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Join the fun ride with new and old friends on Sunday, October 8th, for the thirteenth annual Mankato River Ramble. Benefiting the great work the Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates (GMBWA) and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) are accomplishing. This year’s ride offers a 16, 30, or 42-mile scenic route option with tasty rest stop options along the way. Find delicious pies and other foods, beverages, live music, and more at each stop. Routes can be easily combined for those who want to add additional mileage and colorful scenery.
The whole family will like the scenery along the Minnesota River Valley.
River Ramble Registration
Save now, pre-registration closes on October 5! If you have not pre-registered, you can come between 8 and 10 a.m. to Land of Memories Park (100 Amos Owen Lane, Mankato, MN 56001) to sign up and begin the ride. See more info here.
Tasty treats, like the pie stop, can make the ride extra delicious.
The Ramble wouldn’t be possible without the help of 140 volunteers, and several spots are still open. Find volunteer sign-up options for the 2023 River Ramble at Bikeriverramble.org/volunteer. Volunteers help with putting up signs, helping with registration, passing out treats at rest stops, and encouraging riders. Volunteers get a free Ramble T-shirt.
The Ramble is a fun place to gather and ride with old and new friends!
The Mankato River Ramble is a fundraiser for the Greater Mankato Bike & Walk Advocates and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. Proceeds after expenses from the event benefit these two organizations. The ride is made possible thanks to the generous support of the River’s Edge Hospital and the Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic, as well as the support of more than 50 other sponsoring organizations.
More delicious food upon your return, and its included in your ride fee.
Nestled along the Minnesota River in Southern Minnesota, Mankato is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore over 50 miles of paved trails by bike, scooter, or by foot, and even more trails to satisfy the need to get off the paved path. If you choose to spend some extra time exploring all that Mankato offers, here is a list of lodging options to consider.
About Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates (GMBWA)
GMBWA encourages individuals and families to walk and bike as part of a healthy lifestyle. Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates work with city, county, and state governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to improve the community’s infrastructure and opportunities for walking and biking. The ride began in 2011; thousands of dollars of profits from the Ramble have gone into signs, outdoor kiosks, mountain bike trail construction, and other improvements in the Mankato area.
About the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN)
BikeMN is working to make Minnesota a state where bicycling is safe, easy, fun, and cool for everyone. The mission of BikeMN is to provide leadership and a unified voice for bicycle education, advocacy, and efforts to make Minnesota more bicycle-friendly so that more people will ride bicycles more often—more at www.bikemn.org.
Head west of the Twin Cities, and before you know it, you will be greeted by small-town charm, and a sprawling countryside full of bike/birding opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area. To the naked eye, it may not seem like much, but the area knows how to show guests a great time.
Now, with fall colors and waterfowl migration soon approaching, it’s a special place to visit. Allowing cyclists plenty of great outdoor memories on the trails and bike-friendly roads that will last a lifetime.
Biking opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area
The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect bike getaway to visit any time of the year.
Getting around on your bike in Willmar is more than encouraging. Awarded the Bike Friendly Bronze status by the League of American Cyclists, the community has redesigned its streets and inner city trails to make it easy to pedal around and explore the area’s attractions and points of interest.
While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Key locations in Kandiyohi County, include Sibley State Park, Robbins Island Regional Park, Bergquist Wildlife Area, and the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.
Sibley State Park is one of the most popular areas, so bring binoculars. While biking the trails around the park, you have a chance to see over 200 different species of birds that nest or migrated here. And with the Glacial Trail, it is easy to get out to the park, by bike, from your hotel room in the Willmar Lakes Area.
Glacial Lakes State Trail
Built on a former Burlington Northern railroad line, the trail is generally level and wheelchair accessible. The trail is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. This multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wildflowers and wildlife along the way.
Bring the binoculars along, for some birds sittings along the trail you may see!
Getting to Sibley State Park from the Glacial Lakes State trailhead? From New London, take the county road west out of town on the paved bike lane, for approximately 4-miles, to the park.
Sibley State Park and Mount Tom
Once you get there riding your bike, hike to the top of Mount Tom. It’s one of my favorite high points in a 50-mile radius to view the patchwork of forest, farmland, prairie knolls, and lakes in the area. Through the summer season, visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on Lake Andrew. With an interpretive program open year-round, birding is another activity I enjoy here.
In the park, you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that link Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center. With a slight elevation change, another favorite is the Pond View Trail loop. It offers another view perspective of the area.
Other parks and trails
Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.
If birding isn’t your thing, Green Lake has its own BMX park. Part of USA BMX, the park includes an outdoor track where riders can practice every Tuesday at their own speed. The races are on Fridays.
Road biking opportunities
There is also plenty of bike-friendly roads in Kandiyohi County. See the county map here to help you navigate the area.
More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area
Willmar also has a Ride Share program where you can find different spots throughout town to rent a bike. Find out here how residents and visitors alike can take advantage of these bikes to access the many recreational destinations throughout the area.
When you are not riding, the trails and roads in Kandiyohi County the area offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax and places to stay. Along with several museums covering different parts of the area’s Minnesota history, After your ride covering the birding haunts, enjoy a refreshing local beer or taste of local wine as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.
All around the country, bike paths are being built, and designated bike lanes are being established. So, riding to school can be an easy and safe option with all the colorful fall weather ahead. Many of these paths are routed from neighborhoods to nearby schools to get more kids energized by riding. To encourage your kids to ride their bikes to school safely. Please look at our helpful tips below, especially if your home is far from a connecting trail or a designated bike lane that leads to school.
Riding to school safely begins with a helmet
First and foremost, a well-fitting helmet reduces the risk of serious injury by half. As a result, helmets are the most critical piece of cycling gear for kids. Sadly, many bicyclists under 14 are not riding with a helmet that fits properly. For example, a well-fitting helmet will be snug on the rider’s head. When fitted correctly, the strap toggles should be about a ½ inch below the ear lobe, with the chin strap tight enough to hold the helmet on your head but not so tight it chokes you. Important to realize is that helmets lose effectiveness over time, so review their production date. Therefore, consult the manufacturers’ recommendations for when to replace your existing helmet.
Why is riding to school good?
There are tons of organizations that encourage children to exercise. Child obesity is a real issue in the US, and any activity goes a long way to help. Studies have shown that activity before school increases attention span, boosts mood, and improves fitness and BMI. And it only took one ride to start to see those results! Based on these results, Specialized Bicycles has invested substantial resources in developing programs for kids with ADHD to substitute exercise for medication with excellent results. Overall, the quick trips riding to school help kids kickstart their metabolism, gain focus, and learn valuable skills.
Bike Maintenance and safely
Be sure that your child is comfortable on their bicycle and that it is sized adequately. Bikes that are too small or too large are difficult for children to control. If you have concerns about the fit, visit your local bike shop to have the bike adjusted. The teach them the ABC’s of a bicycle. So they can verify that the brakes work, tires are inflated, and tight controls. Ensure your child can squeeze the brake levers easily and stop the bike.
Children’s bikes sold must have reflectors on the bars, seat posts, wheels, and pedals. Those reflectors should be considered the most basic level of visibility. Add to that visibility by having your kids wear brightly colored clothes and installing lights and a flag on the bike. However, young children should try to avoid riding at night or twilight.
Teaching basic skills can be fun and easy. Find a flat section of low grass (like a high school football field) and have them practice riding with one hand off the bar. Use the Board Trick to learn how to handle riding over obstacles. For many, the trail to school might be a short distance from your house, and your child may have to add a city street to the route. When riding a bicycle on a street, they must follow the Rules of the road as if they were driving a car. This link from the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota will help you teach your kids the basics of signaling turns and navigating on roads.
Riding to the right is the most basic ride rule on sidewalks and bike paths. More important than that rule is the courtesy of riding around others. Being courteous is the best way to make sure everyone has fun. It is tempting for kids to try and bring a phone or iPod on a ride with them. Those distractions are a detriment to your child’s safety. Keep your digital toys in a backpack or, better yet, at home.
Figuring out the course
For your kids to be comfortable riding to school, they must be familiar and comfortable with the route. An easy way to practice the course is on the weekends. Weekends are free from school traffic and give plenty of time to explore alternate routes. Look for clear roads and intersections with lighted crosswalks. Even if the course is not the most direct, your child can feel comfortable if it is safe and clear. Also, try to avoid large hills (either up or down) so as not to exhaust your kids.
Locking the bike during class
With the route and skills covered, let’s talk about how to keep the bike safe during the school day. The easiest way to protect a bicycle is to lock it up properly. I recommend you lock the bicycle to a designated bike rack outside the school. In damp weather, periodically lubricating the lock mechanism will make it easy to use year-round.
Late in the fall, ensure the bike and lock are lubed to protect from rain or snow.
Putting it all together
After teaching your kids how to ride, equipping them, and working to create a safe course, continue reinforcing all those things throughout the school year. Evaluate their equipment frequently to ensure it’s working correctly. Additionally, ride with them to strengthen their signaling and to ride safely. Finally, be aware of traffic patterns as the year progresses. Above all else, make riding to school fun. Your kids will appreciate it.
About John Brown, the author
As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit him, and that particular fever is still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He was starting by sweeping the shop floor while learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the bike of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see more of John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
Don’t put that bike away just yet! In the upper Midwest, riding in the fall colors is one of the best times of the year to explore the many bike-friendly destinations. Now that fall is officially here, look around at the spattering of color, then look at the following websites to help you plan your #NextBikeAdventure. With warm days, cool nights, low humidity, few insects, and trees offering brilliant autumn colors, fall riding can be picture-perfect.
Riders enjoy the colorful trees along the trail as they reach their peak.
As our summer bike adventures drift into fond memories, we still have a colorful blaze of options ahead. When the tree foliage begins to change, first in Minnesota and then in Iowa, using the HaveFunBiking guides and the state DNR websites, it’s easy to expand your recreational riding through October.
Fall color riding in Minnesota
Using a copy of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the MN DNR fall color pages will allow you to match up to a fall experience you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy of the MN Bike/Hike Guide, here it is online. Offering you bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.
Trail riding in the fall amongst tree-lined paths is inviting.
As the aspen, oaks, and maples burst with color, consider bookmarking these two websites and plan your fall biking adventure. Find more Minnesota fall riding information here.
Fall Color Riding in Iowa
Fall color riding on a bike-friendly road.
As the brilliant colors fade in Minnesota, Iowa is the place in October that will showcase most of its peak colors. Using a copy of the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide and the IA DNR fall color pages will allow you some more fall experiences you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy, the online IA bike guide offers even more bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.
Fall color riding Wisconsin
Though we don’t have a Wisconsin Bike Guide, here are links to Wisconsin’s Bicycle routes and fall color report page.
As Minneapolis continues its Open Streets series of bike/walk events for 2023, enjoy the last event scheduled for 2023 events on Lynday Avenue. This last event will again demonstrate how congested city streets can become vibrant, pedestrian-friendly boulevards. Where people can dream, play, and explore.
More about Open Streets Minneapolis
So far, with sunny skies, the first Open Streets was held in June on East Lake Street, then on Glenwood Avenue in July, Cedar-Riverside in August, and West Broadway in September. This last street event for car-free fun will be on Sunday, October 8th, along Lyndale Avenue. Offering residents and visitors of all ages a chance to walk, bike, or skateboard while participating in many spontaneous play activities, clinics, food, and music offered along the Boulevard. See the schedule below for more events this year.
Except for some intersections, the Open Streets celebration was car-free on Glenwood Ave last month..
Open Streets Minneapolis is part of a global movement and helps people experience streets as public spaces where communities thrive. Congested city streets become vibrant, pedestrian-friendly boulevards where people can dream, play, and explore. These events aim to change how people think about their city streets fundamentally.
At each Minneapolis event, local businesses, artists, and community groups transform their streets, showcasing Minneapolis’s diversity, creativity, and culture.
Now that fall is officially here, we must keep visibility in mind while staying active amongst all autumn colors. As the days get shorter, while enjoying your favorite outdoor activities this time of the year, the primary forms of visibility we need to focus on are passive and active visibility. Things like reflectors and bright colors are passive forms of visibility, While lights and blinkers are great examples of active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.
First Passive visibility
Most autumn bike rides start in the light and gradually evolve into darkness as the rider pedals. In these cases, most riders rely on passive visibility to get them home. Provided your ride is under street lamps or some form of light, that passive visibility will get you home. The most common form of passive visibility is the lowly reflector. These plastic devices are required by the CPSC (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission) to be installed on all bicycles sold in the United States. You will find reflectors in two colors: white (front and wheels) and Red (rear).
Additionally, many apparel companies install reflective materials onto their products. Like the reflector on your bike, these reflective materials will take any light directed your way and return it to the source of the light so you are seen. Where passive reflectivity falls short is when there is no light source to activate the visibility.
This jacket offers excellent visibility through color and reflective materials.
Several manufacturers make cool winter gloves that are both visible and insulated.
When the area is devoid of a light source, as a rider, you need to create that light to keep yourself safe. For cyclists, Lights and blinkers are the most common devices for light. Where the light and the blinker differ is that blinkers are designed to be seen, while lights allow a rider to both see and be seen.
Great lights are usually rechargeable and use an LED bulb. For riders who spend a lot of time off-road or on unlit paths, these lights are a necessity. While most mount onto the bars or helmet, there are a few companies that integrate lights into the bike or your helmet.
MagicShine Bike Helmet and remote (inset)
Blinkers are usually battery-operated and use an LED to flash intermittently. These blinkers can easily be mounted to your bicycle. In some cases, blinkers are incorporated into helmets, gloves, shoes, saddles, and handlebars.
The Omni Bike Helmet, with photoreceptors, is covered and lights on.
What to use this Fall
For the fall season, mount a pair of lights to the bike (one front and one back). When you get stuck in low light and high traffic, switch on the lights. Even If your route uses a road with street lights for any portion, a front light makes things safer. Overall, think ahead before your next ride and be prepared to ensure you can see others and they can see you.
About John Brown, the author
As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He is starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he can about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then as a store manager.
Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the cycle of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts or share your latest ride. You can also see John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
Before the city’s annual art festival, September 16th, enjoy the trails and bike lanes on the Tour of Lakeville. Thanks to the Lakeville Friends of the Environment, who will lead two different length rides, registration is free. Select between the 6-mile (kid-friendly) ride route or the 18-mile scenic bike trip on Lakeville’s trails and bike lanes. Here, while touring Lakeville, gain a whole new perspective of the town’s beauty and its closeness to nature.
Tour of Lakeville details
This year’s Tour of Lakeville starts and ends at Pioneer Plaza Park, a block north of where the Art Festival takes place. Pre-register at Lakeville Parks & Rec so you are ready to ride; it’s free. Remember to pump up your tires and bring a helmet and water bottle. Check-in starts at 9 a.m., and both rides leave at 9:30 a.m.
Your route choices
The 3-mile (kid and family-friendly) route is all on Lakeville’s paved trails.
The 18-mile route uses many quiet neighborhood streets that connect to trails meandering through new housing developments, parks, and wildlife areas. In several parks along the way, enjoy the special sculptures and benches, a highlight to the Lakeville art scene.
The Tour of Lakeville is a fun ride for all
Along the Tour ride, participants will discover many attractive segments of the community and many outdoor spaces that include:
Great views of Lake Marion as the tour passes the new outdoor performance pavilion in Casperson Park and the West Lake Marion Mountain Bike Trailhead.
The paved Juno Trail hugs the lake’s shoreline.
Views of the popular Antler’s Park, under construction and re-opening in the spring of 2024, with a swimming beach, picnic areas, volleyball, and horseshoes.
Enjoy listening to birds and seeing butterflies along the paved trail through the Steve Michaud Park-Conservation Area.
Don’t worry; no rider will be dropped on this family-friendly ride. However, all participants are expected to ride at a moderate pace so everyone can share their favorite ride stories after returning.
The 18-mile ride is scheduled to last approximately two and a half hours. This time frame depends on the number of registered bikers and the route. Remember, to pre-register so the ride has plenty of staff support – Thanks!
After the ride, make it a day at the Lakeville Art Festival
Many consider this one of the finest art festivals in Minnesota. The Lakeville Art Festival is held annually on the third weekend in September. This year, the event will feature over 90 artists in an intimate and accessible setting. The artist booths are staged in a park-like atmosphere, allowing for a unique circular type arrangement to help showcase their work. Plus, many artists have scheduled demonstrations over the two days of the festival, September 16 & 17.
Another family-friendly highlight at the art festival is a stop at the “Young at Art” tent. This workshop area has plenty of art supplies, ideas, and experts to flow the creative juices.
More on the new mountain bike trail in Lakeville
The Lakeville Cycling Association has constructed a mountain bike trail system on the west side of Lake Marion. Another family-friendly attraction, the new course, is approximately five miles long. The trail segments in the park allow plenty of fun features for beginning, intermediate, and advanced mountain bikers. This single-track, one-way trail system includes multiple switchbacks, berms, rollers, and fun for all to enjoy.
See the map for this new, year-round mountain bike trail system. You can access the trailhead in Casperson Park by parking in the gravel lot north of the soccer fields at 19720 Juno Trail. Watch for trail updates and trail conditions on the clubs’ Facebook page.
For those visiting the area who want to learn more about connecting from the area hotels to the trails and fun things to do when not riding, see the At-A-Glance Lakeville and their map.
With the popularity of electric-assist bikes (e-bikes), many people are asking us at HaveFunBiking.com what is the best bike to buy. Many questions emerged from visitors stopping in at the Eco Experience building at the Minnesota State Fair this year. Of the top questions asked, the top was, what does an e-bike cost, followed by, when can I get the new MN Rebate if I purchase an e-bike? Plus, what’s the best battery/motor combination for your riding style, and several other questions we have answered below.
Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike.
1. What does an e-bike cost, and what about the MN Tax Credit?
There are many variables when buying an electric assist bike, including the distance you can ride and how you will use it; the number of times you can charge the battery; its weight (bike and battery); the warranty; and will you need to take out a loan to finance the bike? Along with a good warranty, the quality of standard parts or upgraded parts on the electric bike can increase the price from $2,000 to $6,000 or more. Plus, having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability can increase the price.
See more information on the cost of buying an e-bike here.
And what’s the skinny on the MN Electric-Assisted Bicycle Rebate?
The Minnesota Transportation Finance and Policy bill included a new electric bike rebate program that takes effect July 1, 2024. In the 2023 session, four million dollars was appropriated for the 2024 and 2025 calendar years. This will allow the Rebate Program $2 million to be used starting July 1, 2024. Then again, consecutively, 2 million dollars for 2025, that will be available until June 30, 2026.
Depending on your income, the credit maximum is $1,500. To qualify, an Individual must assign the credit at the time of purchase after July 1st to an eligible retailer, that they have selected. This will reduce the cost of the e-bike purchased. For more information on the rebate, contact your local bike shop or see Minnesota Tax Changes.
2. What are my payment options?
To get an electric bike that will fit your needs over the next two to five years, find out if the bike shop or bike manufacturer (if buying online) offers a no- or low-interest loan, often for six to 36 months. Some lending institutions, like Affinity Plus, offer low-interest bicycle-specific loans and let you borrow 120% of the cost of the bike to allow you to buy accessories like helmets, locks, baskets/panniers, lights, etc.
3. Does an e-bike come with a warranty, and how can I insure the bike?
Many bikes come with limited or full warranties. Typically, e-bikes may come with a 2-year warranty on parts, motors, and batteries. Some e-bike brands have a 5-year, “no questions asked” comprehensive warranty. So, learn what sort of warranty is being offered before you buy. A reputable e-bike company will have its warranty information on its website.
It is recommended that you Insure your new bike. Check if your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance can bundle an e-bike into your policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection, similar to automobile insurance, for your e-bike. Many companies, like AAA and Velosurance, even offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.
See more information on warranties and insuring an e-bike Here.
4. What are the different types and speeds of an e-bike?
There are so many types of e-bikes available! First, ask yourself, what is your primary use for buying an e-bike? Is it for commuting, hauling cargo, off-road riding, touring, or riding in winter conditions? Once you know how you will use the bike, check out the nationally defined classifications below and your state DOT statutes for e-bikes:
Class 1: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, no throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph
Class 2: e-bikes with pedal-assist and throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph
Class 3: e-bikes are pedal-assist, with or without a throttle, with a maximum speed of 28 mph. Most states consider e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph “OK to use all non-motorized bike routes.”
5. What’s the battery’s range and life before recycling?
The general rule with a 36 volt, 10.5Ah (ampere-hours) battery should get 20 to 40 miles per charge with the average weight of rider + gear & cargo less than 200 pounds in ideal weather conditions. You’ll get fewer miles the higher the assist level you use. On low assist, you may enjoy 50 miles or more on a single charge. To maximize the life of your e-bike battery, try to charge it before it is close to empty.
Recycling your battery: Call2Recycle is helping e-bike owners recycle their batteries. On the right side of their website, please type in your zip code to get a list of places that will recycle your e-bike battery when it’s time to replace it.
For a more in-depth look at how volts x amps = watts can give you an approximate range, click here.
6. What is the weight limit of an e-bike, and heavy are they?
Most manufacturers recommend a maximum combined weight of around 275 pounds for a rider and gear & cargo on an e-bike. Cargo bikes are meant to carry small people or big loads and can accommodate riders + gear up to 400 pounds or more. Typically, e-bikes can handle total weights more than described by manufacturers’ specs. However, it may reduce the range or increase maintenance, including wheel spokes repairs.
Most e-bikes weigh between 30-65 pounds, with the battery weighing anywhere from five to 15 pounds. The weight of the battery goes up as the voltage goes up, but the capacity (range of the battery) will go up, too.
For more on weight limits and restrictions, click here.
7. How do I maintain an e-bike, and what if it needs to be repaired?
Like a regular bicycle, always start with an ABC’s (Air, Brake & Chain) check before you ride to maximize your e-bike investment. On average, you should schedule a tune-up every six months or every 1,000 miles you have ridden. This will protect your warranty. Check the manufacturer’s service recommendations to what they specify.
If you’re buying an e-bike online, see what sort of repair service or online support the company provides, or make sure your local or favorite bike shop can fix the electrical components of the e-bike you select. Bikes with Bosch drivetrain systems are well respected and offer the following information for care and longevity.
For more information on maintaining our preparing an e-bike, click here.
8. Can I ride an e-bike in the rain or snow?
Like most standard bicycles, E-bikes are water-resistant and can be used in most weather conditions. You may need accessories (like rain gear or studded tires) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold. You can ride an e-bike at any temperature, but the colder it is, the more it may impact the battery’s range. Bring your battery (or the entire bike + battery) inside if you’re not riding it. Do not leave the battery on the bike if parking the e-bike outside in the winter at any time.
Click here for more information on riding an e-bike in rain or snow.
9. How do I keep an e-bike safe and secure?
To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock when locking your bike outside (also recommended for indoor public storage areas). Another anti-theft device to consider is a GPS track tag. Ask your local bike shop for their recommendations. Again, having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability is wise.
For more information on securing your e-bike, click here.
10. What else should I do before purchasing?
Have fun and test-ride the e-bike(s) you want to focus on. One of the essential parts of buying an e-bike is taking the model(s) you are most interested in for a test ride. Like buying a car, test-ride the e-bike will help you finalize your decision once you have narrowed the selection down. Visit several bicycle shops that carry the e-bike brands you are most interested in. So grab your helmet and go for a test ride. Consider these questions while test-riding that new e-bike:
Does the e-bike fit the way I like it to
Do I feel comfortable on the e-bike climbing hills
And finally, is the quality and functionality over everything I expected while riding?
Now that you are back from your test ride, does the e-bike you like fit into your budget, and does it have a warranty? An e-bike is a significant investment, whether $1,500 or $10,000. So, with a warranty, you can rest assured that your investment is well covered. For more information on scheduling a test ride, click here.
Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences here at HaveFunBiking!
If you want to make plans for a fall bike ride, consider one or all three of these annual Minnesota rides. First is the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic on Sunday, Sept. 10th. Then, on September 30th, the Rosewood Gamble in Thief River Falls. And then the Mankato River Ramble is on Sunday, Oct. 8th. All three day-of bike rides benefit the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), and offer several route options to fit your riding style.
A Minnesota tripleheader of fall bike rides
First, the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour
Ready for the first of two great Minnesota fall rides?
In the Twin Cities, thousands of people will enjoy traffic-free cycling on the scenic parkways of Saint Paul. It’s the 29th annual Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour. The biking event is Sunday, September 10th, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Ride participants can choose from bike routes of 15, 30, or 45 miles.
Fun for everyone, the St Paul Bike Classic
Organizers report the rest stops along each route will provide panoramic views, live music, delicious baked goods, tasty beverages, and fresh organic fruit. AARP presents the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour. Proceeds benefit the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, a nonprofit focused on state-wide bicycle advocacy and education. To learn more or to register, click here.
The Rosewood Gamble
Head to beautiful Theif River Falls in Northwest Minnesota and choose five different rides on September 30th.
Find two fun and challenging gravel rides, including a 25-mile or 62-mile (metric century) route. Or, the Rosewood 30; tThe Sweet 16-mile course, or the MEC/Northland College 1.4-mile family-friendly loop. which you can ride as much as you like with a rest stop every 1.4 miles!
The whole family will like the scenery along the Minnesota River Valley.
Tasty treats, like the pie stop, can make the ride extra delicious.
The perfect one-tank getaway for an overnight stay or daycation. The Mankato River Ramble showcases some of the state’s most beautiful areas at the most beautiful time of year! This year’s ride on October 8th offers a 12, 24, and 42-mile route with plenty of rest stops with tasty treats. To learn more or to register, click here.
About the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN)
BikeMN is working to make Minnesota a state where bicycling is safe, easy, fun, and cool for everyone. The mission of BikeMN is to provide leadership and a unified voice for bicycle education, advocacy, and efforts to make Minnesota more bicycle-friendly so that more people will ride bicycles more often. See more at www.bikemn.org.
About Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates (GMBWA)
GMBWA encourages individuals and families to walk and bike as part of a healthy lifestyle. Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates work with city, county, and state governments, businesses, and non-governmental organizations to improve the community’s infrastructure and opportunities for walking and biking. The ride began in 2011, and thousands of dollars of profits from the Ramble have gone into signs, outdoor kiosks, mountain bike trail construction, and other improvements in the Mankato area.
See more of what the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota is up to
Check out their BLOG of workshops, classes, and other fun events the money raised at these bike rides supports. For their BikeMN mission statement, check Here.
Traveling closer to home is the new norm for many of us, and a fun bicycling staycation may open your eyes to new horizons. Using sustainable travel, like a bike, allows an adventurer to see points of interest and landscapes not commonly noticed when using other modes of transportation. Also, planning an overnight on your next staycation will make your bicycle ride there and back even more enjoyable. So, you may want to ask yourself two questions: How many miles can you comfortably ride in a given day? And, what town is 10 to 50 miles away that fits into your range, so your next adventure is memorable?
Sara’s bicycling staycation to Bloomington
Recently we helped Sara Lynch with an overnight staycation starting in Lakeville, MN. She and her husband rode to Bloomington and then back, using the HaveFunBiking maps we publish in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.
So precisely what is a bicycling staycation?
According to Wikipedia, a staycation is a day trip with a distance from a person’s home to another location they would like to visit. Then, add a bicycle or other mode of transportation. Maybe a combination of both (multimodal transport) can expand the range of the adventure.
Sara’s staycation in the south Twin Cities Area may give you ideas.
Most of Sara and her husband’s bike adventures had been day trips until recently. Over the 4th of July weekend, they enjoyed their first bicycling staycation this year. According to Sara’s blog, Planet with Sara, “that all changed for this adventure. We started in Lakeville and biked to Bloomington with many fun stops along the way.”
Sara, stopping on the historic Cedar Bridge.
After spending the night in Bloomington, we biked back via a different route with even more fun stops.” Read on here for their course, recommended stops, and helpful tips for creating your fun bicycling staycation.
Lakeville to Bloomington
On the southern edge of the Twin Cities attractions, Lakeville is a family-friendly mecca for bicycling. Offering miles of paved trails, Lakeville has three fun mountain bike areas in the area and several great road routes to enjoy. Both visitors and residents alike will find plenty of safe bike riding opportunities in this bike-friendly community. And when not riding, check out the many attractions here. See Destination Lakeville for more ideas and places to stay.
Riding to Bloomington uses paved bike/ped trails and quiet neighborhood streets; using the route, pedaling through the Minnesota River Valley is approximately 25 miles to the north.
Bloomington back to Lakeville
After a restful night, you will find many cycling opportunities in Bloomington. Located along the north bank of the Minnesota River, near the airport, you will find many bike-friendly attributes here to make it easy to get around. Thanks to the city’s paved trails and designated bike lanes. And mountain biking along the Minnesota River is a fun place to shred some trails for those looking for an off-road adventure. When not riding around this riverfront community, check out the world-renowned Mall of America and other points of interest while visiting. See Destination Bloomington for more ideas and places to stay.
Returning to Lakeville, Sara used a 26-mile western route on quiet neighborhood streets and paved bike/ped trails back.