Category Archives: Destinations

If you have three days or more free and looking for a true north biking experience in Minnesota, consider Roseau.

A true north biking experience with family and friends in Roseau

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you have three days or more free and are looking for a true north biking experience in Minnesota, consider Roseau. A few miles from the Canadian border on a recent visit I found this area full of fun offering many off road bicycling opportunities.

An outdoor bicycle paradise

Perfect for the whole family, the city of Roseau offers a paved bike trail, along with a number of quite street routes. Making it easily get around, to and from your hotel, by bike.

The quite city streets makes it easy and safe to connect to the trail to go downtown.

The quite city streets makes it easy and safe to connect to the trail, to go downtown.

On the eastern edge of the city I found Mount Roseau. With no forest vegetation, it made it easy to see the countryside as I rode up and down the trails of this mountain bike park. At the top the view was worth stopping for. But, what was really exciting was learning about the areas remote logging roads and trails in Beltrami Island State Forest. For the gravel, fat and mountain bike riders, this is a haven if you are craving a true north experience.

Roseau a true north biking experience

Minnesota’s North Star City, the community is located in an environmental transition area of the state where the forest gives way to the prairies of the Red River Valley. Roseau is only 13-mile south of the Canadian Border and 27-mile to Lake of the Woods, by auto it is a six hour drive from the Twin Cities. In this friendly Scandinavian community, visitors will find many recreational opportunities in the towns parks and nearby state forests parks.

As a result of this unique location, wildlife enthusiasts traveling by auto, bike or foot can appreciate the outdoor paradise this area offers. Nearly forty percent of Roseau County is open, accessible through state and county parks, forests and wildlife areas. Surrounding Roseau there are tamarack bogs to the north, prairie grasslands to the west and sandy pine forests to the east. All areas provide ample opportunity for a gravel road ride or wilderness fat and mountain biking adventure. Along the way take in several wildlife viewing stations, pick berries or go for a hike and explore. Plus, Roseau is a prime stop on Minnesota’s premier bird watching list, on the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail.

Parks to explore in the area

Four of the most visited Roseau outdoor recreation areas are the Roseau City Park, Sprague Creek Natural Area, Hayes Lake State Park and Beltrami State Forest.

Roseau City Park

The mountain Bike trail on Mount Roseau.

The mountain bike trail on Mount Roseau.

The  City Park here is located on 40 wooded acres in southeast section of the city, along the Roseau River. The park provides a variety of activities including mountain biking and a paved trail. Here you will find Mount Roseau mountain bike trail system offering over 6.5 miles of fun twists and turns for all skill levels. The park also offers: various playground equipment, sand volleyball, a fishing pier and Frisbee golf activities.

Click here to see our bike map of Roseau.

Sprague Creek Natural Area

Easy to ride to, the Peatland Scientific and Natural Area, is just north of Roseau. Once you arrive this area offers hiking trails that features many bird viewing opportunities.

Hayes Lake State Park

Accessible by bike, Hayes Lake State Park is located 18 miles southeast of Roseau, on County Road 4. Located on the edge of Beltrami Island State Forest, this quiet true north park consists of 3,000 acres of pines, Hayes Lake and wildlife. The park also features a day use area with fishing pier, swimming beach and campsites. The lake is a non-motorized recreational area where canoeing is a popular activity. Hayes Lake also offers the opportunity to view rare birds such as bald eagles, great grey owls, Sandhill cranes and a variety of warblers. Wildlife found in the area includes elk, moose, bear and wolves.

Beltrami State Forest

From this forest road many logging roads and trails intersect and are ready yo explore.

From this forest road many primitive logging roads and trails intersect and are ready to explore by bike.

Further east from the State Park and as I mentioned earlier, what really excites me about this area for a true north biking experience in Beltrami Island State Forest. The second largest of Minnesota’s 59 state forests, there are five rivers that have their headwaters here. Also containing scientific and natural areas riding the forest here is unique.

A family enjoying a true north bike experience in the forest.

A family enjoying a true north bike experience in the forest.

In this huge forest there are more than 138 miles of logging roads and trail to explore on your bike.  Make sure you have a compass or GPS device along when exploring the trails. Pedaling around low flatland’s, peat bogs and ridges covered in pines it’s easy to get lost. Pedaling along the forest roads you will pass through the heart of blueberry country. You might find evidence of a former homestead foundation or village also.

When not biking

From wheels to snow track the the Thrill Team helped to promote snowmobiling with this stunt track.

From wheels to snow track the the Thrill Team helped to promote snowmobiling with this stunt track.

Being the birthplace of snowmobiling and Polaris Industries, in between daily outings take in a assembly plant tour and visit the museum in Roseau. At the Experience Center see artifacts from the earliest snowmobiles to Polaris’s movement into All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s). History buffs will enjoy the Roseau Pioneer Farm and Village, as well as the Roseau County Museum.

Another Roseau summer tradition is the 100-year old Roseau County Fair. Held in the middle of July, this annual event can add to your biking adventure if you visit at that time. Other activities around town include the community pool, paddling the Roseau River, the local theatre, a bowling alley and arcade. Plus, downtown you will find many antique shops to browse through and reminisce about the past.

Places to stay for a true north biking experience

On my last visit, while exploring this true north play land I headquartered at the AmericInn.  Roseau also offers a couple more hotels to fit your needs. Camping (RV and tent sites-with water and electric) in the city park is also an option.

Roseau has something for every interest. Check your calendar and plan your next true north biking experience today.

Cyclists biking from the Mall of America to one of the many attractions you can ride to in Bloomington.

The Vikings Camp and Bloomington attractions are easy to bike to

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Biking to the new Vikings Training Camp, from the Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington, MN can add to the fun when taking in a scrimmage game. With the recent announcement of the training camp’s schedule, the maps in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide can help make it easy get to a game. Less of a hassle factor – starting at the MOA is the perfect place to meet friends staying at area hotels and bicycling together to a game.

A cyclist riding his fat bike across the 494 bike/pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River.

A cyclist riding his fat bike across the 494 bike/pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River toward Eagan.

Going to an area attraction like the Vikings Training Camp, the Mall is an excellent multi modal gathering point to get there. Biking from the north parking lot at the MOA it is less than seven miles to the new Vikings facility. Along the way make time stop by the Northwest Airlines Museum or Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find area attractions by bike

Getting to the attractions on a bicycle can be fun and add to the memories. To plan your next visit to one of Bloomington’s Attractions look at the maps on pages 40-41 and 52-53 of the 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. For a trip to the Vikings camp copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet below for your next bike adventure.

From the MOA Entrance on the north side!                                                                                         0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot.
0.2 Right on East American Blvd (side walk trail or street).
1.1 Cross 34th Ave. NW Airlines Museum/Crown Plaza Hotel (SE corner).
1.3 Entrance to the MN Valley Wildlife Center.
1.6 Onto bike trails over Minnesota River.
3.9 Right on trail along Pilot Knob Rd.
4.1 Left onto Corporate Center Ln.
4.4 Left onto Trapp Rd.
4.9 Left on Egandale.
5.1 Right on Hwy 55 10 foot shoulder.
5.4 Left on Blue Gentian Rd.
6.2 Cross Dodd Rd/149 onto Vikings Pkwy.
6.3 Left at Round-a-bout onto Lone Oak Pkwy.
6.4 Right on O’Nell Dr.
6.8 North entrance to Vikings Training Camp (Valet gate) and bike racks are available at main entrance inside to secure your bike. 

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

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

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

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

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

From the north parking lot, at the Mall of America, the sidewalk/trail running parallel with American Boulevard make the best 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 for changing cloths inside.

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

Now riding east from the Mall, cross the 34th Avenue at the light rail station. Here at the southeast corner of this intersection you will see the Crown Plaza Hotel where the Northwest Airline Museum is located.

Northwest Airlines History Center Museum

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

The Northwest Airlines History Center Museum, a mile east of the Mall of America is worth checking out if you are interested in aviation history. Here you will find a treasure trove of Minnesota’s home-town airline history on display. Visiting, you will find over 4,000 aviation artifacts, from 1926 to 1998, to sift through. Plus, a gallery of museum photos hanging in the hotels hallways to enjoy as you make your way to the exhibit. It is easy to spend a couple hours or more looking at the various collections here.

A short distance east of the NW Airline Museum, is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center

Another Bloomington attraction is the National Wildlife Refuge

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

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

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

Step outside, right behind the center you will find a stone observation deck with two telescopes. Here it’s easy to focus on the flora and fauna across the river valley. It adds to the center’s castle-like vibe and enjoyment.

Back on the route, cross the Minnesota river to watch a viking scrimmage game.

Taking in a game at the new Vikings training camp

The new Vikings Training Camp in Eagan, MN, less than 7-miles from the MOA

The new Vikings Training Camp in Eagan, MN, less than 7-miles from the MOA

The team’s new headquarters, Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center will open next month for scrimmages, July 25th through August 16th.  Each day of practice games at the new facility the gate will open to 5,000 fans, via free tickets. Daily, 1,300 of those tickets will be held for the general public. Season ticket holders will have first option to the remainder.

There will be no access for fans without a mobile ticket. These digital tickets are free and available at vikings.com. There is a $10 fee for parking your auto if you you decide to drive. For more information see the article: 12 things you should know attending the training camp

If you have any questions about using the Vikings Mobile Ticketing App, contact the Vikings Ticket Office at (612) 338-4537.

More Bloomington attractions and sights to see by bike

Other travel treasure opportunities to consider riding your bike to and from the Mall of America include: Stopping at the observation area at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport; taking the trail to Lake Nakomis, then Minnehaha Falls and back through Fort Snelling State Park; and a family outing at the Works Museum.

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

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

For more fun when staying or visiting Bloomington check out all the activities, attractions and lodging accommodations here.

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

Southern Minnesota’s newest bike ride ‘Rock-N-Roll the Lakes’

If you like a beat to your pedal stroke, one of the newest bike rides in Minnesota may add to your summer fun. This year, on July 14th, Albert Lea, MN will host Rock-N-Roll the Lakes. 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 opens at 8 and closes 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 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.

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway, north of Minneapolis this summer and near Blaine, here are a couple events you may want to consider jumping on your bike and riding too. The Blaine Festival is family fun!

The Blaine festival and farmers market are two fun events to bike too

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway, north of Minneapolis and looking for fun this summer? Blaine offers several events that includes a festival, this weekend, that you may want to consider jumping on your bike and riding too.

The Blaine Festival is family fun!

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

Fun for the whole family, the 2018 Blaine Festival (June 22 -23) is a community event now celebrating its 49th year. The fun kicks off on Friday at Noon, with a medallion hunt and

Stack the Oreo cookies always gets grins, young and old.

Stack the Oreo cookies always gets grins, young and old.

festivities that runs through Sunday, at 6 p.m. for a weekend of fun.

Pig races and a “Not So” ugly contest are just a few of the fun events

Events throughout the three-days includes: carnival rides, crafter/business fair, civic tent, petting zoo, magician, recreational activities, food and live bands. Along with the traditional parade scheduled at Noon on Saturday event other highlights include: pig races, a pedal tractor pull, an Oreo stacking contest and the “Not So” Ugly do contest!

Join the fun, the festival is located in Blaine at Aquatore Park (northwest of Highway 65 & 10). With free admission and parking there is a wide variety of entertainment with something for everyone.

The Blaine Farmers Market

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

One of the many joys of summer is to savor the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. However, not all of us have the time and space to raise our favorite produce. That’s where farmers’ markets come into play and the Twin Cities Gateway (TCG)has you covered. Along with the Blaine Market, TCG offers six other farmers’ markets, on different days and locations to choose from.  A great place to pick up the couple things you want for a healthy snack on that next bike outing.

In Blaine, each Wednesday in the city hall parking lot stop in at the farmers’ market, throughout the summer.

Visit the Blaine Market, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday’s at: 10801 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449

Don’t forget two-wheel racing in Blaine

Every Thursday and some weekend offers you the option to participate or watch racing at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine  – see more here!

Need lodging for your visit to Blaine?

You can find a complete listing of lodging opportunities in Blaine and neighboring communities Twin Cities Gateway communities here.

Have Fun!

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail, north of Minneapolis, takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley. With the annual '49er Days, live theatre and a stunning gallery everyone will be inspired biking or hiking in Fridley.

The art of biking and festivals in friendly Fridley Minnesota

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), north of Minneapolis, takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley, with the annual ’49er Days,  June 14 -16. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway the city offers a one of a kind experience for art and bike lovers alike. From live theatre, a stunning gallery and a festival with many craft artist, everyone visiting will feel inspired after taking a look at the creative scene in bike-friendly Fridley.

Craft art is one of the highlights at the ’49er Days Festival

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fridley Lions Club, ’49er Festival starts with a parade on Thursday, June 14.
Then throughout the weekend the festival hosts many fun activities. In a family-friendly community tradition celebrating the year Fridley was incorporated as a city!

Banfill-Locke Center for Art

ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL GARDEN AS YOU ENTER THE BANFILL-LOCKE CENTER FOR THE ART IN FRIDLEY.

ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL GARDEN AS YOU ENTER THE BANFILL-LOCKE CENTER FOR THE ART IN FRIDLEY.

Just off of the MRT the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts makes a great rest stop on your bike ride. Stop in to cool off and admire the works in the gallery. Maybe pick up a gift for another art lover in their gift shop. If seeing all the collections that inspires you, consider making the trip to Banfill-Locke regularly and sign up for a class. You can find a class that would best fit your schedule, from a single lesson to an eight week workshop. The Banfill-Locke Center offers classes in literary, visual, and self-discovery arts. The center also allows brings in local poets for poetry enthusiasts to appreciate.

On Thursday, June 21 from 5 – 8 p.m. the Banfill-Locke Center celebrates the impact the arts have on the Fridley community during our Summer Solstice Soiree.

Fridley Community Theatre

Along with wonderful art, Fridley also has a renowned community theatre. With three productions a year, the community theatre works hard to bring wonderful live theatrical performances to its audiences. For this year’s summer production “Sister Act” is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that had audiences jumping to their feet!

There is still time to get your ticket, the show opens in July with performances on July 20, 21, 26 at 7 p.m. and a matinee performance, July 28 at 2 p.m.

Also playing is the Fridley Community Youth Theatre Production the Lion King, June 29 through July 1, check it out!

Natural art can be found at the Springbrooke Nature Center

After walking through Springbrooke's Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

After walking through Springbrooke’s Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

There are two parts to Springbrooke. The inside contains information about the center and interactive section in the back. You can learn about the different kinds of trees, see live snakes, frogs, turtles, wild turkey, and more. It’s a great place to prepare for a hike on the Nature Trail.

Once you get outside there are a couple access points to the trail – and this is where the real adventure begins. Everywhere you go you will be surrounded by nature. You’ve got trees of different kinds everywhere, small and large bridges that will take you across all kinds of creeks and wetlands. There’s even a large walkway that takes you across a semi-large pond were you’ll have the best chance to catch some bird sighting.

So bike on over to Fridley to get your fill of all things art.

As a family, a group of friends or on your own bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area are endless.

Family fun spring bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area

As a family, a group of friends or on your own discover the endless bike-bird opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area.  Head west out of the Twin Cities and before you know it you will be greeted to small town charm and a sprawling countryside full of birding opportunities. To the naked eye it may seem like just another rural prairie community, but head out on a bike with your binoculars and the area presents its many birding haunts. Here along this major migrating flyway you are sure to spot many species from the Minnesota Prairie Bird List, that nest in the area.

Now, as warmer weather soon approaches the trees and marshes along the trails and roads here become a special place to visit. Allowing birders and cyclists plenty of great outdoor space, in Kandiyohi County, for biking and birding.

A perfect spring bike-bird location in western Minnesota

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 anytime of the year.

Species to check off your list when bike-bird opportunities arise in the Willmar Area

Besides the Red Crossbill that has been sighted around the MinnWest Technology Campus, in Willmar, many parks here along the trail are also worth checking out. Some of the great birding haunts in the area include ; Sibley State Park, Mason Lake State Park, the Prairiewood Environmental Learning Center and a couple of Big Kandiyohi Lake County Parks, easily accessible from the Glacial Lake State Trail. When visiting here are some of the other birds you may see to check off your list: the Short-eared Owl; Townsend’s Solitaire; Long-eared Owl; Black-throated Green Warbler; Connecticut Warbler; Snowy Egret; Common Gallinule; Blue Grosbeak; Eastern Screech-Owl; White-winged Crossbill and a Long-tailed Duck.

Getting around on your bike in Willmar is more then encouraging. Awarded the Bike Friendly Bronze status by the League of American Cyclist, the community has redesigned its streets and inner city trails to make it easy to pedal around and explore the areas attractions and parks.

Getting around Willmar with your bike and binaculars

While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Sibley State Park is one of the most popular area, so make sure you bring your binoculars and camera. Around the park you will have a chance to see many of the 206 different species of birds that nest or migrated through the area. And with the Glacial Trail its easy to get out to the park, by bike, from your hotel room in the Willmar Lakes Area.

About the 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. Ths multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wild flowers 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!

Sibley State Park and Mount Tom

Once you get there, hike up Mount Tom. Its worth the walk and will give you a bird-eye view, of a 50-mile radius at the summit, of the areas patchwork of forest, farmland, prairie knolls and lakes. Along with prime birding activities here with an interpretive programs is also open year-around.

In the park you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that links Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center. With a slight elevation change another favorite haunt is the Pond View Trail loop offering more birding opportunities.

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 makes it easy for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. With several parks offering recreational activities and trails, those who visit with their bike will find many haunts to pedal to, 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

Road bike-bird opportunities

There are also plenty of bike friendly Kandiyohi County roads to help you navigate the area to reach other marshy areas popular with several bird species here.

More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area

Willmar also has the Yellow Bike program that places bikes at different spots throughout town. Community members and visitors can use these bikes free of charge during the day.

When your are not riding, the area also offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax. Along with several museums covering different parts of Minnesota’s history, Then, after your ride enjoy a refreshing beverage as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.

Fond spring time memories were enjoyed by this unicyclist at one of the past Minnesota Ironman Bike rides. We look forward to seeing him, his unicycling friends and you at one of this years rides.

Bike Pic Feb 20, fond spring time memories stirs plans for 2018

Fond spring time memories were enjoyed by this unicyclist at one of the past Minnesota Ironman Bike rides. We look forward to seeing him, his unicycling friends and you at one of this years many rides.

View the new  National Bike Guide and all the fun rides coming up in 2018.

Thanks for viewing today’s ‘spring time memories’ Pic of the Day

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year!

Bicycles and cars

Bike around Saint Cloud and discover all the parks and trails

by Andrew Ellis

The sun is warming the morning air as you ride along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) through Saint Cloud, MN. Now in Granite Country, you are looking for a change in scenery as you pass a group of buildings, then realize its St. Cloud State University (SCSU). Across the Mississippi River and easy to reach crossing the bridge with your bike is the popular Munsinger/Clemens Gardens. This area, as the river bends to the southeast, is prime and ready to give you and your friends or family many biking opportunities when visiting here.

The Lake Wobegon Trail is a family friendly paved path system offering everyone a fun time.

The Lake Wobegon Trail is a family friendly paved path system offering everyone a fun time.

Saint Cloud is labeled a city, but don’t let that scare you away. The area’s spacious layout provides plenty of room to escape from all the noise of everyday life that can bombard many with stress. The area offers many parks, family friendly trails and other attractions to give you memories that will last a lifetime.

More about bike-friendly Saint Cloud

Now with the Lake Wobegon Trail running through Saint Cloud and stretching 63 miles to Sauk Center, you can visit three colleges along the way. Besides SCSU, the Granite County Area is also home to Rasmussen College, the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. Their presence in the area and the communities they create, along the trail system, helps add to the area’s welcoming atmosphere and unique points of interest for cyclists visiting throughout the year.

The Munsinger Gardens is unique botanical experience along the MRT where you can stroll the winding paths and brick pathways as you experience this Saint Cloud treasure.

The Munsinger Gardens is unique botanical experience along the MRT where you can stroll the paths experiencing its treasure.

The Saint Cloud Area is also a bike-friendly community, awarded by the League of American Cyclists. This gives you the assurance there are plenty of places for you to comfortably roam around using designated bike lanes and trails. And while there are plenty of fun things to do on west side of the river. Don’t forget to cross the river and explore the jaw-dropping and joy-spreading Munsinger and Clemens Garden’s.

Biking trail opportunities in and around Saint Cloud

Granite Country has many opportunities for you to put your tires to the pavement, or whichever surface you prefer to ride on. There are many trails tucked into the area’s various parks, several chances to put your mountain biking skills to the test, trails that take you beyond the city limits, and more. No matter what kind of adventure you’re looking for, Granite Country has you covered. For more information see At-A-Glance St. Cloud and our HaveFunBiking map of the area.

Long Rides

Riding the Mississippi River Trail through the neighborhoods as the route rolls into Saint Cloud.

Riding the Mississippi River Trail through the neighborhoods as the route rolls into Saint Cloud.

If you go west out of St. Cloud you can take the Lake Wobegan Trail and stop along at one of the many trailheads along the way. You can also travel along the famous Mississippi River Trail as you explore St. Cloud and everything you meet along the river’s edge. There even points to cross the river and see what the other side has to offer. For more bicycle touring loop options see Central Minnesota Bicycle Club’s many mapped bike routes.

Quarry Park and Nature Reserve

The largest park in the Stearns County Parks System is bound to have a plethora of biking opportunities. The trails will give you a great overview of the reserve has to offer and they all connect in some way so it’s easy to switch when you want to. There is also some section for mountain bikers to pedal over granite bedrock that is a billion years old.

Pineview Park BMX

Freestyle cycling fun at Pineview BMX

Freestyle cycling fun at Pineview BMX

Saint Cloud also has its own BMX park. You can hit the tracks, watch races on the weekends, and work on your skills if you are there during the week.

Mountain Biking

Riding out on the Jail Trail is one of several mountain biking options in Granite Country.

Riding out on the Jail Trail is one of several mountain biking options in Granite Country.

In addition to the Quarry Park and Reserve, the area has a few more mountain biking opportunities for you. The Jail Trail is an intermediate level mountain bike loop system located east of Saint Cloud. The main loop has some easy elevation challenges, but overall stays pretty flat. There are also additional side loops that add some technical difficulty. Then there’s the heavily wooded Plum Creek Trail, which is an exhilarating five mile-plus ride on a very narrow single-track filled with its share of hills.

Other Off-Road Opportunities

If you don’t want to battle mountain bike trails, but still want to go an adventure you’re in luck. You can hop on the Oxcart Trail that starts at Southside Park and travels north through Lions Park, Municipal Park, and Island View Park. Then there’s the Mayhew Creek Park Trail, Sauk Rapids’ newest trail, which consists of two loops and gives you just over one mile of riding. Also, the secluded crush aggregate Rotary Trail takes you through a wooded wetland complex that goes north of Bob Cross Park to the Bob Cross Nature Preserve. There are boardwalks and observation decks along the way.

Other opportunities when not biking in Saint Cloud

There are plenty of other ways to navigate your way around Granite Country on you bike. Some of the routes lead to downtown St. Cloud where you can explore its many shops and restaurants. See more at Visit Granite Country.

 

Each September, over three consecutive Saturday's, the nine towns host the Taste of the Trail here in the Root River valley, in Bluff Country.

Bike Pic Sept 8, savor the Taste of the Trail along the Root River

If you have been to Southeast Minnesota you have probably visited or heard of the Root River trail system. It’s in Bluff County and each September, over three consecutive Saturday’s the nine towns there host the “Taste of the Trail.” If you haven’t experienced the Root River take in one or all three of the free weekend events September 9, 16 or the 23rd. Visiting now will allow you plenty of delicious foods samplings giving you a taste of what is available here throughout the year.

In Preston this cyclists enjoys a sample of the Branding Iron's barbecue ribs.

In Preston this cyclists enjoys a sample of the Branding Iron’s barbecue ribs.

Three Root River Taste of the Trail opportunities

Bring your bike and choose a weekend or come back for all three. Working together each town will showcase their favorite foods, beverages and entertainment. This year’s event kicks off in the town’s of Lanesboro, Peterson and Whalan, on Saturday, September 9th.  Here in the center section of the trail system enjoy the complimentary sampling from local growers, producers and restaurants. Plus, live music will be offered throughout the day at each town. (see map).

 

Vegetarian spread samples from a local farm operation in the Root River Valley

Vegetarian spread samples from a local farm operation in the Root River Valley

Lanesboro, presents “Voices of Lanesboro,” a celebration of local music and rich history, theater and more.

The town of Peterson presents “A Celebration of Farm Life. While the Cat in the Fiddle will be playing at the restored Peterson Bandstand. Plus local businesses and service organizations will have plenty of tasty food and goodies available.

In Whalan, the ‘little town that could’ invites visitors to taste test many ethnic foods. With a strong Norwegian influence, it’s only natural to find samples of Lefse, Rommergrot, and Blood Klub. And don’t forget to visit Ernie’s Restored 1917 Gas Station and the museum.

The following Saturday, September 16th,

The towns of Fountain, Harmony and Preston are planning to show you what the west end of the Root River Trail system communities has to offer.

Here cyclist are sampling Rommergrot, a Norwegian delicacy.

Here cyclist are sampling Rommergrot, a Norwegian delicacy.

In Fountain, enjoy Tom Schramm’s Music in the Park while sampling foods and the latest beer from the new brewery in town. Hope you have a couple extra hours to spare and visit the Fillmore County History Center & Museum?

At the far of the “Trail” in Harmony, enjoy the music of the Root River Jam Band. Then savor some of the food and beverage samples provided by the local businesses there.

Enjoy some samples of pie in Harmony

Enjoy some samples of pie in Harmony

“Hooked on Preston” enjoy the area music by Tom Schramm, while munching on some of the tasty samples offered by the local merchants. And don’t forget to visit the National Trout Center. Maybe taking in a fly fishing course?

And there is more fun on September 23rd!

Here the towns of Houston, Rushford and Rushford Village will cap off this year’s “Taste of the Trail.” Working together these communities will show you what the East end of the Root River Trail system has to offer.

These lucky biker chicks found some desert samples at this table on the Root River Trail.

These lucky biker chicks found some desert samples at this table on the Root River Trail.

In Houston, fun continues at the Trailhead Park where you’ll find samples of local food, arts, and activities that you can enjoy and take home. Learn to make your own balloon animals and see the Parade of Owls. Don’t forget to pick up your “passport” with a list of participating businesses offering more samples and a chance to win a major prize!

Arriving in Rushford, make your first stop at the Historic Depot. the community’s trailhead on the Root River State Bike Trail. After sampling some of the garden treats of Rushford Village, pick up a map of the local businesses here offering other samples, like lefse and local cheeses.

All Taste of the Trail activities are sponsored by Root River Trail Towns. Founded in 1988, the organization is a 501(c)3, dedicated to the continued betterment and well-being of the Root River State Trail System and its communities.

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

Head west of the Twin Cities and before you know it you will be greeted to small town charm, sprawling countrysides 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 water fowl migration soon approaching its 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 anytime of the year.

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

While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Sibley State Park is one of the most popular area, so bring the 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 its 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. Ths multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wild flowers 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 Mount Tom. Its 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 programs open year-around, birding is another activity I enjoy here.

In the park you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that links 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 makes it 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

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. Races are on Fridays.

Road biking opportunities

There are also plenty of bike friendly Kandiyohi County roads to help you navigate the area.

More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area

Willmar also has the Yellow Bike program that places bikes at different spots throughout town. Community members and visitors can use these bikes free of charge during the day.

When your are not riding, the area also offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax. Along with several museums covering different parts of the area’s Minnesota history, Then, after your ride 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.