Category Archives: News

Here in this bike pic, digging through our summer archives, we captured this biker dude pedaling along the East River Road or Mississippi River Trail on the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic course this fall.

Staying cool while biking in the hot, humid weather

The return of summer is especially welcoming to most of us here in the upper Midwest. But with the warmer temps staying cool takes a little thought in reacquainting ourselves to a hydration routine.

100_0548Now with the temperature fluctuating up into the high nineties this coming week and the humidity levels on the rise, it’s important to know how to keep your body cool while staying active in the heat.

Staying cool while biking or playing in hot weather

If your favorite summer sport is cycling, knowing how to keep cool is crucial. According to a study done by Galloway and Maughan, the perfect temperature for running and cycling is 10º C (52 º F). So, unless you live in far northern regions of Canada you are probably biking in temperatures that are frequently above 30º C (92 º F) during the summer months. So, to enjoy your outdoor summer activities safely, when the weather is hot, requires taking a few precautions. Exercising in the heat raises your internal body temperature, putting additional stress on your heart and lungs, which can affect your performance and your health.

How Your Body Stays Cool

When your body temperature goes above normal 37º C (or 98.6º F) two processes, vasodilation (or widening of the blood vessels) and sweating kicks in to remove heat from the body. In vasodilation, veins and capillaries expand, and the heart pumps harder to send blood to the outer layers of the skin where it can be cooled. When the outside air is warmer than your body temperature you start to sweat. The evaporation of the sweat from your body helps cool it. But on hot, humid days, evaporation is reduced and this cooling process is slowed down.

So What You Can Do to Keep Cool While Cycling On a Hot Day

100_3408Wear clothing that will allow for quick evaporation is the best choice. Fabric that wicks the sweat away from your skin, allowing it to quickly evaporate, like the material cycling jerseys are made of is best. Any light material, other than cotton, with a zipper at the front is a good way to go. A damp hand towel or a purchased neck wrap will also help to keep you cooler by dropping the temperature of the blood vessels going through your neck.

Make sure you hydrate well and use electrolyte fluids.

100_3259Drinking water frequently and in the right amounts will help replace the fluid you lose during your ride. Because everybody perspires a little differently to find out how much fluid you need to replace during a ride: (1) weigh yourself before and after a ride (without clothes)—one pound of weight loss equals 500 ml (16 ounces) of fluid. (2) then, factor in the amount you drank during that ride and (3) on your next ride drink approximately 1.5 times this amount during your rides by making frequent stops (7 to 15 mile apart depending on the length of your ride) preferably under the cover of shade.

The more the better

If you have two water bottle cages, use them both by mixing one water bottle with a sports drink that has electrolytes and the other with water. Electrolytes are chemicals that form ions in body fluids. They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp up. There are many brands and flavors of electrolyte supplements available in premixed liquid, powder or tablet form that is easy to add to a water bottle or a water-bladder backpack to help stay hydrated and healthy. A natural source of electrolyte for after your ride, or if you stop at a grocery store along the way that sells it by the slice, is watermelon.

When the temperature soars like it is predicted this week, try to stay out of the mid-day sun. Plan your ride during the cooler times of the day—in the early morning or early evening.

Danger Signs to Watch For

If you overdo it and experience any of these symptoms:  weakness, headache, dizziness,  muscle cramps, nausea/ vomiting or rapid heartbeat while riding in the heat, stop and find some shade to lay down in, and replenish your fluids. You should feel better within 60-minutes. These are the warning signs to look out for to avoid heatstroke when you exercise in the heat. If any of these symptoms persist longer, call for medical help.

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate why to cool down!

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate way to cool down!

We hope you take the tips above and incorporate them into your next ride for staying cool when the heat index climbs. Remember, there are less than three months until the end of summer. Fall officially begins on September 22.

Have Fun and Enjoy!

 

Many Cyclists riding around Albert Lea Lake enjoyable

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

by Andrew Ellis

Summer is here and with things opening up from COVID-19, I have a big decision to make. Where should I go for my first out-of-town weekend bike getaway?

For me, one favorite is Albert Lea, Minnesota with its beautiful bike routes around Fountain Lake and the Blazing Star State Trail. Another option is to follow one of the routes from the annual bike ride called Rock n’ Roll the Lakes. Normally scheduled in June, the events bike routes can offer cyclists a whole lot of fun scenic Southern Minnesota touring options for that #NextBikeAdventure.

Bike-friendly Albert Lea

Less than a 2-hour drive down Interstate 35 from Minneapolis, after passing the I-90 crossroad pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a weekend of outdoor fun. Known as the Land Between the Lakes, the city sits between Fountain Lake and Albert Lea Lake, Both prime destinations for soaking in the rays while biking or paddling. Getting around on your bike from your choice of lodging options is easy with the city’s low traffic bike lanes and trails. After checking in at one of the hotels its exciting to ride around this southern Minnesota community.

Touring around Albert Lea Lake

The homes along the lake route are very picturesque.

The homes along the Fountain Lake route are very picturesque.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road Biking Opportunities

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

More about Albert Lea 

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

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

 

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

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

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop offers fun while exploring its history

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

At the confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers, discover Anoka, Minnesota with fun at every turn along its bike routes. With its river city charm and designated the ‘Halloween Capital of the World’ this bicycle-friendly community is a place to explore. Riding your bike on the scenic 10-mile bike loop here you will discover several river-front parks and historic neighborhoods along the route. A part of the nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities, you will find over 250-miles of connecting trails to enjoy. It’s the perfect destination to visit with your bike.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is an adventure for all skill levels of riders.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop

For this bike ride, we will start at the Gathering Place Bandshell along the river. It’s located on the east bank of the Rum River, a block west of Ticknor Hill Bed & Breakfast in Akin Riverside Park, in Anoka.

It’s fun riding parts of the Mississippi River Trail while in Anoka.

 

Traveling clockwise, the route begins by crossing over the river on the pedestrian bridge, then across Ferry Street. Now pedaling along Benton Street, you will find a picturesque lane in the Historic Whiskey Flats neighborhood, The street here is a part of the Mississippi River Trail (MRT). Soon you are on the actual trail pedaling into Mississippi River Community Park, at Kings Island.

Kings Island and park amenities

Signage along the trail as you enter Kings Island.

Arriving in the park you will find restroom facilities, a playground, and some extra trails and observation decks along the river to view nature’s settings here. On the east bank of Mighty Mississippi, the Kings Island section of the park incorporates the natural beauty of a wooded flood plain. Add to your fun by exploring nature. Along the walking trail that circles the island, view an occasional mix of wildflowers amongst riverside flora and fauna.

Up to River Bend Park on the Rum

Leaving the MRT, the Anoka 10-mile loop utilizes the trail along its northern route up through Anoka’s industrial area. After crossing Highway 10, notice the Regency Inn Hotel to your left. And those who prefer to shorten the loop to 6-mile should turn right and head east on Vista Way (see the printable Anoka Map for more details).

Back on the 10-mile loop pedaling north up to Bunker Lake Boulevard, and turn east. At the intersection of Saint Francis Boulevard (Hwy 47), you will find several rest stop options. Then, before crossing the Rum River check out River Bend Park. If you picked up a sandwich at the rest stop, this is a perfect place to stop and view the river while enjoying your lunch.

After crossing the bridge over the Rum River, another option is to stop at the Rum River Library or the Anoka Nature Preserve. Looking east, notice the trail that crosses Bunker Lake Boulevard? That trail will safely get you up in the area of the library and nature preserve.

The Anoka Nature Preserve is a 200-acre passive recreational area with low maintenance, hard-packed roads, perfect for 2-lane off-road cycling, and hiking. At the trailhead here, north of the library, you will find a playground and a restroom option. The trails in the Preserve are perfect for off-road family riding. At the riverbank to the Rum, several paths lead to wildlife observation decks.

Following the flow of the Rum River back to Anoka

Now heading south along the east bank of the Rum River, the trail offers wildlife viewing opportunities at every turn. As you get closer to the inner city of Anoka the trail merges onto a bike lane on 4th Avenue and through the historic Cutterville and Wet Flats neighborhoods. Here the 6-mile loop joins from the west and the trail route resumes along the river.

The Anoka 10-mile bike loop is fun for all ages!

The historic downtown district of Anoka

As you approach four metal grain bins along the trail you are entering the north side of the historic downtown area of Anoka. Here you will find several delicious dining establishments and many historic points of interest. Also known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city of Anoka becomes alive with festivities each fall. Now, before taking the river trail, under Main Street and back to the band Shell, check out the observation deck at the Rum River Dam.

Downtown, don’t forget to stop at Two Scoops for ice cream.

Back at the Gathering Place Band Shell or your hotel checkout a nearby eating establishment and Two Scoops Ice Cream while planning another bike adventure in the Twin Cities Gateway Area.

Printable map and Q (cue)-sheet)

For individual bike maps of the nine Twin Cities Gateway Communities click here

For a turn-by-turn, Q-sheet of Anoka click here

From Giants Ridge, the Mesabi Trail Towns offers history and great biking adventures.

Many bicycle adventures await your visit to the Mesabi Trail Towns

by Andrew Ellis

The Mesabi Trail Towns, in Minnesota’s far north mining region, hosts several gems of the state’s history and a perfect destination for bicycle adventures. It’s not a mountain range, but a group of small mining communities along a well-known paved trail system. The Mesabi Trail serves as an easy way to travel from town to town by bike. From Grand Rapids on the western end to Ely, 135 miles to the east, there is a lot to see as you ride. For the mountain biker’s this mining-range has left a lot of deposits to perfect your skills. The area even boasts some of Minnesota’s best scenic road touring routes, with loop options that tie back to the Mesabi Trail.

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing.

More About the Bike-Friendly Mesabi Trail Towns

The area is vast and the Mesabi Trail Towns string through the Iron Range covering many mining towns you can start and stop at. They include Grand Rapids to the west; and further east Hibbing, Chisholm, Mt. Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, Embarrass and now to Ely. Along the way, there is no shortage of walking tours.

You can visit Bob Dylan’s childhood home, the Hull Rust Mine overlook, and Greyhound Museum in Hibbing. You can look into the history of the Range’s “Queen City” at the Virginia Heritage Museum. Take a walk around the US Hockey Hall of Fame, in Eveleth. To enjoy the scenic thrills of mountain biking, there is Giant Ridge, near Biwabik. There are also plenty of lakes to drop a line, swim, or enhance your tan.

The area may cover a lot of miles, but it’s all very accessible – especially if you’re using your bike. The Mesabi Trail makes for a convenient connecting point for all the communities. So it’s easy to travel around to all the unique stores, eateries, and more pedaling on two wheels.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Biking Opportunities in the Iron Range

There are several opportunities for biking in the Iron Range. If you’re into mountain biking it’s just a matter of where you want to go first with four different systems to choose from. You can also extend your adventure using the Mesabi Trail to connect to various forest and mining roads.

The Mesabi Trail

Besides mining, bicycle tourism is the other attraction that connects the communities. An amazing adventure in its own right, the trail takes you through the beautiful northern Minnesota trees, hills, wildlife, and more. With so many scenic views there’s no doubt you’ll be stopping to take a picture to add to your memories.

And don’t forget the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour in 2021. Ride for the fun or ride for the challenge. Either way mark your calendar for Saturday, August 7, 2021, for the most fun you can have on two wheels!

With several mountain bike parks there is something for every skill level.

With several mountain bike parks, there is something for every skill level.

Mountain biking here includes an edgy new park

The Iron Range may not have mountains, but there are plenty of trails and loops for mountain bikers to battle down. Especially the new Redhead Mountain Trails, near Chisolm, they say it will rock you. This huge park with over 30 loops, covering over 25-miles offers giant views of reclaimed mine lands, bright blue pit lakes, and more. See the map of this edgy designed park with remarkable terrain makes it one of the most anticipated new parks in the country.

Further east is Giants Ridge offering over 24 miles of trails and loops that will challenge you and offer up great scenery. Big Aspen offers a whopping 21 miles of trails on old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades. The sections vary in difficulty with many loop opportunities that offer many scenic vistas.

You can also check out Britton Peak which offers a 3-trail system that takes you through Superior National Forest and includes one for the three main skill levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. There’s also Lookout Mountain, thanks to the hard work of the Iron Range Off-Road Cyclists, that has over five miles of single-track and over six miles of the multi-use rideable ski trail.

Road Biking Options

While the Mesabi Trail connects helps connect the towns of the Iron Range, each town has its own road system that allows for easy bike travel and loop options. These roads allow you to navigate from place to place and let you explore each town as in-depth as you wish. The Superior National Forest, on the east end, also has plenty of roads you can use to explore the area.

See more at At-A-Glance Mesabi Trail.

Sledge Sunglasses are designed by cyclists for your riding comfort

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Thanks to today’s oversized styles from Tifosi Optics, choosing a pair of eye-catching sunglasses for cycling is easy and affordable. The latest Sledge models will have you riding in style when the sun is shining. Plus, if you are like me, when you want a more detailed view,  they comfortably fit over your prescription glasses. Either way, you wear them, you will get the airy fit and the protection you desire.

Each pair comes a full lens kit that includes an additional clear and high contrast AC red lens, plus a hard case and soft bag for cleaning.

Styling comfort with Sledge Sunglasses

Tifosi Optics’ newest cycling sunglasses are designed to enhance your ride. Offering maximum coverage and ergonomic face-fit protection from the elements, you will find an unrestricted view of the road or trail.

Each of the vented Sledge lenses fit into the lightweight yet durable Grilamid TR-90 frame of your choice. And all three lenses are guaranteed shatterproof while providing 100% UV protection.

Cycling sunglasses designed by cyclists

The perfected cycling eyewear at an affordable price, Sledge glasses range from $69.95 to 79.95. Click on each of the four-color options below and choose.

Crystal Orange with a Clarion Blue lens

 

Crystal Red with a Clarion Yellow lens

Matte Black with a Smoke lens

Matte White with a Smoke lens

Like me, you will find that the Sledge line of sunglasses offers the ideal tint for any lighting condition. Each pair is shipped with a full lens kit, which includes an additional clear and high contrast AC red lens, plus a hard case and soft bag for cleaning.

Team up with Tifosi during the Covid-19 crisis

Tifosi face shield donation to health care workers during covid-19

In addition to making affordable eye protection for you, Tifosi is also doing what it can to protect healthcare professionals during the Covid-19 crisis. The company recently announced that they would be donating a face shield to health care facilities during the month of May for every pair of sunglasses sold on their site. For more details, check out their post here.

I recently spent some time in Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride.

Planning a casual doughnut ride for you and your friends

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Recently I spent some time in the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia. While there I enjoyed a few rides, but the most enjoyable one was Trek of Philadelphia’s Doughnut Ride. I was reminded of the joys of simple rides and good company, rather than difficult efforts and a competitive pace. Now with 30 days of Biking a few weeks away here is a fun idea you may want to consider with friends, as warmer weather moves our way.

The Doughnut Ride

We left the shop at 7:30 a.m. with a group of eight. Our bikes were a mishmash of road bikes, commuter rigs, single-speed, and an e-bike. When we departed the shop and headed toward the center city, it was immediately clear the pace would be conversational. Our cruise headed out on the river drive bike path, through Fairmount Park, and toward the center city. Rather than stay on the path, we crossed the falls bridge and onto West River Drive. On the weekends, Philadelphia closes West River Drive so we had our run of the entire roadway. After a bit of riding and a lot of talking, we found ourselves at the end of West River Drive and at the base of the Art Museum.

At the Art Museum, our ride began to slip through the surrounding neighborhoods until we reached our hallowed destination – Federal Doughnuts.

After stuffing our face with warm doughnuts we hopped back on our bikes. Full of sugar and fat, we made our way back to the bike shop along the same route. Ultimately, the ride took a little under two hours, including the time eating. Everyone had fun, the conversation was great, and we all got the chance to meet new people.

Why this ride works

The ride was great because the pace and route are clearly stated in advance. Therefore, everyone knew what to expect and where to go. The route itself was carefully chosen to promote great conversation and a casual pace. By including traffic-free paths and streets and a casual destination, every rider could enjoy the trip stress-free. Additionally, the pace is controlled by the ride’s start time. As an example, a competitive minded rider has a list of fast-paced rides leaving on Saturday morning, so there would be no need to come to the Doughnut Ride to try and get a killer workout with so many other options. From start to finish, this ride is a winner.

How to plan your own ride

If you already lead rides for a local club or shop, then setting up a casual ride should be easy for you. If this is your first attempt at leading an organized ride than there are a few things to keep in mind. First off, you want people to be at your ride! To make sure you have attendees, start talking about and advertising (if you’re working with a local club or shop) a minimum of two weeks in advance. Also, make sure all your information explains the pace as well as the payoff (in this case doughnuts) for your ride to build interest. Finally, make sure your route is friendly to a group of riders. As an example, I’ve been on a few rides that required riders to be single file almost the entire time due to narrow roadways. in contrast, the Doughnut ride promoted conversation with wide paths and clear roads.

According to Paul T., Perennial Cycle in Minneapolis does a great job with these types of rides and has a lot of them. Watch for the upcoming events there this season.

The Apres-Ski Recovery Boot works well for post fat biking activities

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Like the Telic’s sandals, the new Apres-Ski Recovery Boot is the perfect footwear, after fat biking the snow-covered trails. With a fun-filled day of pedaling through the woods and open fields behind us. It was time to slip on some comfortable walking footwear and enjoy the local festivities. Here my wife found this Recovery Boot, made for post-ski therapy, perfect for the activities we enjoyed after fat biking.

After a fun-filled day of pedaling through Minnesota’s True North landscape, the boots support technology added to the comfort.

The Apres-Ski Recovery Boot fit

As I mentioned Telic is best known for its comfortable sandal footwear. Telic originally designed the Recovery Boot for skiers in the snow sports industry to help them relax after training and competition. What they found incorporating the Novlaon Footstrike Technology from the sandals, the boot had a soft supportive fit for added comfort for any post-outdoor activity.

Very attractive, I liked the idea that this boot was lightweight, water-resistant, and had a nice traction control outer soles.

Stylish, and very supportive with great shock absorption.

Trying these boots, my wife found them stylish, very supportive with great shock absorption. So we found these boots kept her feet warm while we walked around the apres festivities after fat biking.

The new Telic Apres-Ski Recovery Boot turned out to be the perfect footwear for post-fat biking fun, after riding the snow-covered trails.

What’s an electric assist bike, or e-bike and is it for you?

You have probably read about electric-assist bicycles, commonly known as e-bikes. With many improvements, the past couple of years, this type of bicycle has grown in popularity around the world. So what exactly is a pedal-assist bicycle?

Simply by pedaling, instead of using a twist or thumb throttle, you activate the motor to help turn the drive-train. If you are curious and would like to check them out, stop by a local bike shop or visit the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis. Either option, here are some questions you may want to ask when test riding.

Fun test riding opportunities at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis

First, how would you use an electric-assist bike

  • commuting to work, running errands or hauling cargo
  • maybe bike touring
  • spending more time on off-road trails
  • or assist with rehabbing after an injury?

Then ask yourself

  • will an e-bike make it easier for me to stay active
  • make it more enjoyable, especially when dealing with hills and headwinds
  • help so I can keep up with friends who ride faster?

Because electric bike technology is progressing quickly, both the batteries and motors are lighter to allow you a better range between charges. Today there are bikes for every conceivable application from hauling cargo to making a climb up a mountain bike trail a breeze.

Choose an e-bike for your style of bicycle riding

Geared to accommodate different kinds of activities, you have a lot of e-bike options. When considering an e-bike are you going to use it for cargo-hauling; relaxed cruising; off-road trail riding; child transportation; road biking; fat bike riding; bike touring; or urban commuting?

With so many e-bikes on the market today, design options vary to fit different people and their preference of use. So it’s up to you to decide what is most important. Is it the ease of riding; the cost; maintenance, dependability, and range – or all the above?

Test ride

Now that you have answered some of the questions, visit a few bike shops or the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis and test ride them. There you will see all the latest brands and models available to ride on the huge indoor test track.