Category Archives: Destinations

Many Cyclists riding around Albert Lea Lake enjoyable

Biking around Albert Lea may add a little Rock n’ Roll to your ride

by Andrew Ellis

Now that summer is here and many traditional outdoor activities are coming to the top of my list, I have a big decision to make. With my new e-bike, where should I go for my first out-of-town weekend bike getaway?

One of my favorites is Albert Lea, Minnesota, A one-tank getaway that offers a beautiful bike route around Fountain Lake that makes it easy to connect to the Blazing Star State Trail. Another option is to follow one of the routes from the annual bike ride called Rock n’ Roll the Lakes. This year the ride takes place on August 12th. Offering cyclists of all abilities several fun, scenic route options for that #NextBikeAdventure!

Bike-friendly Albert Lea

Less than two hours, drive down Interstate 35 from Minneapolis. After passing the I-90 crossroad, pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a weekend of outdoor fun. Known as the Land Between the Lakes, the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, prime destinations for soaking in the rays while biking, hiking, or paddling. Getting around on your bike from several lodging options is easy with the city’s low-traffic bike lanes and trails. After checking in at one of the hotels, it’s exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

Touring around Albert Lea Lake

The homes along the lake route are very picturesque.

The homes along the Fountain Lake route are very picturesque.

In town, touring around Fountain Lake, traveling clockwise, is recommended. The experience of this route is reminiscent of riding around Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. With beautifully landscaped lawns along the fingering shoreline, a ride around the lake is very picturesque. This popular route is about eight and a half miles around, using trails and quiet residential streets.

After returning to the downtown area of Albert Lea, you will find many options for lunch. Then it’s time to ride on the paved Blazing Star State Trail out to Myre-Big Island State Park.

Myre-Big Island State Park and the Blazing Star State Trail

The Blazing Star State Trail is over six miles from Albert Lea to the State Park.

The Blazing Star State Trail offers over six miles of riding from Albert Lea out through the State Park.

Here in the park, you will find both, a mountain bike and a paved trail system for cyclists of all skill levels to enjoy. The park offers about seven miles of wide grass trails in a sequence of three separate loops, strung together alongside the State trail for mountain bikers. The Blazing Star State Trail is paved and runs from Albert Lea Lake in town out through Myre-Big Island State Park, approximately six miles.

Both trail systems meander through the open prairie meadows with some young woodland near Lake Albert Lea throughout the park. Nice rolling hills make for a surprisingly good workout, and the park is also an excellent birding spot.

Road Biking Opportunities

Exploring the area on a bike is easy, too. You can use the roads to navigate both around town and rural routes throughout southern Minnesota. There’s even a dedicated bike lane to get you in and out of town safely. From past Rock n’ Roll the Lakes events, here are the printable maps for the 10-mile loop option and the 30/50-mile loop option for your enjoyment.

More about Albert Lea 

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake id reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

The bike route around Albert Lea Lake is reminiscent of the Lake of the Isles.

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

The best part about spending time here in Albert Lea, it’s easy to get around by bike while keeping your social distance from others for a memorable adventure.

Making yourself heard with a bicycle bell, vs voice command

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

With summer riding opportunities here, it may be time to look for a new bicycle bell for added safety. Personally, I prefer using a bell when approaching slower cyclists and people walking on the trail, just ahead of me. Rather than using my voice alone, with a tone that may vary. I find a bell noise from SpurCycle, with a quick statement of “On your left,” when passing, is more effective and appreciated. The Compact Bell is perfect and offers the same high-frequency ping as SpurCycle’s original bell, just smaller with fewer moving parts.

The SpurCycle Compact Bicycle Bell

In a recent test of the SpurCycle Compact Bell, I found the ring lasts longer than most bells. I found the high-frequency ping with a rich aftermath tone helps those, as you approach, of your on-coming presents.

The perfect brass bell housing holds a ring longer, starting with a very hard “ping.”

This compact bell is plenty loud for off-road riding and suburban commuting but won’t win against car horns and heavy street traffic in a metropolitan area. This bell’s true advantage is how long the ring lasts (or “sustains”), ending at the same frequency.

From its package, test out the high-quality ping this bicycle bell makes.

It’s great for commuters or mountain bikers because you can start the ring 10-15 seconds before passing a biker or pedestrian. Letting them know where you are and when you will be approaching. With the SpurCycle Bell, there’s no need to ring your bell 20-times like the inexpensive department store models. The initial ring offers enough of a shrill to get the attention of even the most hardcore earbud rockers, if you do choose to hit it repeatedly.

If your bike has a larger diameter handlebar (22.2 to 31.8 mm), consider the SpurCycle Original.

Mastering the use of your voice or the use of a bicycle bell

In a recent article published by CyclingSavvy, should you use a bicycle bell or your voice? For many, it’s a cultural issue. In this in-depth article, John Brooking discusses how you can use a bell or your voice to alert people and what to check for after sending an audible signal. He also touches on the other sounds bicycles make and how these extend your pre-ride safety check. Making it natural so your bell and voice, when riding,  is a call-and-response. Musicians use this so the audience can sing along; you can use it, so your passage is predictable and safe.

Personally, as you can probably tell in this read, I prefer the bell to voice commands. Especially if you are in an urban area with heavy pedestrian foot traffic. Having spent time in Amsterdam on a bicycle made me a true believer that the bell’s sound was mightier than the voice.

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 12th, 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!



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 nature’s 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 Albert Lea, Edgewater Park

The tour starts and ends at Edgewater Park, on upper Fountain Lake, north of Downtown Albert Lea. Check-in and day of registration will open at eight 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 lineup of music for all ages to enjoy. Protect your melon; helmets are required!

Bike-friendly Albert Lea



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 the city’s low-traffic bike lanes and trails, especially with the Blazing Star State Trail that takes you to Myre-Big Island State Park.
After checking in at one of the hotels, it’s exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

The ‘Rock-n-Roll the Lakes’ is a fundraiser brought to you by the good folks at Albert Lea Area Cyclists (ALAC), a chapter of Bike MN (Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota). ALAC is a bicycle and pedestrian education and advocacy group for Albert Lea, Minnesota, instrumental in helping Albert Lea become an official Bicycle Friendly Community and continuing to refine the Rock-n-Roll the Lakes ride. Stay up to date with ALAC by following them on Facebook.

Then when you need a break from biking around the lakes, there are plenty of fun options to keep your visit to Albert Lea memorable. With locally owned shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants, and area history to add to your bike adventure there is somthing for everybody. Check out more here.

Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns family-fun ride

Are you looking for a family-friendly outing that explores the northwest suburbs, the Brooklyns of the Twin Cities? Enjoy the inaugural Pedal Jam Bike Ride on trails in Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park. In conjunction with the Brooklyn Center Health Fair and Brooklyn Park IgboFest cultural festival, the ride will take place on August 12, 2023.

Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns

About the Pedal Jam/Bike the Brooklyns Ride

The ride sets the stage for the family to enjoy a bike adventure together, traveling 6.5 miles and showcasing businesses, parks, and residential areas of the two cities. The ride starts at Centennial Park, 6301 Shingle Creek Pkwy, in Brooklyn Center, and ends at the Brooklyn Park Community Center, 8500 W Broadway Ave, in Brooklyn Park.

The Pedal Jam begins at 2 p.m. But come early to check in, collect your number, visit the food trucks, and enjoy the Brooklyn Center Health Fair before the ride starts. From 12 Noon up to the start of the Pedal Jam, you can even get your bike tuned up for free. On the route, riders are encouraged to make stops along the way for fun activities and treats. Then, a the end, at Brooklyn Park Plaza, celebrate with chalk art, popsicles, music, giveaways, and the grand prize drawing for a new e-bike!

After the ride, also visit Igbofest down the street at North Hennepin Community College, enjoying ethnic food, music, and performances until 6 p.m. Prize announcements at the Pedal Jam will be at 4 p.m., and you must be present to win.

Pre-register here

Ride registration is $10 for Adults, 18 and under, is $5 (Youth under 12 must ride with an adult). Click here the Register.

The ride starts at 2 p.m., and cyclists are invited to register on-site, starting at 12 Noon if they haven’t pre-registered and have time to collect their rider number.

Minneapolis Northwest Tourism, the tourism marketing affiliate of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, is the host sponsor. They would like to thank the Brooklyn Park Library, the city staff of both Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, and the police and fire departments.

A list of bike companies in the Eco Experience Building at the MN State Fair

Thanks for exploring all the electric assist bikes (e-bikes) in the Eco Experience Building at the Minnesota State Fair. From past events, check out the top 10 questions asked when considering an e-bike. With the latest options in e-transportation available today, thanks to Affinity Plus and HaveFunBiking. Below, find links to two E-bike you can win. Plus, a list of bike shops with their favorite electric assist bicycle they are exhibiting. Also, find their contact information you may want to bookmark and have available when you need an E-bike.

Along with questions on the new Minnesota Electric-Assisted Bicycle Rebate Program, here are the answers to the top ten (10) questions asked:  

Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike

With the popularity of e-bikes, many are asking what is the best bike to buy.

1. What does an e-bike cost? Find out here

2. What are the payment options? Find out here

3. Does an e-bike come with a warranty, and how do I insure it? Find out here

4. What are the different types and speeds of an e-bike? Find out here

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

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

7. How do I maintain an e-bike? What if it needs to be repaired? Find out here

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

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

10. What else should I do before purchasing an e-bike? Find out here

Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences; please e-mail editor at!

Two chances to win an E-bike

Affinity Plus “Win This E-bike”register here

Win this Pedego City Commuter E-Bike from Affinity Plus

HaveFunBiking “Win This E-bike”register here

Win this Magnum Navigator X E-bike from HFB

Contacts for fun and safe bicycling in Minnesota

Affinity Plustheir website

Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) – their website

Bicycling News (e-bikes are outpacing e-car sales) their website

Car Free MSPtheir website

Cargo Bike Shoptheir website

Erik’s Bike Shoptheir website

GoCycletheir website

HaveFunBiking.comtheir website

HFB “10 tips on buying an e-bike”weblink

MnDOT Bike Safetytheir website

MnDOT Digital Maptheir website

MnDNR Park& Trailstheir website

Move Minneapolistheir website

Move Minnesota their website

Pedego Stillwatertheir website

Pedego Twin Citiestheir website

Perennial Cycletheir website

QBPtheir website

Surly their website

Velosurancetheir website

Watt Cycle Workstheir website

Dance on your pedals in Richfield with the Joyful Riders

The Joyful Riders Club is coming to Richfield on the evening of August 9th! Come out for this dance-paced community bike ride around beautiful Richfield, MN. While meeting new friends, the ride will feature live music with DJ Dev. as you explore this bike-friendly city. With a fun-filled evening of bike-focused highlights, upon your return, enjoy refreshments and more music at the award-winning inclusive playground!

Join the Joyful Riders Club dance-paced community bike ride in Richfield

Join the Joyful Riders

Join other cyclists at the Richfield Pool/Richfield Ice Arena parking lot (636 East 66th Street) on August 9. The ride will roll out after a few announcements at 6:30 p.m. and return by 8:15 p.m. The route is an estimated 5 miles and will take place primarily on protected trails and bike lanes.

Biking, Music, and Dancing

Prepare to pedal, groove, and learn about everything the community is doing to prioritize cycling and bike/ped safety. Don’t forget to bring your lights and smiles to brighten the night!

Families and Friends

The ride will maintain a lively party pace, ensuring everyone can enjoy the fun together. It’s a no-drop ride, so feel free to ride at your own pace, bring the kids and enjoy a beautiful summer night.

Save the date & invite your friends!

Stay tuned for more exciting details on the Joyful Riders Facebook Page!

Ride into the Brainerd Lakes Area and you'll see what people love about northern Minnesota. Ride the open roads or the Paul Bunyan Trail and more.

Discover the pleasure of biking around Brainerd

by Andrew Ellis

The farther you drive north, the more you’ll be surrounded by lakes and never-ending trails. And the Brainerd Lakes Area is no exception. Here, you are in luck when you want to escape the city to taste the come-stay-for-a-while vibe of relaxing by the lakeside in northern Minnesota.

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

It’s a slowed-down pace, and no better way to enjoy the great outdoors than visiting Brainerd, MN. Plus, if you’re looking for a one-tank getaway, it is easy to park your car and get around on your bike. Also, the number of lakes in the area makes finding a place to drop a line in the water easy.

More about the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

With many bike-friendly street routes to get you to and from the area hotels in the Brainerd-Baxter. You will also find the famous Paul Bunyan Trail, which takes you all the way to Bemidji, and easy access to the Mississippi River Trail is also here.

When not touring the lakes area, there are plenty more ways to make everlasting memories. You can walk around Paul Bunyan Land, head to Pirate’s Cove for some mini-golf, or take a tour of the area on a zip line at Mount Ski Gull.

The area also caters to those wanting to cool down with an indoor activity or have a more relaxing evening. You can enjoy a great meal and a view of North Long Lake or Gull Lake simultaneously with one of their lakeside restaurants. If you want more local culture, plenty of art exhibits, plays, and more are shown in the area. And don’t forget the shops, either. There are plenty of unique shops where you can find the perfect souvenir.Win this e-bike at HFB

Biking opportunities in the bike-friendly Brainerd Lakes Area

Get your bike and get ready to pedal. Brainerd has plenty for you to do. You can take on some mountain bike trails, start the journey up Paul Bunyan Trail, and use road loops to explore the area on your own.

Paul Bunyan Trail

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is a fun trail for the family

The Paul Bunyan trail in the Brainard Lakes Area is fun for the family.

Starting in Brainerd and winding around some of its lakes is the Paul Bunyan Trail. You’ll get a grand tour of the northern country life of Minnesota. There are three sections to the trail, or you can take the entire 120 miles to Bemidji, where you can see the famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Ox.

Cuyuna Lakes State Trail and mountain bike park

Just east of town, you’ll come upon the natural beauty of the Cuyuna Lakes area. There, you have a couple of options. There’s a 20-mile trail that takes you northeast to the Croft Mine Trailhead. This trail will take you through Minnesota’s north countryside, full of lakes prime for fishing and swimming and beautiful forests full of trees. It’s a freeing experience you won’t soon forget. You can also take on the mountain bike trail system. Each trail varies in difficulty depending on how much of a challenge you want. Obstacles include rocks, wooden paths, and more. You’ll want to come back.

Road biking opportunities galore!

There are plenty of trails and loops to help you make your way around Brainerd and the surrounding area. You can take West Baxter or Sylvan, which take you both deeper into the heart of Brainerd and to its perimeter, which also takes you by a couple of lakes. Then there’s Merrifield and Gull Dam Trail that take you north of town and around several of the area’s lakes. The South Long Lake Trail takes you southeast and gives you a little view of South Long Lake. Starting just southeast of the town, you can take Camp Jim Trail, which travels north and loops around the town. Plus, there is plenty of fun for those who won’t ride an MRT section (Mississippi River Trail).

Hiking and nature opportunities

For those who want to hit the dirt trail and enjoy nature on foot, consider Crow Wing State Park. And nature lovers will find Pillsbury State Forest very inviting.

See more about the Brainerd Lakes Area here for your next bike/hike adventure.

Bike Minnesota’s Salt Lake Birding Festival

With temperature predicted to return into the 60’s, you will find the 45th Annual Salt Lake Birding Weekend on April 29th. Located in Western Minnesota, you will find this event is bike-friendly, and the perfect way to explore the bird haunts. Consider packing up the bikes and family for a spring birding weekend in the Prairie Waters Region area for some fun activities. With many birding haunts on local gravel roads, both fat and gravel-tire bikes work well to quietly approach and view the many species of birds returning to the area.

Bird watchers, looking out at several species of waterfall, on Salt Lake.

Bird watchers, looking out at several species of waterfowl on Salt Lake.

More on the Salt Lake Birding weekend

Volunteers are available to guide birders around Lac qui Parle and southern Big Stone counties over the weekend. Perfect bird viewing spots are around Salt Lake, in Big Stone Refuge, and many other lakes, wetlands, and native prairie areas. The event is free and open to all interested people – plus, no pre-registration is needed.

Each year birders will see many species of waterfowl, including Common Goldeneye and American Black Ducks. Also been spotted in past years. were Snowy and Cattle Egrets and White-faced Ibis. A number of birders located Bald Eagles and Great-horned Owls on nests in the area. Plus, birds normally found later in the year, including Black Tern, Least Flycatcher, and Black and White Warbler. The most unusual find was a Say’s Phoebe, the first time it’s been found by Salt Lake Birders here in Minnesota. Last year, over 90 birders found 143 different species of birds over the weekend. Check out this photo gallery of some of the birds you may see.

A number of species of waterfowl out in front of the viewing. deck, feeding.

A number of species of waterfowl are out in front of the viewing platform, feeding.

It all happens on  Saturday, April 29, with breakfast, at 7 a.m. at the Marietta American Legion. Located one block west of the intersection of County Road 7 and State Highway 40 (11 miles west of Madison).

See the  Prairie Waters Destination Page

Win this E-bike at

When you sign up for our email updates at, you are also entered for a chance to win this E-bike, the all-new Magnum Navigator X. Fill out the form below to enter. Good luck!

Along with a chance to win this E-bike and a complimentary e-subscription to our blog featuring bike-friendly maps and tips on new bike destinations at When planning your next adventure, we will also inform you about what’s new for bicycle-related products and gadgets.

Good luck, and share this contest for the Navigator E-bike, with your friends!

About Magnum E-bikes

The Magnum Navigator X is a beautifully designed electric bike perfect for urban riding or commuting. Step-thru frame for easy mounting and dismounting. Powerful 500W 48V power system with a fully integrated battery.

Everyone’s favorite bike media company is giving away a set of wheels

Managed by Constant Contact, the HaveFunBiking (HFB) e-database is a news media source sharing outdoor activities, mainly centered around Minnesota destinations. Since the beginning of 2003, HFB promises that our email list will never be sold or shared, and you can always opt out at any time. Plus all individuals signing up for this prize drawing for the e-bike can expect no sales appointments or calls.

The fine print

Deadline to enter: 11:59:59 PM PT, September 17, 2023
Sweepstakes drawing date: September 18, 2023
Selection Process: Grand Prize winner is selected using a computer-generated selection method to ensure that each drawing is conducted entirely at random. We will notify the winner via email and phone. The selected winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is randomly selected.
Number of winners: 1
Eligibility: You must be 18 years old or older to win.
Approximate Retail Value: $2,199 USD

Ride the early spring gravel race in the driftless area

The Driftless 100 Ride Gravel Race  (previously the Volga City 105) is a hilly road race through Clayton County; yes, this race is in Iowa. A short distance from the Minnesota border, you will find beautiful landscapes in one of Iowa’s best-kept secret places. If your bike knows-no-borders, and ready to get some training miles in. this gravel race is on Saturday, April 29th. Here, you will find over 10,000 feet of climbing on the 100-mile race course. 

A scenic course through history.

The race is designed to showcase the Driftless region of the state and push even the savviest gravel rider to new heights. Over 90% of the race is on limestone gravel, with about 5% on pavement and 5% on level b/c roads. 


Gorgeous views as you climb the hills.

It is not designed to be a mud fest, but it is April in Iowa, and it could be sloppy. With a 100, 50, and 25-mile course, the race will test your skills, a perfect event to train for this spring. 

The Driftless Branding Iron awaits your completion.

An added carrot for those who finish the 100-mile course in under 8 hours, you will be awarded a Driftless branding Iron for finishing.  You do have to follow the official course and receive aid only at the aid stations to earn this award.  

Limited to 350 riders, so click here to register before April 15, 2023.

A hot spot to ride gravel throughout the year

If you can’t make it to the Driftless 100 on April 29th and want to experience the area’s scenic gravel roads, here is the Clayton Co. Gravel Touring  Map to plan your next adventure. While there, enjoy a brewery, coffee shop, or winery. Or, check out events and entertainment before grabbing a bite at one of the county’s fine restaurants and cafés.

While here, expand your knowledge of local history at a museum or browse the fine art galleries. You will also find various retail shops and boutiques to make visiting a family affair.

Visit Clayton Co. with so many gorgeous vi; it is perfect for biking, hiking, and much more.