Category Archives: News

Many times, riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy while riding can be related to dehydration.

Regardless of the length of your bike ride, don’t forget to bring plenty of H20

Many times riders will assume that because the weather is cool or a ride is short they don’t need to bring water along with them on a bike ride. Truth be told, the biggest drain to your energy level while riding can be related to dehydration. Stay hydrated by bringing water or a sports drink along on all rides.

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Yeah water, bring plenty along!

Stay hydrated before, during and after your ride!

Here are five tips on how much to drink and what to drink when biking:

1. On days that are going to be hot, first thing in the morning drink at least a pint (20 to 24 Fl. OZ.) of water. If you have a lemon handy, squeeze some juice in with the water. This combination wakes up your metabolism and replaces lost water from sleep. Plus the vitamin C from the lemon helps build resistance to catching a colds.

2. Then, one to two hours before heading out on your bike consume another pint of fluid, an hour before you start riding. This is particularly important on the hotter days.

In colder weather, try to avoid consuming large amounts of fluids in the morning before your bike ride. This is because in cold weather your body will want to reduce the supply of blood going around your body. It will do this by making you want to go to the bathroom to get rid of excess fluid.

3. On longer rides when you are out riding for several hours replace fluids an electrolyte drink. Evidence shows that people hydrating only consuming water don’t replace electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chloride. This will result in a dramatic drop in performance and create fatigue. With several brands on the market use a richer mix during the winter (because you are drinking less) and a weaker solution during summer (because you’ll be drinking more).

On longer rides consider mixing one of your water bottles with an electrolyte drink mix and grapefruit juice. Or, for a high carbohydrate burn rate use gels with water.

Drink before you get thirsty

4. The main thing to remember when cycling, drink before you get thirsty. Sip on the water and the electrolyte drink on those hot days. Ideally target to take a couple sips of fluid every two or three miles on really hot days. Everyone is unique so this still might not be enough on really hot days. However, it is better to consume plenty of fluids early on in the ride to help reduce the chance of hydration issues later on in the day.

5. Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride. Do not just get home and have some water! You need to replace protein, carbohydrates, electrolytes and water alone wont help your body recover quickly for that next planned activity. A quick recovery drink alone isn’t enough, you have to pay attention and keep hydrated the rest of the day too

Remember – Staying hydrated is unique to each individual. So please experiment with the steps above and the products available on the market to find out what works best for you. If you feel faint, dizzy or start to get a headache while out riding please stop and seek shade or an air conditioned room) and call medical assistance ASAP.

So, stay hydrated and have fun no matter how hot it gets!

Remember - Drink water before you get thirsty!

Remember – Drink water before you get thirsty!



A Twin Cities Gateway bicycle adventure, pre or post your soccer game

by Russ Lowthian

Before or after that next soccer game, at the National Sports Center, grab the handlebars of a bicycle for a true north Twin Cities Gateway bicycle adventure. Surrounding the soccer fields,  in Blaine, MN, the nine communities of the Gateway offer hundreds of miles of paved trail for you and family members to explore.

A Gateway bicycle adventure

Here are the maps of the bike-friendly Twin Cities Gateway communities: Anoka; Blaine; Coon Rapids; Fridley; Ham Lake; Lino Lakes; Mounds View; New Brighton; and Shoreview. All unique in their own way, each offers relaxed small town-type atmospheres with plenty to do.

So take a deep breath as you grip your handlebars

Enjoying a Twin Cities Getaway bicycle adventure you will feel as if you’re deep in the country as several communities here border the Mississippi River Trail. Along with several nature parks, it can expand your personal playground while visiting. Options, traveling by bike include stopping along a lake to go swimming or fishing; play a round of disc golf; go birding; explore one of the many parks; or travel the trail through the chain of lakes by bike or rent a canoe. You can even satisfy your inner sports desire by visiting the velodrome track on the grounds at the National Sports Center.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a some fishing.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway if wetting a line and catching some fish are a part of your agenda. 

Off-road trails and parks

You can take the Rum River Regional Trail down to where it meets the MRT, maybe stopping in historic downtown Anoka along the way? There is also the scenic trails in Bunker Hills Regional Park offering heavily wooded and prairie flower landscapes. Or, take the thrilling Coon Creek Regional Trail that connects to the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and the MRT.

Stop along the trail in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

Stop along the trail, in several of the parks in the Twin Cities Gateway for a round of disc golf.

For more extensive rides you can also explore the trails along the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve. Or, take the Rice Creek West Regional Trail back to the Mississippi River. This trail passes through Long Lake Park which has several trails that take you by the park’s namesake and Rush Lake. Another option is the trails in the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park which is filled to the brim and full of beautiful scenery as you switch from one trail to the next.

The velodrome at the National Sports Center

If you’re tired of riding trails and want more of a challenge, check out the velodrome at the National Sports Center. Especially their ‘Thursday nights under the lights’, the wooden track is open to the public for single speed fun. The season begins in late spring and through the summer. Check out their schedule for more details.

Twin Cities Gateway area bike shops and rental services

Car’s Bike Shop | 2661 County Road I, Mounds View, MN 55112 | 763-784-6966
Jerry’s Schwinn | 4136 Coon Rapids Blvd. N.W., Minneapolis, MN 55433, USA| 763- 421-4270
Pioneer Cycle    | 12741 Central Ave. N.E., Blaine 55434 |  763-755-8871

For more info on the Twin Cities Gateway 

Here you will find more details on where to stay, play, and explore this nine-city area.

More places to bike and explore in Minnesota

Check out the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

‘Ride the Ridges’ out of Winona, are up for the challenge?

How far, how high? how tough you ask? With ‘Ride the Ridges’ (RTR) bike ride, out of Winona, MN, you choose the level of challenge you want with four routes options. Ranging from 18 miles to a Century, Ride the Ridges features something for everyone.

If you up for the challenge and believe you will exceed your planned level of endurance this summer here is a memorable way to test those glutes, thighs and calf muscles. In its seventh year, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, the Winona Rotary Club is expanding its annual road tour event. This ‘Ride the Ridges‘ event will take riders through some of the most scenic areas in Southeastern Minnesota.  Participants of RTR will pedal into lush valleys riding alongside cascading streams then up into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Will you be up for the challenge?

Bike Routes on Riding the Ridges

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

Choose one of four RTR routes, each having hills, valleys, and spectacular views. All routes have rest stops and SAG support!

Registration, with a stunning jersey available

Early registration is through September 1 and includes a pair of RTR socks, rest stops, SAG support, post picnic and party. If you like the jersey, orders close Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

The RTR benefits the Winona Rotary Clubs – Feed My Starving Children program. Can’t ride, donations are always welcome!

Visiting Winona

Check here for places to stay, eating establishments and attractions when visiting.

What past riders say about RTR

You have to do this ride if you enjoy biking. Great roads, great event!

  • The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this event one to remember.
  • Ride The Ridges is as good as it gets when it comes to bike tours. It offers great scenery, safe roads, superb organization, wonderful volunteers, excellent rest stops, mechanical support and a choice of distances…….everything a cyclist could ask for.
  • Ride the Ridges had the best rest stops and volunteers. The food selection was excellent. The volunteers were extremely friendly. I also loved the HAM operators supporting the ride.
  • See more comments here.

For more places to ride this Fall

See the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide.

The 20th Tour D’ Amico photo recap shows the fun many enjoyed on the 4th

by Russ Lowthian

In this photo recap, the Hiawatha Bicycling Club (HBC) celebrates the Tour D’ Amico (TDA) bike ride and picnic for the 20th year. A premier 4th of July bicycle celebration, it all began as a fun club gathering to bring old and new friends together to build membership and community ties. With the slogan “Eat Well, Laugh Often and Ride” the tradition of Tour D’ Amico hasn’t changed much over the years with the long-standing partnership with D’ Amico and Sons Restaurants. Each year, on Independence Day, the Tour offers several scenic route options with a fabulous picnic lunch at the end. No different this year, the delicious buffet was served al fresco style, around the water fountain at the Golden Valley D’ Amico’s location. Delicacies include special pasta salads, fresh fruit, dessert bars, and beverages as you will notice in some of the pictures below. Enjoy by all!

A special thanks to Hoang Pham for helping me shoot some of the photos you are about to enjoy.

This first picture shows Ed Newman (The 2019 TDA Director) and some of his staff enjoying dinner at D’Amicos in Golden Valley, after some preliminary TDA set-up the evening before.

Ed (in white cap) and some of the TDA Crew enjoying a meal after the preliminary set up the evening before.

Along with all the HBC volunteers it takes to make this annual holiday celebration a success, a special thank’s the TDA sponsor: D’Amico & Sons, Plymouth Hyvee, Bread Smith, Great Harvest, Kwik Trip, Tonka Cycle, Brown’s Bicycles, and Wheely Good Bikes. Please stop in and thank them for their generosity.

The 20th Tour D’ Amico bike ride and celebration

First thing in the morning as riders arrived, HBC volunteers were there to greet and direct them to where they should park their cars in the complimentary parking area.

One of our Happy TDA volunteers directing riders into the lot to park their cars.

At the registration area, riders visited with old and new friends while checking in.

TDA riders checking in for the 2019 4th of July ride.



Heading out on the first leg of TDA

With a few adjustments to the 21, 29, 42 and 62-mile routes, from previous years, riders headed towards the Plymouth Station.

TDA rider ready to roll, heading out of D’ Amico’s from the Golden Valley Shopping Center.

We caught these biker chicks heading out with Steve from Tonka Cycle in the background cheering them on.

Lifetime memories were made between this father and son duo.

Families with children of all ages had fun on TDA

Notice the great jersey this TDA rider is wearing? You can still order one, see below!

Happy TDA riders on routes riding towards the Plymouth Station.

The first TDA rest stop

These biker chicks enjoyed the shade and snacks provided by the Plymouth Hyvee while socializing at this rest stop.

Here Papa Wheely (Jeremy) is making some adjustments to keep this rider on the course.

More happy TDA riders enjoying the snacks provided by Hyvee.

A special thanks to Plymouth Hyvee and Wheely Good Bike Shop for making this rest stop possible.

On the way to Wayzata

With hydration and energy needs covered riders were back on their selected route, making their way to D’ Amico’s in Wayzata.

More riders having fun at a mid-point turn.

Here on Hunter Drive, the 29, 42 and 62-miler come together rolling down this scenic country lane.

There is always a show-off on the ride!

Riding downtown, motorists are courteous to cyclists making the community of Wayzata a bike-friendly place to ride.

You may have a chance to ride next to a vintage big wheel bike, as these TDA riders enjoyed while passing through downtown Wayzata.

The next rest stop D’ Amico’s in Wayzata

A special thanks to D’Amico & Sons Restaurant and Tonka Cycle & Ski for making this rest stop possible.

Our HBC volunteers at the Wayzata stop were eager to dish up samples of two new D’ Amico salads to try.




TDA riders out in front of D’ Amico’s

More TDA riders out in front at the Wayzata D’ Amico’s.

With that smile, you know the food is delicious.

A group photo before leaving for Hopkins.

Steve from Tonka Cycle, checking over the drive train on an e-bike.

An orange smile that compliments here jersey.

Along Lake Minnetonka to Hopkins

Rolling out on the next leg of their ride.

Leaving D’ Amico’s in Wayzata riders enjoy a cool southwest breeze off the lakes while riding along the shoreline on their way to Hopkins.


TDA riders getting ready to roll out.

One last look as riders arriving, departing and enjoying the delicious samples of foods before returning back to Golden Valley.

On the road again

A thumbs up, from this biker chick, for a beautiful day.

This lakeshore drive (McGinty Road) is popular with all types of activity as out TDA rider, following, observed.

A very happy TDA rider!

One of our HBC Ride Leaders, checking the route markings on the course.

Haooy TDA riders enjoying the route.

Not everyone is as formal as this TDA rider. I hope he isn’t expecting white table linens at the picnic?

Another father/daughter duo enjoying this year’s Tour D’ Amico.

Rolling through the neighborhoods in Hopkins the next rest stops was just ahead in Burns Park.

The Hopkins rest stop

Hydration and energy snacks were the name-of-the-game here.

A new location, due to the construction of the Southwest LRT, the Burns Park offered a relaxing atmosphere for TDA riders who stopped. A special thanks to BreadSmith, Great Harvest, KwikTrip and Brown’s Bicycles for making this rest stop possible.

John, from Brown’s Bicycle Shop, was there to help with any mechanical needs.

This rest stop had a place to cool off as some TDA riders indulged.

Cute, but sunglasses are for your eyes, not your teeth?


Time to head back for a D’ Amico’s 4th of July picnic buffet.

A short distance from the Hopkins Rest Stop, TDA riders turning onto the Cedar Lake Trail.

Heading back to Golden Valley.

All the hydration and energy stops paid off, these TDA riders looked in good form.

Many flower gardens, along the TDA Routes, were also enjoyed throughout the day!


Back to Golden Valley for a delicious picnic

Back at D’ Amico’s, in Golden Valley, TDA riders enjoyed a sinfully delicious picnic spread.

So many choices, oh my!

With a packet of mayo in hand, this TDA rider is ready to indulge.

Enjoy a 4th of July picnic lunch around the water fountain.

Happy TDA riders with a great picnic lunch, well deserved.

These TDA riders enjoying the picnic al fresco style around the water fountain.

More happy TDA riders.

She said and I quote ” If you missed all the fun this year, don’t forget to mark your calendar for TDA next year, you won’t regret it”!


Don’t be a stranger, Hiawatha Bike Club offers rides through the year

For all that have ridden TDA, thank you, the Hiawatha Bike Club enjoys sharing the routes they ide. Check the HBC Calendar and come ride with them throughout the year. Otherwise, “Eat Well, Ride Often” and they will see you on the 4th, in 2020.

Here in this bike pic, digging through our summer archives, we captured this fun photo of riders on the Rock-n-Roll the Lakes last summer in Albert Lea. See more fun photos on their Facebook page.

Benefiting the Bike Alliance, two rides creates a Minnesota doubleheader

by Russ Lowthian,

If you haven’t finalized plans for your #NextBikeAdventure consider a Minnesota doubleheader with the Rock n’ Roll the Lakes this Saturday and Tour of Saints, on Sunday. Both day-of bike bicycle touring events benefit the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and offer several route options to fit your style of riding.

A Minnesota doubleheader of rides

This Bike Pic Thursday, digging through the archives, we caught these riders enjoying the Rock around the Lakes, in Albert Lea, MN, coming July 13th. 

Fun riding Rock N’ Roll the Lakes, in Albert Lea, MN, coming July 13th.

This Saturday, July 13th, Rock N’ Roll the Lakes in southern Minnesota takes place

A strong hours drive south on Interstate 35W from the Twin Cities, after passing the I-90 crossroad pull into Albert Lea and prepare for a day or weekend of outdoor fun. Known as ‘The Land Between the Lakes’ the city is also the hometown of the rock-n-roll icon, Eddie Cochran and Marian Ross (Remember Mrs. C from Happy Days?).

Today's bike pic, we look at the fun everyone is having now that summer is here. In this photo we captured the these two biker chicks riding 'Rock N' Roll the Lakes' in Albert Lea this last Saturday.

Two biker chicks enjoying ‘Rock N’ Roll the Lakes’ in Albert Lea last year.

With a fitting name for this annual ride, Albert Lea knows how to rock! Riders can choose from the 10, 30 or 50-miles SAG-supported routes. All three courses hug picturesque lake shores and offer a variety of beautiful southern Minnesota scenery.  Click here for more information and to register. Make it a weekend, check out these lodging opportunities in the area.

On Sunday, July 14th is the Tour of Saints in Central Minnesota

Rest stops with sinfully delicious food makes riders smile throughout the tour.

It’s not a race, it’s a heavenly little ride touring the saintly communities on the west side of St. Cloud, MN. At this time each summer more than 1,000 touring cyclists meander along quiet roads with rolling green landscape, from one saintly city to the next. A celebration of bicycling that will benefit BikeMN, the Tour of Saints bicycle ride starts and ends in St. Joseph.

Enjoy 18, 35, or 50-mile options. All three routes begin at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph and are designed to offer the most scenic and pleasant routes. Riders enjoy food and drink at rest stops on each course. Read more about the Tour and routes here. Make it a weekend reserve a room in St Cloud here.

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN)

See how these two rides this weekend, the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic in September and the Mankato River Ramble in October benefit BikeMN.

A safe and fun adrenaline sport this may be the last year, for a while, to try or watch track cycle racing in Minnesota. Track or velodrome racing has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels”. Blazing speed, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes make Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around.

Last chance to experience track cycle racing in Minnesota, for a while

An exciting and fun sport, this may be the last year for a while to try or watch track cycle racing in Minnesota. Track or velodrome racing at the National Sports Center (NSC) has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels.” At blazing speeds, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes make Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around. One of the few wooden tracks still left in the U.S. the track at NSC has now been repaired for its last season of hair raising fun.

At first glance, track cycle racing is a chaotic, confusing sport. After you have seen a race, the sport leaves a memorable impression that is amplified by its simplicity. With only one gear and no brakes, the track bikes used are the epitome of simplicity.

The track in Blaine is near its end

Built to host the 1990 Olympic Festival track racing events and National Championships, the NSC Velodrome is one of the most unique tracks in the world. It is the only outdoor wood-plank velodrome in the Western Hemisphere and is slated for demolition in 2019. So, this may be your last chance to experience the excitement of the track at the National Sports Center. Through the 2018 season (May to September) you can still come out and test out your skills and speed at the velodrome. Like many of the Twin Cities Gateway attractions in the area, each Thursday evening, ladies can come out and have some fun in between several men’s races. Take a look at the schedule here for several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

Test your Olympian skills in Blaine on Minnesota's only Velodrome track.

Test your Olympian skills in Blaine on Minnesota’s only Velodrome track.

Learn to ride program

Check out their Learn to Ride Program offering riders as young as 12 years of age the opportunity to ride one of the finest velodromes in the country.

The schedule has several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

The schedule has several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

















Ride or watch, here is the skinny on velodrome racing

Learn all about track cycle racing.  Find the specifics about velodromes, the details about track bicycles. This is the place to learn about the fastest sport on two wheels and to the different type of races held on the track.

Track cycle racing will come to an end in 2019

Without the support of the cycling community, the existing velodrome track could come to an end in 2019.  The NSC Velodrome in Blaine is one of only 26 cycle tracks in the United States. Plans are now to demolish the NSC track after the 2019 racing season. That will end one of the most storied eras in Minnesota cycling history. However, the Minnesota cycling community is working on a replacement when the Blaine velodrome is demolished.

The next generation of Minnesota’s sports leadership has developed a vision for a multi-purpose community bicycle facility. A non-profit organization the MN Cycling Center is working to build this important cycling venue. A place where training and racing can be provided year round. One thing that all cyclists can help with immediately, is writing their legislators and asking for their support in this upcoming legislative session.

30 years of Minnesota track cycling history 

Since the 1990’s the NSC Velodrome has hosted hundreds of events. Attracting thousands of racers from around the world and teaching them to ride a track bike.  It has produced Olympic medalists and dozens of elite national and world champions. Some like multiple Olympic Silver Medalist Kelly Catlin, of Arden Hills, who learned to ride the track here.  She notes, “It is an incredibly rare asset to have a velodrome, much less an international-standard track. It makes Minneapolis one of only a handful of cities in North America that can host international-caliber events, it would be a despicable waste to lose such a treasure.”

More to see in the Twin Cities Gateway when visiting the track

When in the area you will find many more activities to enjoy. From curling, disc golf, to miles of bike trails and road routes, you will find many opportunities for fun in the Twin Cities Gateway.

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 and sweating kick 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 heat stroke 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!


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,

If you have three days or more open and 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 quiet city streets make 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, down and around the trails of this mountain bike park. At the top, the view was worth a few moments. But, what was really exciting was learning about the areas remote logging roads and trails in Beltrami Island State Forest. For the fat, gravel, and mountain bike fans 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. Only 13-miles south of the Canadian Border and 27-mile to Lake of the Woods, by auto, Roseau 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 on foot can appreciate the outdoor paradise the area offers. Nearly forty percent of Roseau County is accessible through state and county parks, 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 blueberries or just go for a hike and explore. Plus, the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, near Roseau, is on Minnesota’s premier bird-watching list.

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, along the Roseau River. The park provides a variety of activities including paved trail and mountain biking on Mount Roseau.  The single track 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 feature 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, the lake, and wildlife to observe. 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 and kayaking are popular. While here, also enjoy the opportunity to view rare birds such as bald eagles, great grey owls, Sandhill cranes and a variety of warblers. Wildlife sightings found in the area include 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. Along the forest roads, you might find evidence of a former homestead foundation or village. As s you explore, you will for sure want to stop and enjoy some blueberries when you hit a patch.

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 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 plant tour and the museum. 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. In the downtown area, you will find many antique shops to browse and reminisce about the past.

Places to stay for a true north biking experience

On my last visit, while exploring this true north destination 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 to Roseau, today.

Use protection, it could save your skin….

from Barry H. Oberholzer Jr.
We have all heard it before….use protection. In the late 1990’s Baz Luhrmann released a song called Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen…

If you have never heard it or can’t recall the song. I have uploaded it for you. Have A Listen.

We all get caught up in preparing for all those fun summer outings. We check our equipment, we focus on our nutrition, we work out and try to stay hydrated. However, I realized after my last couple of triathlons that I forgot one of the most important things. You need to apply sunscreen something I didn’t at my last couple of outdoor events.

Re-apply sunscreen throughout for added protection

Whether you are doing a race or touring the countryside, you are going to spend the better part of your day in the sun. If you remembered to start the day off with sunscreen applied, chances are as you head into the second part of the day’s adventure, the lotion has started to disappear from rubbing, sweating or maybe from a swim incorporated into your day’s activities. This is where you should take the time to re-apply. Believe me, 30- seconds of time to make sure you are covered will protect you from the worst UV rays which you will encounter on the second leg of your day’s activities.

I learned this the hard way. I always knew you should apply sunscreen thoroughly before any outing or race, but didn’t really think about while participating in my last Triathlon. The time I spent out in the direct sunlight, over the course of the day, adding the change from a wet-suit to a tri-suit really took a toll on my skin. Not reapplying lotion – I really got burned.

Like a mentioned earlier, we focus so intensely on our nutrition, how we are going to fuel and hydrate and keep our body going, but we sometimes forget our biggest organ is exposed to direct sunlight for many, many hours. That is why one of my newest additions to my transition bag is SPF 50+ water/sweat proof lotion. It is just as important as that banana/GU Gel and a bottle of water.

So if I could give you advice from one newbie to another newbie, wear sunscreen!

See Barry’s blog here.


The perfect wearable and convenient bike lock, the Hiplok Spin

Russ Lowthian,

Testing out the new Hiplok Spin, trail riding and running errands this last week, the lock offered me hassle-free convenience in keeping my bike safe. Having a bike lock along to secure your investment is a good practice, though it can be cumbersome. With a cable or u-lock, how to store it if you don’t have a large enough saddle bag, or if it doesn’t clip on so it won’t rattle-around or snag an item of clothing is a question? Now with the simplicity of the Hiplok Spin, wear it as a visible belt, and as fast as you can click the lock, you are ready to leave the bike secure.

The neon yellow Hiplok Spin offers added visibility when riding.


The Hiplok Spin bike lock makes multiple stops convenient

Running into the store, near the trailhead, was fast, easy, and secure with the Hiplok Spin.

It’s a perfect bike lock when you are meeting a friend at a restaurant for lunch, picking up a book at a library or running in to use the restroom at a trailhead. A well-designed and thought-out wearable bike lock system it is easy to adjust, making it hassle-free when putting it on or taking it off. With the added convenience of an integrated four digit, resettable combination lock, there’s no need to carry a key. This wearable, lightweight bike lock, available in black or neon yellow for added visibility, adjusts easily to fit your waist (26″ to 44″) without being locked to your body.

When the Hiplok Spin may not be enough

When planning to leave my bike in a questionable high-traffic area, the Spin would not be my solo-choice. For more extended periods of storing my bike out in a public place, I prefer using a combination of a cable and D-lock. It provides a more secure solution to protect my bike from theft when I am away from it at a meeting or the theater. See Hiplok’s helpful bicycle security chart; it may help you find the right lock for your ride.

Ideally, you should always use the most secure lock your budget will allow with a secondary lock for wheels and accessories. However, in the real world, carrying extra items while biking, isn’t always practical. Each ride is different, and you need to balance security with practicality in choosing the right lock for securing your bike.