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!

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 many exciting activities at the Mall, venturing out on a bike can an make it easy to see more south metro attractions. With designated bike routes and commuter paths along the area 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 Bloomington, 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 like watching big planes land and takeoff it is fun to take the northern bike 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.

On 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, and 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, and 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, a tour rider can stop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel where the NW Airline Museum is located.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the many 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 see 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 of 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 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 are overlooking the 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 more significant 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 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 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 close to nature, take a hike on one of the 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 environment, you will find sitting areas scattered along the path to pause 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 path you will pass by fields that grow long grass; trees that 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 seeking 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 Entrance on the northside!                                                                                         0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk 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 kids 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 ideal place for a bonding exercise with your child. In the art department classes will help you and your child produce a stop-motion animation video together. Another level allows you to create your own LED sign and there are many more classes to select.

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 quiet 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 (sidewalk 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 (sidewalk 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  annualride@ggta.org

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.

Good times riding in New Brighton

Bike the Long Lake Trail while visiting New Brighton’s Stockyard Days

by Andrew Ellis, HaveFunBiking.com

Riding the Long Lake Trails and taking in Stockyard Days, in New Brighton is a great example of what you will find visiting this area. Located on the north side of the Twin Cities, alongside the 35W Freeway in the Twin Cities Gateway Community, you will find many trails to explore. Along with many bike friendly roads the trail  around Long Lake Regional Park and connects to the Rice Creek Trail Circuit. If you have the kids along and want to take a break from exploring, consider Eagles Next Playground. Another opportunity when in the area the middle of August is Stockyard Days, a long standing New Brighton tradition.

Long Lake Regional Park in New Brighton

From your hotel it’s easy to hop on a trail with your bike to get to the park and its many amenities. Pedaling deeper into the park one of the first things you’ll come across is the New Brighton History Center.  Slightly larger than a one room school house, right outside the building is an old train on the tracks.

The recently refurbished depot was converted into the History Center with many railroad artifacts.

The recently refurbished depot was converted into the History Center with many railroad artifacts.

Move past and you will start seeing more places to stop. The beach, by the main parking lot, is a place to stop, relax and enjoy the cool water. Several play areas for kids are also sprinkled throughout the park. There’s also an all grass ball field, with a backstop, picnic tables, and more.

You’ll also notice that the area is full of paths for both riding and walking to take you anywhere in the park. There are even smaller natural surface walking paths that allow you to get a little close to the water. The paved paths are especially fun for bikers with steep climbs that result in exhilarating descend. It’ll quench that need for speed.

Long Lake Regional Park Map in New Brighton

Long Lake Regional Park Map in New Brighton offers many trails.

The trail left of the beach ends up near a parking lot with a very popular fishing pier. If you travel to the right of beach you have more options for exploring. There will be an area where you’ll see a bridge. If you go to the left of the bridge you’ll end up following train tracks along a paved path that’s part of the Rice Creek West Regional Trail.

If you decide to cross the bridge you’ll begin the lengthy journey on the Rice Creek North Regional Trail which takes you by trees, wetlands, and more. Also, pay close attention, because at some point you’ll have to turn onto a residential sidewalk and after that the trail isn’t very well marked. There’s also road construction that may be obstructing the next trail section. There’s also a gas station and McDonald’s close by if you need a break.

Eagles Nest Indoor Playground

A fun place for the whole family when not biking the trails.

A fun place for the whole family when not biking the trails.

Across the highway is the New Brighton Community Center which houses the massive Eagles Nest Playground. There are plenty of places to sit as your kids crawl in side the tunnels, use the slides or play in the ball pit. There are also a few vending machines for snacks and refreshments. It’s a great way to cool off and relax.

New Brighton’s Stockyard Days

If you’re visiting the area from August 5th to the 13th, come enjoy the city’s annual Stockyard Days celebration. The festivities include a golf tournament, Medallion Hunt, movie night, softball tournament, live music, Grande Parade, and more. Long Lake Park will also feature three days of food and crafts. You’ll also catch the finish of the 120-mile Antique Car Run. These cars were built in 1908 or earlier.

tockyard Days celebrates the communities past when stockyards, railroads, fashionable hotels and meatpacking plants flourished here. Days is full of fun

Stockyard Days celebrates the communities past when stockyards, railroads, fashionable hotels and meatpacking plants flourished here. Days is full of fun

The festival began in 1981 as a way to recall the early days of New Brighton as a center for the cattle industry including the stockyards, railroads, fashionable hotels and meatpacking plants.

Stockyard Days bike sprints will give you a taste of NASCAR Racing on two wheels.

Stockyard Days bike sprints will give you a taste of NASCAR Racing on two wheels.

Welcome New Brighton the beginning of your #NextBikeAdventure.

Is your calendar is still open for riding this weekend? There is still time to experience riding your bike across the tallest bridge in Minnesota. This Saturday, August 4th, consider the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour.

Still time, ride across MN’s tallest bridge on the Mesabi Trail this weekend

Is your calendar open for a bike adventure this weekend? There is still time to experience riding your bike across the tallest bridge in Minnesota. This Saturday, August 4th, consider the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour. They offer four memorable route options to choose from, all crossing this new bridge with breath taking scenery.

Still time to ride across Minnesota’s tallest bridge

The 2018 Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour has a route for riders of any level and every year the tour routes change to highlight over 20 wonderful communities along the trail. This year all four routes will lead to a slam bang finish at Mesabi Station in Eveleth.

Trail Route Options:

  • Just eight miles from Grand Rapids, take the 71 mile route from Bovey and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the picture Grace.
  • 52 miles from the finish join the tour in Nashwauk, and enjoy the first of 5 rest stops with snacks and entertainment.
  • Buhl is the 3rd start location, with 25 miles to go to finish line outdoor concert and BBQ lunch. Don’t miss out on some of the Finest Water in America, in Buhl.
  • The shortest route, great for all the kids in the family, is just 11 miles from Virginia.  And just a couple of miles away from the tallest bridge in Minnesota!

Spectacular views await you on the states tallest bridge

The Mesabi Trail now crosses over Minnesota's tallest bridge.

The Mesabi Bike Trail now crosses over Minnesota’s tallest bridge.

The new Highway 53 bridge and bike trail on the Mesabi Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota is worth checking out. After two years of construction you can now ride your bicycle, walk or even snowmobile across the tallest multi modal bridge in Minnesota. Now complete, this year the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour will include this section of the 135 mile trail system on their route.

The scenery is stunning crossing the bridge and exploring the trail towns along the way!

The views are stunning as you cross over the Rouchleau Mine Pit on the new bridge. The contrast between the aqua blue water and the red cliffs below are breathtaking. Something you will want to see along with the unique points of interest each trail town offers along the way.

Still time to register, sign up today!