Category Archives: News

The Minnesota Scoop, a tasty tour across the state with extra rewards

Each time you ride your bike, stop for some ice cream and get rewarded by having your Minnesota Scoop punch card. Eating ice cream is so delicious, and enjoying well-crafted ice cream is its own reward, but the Minnesota Office of Tourism has sweetened the pot. If you are looking at adding some tasty fun to your next bike or outdoor adventure this summer and love ice cream this reward is for you.

On this bike pic Sunday we found this biker chick enjoying a tasty treat.

Once you’ve completed your Minnesota Scoop punch card, submit your entry below for a free Minnesota Scoop t-shirt. Plus, you can register for a chance to win grand prize travel packages all across the state. Prizes available include weekend hotel stays across the state, museum tickets, and restaurant gift cards. You could wrap up your summer enjoying a weekend away that’s uniquely Minnesota.

This Bike Pic, Ice Cream Smiles Sunday, enjoy a sweet treat with friends – before, during or after your #NextBike Adventure.

Participating Minnesota Scoop Shops

You’ll find some funky flavors from participating ice cream shops across the state. Nearly 100 shops in Minnesota are participating, each creating a special #OnlyinMN creation. Here are a few of the special treats we have discovered along the trail while exploring the maps in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide:

At Two Scoops in Anoka, try the Fat Elvis.

Blast Softserve on Rose St. in Owatonna, pairs Costas Candies, with a special blend of their ice cream to create a #OnlyinMN treat. The combination of Costas’ Maple Buttercreme and creamy vanilla soft serve is worth a visit here to Owatonna. 

CannonBelles in Cannon Falls, also offers some of the exotic, like Big Muddy and Black Licorice.

It’s always fun when riding in the Twin Cities Gateway to stop for ice cream.

How to get a punch card to get rewarded

When you enter a participating ice cream shop, pick up a punch card and get it stamped. Once you’ve visited one of the 100 shops five times (and yes, you can repeat the same shop), upload an image of your completed punch card here.

When out riding, with friends, stopping for a sweet treat!

After completing the punch card, you’ll get a free Minnesota Scoop t-shirt (they’re truly pretty fashionable). The T-shirts are limited to the first 500 claimants, so start your adventure ASAP!

In addition, you’ll be entered into the sweepstakes to win a grand travel package and other weekly giveaways. For example, you could win a hotel stay in the Twins Cities or the Iron Range, museum tickets, or restaurant gift cards. The sweepstakes entry period ends August 1.

Remember to eat ice cream while enjoying your favorite Minnesota outdoor activity, and get rewarded!

On this bike pic Sunday, we found this biker chick enjoying a tasty treat with her daughter, on an overnight stop, on the ride across Iowa on RAGBRAI.

On this bike pic Sunday, we found this biker chick enjoying a tasty treat with her daughter.

Also, check back to HaveFunBiking.com each week for our Ice Cream Smiles Sunday Pic of Day. You may notice a smiling face and we invite you to submit your photo’s to [email protected].

Have Fun!

 

The Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour has split into three fun weekends

The Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour has a whole new look to keep everyone safe in 2021. By splitting the event over three different weekends, they have created the ultimate in safe social distancing. Helping to make sure everyone has a memorable time. This year’s tour #1 is July 31st, Tour #2 is August 28th, and Tour #3 is September 18th. Regardless of the three Mesabi Tour dates you choose, you will experience the same outstanding customer service and reliable logistics they have been famous for over the past 15 years.

The Mesabi Trail Tour, on the trail, crossing one of the iron ore tracks.

While you pedal (fully supported) along one of Minnesota’s premiere paved bicycle trails, you will encounter historic & scenic points of interest, food & music at rest stops, and a finish line celebration complete with a picnic lunch and more music!

Cost of riding the Mesabi Trail Tour in 2021

The cost of riding this year’s event (cost per weekend ride) is $45 for riders 17 years and older.  The ride is still free for kids 16 and under, with a parent or guardian riding along.

Noticeable changes to the 2021 Mesabi Trail Tour

If you have ridden the Mesabi Trail Tour before, here are the changes you will see for 2021:

  • Instead of one big tour in August – choose from three smaller tours throughout the biking season.
  • Instead of one long linear route – each tour will travel out & back on the Mesabi Trail from the same location – you will encounter TWO-WAY bicycle traffic.
  • Instead of four linear routes – choose from two routes of about 25 & 50 miles, out & back on the Trail.
  • The number of participants will be limited to 200 per tour each weekend instead of accepting an unlimited number of riders in the past.
  • Instead of opening registration in January – registration will open six weeks before each tour, running for about four weeks or until limits are reached.

The scenery is stunning along the Mesabi Trail.

Spring, summer or Fall your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made from.

Spring, Summer, or Fall, your riding experience on the Mesabi Trail is what great memories are made from.

The view is stunning as you cross over the Rouchleau Mine Pit. Open to both walkers and bikers in the summer, and snowmobilers can enjoy crossing here in the winter. The contrast between the aqua blue water and the red cliffs below is breathtaking. The bridge spans across an abandoned mine pit that was named after Louis Rouchleau. It is now filled with water that is 450 feet at its deepest point.  With many natural springs feeding this three miles long, by five miles wide open pit, it is the main water supply for the City of Virginia.

More information to plan your visit to the Mesabi Trail

For more information and lodging options, visit the Iron Range Tourism Bureau: https://ironrange.org/motel

Be sure to add to your summer biking itinerary a visit to the Mesabi Trail. This paved trail system currently offers over a hundred miles to explore. The trail will reach 155 miles when complete, connecting Grand Rapids, at the Mississippi River Trail to Ely, next to the Boundary Waters. To learn more, go to: http://www.mesabitrail.com/.

A bicycling staycation from Lakeville to Bloomington and back

As traveling closer to home is the new norm, with economic and environmental concerns, a bicycling staycation may open up your eyes to new horizons. The use of sustainable travel, like a bike, allows an adventurer a chance to see points of interest and landscapes not normally 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, two questions: How many miles can you comfortably ride in a given day? And, what towns 10 to 50-miles away fit into your range, so your next adventure is memorable?

Sara’ 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 that we publish in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

So exactly what is a bicycling staycation?

A staycation, according to Wikipedia, is a day trip with a distance from a person’s home to another location they would like to visit. Then, adding a bicycle or other mode of transportation or a combination of both (multimodal transportation) to the adventure can expand the fun.

Sara’s staycation in the south Twin Cities Area may give you ideas.

Until recently, most of Sara and her husband’s bike adventures had been day trips. This year over the 4th of July weekend, they enjoyed their first bicycling staycation.  According to Sara, in her 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’ bicycling staycation from Lakeville to Bloomington and back.

After spending the night in Bloomington, we biked back via a different route with even more fun stops.” Read on here for their route, recommended stops, and helpful tips for creating your own 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 here 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, mountainin biking along the Minnesota River is a fun place to shred some trails for those looking for an off-road adventures. 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.

Back to Lakeville using quiet neighborhood streets and paved bike/ped trails, the western route Sara used in her staycation was approximately 26-miles back.

Map and bike route

Thanks to Hiawatha Bicycling Club for access to their mobile map. Here are the turn-by-turn directions if you want to plan a bicycling staycation encompassing the Lakeville to Bloomington bicycling. Enjoy!

The trails are scenic and fun in Minnesota's Hometown feel community, Hutchinson.

Bike around Hutchinson and enjoy Minnesota’s hometown feel

by Andrew Ellis

As tourism opportunities open up again, I wanted to revisit Hutchinson, MN. A bike-friendly community with Minnesota’s hometown feel and small-town charm, it is worth checking out. A short drive west of the Twin Cities, it’s one of those areas where it’s easy to lose track of time as you enjoy all the fresh air. Arriving in town, you have several biking options with several lakes and parks nearby for added recreational pleasure. If you enjoy pedaling around rather than driving when you reach your destination, you will have no trouble creating some new memories riding your bike.

Riding the Luce Line Trail through Hutchinson

Riding the Luce Line Trail through Hutchinson on the Jaycee’s Water Carnival, June 8th.

Aside from mountain biking, trail riding, and touring, the countryside offers more opportunities than you can cover in one day. Besides, you can immerse yourself in the local arts created by those who inspire the natural beauty around them. Spend some time learning about the town’s history. Or, if you are looking for a unique place to eat or a gift to take home, there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you to discover.

Minnesota’s hometown feel is in bike-friendly Hutchinson

Located a little over an hour from the Twin Cities, the community here is also known as ‘Minnesota’s Hometown.’  It’s a great place to escape the often road-rage-inducing atmosphere of the big city. Here you can ride the Luce Line State Trail to clear your mind and let the calm country scenery work its magic.

Nothing is better than McCormick’s Family Restaurant in Hutchinson to start your day and plan your ride. Voted the number one place for Eggs Benedict in Minnesota, their pancakes and waffles are good too.

When it comes time to take a break from pedaling, there is no shortage of attractions to keep your adventure moving forward. Hutchinson has its share of one-of-a-kind eateries, and if you’re looking for some more action outside, you can try your hand at some paintball.

Riding opportunities in and around Hutchinson

Its easy to get out to Stahls Lake Park, from Hutchinson.

It’s easy to get out to Stahls Lake Park from Hutchinson.

Like many small towns in Minnesota, pedaling around isn’t difficult. Here in Hutchinson, there is one big trail system that takes you beyond the town limits. In fact, you can ride the trail all the way to the Twin Cities. And, if you’re up for the challenges, you will find a few mountain biking opportunities.

The Luce Line State Trail

The Luce Line State Trail stretches 63 miles (from Plymouth to Cosmos) and is a popular attraction for bikers, hikers, snowmobilers, and equestrian enthusiasts. The paved trail includes about 21 miles from the west Carver County line, through Hutchinson, to the west McLeod County line. To learn more about the Luce Line, go to www.luceline.com.

Mountain Biking

Tartan Park is located in Hutchinson and is a skills park that is perfect for beginners to advanced mountain bikers.

Tartan Park is located in Hutchinson and is a perfect skill park for beginners to advanced mountain bikers.

Those wishing for more than paved, level trails are in luck. Thanks to the Hutchinson Area Mountain Bike Association, there are two tracks within reach: Tartan Terrain Park and Stahls Lake Park. Tartan Park is located in town limits and is a skills park that caters to beginners and advanced. If you want to venture outside the town limits to Stahl’s Lake Park, there’s a nice single-track that caters to all experience levels. Two double track loops range from .5 miles to 1 mile long. One single-track loop is over 2 miles.

Road Biking Opportunities

Like many of Minnesota’s smaller communities, navigating the area on your bike couldn’t be easier. The roads allow you to see all the area’s beautiful scenery, perfect for your next Instagram post. You can use the roads to explore the area’s parks, shops and more. Plus, you will find plenty of city trails that help you around as well.

Come, enjoy the bike-friendly fun in Minnesota's 'hometown feel' of fun.

Come, enjoy the bike-friendly fun in Minnesota’s ‘hometown feel’ of fun.

For more information on playing or staying in a community with Minnesota’s hometown feel. Check out our HaveFunBiking, At-a-Glance Hutchinson article for your next bike adventure. For places to stay and campgrounds, see Explore Hutchinson.

The best way to verify you are buying the best bike for you is to test ride a lot.

Buying a new bike? Test ride tips to make the most of your time

by John Brown,

The best way to find the right bike for you is to do some research on models you like. Then verify their size to your body and test riding your choices a lot. How do you make the best use of your time while test riding these bikes with so many choices? Read on for a complete list of how to test ride efficiently.

Test ride bike plan research

Any good test ride begins with research. First, review what type of bicycle you would like, then check out the websites of some popular brands. Please pay close attention to the prices of each bike and what it buys you. A few things to look for are the number of gears, what type of suspension it has, tire size, frame material, and brake type. Once you have gotten a general sense of what is available, you can plan a trip to the bike shop.

Pick a shop

Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Before looking further, call a shop closest to you and verify they have the models you want to test ride.

Once you have researched a few bikes you like, give some local dealers a call. Most brand’s websites have a dealer locator to help you find the closest shop. Give a call to the shops closest to you and verify they have the models you want to ride. Because shops can’t stock every possible model in every possible size, call to ensure they have the right model in a size that is close to what you are looking for.

Make a date to test ride.

Check the weather and your schedule, then pick a good time to head into the shop. Keep in mind that shops and roads are less busy during the workweek. Therefore, Monday thru Friday is the ideal time to test ride bikes. If you need to go in on the weekend, call the shop and see when they are least busy and make an appointment if possible.

Dress appropriately

It makes no sense to test ride bicycles if you are not dressed for the occasion. Wear your Jersey, Shorts, bring your helmet, and bring shoes and pedals if you ride clipless. Another helpful thing is to bring your existing bicycle with you. They can replicate the setup of your current bike to new bikes you would like to test ride.

Bring your ID

When test riding bikes, you are potentially borrowing thousands of dollars from the shop. Therefore, it’s expected for shops to ask for some form of collateral. At the minimum, bring your ID and a major credit card.

The test ride

Test rides don’t need to take hours, but a three-minute spin is rarely enough time to make a real impression. Expect to take at least 15 minutes on each bike, with more time spent on the first few bikes you ride. When riding, try to focus on how the bike accelerates, how easily it changes direction, and how stable it feels. A great way to do this is to pick a set route with some flat area, some climbs, and at least one good descent. Riding the same course with different bikes makes comparing them easier.

Narrow it down to bikes

Once you get a feel for a few bikes, you can start narrowing down your choices. I find it best to pick two and then ride them back to back, concentrating on fit and comfort rather than speed and stability. Have the shop begin dialing in your fit on these two bicycles to see which one really is the best for you. Once you have a bike that rides well and fits well, you are ready to buy.

Buy everything you will need

A bike that rides great is the key ingredient in a great bike ride, but it’s not everything. Remember that your new bike needs things like a water bottle cage, kickstand, lights, and maybe clipless pedals or a better fitting saddle. Consider all the situations you may run into on your new bike and buy the products you need to be prepared.

Hopefully, your next bike purchase will be fun and informative.

The scenic Anoka bike loop offers fun exploring the river history there

At the confluence of the Rum and Mississippi Rivers, discover Anoka, with fun at every turn along its scenic bike loop. With its river city charm and designated the ‘Halloween Capital of the World’ this bicycle-friendly community in Minnesota is a place to explore. Riding your bike on the scenic bike loop you will discover several river-front parks and historic neighborhoods. 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. The perfect destination to visit with your bike.

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

The scenic Anoka 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.

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 the nature trails here. Along the walking paths 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 over to the 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

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

Now that summer is here and many traditional outdoor activities opening up post-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. Offering a beautiful bike route around Fountain Lake, then connecting to 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, this year the ride will take place July 10th. Offering cyclists, of all abilities, many fun, scenic Southern Minnesota route options for that #NextBikeAdventure, register today!

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, 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, it’s 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 trails and quiet residential streets.

After returning to the downtown area of Albert Lea, you will find many options for lunch. Then it’s 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 of 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. The park offers about seven miles of wide grass trails in a sequence of three separate loops, strung together alongside the State trail for mountain bikers. 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.

Both trail systems meander through the open prairie meadows with some young woodland near Lake Albert Lea throughout the park. 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 get you in and out of town safely. 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.

With these tips, wood ticks won’t haunt your next outdoor adventure

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Unless you enter the annual Cuyuna Woodtick Races, these bloodthirsty wood ticks are annoying and could be hazardous to your health. If you are biking or hiking on trails through the woods or in tall grass, beware as you have fun! These little critters, especially if they are deer ticks, can be nasty. Like the wood tick, the deer tick also lurks in any natural wilderness setting. However, they are small as a freckle, have tiny black legs, and maybe loaded with disease-causing pathogens or Lyme Disease.

Two wood ticks and a deer tick pose with Roosevelt dime for reference. photo by David Bosshart

Two wood ticks on the left pose with a deer tick next to a Roosevelt dime for reference. photo by David Bosshart

There is a remote possibility that you could get a deer or wood tick in a city park or on a paved bicycle trail, but the probability is very low. Especially on trails with the grass mowed along the edges.  Generally, these blood-sucking critters are only a problem if you are off biking or walking through tall grass and brush. Ticks tend to crawl up on vegetation, tall grass, and wood and wait to grab onto a passing animal or human.

Once attached to people or pets, deer ticks can be hard to find. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), their numbers are on the rise and are carrying harmful pathogens. Thanks to the CDC’s website, there are several things everyone should know about ticks to stay disease-free.

Wood Tick Bite Prevention

Before You Go Outdoors

  • Know where to expect ticks. Ticks live in grassy, brushy, or wooded areas or even on animals. Spending time outside walking your dog, biking, camping, or hiking could bring you in close contact with ticks. Many people get ticks in their own yard or neighborhood, in rain gardens, and in natural areas
  • Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Permethrin can be used to treat boots, clothing, and camping gear and remain protective through several cleanings
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanoate. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs. Always follow product instructions
  • Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old
  • Do not use products containing OLE or PMD on children under 3 years old
  • Avoid contact with ticks, especially in wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter
  • Ride and walk in the center of the off-road trail.

After You Come Indoors

Diagram from the Center for Disease Control

Diagram from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • Check your clothing and gear for ticks. They may be carried into the house or your car on clothing or gear. Any ticks that are found should be removed. At home, tumble dry clothes in a dryer on high heat for 10 minutes to kill ticks on dry clothing after you come indoors. If the clothes are damp, they may need additional drying time. If the clothes require washing first, hot water is recommended. Cold and medium temperature water will not kill ticks
  • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, hydration saddle packs
  • Shower soon after being outdoors. Showering within two hours of coming indoors has been shown to reduce your risk of getting Lyme disease and may effectively reduce the risk of other tickborne diseases. Showering may help wash off unattached ticks, and it is a good opportunity to do a tick check
  • Check your body for ticks after being outdoors. Conduct a full-body check upon return from potentially tick-infested areas, including your own backyard. Use a hand-held or full-length mirror to view all parts of your body. If you are comfortable, another set of eyes to check is a good idea. Check these parts of your body and your child’s body for ticks:
  • Under the arms
  • In and around the ears
  • Inside belly button
  • Back of the knees
  • In and around the hair
  • Between the legs
  • Around the waist

Now that you are more aware and knowledgeable about being bit by these vampire-sucking parasites plan your #NextBikeAdventure and have some fun!

Breathing new life into the Minnesota oldest bike ride, that has connected families and friends for decades, moves to Shakopee, MN, Sunday, July 15.

The MN Ironman Bike Ride returns this summer to Shakopee

Russ Lowthian, HaveFun Biking.com

The Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride, which has connected families, friends, and communities for decades, will again return to Shakopee, August 14th. Free Bikes 4 Kidz (FB4K), the current beneficiary of the ride, is optimistic. With more being vaccinated and cases dropping, everyone will enjoy a bike ride that will be remembered!

Post pandemic, FB4K has adjusted its plans for another safe experience. A fun tour including great scenery, epic routes, and the Big Taste of Fun party in Shakopee’s Huber Park. Looking forward to welcoming you back again to the MN Ironman Bike Ride this summer. Save, and help FB4K’s put more kids on bikes by registering today!

What happens to your 2020 registration?

For those who registered last year, your entry from 2020 will be applied to the 2021 event.  2020 registered riders have or will receive instructions for applying their 2020 registration fee to the 2021 ride.

MN Ironman Bike Ride

Over the years, the MN Ironman Bike Ride is always fun!

Free Bikes 4 Kidz is re-energizing the oldest bike ride in the state.

“This is an opportunity for us to continue to bring families together for a day of fun while supporting our efforts to impact more children positively,” said Tia Martinson, Executive Director for the Minnesota division of Free Bikes 4 Kidz. “We continue to hear stories from people who are passionate about this event. With the second year in Shakopee, Ironman riders knew can continue making memories together all day.”

This Bike Pic, yeah it's Friday, we captured this biker dude out with his daughter enjoying some spring riding as the grass greens up.

A great ride for family time.

The MN Ironman Bike Ride

Presented again by Apple Autos, the ride starts at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 14th, at Huber Park in Shakopee. Several route options are available. Several ride itineraries are available depending on age and ability, and they include a five, 37, 68.5, and 100-mile course. A Family Fun Ride will also be taking place beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Rider registration

Each registration allows Free Bikes 4 Kidz to provide a bike and helmet for at least one child, and early registration by July 1st costs $60. The ticket price will increase to $70 up to August 12th when registration closes. Registration can be completed online at https://ironmanbikeride.org/. For local lodging and visitor options, click here.

Riders will return to a “Big Taste of Fun.”

The MN Ironman Bike Ride and Free Bikes 4 Kidz have partnered with The City of Shakopee and
JCI Shakopee for the “Big Taste of Fun” at Huber Park. The free event includes live music,
beverages, and food trucks from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The MN Ironman Bike Ride is fun for all ages!

The MN Ironman Bike Ride is fun for all ages!

About Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Free Bikes 4 Kidz is a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids ride into a happier,
healthier childhood by providing bikes to those most in need. The public donates gently used
bikes; we organize thousands of volunteers to clean and refurbish them, and then we give them
away to kids in need. www.FB4K.org

The summer is prime time for fun in the sun. Take a look at how to plan for an enjoyable, safe, and prepared bike trip this summer.

A guide to planning a safe and fun bike trip this summer

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Now that summer is in its prime, for fun in the sun, let’s plan a fun bike trip. While hundreds of people flock to the lakes and local pools for refreshment, many, like myself, will find refreshing the soul on two wheels the best way to go. Please take a look below at how I plan for an enjoyable bike trip through the summer.

A Short Bike Trip

Just because you are limited on time doesn’t mean you need to miss out on riding your bike. You can have fun right around your neighborhood! I have found that a great way to plan a short ride is first to determine a destination point. That destination can be an ice cream parlor, a road you have driven down but never seen up close, or maybe a nearby water park? Once you pick your destination, try to link in some sections of a bike path, rail trail, or some quiet back streets or road, even though they may not be the most direct route to your destination. After you pick a destination and a route, the rest of the planned excursion tends to materialize easily.

What To Bring Along

For a short trip, pack water and the tools to fix a flat. These rides usually only last an hour or so but can do a lot to help your peace of mind.

Bike Trip

Ice cream is always a great mid-ride snack, whether it’s a long or short bike trip.

A Long Bike Trip

It takes a bit more planning on a longer bike trip, though it follows the same order as above. Pick your destination with several attractions or points of interest close to one another. Then, add some bike-friendly routes, and the rest of the planned bike trip will materialize. On longer trips, it is also important to make sure your bike Is working well. Lube the chain, adjust the brakes, check your fit, or drop it off at your local shop for service at least two weeks before you plan to depart.

For longer trips, I like to employ guide books (Like our Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide) to find the best places to ride. Once you determine the location, reach out to local businesses like bike shops, hotels, business associations, or tourism boards to find more details about the area. As I mentioned before, a bike guide is a great place to start planning and reach out to the local tourism bureau. Bike paths and trails have become a popular attraction for most towns. The visitor center there is e more than happy to talk about their bike-friendly amenities and usually has the most up-to-date information. Also, consider using software programs like Ride with GPS, Map My Ride, and Strava for more route ideas.

Packing For A Longer Trip

Packing for a long trip is more involved than what a short trip normally requires. If you are driving a long distance or flying to get to the ride, you don’t want poor weather to keep you off your bike – so pack for the worst! For example, I once did a 24-hour long mountain bike race in West Virginia in July, and while the race started under sunny skies at 95 degrees, it was snowing on the top of the mountain that night. Please take a look at our comprehensive bike trip list for all the items you may be forgetting.

Bike safety

A great bike trip is a safe bike trip. There is no more important part of bike safety than a helmet that fits. While crashes are uncommon, they do happen, and a helmet is the best way to protect yourself from serious damage. Other than the helmet, practice riding safely with hand signals, situational awareness, and limited distractions to keep you out of trouble. If you are on a family trip, it’s also important to talk to your kids about bike riding safety.

Bring The Bike Lock

If your ride involves time stopping, maybe at a restaurant or ice cream parlor, be sure to lock your bike securely. Follow these three rules when locking your bike. One, Lock it to something secure. If the bike rack or a signpost you plan to lock your bike to isn’t secure, you are making a would-be bike thief’s job easier. Two, Lock the frame and at least one wheel of your bike. Locking just a rear-wheel or front wheel makes it easy for someone to walk away with the rest of your bike. Three, Lock your bike in a well-trafficked area. Bike thieves will be less likely to try and take your bike with witnesses around.

It’s All About The Fun

The most important part about making a bike trip memorable; it is all about fun. We all have days that start late, roads that get closed, out of the blue rain falls, and generally stuff that happens. Remember that the bike trip is all about the ride, not necessarily the destination so enjoy your time in the saddle.

Bike Trip

Always keep it fun!