Category Archives: Destinations

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.

Thanks for viewing our latest review, and Have Fun at the fair. Share your experiences below!

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/.

One of the newest bike rides in Minnesota may add to your summer fun

‘Rock-N-Roll the Lakes’ bike ride in Southern Minnesota is back

If you like a beat to your pedal stroke, one of the newer bike rides in Minnesota may add to your summer fun. This year, on August 13th, Albert Lea, MN will again host the Rock n’ Roll Fountain Lake. Families and friends, of all ages, will enjoy this fun bike tour around the scenic lakes with food and music along the way!

ON THIS BIKE RIDE THE HOMES ALONG THE LAKE ROUTE ARE VERY PICTURESQUE.

ON THIS BIKE RIDE THE HOMES ALONG THE LAKE ROUTE ARE VERY PICTURESQUE.

The hometown of rock-n-roll icon, Eddie Cochran and Marian Ross (also known as Mrs. C from Happy Days), Albert Lea knows how to rock! Riders can choose from the 10, 25, or 50 miles SAG-supported routes. All three courses hug picturesque lake shores and offer a variety of beautiful southern Minnesota scenery. Along the routes, there is a great chance you will spot some of natures magnificent creatures. See eagles, pelicans and countless other birds and wildlife that live in the area and love the local lakes.

The ride starts on the north side of Downtown Albert Lea

The tour starts and ends right across the street from Fountain Lake Park, just north of Downtown Albert Lea. Check-in and day-of-registration will open at 8 and close at 10 a.m. If you plan to ride the 50-mile route, please start no later than 9 a.m. The three courses designed offer the most scenic and pleasant routes around Albert Lea. Along the way on each loop you will find food and refreshment stops offering a great music lined up for all ages to enjoy. Protect your melon, helmets are required!

Bike-friendly Albert Lea

THE BLAZING STAR STATE TRAIL OFFERS OVER SIX MILES RIDING FROM ALBERT LEA OUT THROUGH THE STATE PARK.

THE BLAZING STAR STATE TRAIL OFFERS OVER SIX MILES OF RIDING FROM ALBERT LEA OUT THROUGH THE STATE PARK.

Less than two-hours down Interstate 35W from the Twin Cities, pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a weekend of outdoor fun. The town is also known by another name: The Land Between the Lakes. That’s because the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake and both are prime destinations for soaking in the rays. Getting around on your bike in Albert Lea is easy with city’s low traffic bike lanes and trails. Especially with the Blazing Star State Trail that takes you out to Myre-Big Island State Park.
After checking in at one of the hotels its exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

The ‘Rock-n-Roll the Lakes’ is a fundraiser for the Albert Lea Area Cyclists and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. So come for a fun time riding and a-rockin’ good time!

When you need a break from the outdoors there’s plenty to keep your exciting visit to Albert Lea going. There’s locally owned shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and the area history will top of your bike adventure here. Check out more here.

Shoreview offer miles of paved trail to enjoy

The music in Shoreview will have you dancing on your pedals to natures beat

by Andrew Ellis

The trails here in Shoreview can be your playground for you and your bike – there’s nowhere you can’t go. This Twin Cities Gateway community here offers friendly road routes, trails, and sidewalks so you can take another bike journey wherever you wish. The city also offers some off-road paved trails to get closer to nature and all the beauty the community has to offer. You may even find some smaller paths worth exploring. It’s your adventure and it all starts as soon as you leave your hotel in the Twin Cities Gateway, and don’t forget Slice of Shoreview Days, July 22-24.

A perfect vacation headquarters, the Twin Cities Gateway is a cooperative of nine communities including Shoreview and just a few bike-friendly miles north of Minneapolis. Here you can enjoy:

Concerts in the Shoreview Commons

Shoreview's Concerts in the Commons is the perfect way to get a pedal dancing rhythm for your #NextBikeAdventure.

Shoreview’s Concerts in the Commons is the perfect way to get a pedal dancing rhythm for your #NextBikeAdventure.

This summer offers free entertainment outdoors at the Shoreview Community Center concerts.  Each Wednesday, starting in June, the Center features an outside concert with a different band, each week starting at 7 pm. It’s free, so steer your bike over and get ready to tap your feet.

Rice Creek North Regional Trail

Get close to nature on all the paved trails winding through Shoreview.

Get close to nature on all the paved trails winding through Shoreview.

With more than 50 miles of paved trail (see map) there’s plenty of riding for several visits. Although it is hard to see some trail markings, these trails offer many opportunities to take wildlife pictures and discover the area’s diverse landscape while catching scents of wildflowers. As you ride you will also see and hear plenty of birds of different kinds chirping away. Every once and a while the trail crosses over the creek and you may want to consider some fishing.

Other Activities

If you want to take a short bike ride over to nearby Spring Lake Park, you can also enjoy the Shoreview Sweetroll Skate Park. The SweetRoll is a tier-one skating facility on the north side of the Community Center. The park here includes a wedge, a spine, a fun box, a quarter pipe, grind rails, and a mini ramp.

Water park

If you’re looking for a fun way to cool off, you can bike over to the Shoreview Community Center for their tropical-themed water park in the Twin Cities Gateway. This three-story water slide-equipped park features a one-of-a-kind jukebox with over 100 songs ready to play along with a light show that sliders can enjoy as they twist and turn down to the bottom. At the main pool, you can also play volleyball and there is even an adults-only whirlpool and patio area.

Disk Golf

Disc golf opportunities are always a highlight in the many parks of the Twin Cities Gateway.

Disc golf opportunities are always a highlight in the many parks of the Twin Cities Gateway.

For those wanting a round of disc golf all you have to do is ride over to Hansen Park in New Brighton. With 12 holes, this disc golf course is complemented by stands mature trees amongst open spaces to skillfully connect with the baskets. It’s a great way to take a break from biking while still enjoying the amenities of Shoreview.

And don’t forget Slice of Shoreview Days

Consider biking to the Slice of Shoreview for a weekend of fun.

Consider biking to the Slice of Shoreview for a weekend of fun.

If you’re exploring the area in July, from the 22nd to the 24th, then you will be in time for the annual Slice of Shoreview Days. This celebration. is packed with fun for the whole family. There is live music, local arts, chalk drawing, a petting zoo, pony rides, a carnival, fireworks, and more.

Visiting Shoreview with your bike can be a memorable weekend you won’t soon forget.

A bicycling staycation is a great overnight getaway option

Traveling closer to home is the new norm for many of us, so that a bicycling staycation may open your eyes to new horizons with economic and environmental concerns. Using sustainable travel, like a bike, allows an adventurer to see points of interest and landscapes not commonly noticed when using other modes of transportation. Also, planning an overnight on your next staycation will make your bicycle ride there and back even more enjoyable. So, two questions you may want to ask yourself: How many miles can you comfortably ride in a given day? And, what town is 10 to 50 miles away that fits into your range, so your next adventure is memorable?

Sara’s bicycling staycation to Bloomington

Recently we helped Sara Lynch with an overnight staycation starting in Lakeville, MN. She and her husband rode to Bloomington and back, using the HaveFunBiking maps we publish in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

So precisely what is a bicycling staycation?

A staycation, according to Wikipedia, is a day trip with a distance from a person’s home to another location they would like to visit. Then, adding a bicycle or other mode of transportation or a combination of both (multimodal transport) to the adventure can expand the fun.

Sara’s staycation in the south Twin Cities Area may give you ideas.

Most of Sara and her husband’s bike adventures had been day trips until recently. Over the 4th of July weekend, they enjoyed their first bicycling staycation this year. According to Sara, in her blog, Planet with Sara, that all changed for this adventure. “We started in Lakeville and biked to Bloomington with many fun stops along the way.”

Sara, stopping on the historic Cedar Bridge.

After spending the night in Bloomington, we biked back via a different route with even more fun stops.” Read on here for their course, recommended stops, and helpful tips for creating your fun bicycling staycation.

Lakeville to Bloomington

On the southern edge of the Twin Cities attractions, Lakeville is a family-friendly mecca for bicycling. Offering miles of paved trails, Lakeville has three fun mountain bike areas in the area and several great road routes to enjoy. Both visitors and residents alike will find plenty of safe bike riding opportunities in this bike-friendly community. And when not riding, check out the many attractions here. See Destination Lakeville for more ideas and places to stay.

Riding to Bloomington uses paved bike/ped trails and quiet neighborhood streets; using the route, pedaling through the Minnesota River Valley is approximately 25 miles to the north.

Bloomington back to Lakeville

After a restful night, you will find many cycling opportunities in Bloomington. Located along the north bank of the Minnesota River, near the airport, you will find many bike-friendly attributes here to make it easy to get around. Thanks to the city’s paved trails and designated bike lanes. And mountain biking along the Minnesota River is a fun place to shred some trails for those looking for an off-road adventure. When not riding around this riverfront community, check out the world-renowned Mall of America and other points of interest while visiting. See Destination Bloomington for more ideas and places to stay.

Returning to Lakeville, Sara used a 26-mile western route on quiet neighborhood streets and paved bike/ped trails back.

Map and bike route

Thanks to Hiawatha Bicycling Club for access to their mobile map. Here are the turn-by-turn directions if you want to plan a bicycling staycation encompassing the Lakeville to Bloomington bicycling. Enjoy!

Alexandria, a bike-friendly getaway you can make on one tank

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

There is no shortage of fun in Minnesota, and looking at the latest MN Bike/Hike Guide, with all the maps, we wanted to see how Alex (Alexandria) fit as a one-tank, multi-modal, round-trip destination. With increased gas prices taking a bite out of every motorist’s wallet, we found the Alexandria Lakes Area fit the criteria well. The perfect place to visit, parking the car at the selected lodging and using a bicycle to get around. On this trip, we found the Cedar Rose Inn charming and a great place to relax. This allowed us to easily reach the local bike routes, trails, Alex’s historic downtown attractions, and several restaurants within easy walking distance.

The welcoming Cedar Rose Inn B & B

With the bikes loaded and gear packed, Alexandria is proximately 130 miles (about a two-hour drive) northwest of Minneapolis on I-94.

See a whole lot more biking in Alexandria

Using the Alexandria Bike Map, on pages 50-51 of the MN Bike Guide, you will find options for routes to ride comfortably around town and scenic loops that take you out and around many lakes in Douglas County. Looking at the map and planning your next visit, check out the Explore Alexandria website for many other fun outdoor activities the area offers.

The 8-mile Historic Alexandria Route

Big Ole, at the Central Lakes Trailhead in Alexandria, MN

From the Central Lakes Trail, north of the downtown area, the scenic Alex Loop uses the quiet north/south neighborhood streets that parallel the main highway or Broadway Street from 30th Avenue. If you start at the trailhead, take a selfie with Big Ole, then visit the Runestone Museum, Fort Alexandria, and the Legacy of the Lakes Museum & Gardens. Further along this loop, the route passes the Douglas County Historical Society and several parks where ducks, geese, and pelicans are close by to view.

The 22-mile loop to Garfield returning on the Central Lakes Trail

Touring the scenic bike-friendly roads in the Alexandria Lakes Area

The Garfield Loop uses a series of streets and county roads around a couple of lakes up to the town of Garfield. Here you will find the Central Lake Trail to return to Alex.

The 35-mile North Lakes Loop

This route winds around the picturesque lakes north of Alex, offering wide paved shoulders on the designated bike-friendly routes. As you ride your bike past the lakefront communities, options for stops include Carlos Creek Winery, the 23 Northman Brewery, or several eating establishments along the way.

Prefer staying on the Central Lakes Trail?

From Big Ole, head east to Osakis or west on the Central Lakes Trail to the many towns before Fergus Falls.

To the east, Osakis is 11 miles and connects to the Wobegon Trail. To the northwest, Garfield is 8 miles, Brandon is 14 miles, and Fergus Fall, at the far end, is 44 miles.

Mountain biking in the Alexandria Area

Prefer to bring your mountain bike on your next visit to Alex? Mountain biking is a growing sport in the Alexandria Area, and you can find great riding out at Kensington Runestone County Park and Lake Brophy County Park.

Mountain Biking the forest trail

Runestone Park is near Kensington, and the mountain bike trails here are tons of fun with easy-to-follow signs and many add-on loops to make a ride a little longer if you want. See map and further details here.

Mountain Biking on the prairie single-track trail

Lake Brophy Park is a relatively new multi-use trail system wandering through the upland prairie fields that take you to some of the best views in the county. A highlight of the park is that using the main trail gets you to the high point. At the top of the hill, 140 feet above Lake Brophy, you can choose from the easy, medium, and challenging trails to descend for an adrenalin fun experience. See map and further details here.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Cedar Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast for this trip to Alexandria. It is located at 422 7th Ave. West and Cedar St. is a very charming B & B, and the delicious breakfast Brenda serves each morning makes your visit to Alexandria even more special.

A blueberry brioche with maple syrup drizzled over

For more places to stay and things to do, see Explore Alexandria.