar to buying a car, a test riding the e-bike will help you finalize your decision once you have narrowed the selection down. Visit several bicycle shops that carry the e-bike brands you are most interested in. To answer the most basic question, which e-bike do, I love the most?

So put on your bike shorts and helmet and test riding an e-bike:

  • Does the bike climb hills the way you need it to
  • Will the e-bike fit you the way you would like it to
  • And finally, is the quality and functionality what you expected while riding?

Now that you are back from your test ride, does the e-bike you like the best fit into your budget, and does it have a warranty? An electric bike is a significant investment, whether $1,500 or $10,000. So, with a warranty, you can rest assured that your investment is well covered. For more information on scheduling a test ride, click here.

Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences here at HaveFunBiking!

With an e-bike, it’s easy to bring along your faithful friend or haul cargo.

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Bike destinations and peak fall color weblinks for the upper Midwest

Don’t put that bike away just yet! In the upper Midwest, riding in the fall is one of the best times of the year to explore the colorful bike-friendly destinations available. With warm days, cool nights, low humidity, very few insects, and the trees’ brilliant autumn colors, fall riding can be picture-perfect.

Enjoying the colorful trees along the trail as they get close to peak.

Riders enjoy the colorful trees along the trail as they reach their peak.

As our summer bike adventures drift into fond memories, we still have a colorful blaze of options ahead. When the tree foliage begins to change, first in Minnesota and then in Iowa, using the HaveFunBiking guides and the state DNR websites, it’s easy to expand your recreational riding through October.

Fall color riding in Minnesota

Using a copy of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the MN DNR fall color pages will allow you to match up to a  fall experience you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy, the online MN Bike Guide offers even more bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.

Enjoying the trails doing some fall color riding.

Trail riding in the fall amongst tree-lined paths is inviting.

As the aspen, oaks, and maples start bursting their colors consider bookmarking these two websites and plan your fall biking adventure. Find more Minnesota fall riding information here.

Fall Color Riding in Iowa

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Fall color riding on a bike-friendly road.

As the brilliant colors fade in Minnesota, Iowa is the place in October that will showcase most of its peak colors. Using a copy of the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide and the IA DNR fall color pages will allow you some more fall experiences you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy, the online IA bike guide offers even more bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.

Fall color riding Wisconsin

Though we don’t have a Wisconsin Bike Guide, here are links to Wisconsin’s Bicycle routes and fall color report page.

Have fun making some fall color memories.

With small town charm and sprawling countrysides trails the Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to visit with your bike for a weekend getaway.

Fall bike getaway options with birding in the Willmar Lakes Area

Buss Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Head west of the Twin Cities, and before you know it, you will be greeted by small-town charm, and a sprawling countryside full of bike/birding opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area. To the naked eye, it may not seem like much, but the area knows how to show guests a great time.

Now, with fall colors and waterfowl migration soon approaching, it’s a special place to visit. Allowing cyclists plenty of great outdoor memories on the trails and bike-friendly roads that will last a lifetime.

Biking opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to visit anytime of the year for a weekend bike getaway.

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect bike getaway to visit any time of the year.

Getting around on your bike in Willmar is more than encouraging. Awarded the Bike Friendly Bronze status by the League of American Cyclists, the community has redesigned its streets and inner city trails to make it easy to pedal around and explore the area’s attractions and points of interest.

While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Key locations in Kandiyohi County, include Sibley State Park, Robbins Island Regional Park, Bergquist Wildlife Area, and the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.

Sibley State Park is one of the most popular areas, so bring binoculars. While biking the trails around the park, you have a chance to see over 200 different species of birds that nest or migrated here. And with the Glacial Trail, it is easy to get out to the park, by bike, from your hotel room in the Willmar Lakes Area.

Glacial Lakes State Trail

Built on a former Burlington Northern railroad line, the trail is generally level and wheelchair accessible. The trail is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. This multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wildflowers and wildlife along the way.

Bring the binoculars along, for some of the birds sittings along the trail you may see!

Bring the binoculars along, for some birds sittings along the trail you may see!

Getting to Sibley State Park from the Glacial Lakes State trailhead? From New London, take the county road west out of town on the paved bike lane, for approximately 4-miles, to the park.

Sibley State Park and Mount Tom

Once you get there riding your bike, hike to the top of Mount Tom. It’s one of my favorite high points in a 50-mile radius to view the patchwork of forest, farmland, prairie knolls, and lakes in the area. Through the summer season, visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on Lake Andrew. With an interpretive program open year-round, birding is another activity I enjoy here.

In the park, you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that link Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center. With a slight elevation change, another favorite is the Pond View Trail loop. It offers another view perspective of the area.

Other parks and trails

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Willmar and the surrounding area is easy for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. With several parks offering recreational activities, those who visit with their bike will find many trails to pedal through, including Bergquist Park, Ramblewood Park, Rau Park (Scott Park), Thompson Park, and Swansson Park. You can also take on the trails at Robbins Island Park and Green Lake County Park.

BMX

If birding isn’t your thing, Green Lake has its own BMX park. Part of USA BMX, the park includes an outdoor track where riders can practice every Tuesday at their own speed. The races are on Fridays.

Road biking opportunities

There is also plenty of bike-friendly roads in Kandiyohi County. See the county map here to help you navigate the area.

More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area

Willmar also has a Ride Share program where you can find different spots throughout town to rent a bike. Find out here how residents and visitors alike can take advantage of these bikes to access the many recreational destinations throughout the area.

When you are not riding, the trails and roads in Kandiyohi County the area offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax and places to stay. Along with several museums covering different parts of the area’s Minnesota history, After your ride covering the birding haunts, enjoy a refreshing local beer or taste of local wine as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.

In celebration of its annual art festival next weekend, Lakeville, MN will host it third Tour of Lakeville on Sept 15.

Consider Tour of Lakeville this Saturday before the fall Art Festival

At the Tour of Lakeville and Art Festival this Saturday, September 17, ride with the mayor. Tour and discover how easy it is to use the trails and bike-friendly streets around town. This year’s Tour of Lakeville starts and ends at Pioneer Plaza Park, where the Art Festival takes place.

The Tour of Lakeville is part of the 2022 ‘Pedal in the Park’ ride series

In celebration of its annual art festival next weekend, Lakeville, MN will lead its second Pedal in the Parks bicycle ride this Saturday.

In celebration of its annual art festival, the third Tour of Lakeville ride will happen Saturday, September 15.

A family fun event, ride along with Lakeville Friends of the Environment on a 17-mile tour of the city. Leaving at 9 a.m. out of Pioneer Plaza, the time will explore many of the city’s bike-friendly routes. Along the Tour ride, participants will discover many attractive segments of the community’s outdoor spaces that include:

  • Great view of Lake Marion as the tour passes the West Lake Marion Mountain Bike Trailhead that opened last year.
  • The newly paved Juno Trail hugs the lake shoreline.
  • The popular Antler’s Park, with a swimming beach, picnic areas, volleyball, and horseshoes.
  • On Ipava Trail, just north of Ira Lane, reach the highest point of the ride, 1,108 feet, for a fist bump.
  • Listen for birds and look for butterflies on the paved trail through Michaud Park-Conservation Area.
  • And More!

Don’t worry; no rider will be dropped on this family-friendly ride. However, all participants are expected to ride at a moderate pace so everyone can share their favorite ride stories after returning.

Coinciding with the Lakeville Art Festival, the tour begins at Pioneer Park Plaza, in the downtown area, at 20801 Holyoke Ave. Lakeville, MN, 55044. Bike tour participants will return to the downtown area to participate in the art festival. You can register online for this bike ride with the city parks department by clicking here or calling 952-985-4600 for more information.

The ride is scheduled to last approximately two and a half hours. This time frame depends on the number of registered bikers and the route. Would you please bring a helmet and a water bottle?

After the ride, make it a day at the city’s art festival

Take in the Lakeville Art Festival with over 90 artists exhibiting

Take in the Lakeville Art Festival with over 90 artists exhibiting

Many are considered one of the finest art festivals; the Lakeville Art Festival is held on the third weekend in September. This year the event will feature over 90 artists in an intimate and accessible setting. The artist booths are staged in a park-like atmosphere. This allows for a unique circular type arrangement to help showcase their work. Plus, many artists have scheduled demonstrations over the two days of the festival.

Another family-friendly highlight at the art festival is a stop at the “Young at Art” tent. This workshop area has plenty of art supplies, ideas, and experts to flow the creative juices.

If you prefer to check out the new mountain bike trail in Lakeville

Working closely with the city, the Lakeville Cycling Association has constructed a mountain bike trail system on the west side of Lake Marion. Another family-friendly attraction, the new course, is approximately five miles long. The trail segments in the park allow plenty of fun features for beginning, intermediate, and advanced mountain bikers. This single-track, one-way trail system includes multiple switchbacks, berms, and rollers. The final construction of the West Side Trail was recently completed for all to enjoy.

The new Lakeville mountain bike course is fun for the whole family.

The new Lakeville mountain bike course is fun for the whole family.

See the map to check out this new, year-round mountain bike trail system. You can access the trailhead in Casperson Park by parking in the gravel lot north of the soccer fields at 19720 Juno Trail. Watch for trail updates and trail conditions on the clubs’ Facebook page.

For those visiting the area who want to learn more about connecting from the area hotels to the trails and fun things to do when not riding, see the At-A-Glance Lakeville and their map.

With record attendance the first few days of the 2018 Minnesota State Fair, using a bicycle to get there can reduce the hassle factor out of visiting the fair. Plus, it is also a great way to burn-off those extra calories from all of the fun things to eat on a stick.

Remove the hassle factor going to the Minnesota State Fair!

As many return to the Minnesota State Fair, using your bicycle to get there is a stress-free or comfortable mode to consider. If you are planning on attending this year’s ‘Great Minnesota Get-together’ bicycle parking is still free. Ride your bike from home or do a multi-modal commute to the fair. Haul your bike with your car or use the Metro Transit Bus and park a few miles away and ride to one of the fair’s bike corrals. Commuting by bicycle can take the hassle factor out of the annual get-together. Besides, it is a great way to burn off some of those calories from all of the fun things you can eat on a stick.

RIDING YOUR BIKE TO THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR CYCLIST CAN CHOOSE BETWEEN THREE SECURE BIKE CORRALS TO PARK THEIR BIKE WHILE VISITING THE GREAT MINNESOTA GET TOGETHER.
RIDING YOUR BIKE TO THE FAIR, CYCLISTS CAN CHOOSE BETWEEN THREE SECURE BIKE CORRALS
This year the fair started on August 25th and runs through Labor Day, September 5th. So there is plenty of time to go; plan your mode of transportation to get there and what you will see.

Three hassle-free bike corrals at the Minnesota State Fair

Riding your bike to the Fair, cyclists can choose between three secure bike corrals to park their bicycles while visiting. As in the past, riding your bike to the fair can be fun and reduce the hassle of traffic congestion getting there. Each day, those who commute by bicycle to the fairgrounds will find three (3) secure bike locations, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. They are located at:

North Bike Lot: Hoyt-Snelling Gate (#2)

West Bike Lot: Randall Ave-Buford Gate (#16)

South Bike Lot: Como-Snelling Gate (#6) is a popular location. This bike corral fills fast so if it is not too inconvenient, plan your route to one of the two above locations.

AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR , CHECK THE LATEST IN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY EXHIBITS IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER.
CHECK THE LATEST IN ECO-FRIENDLY E-BIKES IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER.
Here is a map from the MN Pollution Control Agency showing the best bicycle routes to ride your bike comfortably to the fair.

Bike-related things to do and see at the Minnesota State Fair

The Shoe Clip Light is an ideal item bike commuter safety
The Shoe Clip Light is an ideal item for bike commuter safety
Now that you are at the fair walking around, you can think about what you might want to purchase. Maybe a shoe clip light so you are more visible when out riding at night? You will find out more about where to purchase this item and other fun things on the free Minnesota State Fair App at the Google Play store.

At the Minnesota State Fair, check the latest in environmentally friendly exhibits, like the e-bikes, in the Eco Progress Center.

IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER SEE THE LATEST ON ELECTRIC ASSIST BIKES.
IN THE ECO PAVILION, SEE THE LATEST ON ELECTRIC ASSIST BIKES (e-bikes).
Need a new Minnesota Bike Map? In the Education Building, look for the Minnesota Department of Transportation booth, where you will find the latest maps free of charge.

Like parades?

AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR PARADE, ITS FUN TO SEE THE UNI-CYCLISTS RIDING AMONG THE FLOATS AND MARCHING BANDS.
DAILY, SEE UNI-CYCLISTS RIDING AMONG THE FLOATS AND MARCHING BANDS IN THE PARADE
At the Minnesota State Fair parade, it’s fun to see the uni-cyclists riding among the floats and marching bands. Each day at 2 p.m. on Cosgrove Street, you can watch the Minnesota State Fair Parade. If you are lucky, you might see the Twin Cities Unicyclists Club performing.  These single-wheeled bicyclists always do some fun tricks as they pedal along the parade route. As the parade ends near the Eco Progress Center, you can check out the latest exhibits in environmentally friendly living.

Fun foods at the Minnesota State Fair to try

YOU WILL FIND PLENTY OF FUN FOODS TO TRY AT THIS YEARS MINNESOTA STATE FAIR.
YOU WILL FIND PLENTY OF FUN FOODS TO TRY AT THIS YEAR’S “GREAT MINNESOTA GET-TOGETHER”

You will find plenty of fun foods to try at this year’s Minnesota State Fair. Every year there are many fun and wacky foods entrees to try at the fair. This year is no exception looking at the latest published list of new foods to try. Items that have caught my attention to try include:
the “All Quaked-Up Sandwich,” the vegan “Earthslider.” Breakfast Gnocchi,” and the “Gray Duck Sundae,” to name a few.

Hope this helps you plan for your visit to this year’s Minnesota State Fair. If we missed something, you may have discovered. Please let us know; please leave a comment below.

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Fun memories and spectacular views on the Mesabi Trail Tour

The 2022 Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour returns in August with four fun distances for that next bike adventure. All routes will travel out and back on the Mesabi Trail from the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm (MDC).

This year’s ride will be returning to one extensive tour on Saturday, August 20th, with four different routes out and back to eliminate the hassle & confusion riders felt from bike transportation requirements in past tours. All four tour routes (12, 32, 46, or 64 miles)  will start and end at MDC, with two routes traveling east and the other two traveling west. 

Partnering with the Minnesota Discovery Center, the center offers free admission to the museum for all riders and reduced fees for trolley rides & mini-golf. MDC is also home to the new Redhead mountain bike park.

On the Mesabi Trail Tour, the trail crosses one of the iron ore train tracks.

While you pedal (fully supported) along one of Minnesota’s premiere paved bicycle trails, you will encounter historic & scenic points of interest, food & music at rest stops, and a finish line celebration complete with a picnic lunch and more music!

Cost of riding the Mesabi Trail Tour in 2022

The cost of riding this year’s event (cost per weekend ride) is $45 for riders 17 years and older.  The ride is still free for kids 16 and under, with a parent or guardian riding along.

The scenery is stunning along the Mesabi Trail.

Mesabi Trail Tour riders enjoy the scenery at O’Brian Reservoir.

Spring, summer or Fall your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made from.

Spring, Summer, or Fall, your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made.

 

More information to plan your visit and lodging to the Mesabi Trail

The Mesabi Trail will reach 155 miles when complete, connecting Grand Rapids, MN, at the Mississippi River Trail to Ely, next to the Boundary Waters. For more information and lodging options, visit:

Visit Grand Rapids: https://visitgrandrapids.com/places-to-stay/

The Iron Range Tourism Bureau: https://ironrange.org/motel

To learn more about the trail: http://www.mesabitrail.com/.