Category Archives: Destinations

As summer slips into fall this coming Sunday, here are more bike events September 19th through 24th, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now approaching, on Sept 22nd, you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses. 

Discover all the fun bike events, Sept. 19th and continuing into the fall

As summer slips into fall this coming Sunday, here are several more bike events September 19th through the 24th, here in the upper Midwest.  With fall now approaching, on Sept 22nd, you will notice cooler temps and more colors as the season progresses.

Bike events, 7-days out

Renegades Cyclocross DesMoines, IA Sept 18

Wednesday Night CX   Brooklyn Park, MN Sept 19 

Thursday Cross Practice Cedar Falls IA Sept 20

Tour de Fall W. Des Moines to Lanesboro, MN.  Sept 21-23 

Trek CX Cup Waterloo, WI Sept 21-23  

Wild Ride Mountain Bike Lebanon Hills – Eagan, MN   Sept 22 

3rd Annual Save Summer Bike & Brew Fest Walker, MN  Sept 22 

Root River “Taste of the Trail” Rushford, MN   Sept 22 

Tour De Hugo  Hugo, MN Sept 22 

Central Lakes 24/7 Duathlon Fergus Falls, MN  Sept 22 

Headwaters 100  Park Rapids, MN Sept 22

Full Moon High Trestle Bridge Ride Slater, IA Sept 22

Arthritis Bike Classic  San Francisco to L.A. Sept 22-29

The Ride  Sun Prairie WI Sept 23

Hero Gravel Classic  Stillwater, MN Sept 23 

GIRG (Gravel Iowa River Greenbelt) Ride Steamboat Rock, IA Sept 23

Full Moon Ride Slater, IA Sept 24

See More

See more events further out in both the Iowa and Minnesota Bike/Hike Guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. As you explore all the bike-friendly destinations we have covered, please share your experience with us. And, don’t forget to smile we may be around the next corner with the HFB camera ready to capture you for our next pic of the day!

Bike Silver Bay, there is still time to make some outdoor memories with fall color season soon approaching.

Bike Silver Bay on the North Shore as the fall colors begin to peak

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike Silver Bay, there is still time to make some outdoor memories with fall color season soon approaching. With your two-wheel stud, make your way into northeastern Minnesota Arrowhead region and soon you will find yourself enjoying the fall colors on the North Shore. While here you can spend all the time in the world at its various parks, like Splitrock Lighthouse or Tettegouche State Park or while enjoying the Gitchi-Gami State Trail.

Family fun riding along the Gitchi Gami Trail with Lake Superior at your side.

Family fun riding along the Gitchi Gami Trail with Lake Superior at your side.

It has plenty of areas for the mountain bike too. to explore and has the Superior Hiking Trail runs through, so make sure you’re ready for plenty of Instagram worthy selfie opportunities. There’s even room for hiking the Superior Hiking Trail, that runs through the area. See the HaveFunBiking Silver Bay Map from the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, for more details.

More About the Bike Silver Bay Area

Resting along the shore of the beloved Lake Superior, get a great view of the lake as you explore the area with your bike or on foot.

The chances to enjoy nature are many, but sometimes you need a break. So when it comes time to take-five indoors you’re in luck. There are plenty of shops to browse and diners to replenish the calories you’ve burned out on the trail. If you’re looking for an artistic experience, the Lake Superior Community Theater always has a production ready for your enjoyment.

Biking Opportunities in the friendly Bike Silver Bay Area

There’s nothing better than riding your bike and enjoying the fresh air with a breeze of the lake. The Silver Bay area has plenty of trails and loops ready for you. You’ll have plenty of scenic views and fun challenges mountain biking here.

In Tettegouche State Park

The northeastern tip borders Lake Superior. And if you’re looking for a scenic adventure through some of Northern Minnesota’s finest nature trails. Mountain bikers can use the 1.5-mile road that also doubles as the service road into the Tettegouche camp. Bikers can also use the 6.5 miles of ATV trails located in and outside the park.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

The fat bike trails loops in Split Rock Lighthouse State are fun.

The fat bike trails loops in Split Rock Lighthouse State are fun.

The park trails here offer a connection to the 10 miles from the park up to Silver Bay on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail. For the mountain bikers, there are also plenty of trails such as the Merrill Lodging Trail and the Day Hill Trail for bikers to enjoy. They can also use the Corundum Mine Trail and there are trails for fat bikers as well.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

About 15 miles south on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail beautiful Gooseberry Falls State Park offers several opportunities for bikers to hit the trails. Mountain bikers will have plenty of trails to travel, and many areas connect to each other providing several loop opportunities.

Gitchi Gami State Trail

Riding along Lake Superior on the Gitchi Gami Trail.

Riding along Lake Superior on the Gitchi Gami Trail.

This trail starts in Two Harbors and travels all the way to Grand Marais. While parts of the trail are under construction, or yet to be started, much of it follows the coast of Lake Superior. You’ll get to travel through Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Tettegouche State Park, and more.

Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for than winding paths and hills out of your bike adventure, give these more challenging trails a try. The North Star State Trail takes you from Duluth all the way through town and up to Grand Marais. Then there’s the Moose Walk Trail that takes you along the Sawtooth Mountains. It also connects to the Red Dot Trail, which takes you on a hilly ride through countless spruce pine.

Where to stay in Silver Bay and thing to do when not biking

At the Heart of the Northshore, you will find everything you need for a couple night stay or a long vacation in northern Minnesota. Located an “incredibly scenic” hour north of Duluth, Minnesota, come and experience the great outdoors with nature activities, fun family attractions, area tours, scenic state parks, hiking and biking trails and more. Stay in luxurious accommodations at one of our resorts, cabins or hotels where you will find comfortable, affordable lodging for every budget. See the waves and observe the ships on Lake Superior, smell the forests, watch the birds and wildlife or enjoy the Superior Hiking Trail. Bike Silver Bay is an experience you will not soon forget!

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Links for bike destinations and peak fall color riding in Iowa and Minnesota

Don’t put that bike away just yet! Fall color riding is one of the best times in the upper Midwest to explore all the bike-friendly destinations. With warm days and cool nights, low humidity, very few insects and the brilliant autumn colors the trees provide, 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 get closer to 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 in combination with 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 in combination with 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 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 trails 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 in combination with the IA DNR fall color pages will allow you some more fall experience 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, at this time, here are links to Wisconsin’s Bicycle routes and fall color report page.

Have fun making some fall color bike touring memories.

Fun riding through the Edina Promenade connecting the Nine Mile Creek Trail east and west.

Edina makes the perfect beginning on the new Nine Mile Creek Trail

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

From the Promenade in Edina, MN, the new paved trail system along the Nine Mile Creek watershed is fun to explore. Pedaling west, you can safely ride over two freeways and connect to another regional trail hub in Hopkins. Along the way, this new corridor utilizes several wooden trail structures to straddle the bed of the creek giving you a birds-eye view of nature. Pedaling east out of Edina the trail takes you to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Either way, it is a fun place to ride for the entire family. You can also connect to the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes trail system for a loop of the south metro.

Riding through Edina on the wide wooden trail structure.

Rider and walkers alike enjoy the wide wooden trail structures that follow Nine Mile Creek through Edina.

This 15 mile, Three Rivers Park District Trail is a 10-foot wide asphalt path with several wooden bridge sections that welcome walkers, bikers and others using non-motorized transports.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail west from Edina

Venturing west out of Edina there are so many places to explore with this new section of the trail over the Nine Mile Creek watershed. With fall and winter soon approaching get your bike, skis or walking shoes and head outside! After leaving the Edina Promenade, the trail wanders through Fred Richards Park.

Riding through Fred Richards Park, in Edina, MN.

Riding through Fred Richards Park, a part of Nine Mile Creek, in Edina, MN.

Once a par 3 golf course this park is now an urban green space welcoming you to the next several miles of your trail adventure. At the trail bridge over Highway 100, the actual Nine Mile Creek comes into view. Now the trail meanders above its namesake creek, on the elevated wood bridges above the wetlands and woodlands, in Edina. Along the way, you may want to stop and enjoy the wildlife that makes their home here along the creek. From Edina to Hopkins, by trail, it’s about eight miles with 1.7 miles of wooden boardwalk structures along the way.

Rolling through Edina on Nine Mile Creek Trail is fun to explore. If it’s an out and back bike adventure, add another mile on the Cedar Lakes Trail (east) for a treat. Stopping at the Hopkins Depot for an ice cream cone or cup of coffee is the perfect treat before heading back.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail east of Edina

Sometimes, the journey is the reward, that is definitely the case here. It is approximately seven miles from the Edina Promenade to the Minnesota River. On this section, the trail passes through the city Richfield and connects to the north/south Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail.

The trail makes it easy to stay off busy streets.

The trail makes it easy to stay off busy streets.

Just north of the Mall of America, both cyclists and pedestrians can safely cross the 494 Freeway and follow the trail south, through Bloomington, to the Minnesota River. To the north, the Nokomis-Minnesota River Regional Trail users can easily reach Lake Nokomis and the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway in Minneapolis. Other points of interest in this area include the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Fort Snelling State Park.

Map, parking, bike rental and trail access

For your next bike adventure here use the Explore Edina Bike/Hike Map, featuring the new Nine-Mile Creek Trail. On this map, you will notice several trail access points. A favorite gathering point for me is parking near one of the retail centers, north or south of the Edina Promenade. Here you will find ample parking and several restaurant options for that appetite you are sure to acquire on your ride. For a place to stay when visiting Edina check their lodging options here.

Need a rental bike?

Edina residents and visitors now have access to a new, dockless bike service. You simply download the Lime app. All rental bikes are GPS and 3G-enabled, making it simple for riders to find, unlock and pick up a nearby bicycle using the iOS or Android smartphone app.

The NineMile Creek Trail through Edina works well for all ages.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail through Edina works well for all ages.

With many bike-friendly street routes, Edina is recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A Minnesota fall bike/birding hotspot in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway. While ground-truthing a few bike maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide we noticed some wildlife haunts perfect for viewing the fall migration.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the nine communities in the Gateway offer excellent viewing opportunities in the parks along its lakes and the Mississippi River. These parks provide nature enthusiasts several places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of waterfowl, along with hawks and songbirds that are still around. Starting with many spots along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), the Rice Creek Trail and the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) check all the Important Birding Areas (IBA) out:

Bike/birding hotspots along the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, north of Minneapolis, is an important IBA waterfowl area that is adjacent to floodplains areas easily accessible to the MRT bike trails passing through Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. This IBA area also connects to the Rice Creek corridor and its adjacent floodplain on public lands. With the bike trail following the stream, it flows out of the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, near Lino Lakes, towards the Mississippi where you will find many birding opportunities. According to the National Audubon Society website this IBA lies within an area that has a very high population density and an area that is one of the fastest growing areas in the Twin Cities area.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

The Mississippi Flyway is not only a tremendously important flyway for waterfowl, it also attracts raptors and other migratory birds. Warblers can be seen in abundance along the river because of its rich source of insects during both the spring and fall migrations.

Bike/birding hotspots along the Rice Creek Trail

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

The Rice Creek IBA is another Important Birding Area and consists of two parts: The Ramsey County Open Space, also known as Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS) and Rice Creek North. This stretch, you will find sizeable populations of birds and other animals in a supported variety of marsh, grassland, and wooded habitats. See the National Audubon Society website on this northeast section of the Rice Creek flowage.

The Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Back in the center of the Twin Cities Gateway, the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) offers over 500 acres of wetland and upland habitat for viewing. A boardwalk through the sanctuary, extended from a parking area connect the existing paved trail to East Lake Park. Walk or ride your bike, with viewing equipment, along with the boardwalk and trail.

For more information on these birding hotspots and others, contact Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department at (651) 748-2500 or see www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks for more information.

Nearby places to stay and connect to the trails while birding, see these Twin Cities Gateway lodging properties. For maps showing bike trail access from your selected hotel, check here.

Have Fun!

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 and see more!

With record attendance the first few days of the 2018 Minnesota State Fair, using your bicycle is a comfortable mode for getting there. If you haven’t yet and are planning on attending this year’s ‘Great Minnesota Get-together’ bicycle parking is still free. Ride your bike from home, park your car a few miles away with your bike along or incorporate the Metro Transit Bus for a multi-modal commute. Commuting by bicycle can take the hassle factor out of visiting the fair. Besides, it is a great way to burn-off some 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 MINNESOTA STATE FAIR CYCLIST CAN CHOOSE BETWEEN THREE SECURE BIKE CORRALS TO PARK THEIR BIKE WHILE VISITING THE GREAT MINNESOTA GET TOGETHER.

This year the fair started on August 23rd and runs through Labor Day, September 3rd. So there is plenty of time to go, plan your mode of getting there and what you will see.

A hassle -free way to get to the Minnesota State Fair

Riding your bike to the Fair cyclist can choose between three secure bike corrals to park their bicycle while visiting. As in the past, riding your bike to the fair can be fun and reduce the hassle of traffic congestion getting there. This year ride your bike, take a shuttle bus or both by multi modal commuting. Each day, those who commute by bicycle to the fairgrounds, from 6 a.m. to midnight, will find three (3) secure bike locations. 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) A popular location, this bike corral fills fast so if it is not to 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.

AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR , CHECK THE LATEST IN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY EXHIBITS IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER.

Here is a map, from St Paul Smart Trips, 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 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 at the both under the Grandstand so you are more visible when out riding? You will find out more on where to purchase this item and other fun things on the free Minnesota State Fair App, (Apple App Store or 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 PROGRESS CENTER 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.

Didn’t get a printed copy of our 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide? Pick up a copy at the Minnesota DNR Information Center, while supplies last.

Like parades?

AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR PARADE, ITS FUN TO SEE THE UNI-CYCLISTS RIDING AMONG THE FLOATS AND MARCHING BANDS.

AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR PARADE, ITS FUN TO SEE THE UNI-CYCLISTS RIDING AMONG THE FLOATS AND MARCHING BANDS.

At the Minnesota State Fair parade, its 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 environmental 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 YEARS MINNESOTA STATE FAIR.

You will find plenty of fun foods to try at this years 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. Item that caught my attention, that I tried included:
Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado, Irish Tater Kegs and Nordic Waffles to name a few. And that’s for starters, some of the tried and true treats I normally only indulge in once a year included: the Bacon Fluffernutter (say that ten times), the triple truffle trooter, Memphis Tochos and a cup of maple cream nitro cold press coffee.

See the latest in action biking stunts?

TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR FEET AND WATCH THE BMX’ERS PERFORM SOME STUNTS, AT THE X-ZONE.

TAKE A LOAD OFF YOUR FEET AND WATCH THE BMX’ERS PERFORM SOME STUNTS, AT THE X-ZONE.

Take a load off your feet and watch the BMX’ers perform some stunts, at the X-Zone.
In a new location on Machinery Hill you will find the stunts being performed on bikes and skateboards. Here watch some BMX’ers and skateboarders perform some high-rising stunts right in front of you on the new amazing exhibition course they have laid out.

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

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The Mall of America (MOA), located in the east side of Bloomington, is just one of the many travel treasures to explore by bike, when visiting.

Exploring Bloomington’s east side by bicycle for hidden treasures

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

The Mall of America (MOA) is just one of several travel treasures to explore when visiting Bloomington, MN. Along with the many memorable activities at the Mall, venturing out on a bike can an make it easy to see more fun attractions in the south metro. With designated bike routes and commuter paths along the streets it’s easy to spend several days seeing the sights.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

When visiting the area, the MOA makes an excellent multi modal gathering point to see all the treasures here. By starting at the MOA’s north parking lot and pedaling east it is less than a mile and a half to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center. Along the way you can stop by the Northwest Airlines Museum to learn more about Minnesota’s aeronautical history.

If you want to watch the big planes land and takeoff it is fun to take the north route to the viewing station at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. To the west, less than five miles, saddle up the family for a days adventure at the Works Museum. To the south along the Minnesota River Valley mountain bikers and hikers alike will find hours of fun.

Starting at MOA adds to the fun exploring Bloomington’s attractions

One of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

One the north side, one of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

A revolutionary place for shopping, entertainment and attractions, John Emerson says it best, “I like using the MOA as a meeting point when biking around the south metro. It’s nice, I can come a little early or stay after a bike ride and get some shopping in, or grab a bite to eat. Plus, getting to and from the Mall is easy with the bike friendly sidewalks, access to light-rail and ample bike parking.” We agree with John, the Mall makes the perfect multi modal commuting hub to explore Bloomington on two-wheels.

From the Mall of America’s north parking lot, the sidewalk/trail running parallel to American Boulevard works well as a bike commuter route along the 494 Freeway strip. Once at the Mall you will find bike racks near most of the main entrances and lockers inside for changing clothes.

If you are coming in by Metro Transit (bus or light rail), use the lower ramp on the east side. There are plenty of bike racks next to the bus station to secure your bicycle. For more information see MOA services and map.

Northwest Airlines History Center Museum

Riding east from the Mall, stop in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the NW Airline Museum is located.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

Located one mile east of the Mall of America the Northwest Airlines History Center Museum is worth checking out. Here you will find Minnesota’s home-town airline of the past. Visiting you will find over 4,000 aviation artifacts, from 1926 to 1998, to sift through. Plus, a gallery of photos hanging in the hotel hallways to enjoy as you make your way to the museum. It is easy to spend a couple hours looking at the various collection here!

What you may discover at this home-town airline attraction

According to the Minnesota Historical Society’s review you will find records on air routes, aircraft accidents, hijackings and more. Also see information and video on Northwest’s involvement in World War II. In the airlines correspondents section discover communications with aircraft manufacturers and aviators like Amelia Earhart. There are also newspaper accounts of the 1989 takeover of NWA Inc. and of the company’s brush with bankruptcy.

To find the museum in the Crowne Plaza Aire MSP Hotel, at Two Appletree Square, take the elevator in the lobby to the 3rd Floor. As you make your way to the museum enjoy the photos along the hallway. If the weather isn’t conducive for bicycling to the museum consider using the light-rail from the Mall of America. The Hotel is across the street from the 34th Avenue Blue-line station.

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The castle-like presence of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center.

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center over looking river and wetlands below .

A short distance east of the airline museum and across from the Hilton Hotel is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center. Its grand stature overlooking the river valley below offers a castle-like presence. Inside it feels bigger than the average visitors center and it is. It has everything including information on the wildlife that calls the refuge home. In the theater and interactive exhibits kids of all ages can learn about the wonders of the natural world. There are also several large murals that are actually made out of tiny pictures of animals that can be found inside.

Step outdoors, right behind the center you will find a stone observation deck with two telescopes. Here it’s easy to focus on the flora and fauna across the river valley while relaxing in centers natural surroundings.

Take a walk and get close to nature

If you are up for a walk and want to get a close to nature, take a hike on the many well-managed trails in the refuge. Walk at your own pace and stop periodically to reflect on the serenity of nature. As you explore some of Minnesota’s nature you will find sitting areas scattered along the path to stop and reflect.

Long Meadow Trail

At some point, if you walk far enough, you’ll connect to a dirt road known as the Long Meadow Trail. This multi-use trail takes you up the river valley to the old Cedar Bridge and beyond. Along the trail you will pass by fields that grow long grass; trees that every now and then shelter you from the blazing sun; waterfowl floating in the wetlands; and a bridge that takes you over the Minnesota River. If you’re lucky enough you might even pass by an artist taking inspiration from what’s around them and putting it on canvas.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find these attractions from the MOA

With free admission to get into these two attractions, getting there by bicycle can add to the fun and memories. First, look at the map on pages 40-41 of the 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to the NWA Museum and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center.

From the MOA Enterance on the northside!                                                                                         0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (side walk trail or street)
1.1 Cross 34th Ave. NW Airlines Museum/Crown Plaza Hotel (SE corner)
1.3 Entrance to the MN Valley Wildlife Center (across from the Hilton Hotel)

If a Viking scrimmage is of interest, continue riding east                                                                See information here on bicycling to the new Vikings Training Camp for a game this summer.

The Works Museum can engineer fun for the whole family

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

A five mile bike ride west of the Mall of America, in Bloomington, brings you and your kids to the Works Museum for some mind-expanding fun.

In the interactive Experience Gallery your family can experiment with simple machines, structures and shapes that have sensors and imaging and optical technologies. Your kid’s can touch, try and build as they explore how things work.

The Workshop in the museum is a new creative space for families. This space is perfect for the youngsters in your home. Especially for those  who like to sew, build things, or create art. The perfect place for a bonding exercise with your child. In the the art department classes will help you and your child produce a stop-motion animation video together. Another class allows you to create your own LED sign and there are many more classes to choose from.

The Works Museum is located at 9740 Grand Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find the Works Museum from the MOA

Getting to the Works Museum by bicycle can add to the fun and memories when visiting with the family. First, look at the map on pages 40-41 of the 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to this museum.

Please note – the following route offers a combination of roads with parallel bike/walk paths and quite neighborhood streets.

From the MOA north side entrance to the Works Museum!                                                             0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (side walk trail or street)
0.9 Left on 12th Avenue
1.2 Right on 82nd Street
1.4 West onto trail across Smith Park
1.6 Left (south) Park Street
2.1 Right on 86th Street
2.5 Left on 3rd Avenue
3.0 Right 90th Street (Bloomington Aquatic Center)
3.2 Left on Nicollet
3.6 Right on 93rd Street
3.7 Left on Blaisdell Avenue
3.9 Right on 95th Street
4.2 Left on Grand Avenue
4.5 Cross 97 ½ Street into the Works Museum

Watch the plans at the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

Another fun opportunity to ride your bike from the Mall of America, includes a visit to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Viewing Station.

From the MOA to the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station! 
0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (side walk trail or street)
0.9 Right on 12th Avenue
1.6 Right on Diagonal Boulevard
1.9 Left on Bloomington Avenue
2.4 Right on 86th Street
2.6 Left on Old Cedar Avenue
2.9 Right 66th Street across Cedar Avenue
3.0 Left (south) Longfellow Avenue
3.5 Left Cargo Road
4.0 MSP Aircraft Viewing Station

Check here for more fun activities, attractions and hotels to bike to when staying or visiting Bloomington, MN.

Enjoying nature riding the Rice Creek Trail out of Mounds View.

Discover the Rice Creek Trails natural settings out of Mounds View

If you missed the annual ‘Festival in the Park‘ celebration, with bike races, last weekend in Mounds View, MN, this Twin Cities Gateway community is still worth checking out. Here, you will find a great mix of busy and calm. Where you can ride your bike along creekside trails to visit attractions amongst mother nature. Many who visit here enjoy following the natural settings along Rice Creek and the trail near it. Another option, are the bike friendly roads to expand your coverage for more adventure – And you can start, right from your Twin Cities Gateway hotel.

Rice Creek North Regional Trail

Riding over one of the wooden bridges crossing the Rice Creek Trail

Riding over one of the wooden bridges crossing the Rice Creek Trail

Mounds View is one of the many places that gives you access to the Rice Creek North Regional Trail with the Rice Creek North Regional Trail Corridor. The Rice Creek North Regional Trail is located in the Southeast quadrant of Anoka County [see map].

In the Meadows along the Rice Creek Trail see song birds amongst the wild flower.

In the meadows along the Rice Creek Trail see song birds amongst the wild flower.

 

The trail provides a connection between Anoka and Ramsey counties and connects the Cities of Blaine, Shoreview and Lino Lakes. A unique feature of the trail the 8-10 foot wide paved trail passing towering trees and the creek (bearing the same name) underneath crossing quaint wooden bridges along the way. Enjoying nature riding the Rice Creek Trail out of Mounds View.

There are also several different landscapes passing through wooded areas where trail users can occasionally see whitetail deer. Then wandering through open meadows the trail greets users with array of natural flower and songbirds. Further along, cyclist will circle several low land marshy areas where it is easy to view many species of waterfall gathering for the fall migration. On the north end of the trail, one can witness prairie restoration.

On the Rice Creek Trail, as fall approaches, view waterfowl as they gather for and prepare for migration.

On the Rice Creek Trail, as fall approaches, view waterfowl as they gather for and prepare for migration.

A part of Minnesota’s Community, located on the northside of the Twin Cities it is easy to find your next bike adventure with a mix of mother nature, near your lodging choice when visiting the area.

In its 32nd year the pedal Van Buren ride will be hosting their annual bike ride visiting several Civil War historical villages along the way.

Pedal Van Buren bikes through 10 Civil War historic villages in SE. Iowa

Again in its 32nd year the villages of Van Buren County, in Iowa will be hosting their annual pedal Van Buren ride August 18-19, and there is still room. Join over 200 bicyclists as they tour the countryside visiting several Civil War historical villages along the way. Ride participants can select the 42 or 66 mile route on Saturday and a 42 mile’r on Sunday. Along with SAG support and refreshments, a fun poker-run will be a part of the ride both days.

Bike Van Buren is a ride the whole family with enjoy.

Bike Van Buren is a ride the whole family with enjoy.

If you want to experience pedal Van Buren

The host villages will welcome the bikers with free refreshments and outstanding hospitality! All of the routes will lead you through some of the most beautiful countryside in Iowa!  Register for Bike Van Buren online at www.villagesofvanburen.com or walk-up registration will be held at the Keosauqua City Park, Saturday 7 to 8:30 a.m. and Sunday only rider registration is 7:30 to 8 a.m. Two day registration fees: Adults: $45, Children under 18 years old: $37. Single day registration: Adults: $35, Children $27.

Meet old and new friend while touring the villages of Van Buren County

Meet old and new friend while touring the villages of Van Buren County

Bike Van Buren route options

Two routes will be offered on Saturday (66 miles & 42 miles) and 1 route on Sunday (42 miles). Riders can create their own route as well. All routes will begin and end at the Keosauqua City Park and all are clearly marked with large colored arrows. Bickel’s Cycling & Fitness, of Burlington, will provide technical support and several SAG (Service and Gear) wagons will be in-route with the riders at all times. Phone numbers for staff support crews are provided on the maps riders will receive upon registration (Riders are encouraged to carry a cell phone). All support crews will be equipped with free cold bottled water, courtesy of Dutchman’s Store, in Cantril and limited first aid.

Route options cover some quite county roads that meander from on village to another.

Route options cover some quite county roads that meander from on village to another.

Lunch options on the ride

Riders will have the option to purchase a lunch band at registration ($8 adults, $5 youth). Saturday’s lunch will be hosted by the Lunch Box Café, in Douds and on Sunday the Bridge Café, in Farmington will provide a lunch buffet. Registered riders will take advantage of 100% complimentary refreshments at each of the nine hospitality stops. Hospitality stops average 8-10 miles apart and will include some fascinating historic sites such as the Bonaparte Pottery, Stockport Depot and Pearson House Museum Complex.

A little gaming fun is included on the ride

A Fun Poker Run will be part of the event on both days. Riders will try to build their best hand of poker by drawing cards at designated hospitality stops. The best hand on each day, will win $100 cash. Bickel’s Cycling & Fitness in Burlington will provide prizes for 2nd, 3rd and 4th place winners.

Tour the Underground Railroad after the 1st days ride

Saturday’s ride will conclude at the Pearson House Museum Complex. Here ride participants can tour the Underground Railroad safe house. The tour shows places where escaping slaves hid under the floorboards, during the Civil War, on their journey to freedom. The Pearson House will also be open on Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. On Saturday evening, in the Keosauqua City Park from 4 to 7 p.m. Goehring Brothers BBQ will be serving mouth-watering pulled pork & brisket plate dinners. From 5 to 6 p.m. the Tarnished Brass Band will perform  and everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair and enjoy the evening!

A Van Buren breakfast tradition

The Keosauqua Lions will be serving an all-you-can-eat pancake & sausage breakfast ($7) with scrambled eggs and fresh fruits (courtesy of the Dutchman’s Store in Cantril).  Held  in the Keosauqua City Park and open to the public, both mornings, serving time is from 6:30 to 10 a.m. A raffle Saturday morning, for a beautiful TREK Domane AL 3 Road Bike, will be held at the pancake breakfast. The Keosauqua Lions, First Iowa State Bank and Bickel’s Cycling & Fitness have partnered together to raffle the bike. Tickets ($5 each or 5/$20) will be for sale during the Lions breakfast on August 18 and again that afternoon at the Keosauqua City Park. A winner will be drawn Saturday evening, at 6 p.m. You need not be present to win the bike. Proceeds will benefit various Lions Club projects.

Hope to see you on the Bike Van Buren Ride!

Hope to see you on the Bike Van Buren Ride!

For more information contact: Villages of Van Buren 800-868-7822 / 319-293-7111 www.villagesofvanburen.com

Riders on the18th Annual Gitchi-Gami Trail Association North Shore Bike Ride, August 18, will enjoy shoreline views of Lake Superior as they pass through a state park or riding over a serenading waterfall as it cascades into the lake.

New routes on the Gitchi-Gami Trail Association North Shore Bike Ride

Get up close and personal on the 18th Annual Gitchi-Gami Trail Association North Shore Bike Ride. On Saturday, August 18, enjoy shoreline views of Lake Superior as you pedal the Gitchi-Gami Trail (GGST). Occasionally along the way passing through a state park or riding over a serenading waterfall as it cascades into the lake. This year with the usual: Snacks, T-shirts and sag support on four ride lengths, that includes a family friendly 8-mile option.

Gitchi-Gami ride lengths

The full map of the Gitchi-Gami Trail

Starting at Gooseberry Falls State Park, the start time is : 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday morning with recreational ride lengths offered at: 8-miles, 28-miles, 34-miles and 55-miles. The 55-mile ride is the only course that will use connecting roads. on the ride. All other options stay on the trail.  Click HERE for a mail-in registration form!

The 8-mile family ride option

A scenic view of the trail along Lake Superior

A scenic view of the trail along Lake Superior

Follows the GGST for 4 miles from Gooseberry to a rest stop at Twin Points wayside, where there will be treats and special events for families. The ride returns on the GGST to Gooseberry.

The 28-mile ride option

Entirely on the GGST, from Gooseberry through historic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, continuing to the rest stop at the Beaver Bay Wayside, and returning on the trail. Because it is an “out-and-back” ride, bikers can turn around at any time to return to the starting point.

The 34-mile ride option

Rider on Gitchi-Gami Trail as it winds through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Rider on Gitchi-Gami Trail as it winds through Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

A new route this year (All on trail)! Follows the GGST to the rest stop at Beaver Bay Wayside, continues over the Beaver River Bridge on separated trail. You’ll turn left up the hill on the NEWEST segment of GGT along the West Road and continue on trail to Silver Bay. From there, you’ll turn around and retrace your your path back to the rest stop at Beaver Bay. Refuel and then the route returns to Gooseberry on the trail.

55-mile ride option

Another new route this year! Follows the GGST to Beaver Bay Wayside, continues on trail over the Beaver River Bridge and left onto the NEWEST segment of trail alongside West Road. Continues to Silver Bay where you will make a loop north beginning by turning left on Penn Avenue. Turning right on to Lax Lake Road you’ll bike to Hwy 1 and the Eckbeck rest stop, continue to Hwy 61, where you’ll head uphill at Outer Drive/Penn Avenue and pick up the Gitchi-Gami trail again near Rukavina Arena back to Beaver Bay, and then back to Gooseberry on the trail.

Registration can be completed online (through secure PayPal payment) at the link above or by mail, using the form on this page. Cost of the ride is $45. They offer a $10 discount to members, if you would like to join.

Questions? Contact  [email protected]

Lodging opportunities and more scenic experiences to explore

Consider staying in Silver Bay, the Heart of the Northshore, on the  top end of the GGST Ride Route, for plenty of things to do pre- and post your bike ride.