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What is the right type of e-bike for me?

With the popularity of e-bikes on the rise, many questions regarding electric assist bikes are surfacing at HaveFunBiking, com. Many of these questions covered below emerged earlier this year at the E-bike Challenge Minneapolis and now at the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. Of the ten most asked questions, one of the first usually asked is what does an e-bike cost? Then it’s about the best battery/motor combination for your riding style and eight more that you can read about below.

Different types  of e-bike displays in the Eco-Building at the MN State Fair

Top 10 questions asked when selecting an e-bike.

1. What does an e-bike cost?

Has the idea of using an electric bike, called an e-bike, piqued your interest? If so you are in luck, the E-bike Challenge is coming to Minneapolis, MN.

Has the idea of touring by e-bike piqued your interest?

There are many variables when buying an electric bike, including the speed of the bike, distance, uses, weight (of the bike and battery), warranty, number of times you can charge the battery, and whether there is e-bike financing. Along with a good warranty, the quality of standard parts on the electric bike can increase the price from $2,000 to $6,000 or more. Plus, the added expense of having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability.

See more information on the cost of buying an electric bike here.

2. What are the payment options?

Enjoy the Micro-Mobility experience for hauling cargo or kids.

To get an electric bike that will fit your needs over the next two to five years, find out if the bike shop or bike manufacturer (if buying online) offers no- or low-interest loans, often for six to 36 months. Some lending institutions, like Affinity Plus, offer low-interest bicycle-specific loans and let you borrow 120% of the cost of the bike to allow you to buy accessories like helmets, locks, baskets/panniers, lights, etc.

See more information on financing here.

3. Does an e-bike come with a warranty, and how can I insure the bike?

Many bikes come with limited or full warranties. Typically, e-bikes may come with a 2-year warranty on parts, motors, and batteries. Some brands/companies have a 5-year, “no questions asked” comprehensive warranty. So, read the warranty before buying. A reputable e-bike company will have its warranty information on its website.

A warranty should be a part of the purchase price.

Insuring your bike is also recommended. Check if your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance can bundle an e-bike into your policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection, similar to automobile insurance, for your e-bike. Many companies, like AAA and Velosurance, even offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

For more information here on warranties and insuring an e-bike.

4. What are the different types and speeds of e-bikes?

There are two types of motors, the wheel hub type and a center crank model pictured here.

There are as many types of e-bikes or elect-assist bikes available! First, ask yourself, is your primary use for commuting, hauling cargo, off-road riding, touring, or riding in winter conditions? Once you know what your primary use will be, check out the nationally defined classifications below and your state DOT statutes for e-bikes:

  • Class 1: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, with a maximum speed of 20 mph.
  • Class 2: e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph allow for throttle assistance.
  • Class 3: e-bikes are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, with a maximum speed of 28 mph.
    Most states consider e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph “bicycles that can use all non-motorized bike routes.”

See more on the types and speeds of e-bikes here.

5. What’s the battery’s range and life before recycling?

A centerpost battery for an electric bike

A center post battery mount is standard for many electric bike models.

The general rule with a 36 volt, 10.5Ah (ampere-hours) battery should get 20 to 40 miles per charge with the average weight of rider + gear & cargo less than 200 pounds in ideal weather conditions. You’ll get fewer miles the higher the assist level you use. On low assist, you might be able to get 60 miles or more on a single charge. To maximize the life of your e-bike battery, try to charge the battery when it’s near empty. Then ride your e-bike a lot and charge it often.

Recycling your battery: Call2Recycle is helping e-bike owners recycle their batteries. On the right side of their website, please type in your zip code to get a list of places that will recycle your e-bike battery when it’s time to replace it.

For a more in-depth look at how volts x amps = watts can give you an approximate range, click here.

6. What is the weight limit of an e-bike, and what do they weigh?

There are many sizes and types of e-bikes and trikes to test ride.

Most manufacturers recommend a maximum combined weight of around 275 pounds for a rider and gear & cargo on an e-bike. Cargo bikes are meant to carry small people or big loads and can accommodate riders + gear up to 400 pounds or more. Typically, e-bikes can handle total weights more than described by manufacturers’ specs. However, it may result in reduced range or increased maintenance and might require more repairs on bike parts like wheel spokes.

Most e-bikes weigh between 30-65 pounds, and the batteries weigh anywhere from five to 15 pounds. The weight of the battery goes up as the voltage goes up, but the capacity (range of the battery) goes up, too.

For more on weight limits and restrictions, click here.

7. How do I maintain an e-bike, and what if it needs to be repaired?

Just like a regular bicycle, do an ABC (Air, Brake & Chain) check each time before you ride to maximize your e-bike investment. On average, you should schedule a tune-up every six months or every 1,000 miles you have ridden. To protect your warranty, check their recommendations for service, as they may differ.

If you’re buying an e-bike online, see what sort of repair service or online support the company provides, or make sure your local or favorite bike shop can fix the electrical components of the e-bike you are selecting.

For more information on maintaining our preparing an e-bike, click here.

8. Can I ride an e-bike in the rain or snow?

Electric assist bikes work well year-round.

Electric bikes, like most standard bicycles, are water-resistant and can be used in any weather. Though, you may need some accessories (like rain gear or studded tires) to ride safely. Most e-bike models also provide a high-quality, water-resistant casing to protect your battery when wet and cold. You can ride an e-bike at any temperature, but the colder it is, the more it may impact the battery’s range. Bring in your battery (or the entire bike + battery) inside if you’re not riding it. Do not leave the battery on the bike if parking the e-bike outside in the winter at any time.

Click here for more information on riding an e-bike in rain or snow.

9. How do I keep an e-bike safe and secure?

To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock when locking your bike outside (also recommended for indoor storage). Consider having adequate insurance coverage for possible damage, theft, and liability.

For more information on securing your e-bike, click here.

 

The perfect place to test-ride the model you like before purchasing.

 10. What else should I do before purchasing?

A test ride should be part of the plan indoors or out before purchasing.

Have fun and test-ride the e-bike(s) you want to focus on. One of the essential parts of buying an electric bike is taking the model(s) you are most interested in for a test ride. Similar to buying a car, a test riding the e-bike will help you finalize your decision once you have narrowed the selection down. Visit several bicycle shops that carry the e-bike brands you are most interested in. To answer the most basic question, which e-bike do, I love the most?

So put on your bike shorts and helmet and test riding an e-bike:

  • Does the bike climb hills the way you need it to
  • Will the e-bike fit you the way you would like it to
  • And finally, is the quality and functionality what you expected while riding?

Now that you are back from your test ride, does the e-bike you like the best fit into your budget, and does it have a warranty? An electric bike is a significant investment, whether $1,500 or $10,000. So, with a warranty, you can rest assured that your investment is well covered. For more information on scheduling a test ride, click here.

Have fun on your new e-bike. We would enjoy hearing about your experiences here at HaveFunBiking!

With an e-bike, it’s easy to bring along your faithful friend or haul cargo.

Miles of Smiles Sunday on the mountain biking Jail Trail highlights the fun of cycling. Here in this photo, a team member of Stillwater High School is having fun on the mountain bike course on the east side of St Cloud, Minnesota.

Bike Pic Sept 25, miles of smiles Sunday on the Jail Trail mountain biking

Miles of Smiles Sunday on the Jail Trail highlights the fun of mountain biking. Here in this photo, a team member of Stillwater High School is having fun on the mountain bike course located on the east side of St Cloud, MN. What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure, see our latest article on destinations and peak color links.

Get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking destinations. And now, check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing our latest mountain biking bike pic

Now rolling through our 18th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle-related photo of yourself or someone you may know we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to [email protected]. Please Include a brief caption to the image, who shot it, and where. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. You will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram if we use your photo.

As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile-friendly, as we enter our 13th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends, and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have a great day with a safe and memorable year ahead!

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Bike destinations and peak fall color weblinks for the upper Midwest

Don’t put that bike away just yet! In the upper Midwest, riding in the fall is one of the best times of the year to explore the colorful bike-friendly destinations available. With warm days, cool nights, low humidity, very few insects, and the trees’ brilliant autumn colors, fall riding can be picture-perfect.

Enjoying the colorful trees along the trail as they get close to peak.

Riders enjoy the colorful trees along the trail as they reach their peak.

As our summer bike adventures drift into fond memories, we still have a colorful blaze of options ahead. When the tree foliage begins to change, first in Minnesota and then in Iowa, using the HaveFunBiking guides and the state DNR websites, it’s easy to expand your recreational riding through October.

Fall color riding in Minnesota

Using a copy of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the MN DNR fall color pages will allow you to match up to a  fall experience you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy, the online MN Bike Guide offers even more bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.

Enjoying the trails doing some fall color riding.

Trail riding in the fall amongst tree-lined paths is inviting.

As the aspen, oaks, and maples start bursting their colors consider bookmarking these two websites and plan your fall biking adventure. Find more Minnesota fall riding information here.

Fall Color Riding in Iowa

Fall color riding on a bike friendly road.

Fall color riding on a bike-friendly road.

As the brilliant colors fade in Minnesota, Iowa is the place in October that will showcase most of its peak colors. Using a copy of the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide and the IA DNR fall color pages will allow you some more fall experiences you won’t soon forget. If you didn’t have a chance to pick up a printed copy, the online IA bike guide offers even more bike maps and fun events for fall exploring.

Fall color riding Wisconsin

Though we don’t have a Wisconsin Bike Guide, here are links to Wisconsin’s Bicycle routes and fall color report page.

Have fun making some fall color memories.

Reflectors are forms of passive visibility, while lights are great for active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Top 5 tips for a very rewarding fall bike ride

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike riding in the fall can come with many challenges. However, it can also be gratifying. While bicycle season is winding down for some, for many other cyclists, their two wheels are a favorite mode of transportation to explore the incredible autumn landscape. Pedaling along the colorful autumn roads or trails is so breathtaking that I will admit that fall bike riding is one of my favorite times to ride. Not too hot, not too cold, and there are fewer insects once the first frost hits.

If you’re planning to ride around this fall, check out these top tips before heading out.

Fall Bike Ride Tip 1: Layer It Up

For fall bike riding layering your clothing is key.

For fall bike riding layering your clothing is critical.

The temperature fluctuation can be confusing when you want to get dressed and go biking. The morning can look like 47 or 48 degrees Fahrenheit, but by the afternoon, it could be in the lower to mid-70s! The best way to combat this is by wearing multiple layers that you can easily remove and put back on to find your perfect temperature. When layering, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that whatever you decide to put on last will b the first thing you’d want to take off!

Pro Tip: Start while still slightly chilly. As you ride, you’ll warm up, and that chilliness will go away. However, bring an extra layer in case you stop along the way! You want to stay warm when you’re not riding.

Not sure what to do for layering? Check out our article about how to layer, why it’s beneficial, and what to wear.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 2: Beware of Wet Leaf Piles

The falling leaves are gorgeous, and leaf piles can be fun. However, a wet, crunchy leaf pile can be a hazard when riding your bike through it. Not only can water splash upwards onto your bike and legs, but the bike tires can slip on the leaves. When leaves are wet, they become slick or slippery. With a regular bike tire being thinner, it has less surface area for surface tension. A bike can slip out from under you if a leaf gives away or gets stuck onto the tire.

Luckily, this is less of a problem if you have a fat bike. The larger tires add more traction to the surface and, therefore, is less likely to slip. Even with the lesser likelihood of slipping, caution should still be used.

Also, wet leaf piles can conceal several different items. This can include nails, glass, or other objects that can puncture your tires. No one wants a flat while out riding. Sometimes you can’t avoid riding through the piles, but you can ride around the leaves.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 3: Stay Visible

For fall bike riding high visible clothing and saddle bag gear are easier for motorists to see.

For fall bike riding, high-visible clothing and saddle bag gear are more accessible for motorists.

Dusk is coming earlier and earlier as the season continues. This means the evening intrudes on some great riding opportunities in the daylight. While some days will be saved temporarily when we fall backward an hour on November 6th this year, the time change can still negatively affect cyclists.

When times change, it affects a person’s sleeping routine leading to a lack of sleep. This sleep deprivation makes people less attentive while driving. While November 6th is a Sunday this year, you would think that people will most likely sleep in, decreasing the number of accidents. However, cyclists and other pedestrians should be aware and be extra cautious that day and the day following. Why? Because people need time to adjust to the time change. According to a study done in Sleep Medicine and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, it has been found that there is a significant increase in fatal accidents following the changes in daylight savings time when it occurs on a Sunday or Monday.

This means that staying visible is even more critical than usual. This isn’t limited to the morning but throughout the day, whether on the road or trail.

You can do this in several ways, depending on what you are comfortable doing. Plus, the more you do, the more you increase your visibility.

Wear Light or Neon Colored Clothing

Wearing bright colors will make you stand out. If someone doesn’t see you begin with, the color will catch their attention, and they will find it easier to keep tabs on where you are. On the other hand, wearing dark colors isn’t recommended. Dark colors can blend into the dark and reduce your visibility. Natural dyes can also blend you into the background or sidelines, making you less visible.

Wear Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing is a must when cycling in the early morning before there’s much daylight or in the evening. This way, when the headlights on a car shine on you, you’re immediately recognized.

Add Lights to Your Bike

For fall bike riding add bike light front and back to be more noticeable.

Add bike light front and back for fall bike riding to be more noticeable.

Did you know it’s a law to have lights on your bike? You have to do it, but you should also do it because you’re interested in staying safe.

It’s important to note that lights aren’t required for daytime riding. However, since we never know when it might get dark out, and we can’t plan for all those times when we ride late at night, it’s essential to have a light handy. If it’s already attached to your bike, then it’s something you don’t have to worry about!

Unfortunately, there are no excuses if you get pulled over by a police officer for riding in dark conditions without one. Every state might have slightly different bike-light laws (with many similarities). For bike laws and more about lighting here in Minnesota, The Department of Transportation has a condensed document to review.

Fall Bike Riding Tip  4: Check Your Tire Pressure and Tires

As discussed earlier, leaves can hide different items that can puncture your tire. It’s not always avoidable, so you must check your tires occasionally. This shouldn’t be limited to the fall and winter but should be checked every time before you begin riding. Doing this allows you to catch any problems sooner rather than later.

Another thing to check is tire pressure. While fall isn’t as cold as winter, the cold can still alter the tire pressure. So, checking to ensure the tire pressure is perfect before going out for your ride is best.

Fall Bike Riding Tip 5: The Usual Tools

Remember to bring the usual tools you usually get for your bike adventures! If anything happens, you want to ensure you have all the materials you need to fix it. To know these, check out our article about the tools you should have for any ride.

With these tips, you’re sure to have a great and safe extended season as you continue to ride your bike through autumn.

Keep safe, have fun, and ride on!

 

Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

Bike commuting necessities and niceties to make your ride great

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Bike commuting is an easy way to add miles, increase fitness, jump start your energy level for the day while enjoying nature, especially with warmer weather. Once you start commuting by bike, you will find the hassle factor lessens while your overall trip acts as your workout for the day. You are saving yourself hours in the gym. Here is a list of other beneficial necessities to make commuting by bike much more enjoyable.

Bike Commuting Necessities

While commuting by bike, there are very few items you need to have to get started. Ultimately, the only thing that you have to have is a bike. However, here is a list of items that will make your ride safer and a few that will make it easier to function at work or class properly once you are there for added comfort and safety. Past functioning, you need to stay safe on the bike also, so I consider all these things necessities.

Helmets

First and foremost, a helmet is an essential product you can buy after the bike. While self-preservation typically keeps us upright on our bikes, while commuting, we need to consider many other actions we need to protect ourselves from. Now that you’re commuting, wearing a helmet isn’t just a logical safety choice but can be very comfortable. Read here to learn how helmets protect you, become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever.

Lights

While the helmet is a crucial safety product, it is not the only important one. Lights, whether it is day or night or your level of bike riding skill, are essential to ensure you have the safest ride possible. Sometimes, when riding in conditions without optimal visibility, you need a little added illumination. That’s where proper lighting comes in.

Locks

When commuting, you can’t be with your bike at all times. You’ll have to leave it unattended for extended periods, making it susceptible to theft. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help protect it. Here’s some info on the different bike locks and other tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Waterproof Bag

Being caught in the rain is not possible when commuting; it is inevitable. To protect your possessions, invest in a waterproof bag. For example, a messenger bag made with a PVC liner can easily carry all your stuff and keep them dry. Plenty of waterproof panniers are available for riders looking to take their things on the bike.

Bike Commuting Niceties

The following items aren’t necessary for commuting but make your trip quicker and more comfortable.

Shoes and pedals

Most riders only consider clipless pedals a competitive advantage, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Few things are as practical as clipless pedals and cycling shoes when riding a bicycle. There is a simple equation that always holds: control = comfort. In the quest for more control of your bike, secure your feet in place on the pedal. By doing this, you can use muscles more efficiently, be connected to your bicycle more directly, and relieve excessive strain on your feet. Read here to see how easy it is to learn to ride “clipless.”

Rain gear

The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. While most synthetic fabrics still insulate when wet, being wet diminishes their ability to keep you warm. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. In their most basic form, many materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. Before you go out and buy anything labeled “waterproof,” understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

Cycling shorts

Shorts come in all shapes and sizes. Tight shorts are popular because they offer comfort and unencumbered movement around the bicycle. Baggy shorts are trendy for their casual look and the advent of pockets. Even cycling skirts (called skorts) offer excellent comfort and a tremendous off-the-bike look. The padding will make your ride more comfortable, whatever short you decide.

Fenders

Fenders are a standard option for many. They are light and sturdy and keep you dry when riding in wet conditions. If you don’t want to keep them on your bike at all times, snap-on style fenders are available, while a more permanent option is a bolt-on fender.

For winter, studded tires are helpful.

Like winter tires for your car, studded tires are available for your bike. They usually have a few hundred carbide metal studs inserted in the tire to give you traction in icy conditions. These tires are typically twice as heavy as a non-studded version, so be sure to use them only when necessary.

Bike commuting is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while traveling to and from school or work. It is an excellent exercise that will give you better attention, higher energy levels, and some free time to think without critical or significant distractions.

About John Brown, the author

As a lifelong cyclist and consummate tinkerer, John operates Browns Bicycle in Richfield, MN. It all started for him in grade school when the bike bug bit, and that particular fever was still there. Now, and over the past thirty years, he has worked at every level in the bike industry. He is starting, like most, sweeping floors and learning anything he could about bikes. He eventually graduated as a service manager and then as a store manager. Through the years, he has spent extensive time designing and sourcing bicycles and parts for some of the largest bike companies in the world. All the while focusing on helping as many people as possible enjoy the love of riding a bike. In that pursuit, he has taught classes (both scheduled and impromptu) on all things bikes. John also believes in helping every rider attain their optimal fit on the cycle of their dreams. Please feel free to stop in any time and talk about bikes, fit, and parts, or share your latest ride. You can also see John’s tricks and tips on the Brown Bicycle Facebook Page.
With small town charm and sprawling countrysides trails the Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to visit with your bike for a weekend getaway.

Fall bike getaway options with birding in the Willmar Lakes Area

Buss Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Head west of the Twin Cities, and before you know it, you will be greeted by small-town charm, and a sprawling countryside full of bike/birding opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area. To the naked eye, it may not seem like much, but the area knows how to show guests a great time.

Now, with fall colors and waterfowl migration soon approaching, it’s a special place to visit. Allowing cyclists plenty of great outdoor memories on the trails and bike-friendly roads that will last a lifetime.

Biking opportunities in the Willmar Lakes Area

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect place to visit anytime of the year for a weekend bike getaway.

The Willmar Lakes Area is the perfect bike getaway to visit any time of the year.

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

While biking, this is also a great area for bird enthusiasts. Key locations in Kandiyohi County, include Sibley State Park, Robbins Island Regional Park, Bergquist Wildlife Area, and the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center.

Sibley State Park is one of the most popular areas, so bring binoculars. While biking the trails around the park, you have a chance to see over 200 different species of birds that nest or migrated here. And with the Glacial Trail, it is easy to get out to the park, by bike, from your hotel room in the Willmar Lakes Area.

Glacial Lakes State Trail

Built on a former Burlington Northern railroad line, the trail is generally level and wheelchair accessible. The trail is paved for 22 miles between Willmar, Spicer, New London, Hawick, and the Kandiyohi/Stearns County line. This multi-use bike corridor offers many opportunities to look at wildflowers and wildlife along the way.

Bring the binoculars along, for some of the birds sittings along the trail you may see!

Bring the binoculars along, for some birds sittings along the trail you may see!

Getting to Sibley State Park from the Glacial Lakes State trailhead? From New London, take the county road west out of town on the paved bike lane, for approximately 4-miles, to the park.

Sibley State Park and Mount Tom

Once you get there riding your bike, hike to the top of Mount Tom. It’s one of my favorite high points in a 50-mile radius to view the patchwork of forest, farmland, prairie knolls, and lakes in the area. Through the summer season, visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing on Lake Andrew. With an interpretive program open year-round, birding is another activity I enjoy here.

In the park, you will find nearly two miles of paved trails that link Lakeview Campground and the Interpretive Center. With a slight elevation change, another favorite is the Pond View Trail loop. It offers another view perspective of the area.

Other parks and trails

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Enjoy the miles of scenic paved trails in the prairie lands of the Willmar Lakes Area.

Willmar and the surrounding area is easy for everyone to enjoy the outdoors. With several parks offering recreational activities, those who visit with their bike will find many trails to pedal through, including Bergquist Park, Ramblewood Park, Rau Park (Scott Park), Thompson Park, and Swansson Park. You can also take on the trails at Robbins Island Park and Green Lake County Park.

BMX

If birding isn’t your thing, Green Lake has its own BMX park. Part of USA BMX, the park includes an outdoor track where riders can practice every Tuesday at their own speed. The races are on Fridays.

Road biking opportunities

There is also plenty of bike-friendly roads in Kandiyohi County. See the county map here to help you navigate the area.

More about the bike-friendly Willmar Lakes Area

Willmar also has a Ride Share program where you can find different spots throughout town to rent a bike. Find out here how residents and visitors alike can take advantage of these bikes to access the many recreational destinations throughout the area.

When you are not riding, the trails and roads in Kandiyohi County the area offers plenty of indoor attractions when you want to relax and places to stay. Along with several museums covering different parts of the area’s Minnesota history, After your ride covering the birding haunts, enjoy a refreshing local beer or taste of local wine as you take a break from the outdoor activities in this scenic prairie lakes area.

For added security e-bike insurance is a wise add-on

If you have recently purchased or looking at buying an electric assist bike, e-bike insurance is a wise consideration. First, check your car, renter’s, or homeowners insurance and see if the e-bike can be bundled into your existing policy. If not, look at an insurance company that often covers theft and collision protection, similar to automobile insurance, for your e-bike. Because e-bikes are a relatively new trend, there aren’t many insurance companies on the market. There are a few companies that also offer roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

The Importance of E-bike Insurance

From an insurance standpoint, electric assist bicycles pose a unique challenge. Most assume their homeowner’s or umbrella insurance policies extend to their e-bikes. As this is true for “human-powered” or pedal bicycles, adding a motor to the bike makes it a “motorized vehicle.” This might exclude it from coverage on standard homeowners, renters, or umbrella policy. Where you might need an insurance policy designed for the e-bike.

A good e-bike insurance policy brings added comfort.

It’s risky for your e-bike to be uninsured, and a stand-alone electric bicycle insurance policy will fit your specific needs. This will not only protect your assets but will protect your e-bike investment if it is damaged or stolen.

A good policy should offer the following protections:

  • Property coverage to protect your electric bike if it is damaged in an accident or stolen
  • Medical coverage for the bicyclist (yourself) in case of an accident
  • A Liability clause covers any injury or property damage that you might cause to another person in case of an accident.
  • And, Underinsured motorist insurance,
Please note. Unlike other types of insurance, liability insurance policies pay third parties and not policyholders.

Roadside assistance for your e-bike may be available

What do you do when stranded on the side of the road with a flat bicycle tire and can’t fix it? If you have a roadside assistance policy, they will pick you up and transport you to your home or bike shop. Along with AAA, Velosurance is another company that offers roadside assistance for bicycles and e-bikes.

An added prevention measure to keep your e-bike safe

Bikes, in general, are stolen often, but for a thief, stealing an e-bike is the crown jewel. With e-bikes normally, a more significant investment here is some bicycle theft prevention ideas to consider. To protect your e-bike investment, consider using a U-lock with a cable lock or bike lock alarm. You could also take the bike inside a building with you or use a mobile bike storage locker for storing your e-bike. There are also some modern ways with GPS tracking devices to help you retrieve your bike if stolen.

See more on “What’d the right type of e-bike for me.”

Visibility can add to a memorable ride in fall’s limited light

by John Brown

With school now in session and Fall in full swing, using gear that is passively bright is a critical component to being better seen while riding our bikes. The two primary forms of visibility we need to focus on are passive and active visibility. Things like reflectors and bright colors are forms of passive visibility. In contrast, lights and blinkers are great examples of operational visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.

Using visibility passively

Most autumn rides start in the light and only devolve into darkness as the ride stretches. Most riders rely on passive visibility to get them home in these cases. Provided your ride is under street lamps or some form of light, that passive visibility will get you home safely. The most common form of passive visibility is a lowly reflector. The CPSC requires these plastic devices to be installed on all bicycles sold in the united states. You will find glasses in two colors, white (front and wheels) and Red (rear).

Additionally, many apparel companies install reflective materials on their products. Like the reflector on your bike, these reflective materials will take any light thrown at you and return it to the source of the morning. Passive reflectivity falls short when there is no light source to activate visibility.

This jacket offers excellent visibility through color and reflective materials.

Sealing makes some excellent winter gloves that are both visible and insulated.

Using visibility Actively

When the area lacks a light source, you must create that light to keep yourself safe as a rider. For cyclists, Lights and blinkers are the most common devices for light. The light and the blinker differ because blinkers are designed to be seen, while lights allow a rider to see and be seen.

Great lights are usually rechargeable and use an LED bulb. These lights are necessary for riders who spend much time off-road or on unlit paths. While most mount onto the bars or helmet, a few companies integrate lights into the bike or your helmet.

MagicShine Bike Helmet and remote (inset)

Several bike helmets offer lights with a remote (inset)

Blinkers are usually battery operated and use an LED to flash intermittently. These blinkers can easily be mounted to your bicycle. In some cases, blinkers are incorporated into helmets, gloves, shoes, saddles, and handlebars.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with photo receptor covered and lights on.

The Omni Bike Helmet, with a photoreceptor, is covered and lights on.

What to use this Fall

Mount a pair of blinkers to the bike (one front and one back). Switch on the blinkers when you get stuck in low light and high traffic. A front light makes things safer if your route will be unlit for any portion. Overall, think ahead before your next ride and pack to ensure you can see in the dark while others can see you.

In celebration of its annual art festival next weekend, Lakeville, MN will host it third Tour of Lakeville on Sept 15.

Consider Tour of Lakeville this Saturday before the fall Art Festival

At the Tour of Lakeville and Art Festival this Saturday, September 17, ride with the mayor. Tour and discover how easy it is to use the trails and bike-friendly streets around town. This year’s Tour of Lakeville starts and ends at Pioneer Plaza Park, where the Art Festival takes place.

The Tour of Lakeville is part of the 2022 ‘Pedal in the Park’ ride series

In celebration of its annual art festival next weekend, Lakeville, MN will lead its second Pedal in the Parks bicycle ride this Saturday.

In celebration of its annual art festival, the third Tour of Lakeville ride will happen Saturday, September 15.

A family fun event, ride along with Lakeville Friends of the Environment on a 17-mile tour of the city. Leaving at 9 a.m. out of Pioneer Plaza, the time will explore many of the city’s bike-friendly routes. Along the Tour ride, participants will discover many attractive segments of the community’s outdoor spaces that include:

  • Great view of Lake Marion as the tour passes the West Lake Marion Mountain Bike Trailhead that opened last year.
  • The newly paved Juno Trail hugs the lake shoreline.
  • The popular Antler’s Park, with a swimming beach, picnic areas, volleyball, and horseshoes.
  • On Ipava Trail, just north of Ira Lane, reach the highest point of the ride, 1,108 feet, for a fist bump.
  • Listen for birds and look for butterflies on the paved trail through Michaud Park-Conservation Area.
  • And More!

Don’t worry; no rider will be dropped on this family-friendly ride. However, all participants are expected to ride at a moderate pace so everyone can share their favorite ride stories after returning.

Coinciding with the Lakeville Art Festival, the tour begins at Pioneer Park Plaza, in the downtown area, at 20801 Holyoke Ave. Lakeville, MN, 55044. Bike tour participants will return to the downtown area to participate in the art festival. You can register online for this bike ride with the city parks department by clicking here or calling 952-985-4600 for more information.

The ride is scheduled to last approximately two and a half hours. This time frame depends on the number of registered bikers and the route. Would you please bring a helmet and a water bottle?

After the ride, make it a day at the city’s art festival

Take in the Lakeville Art Festival with over 90 artists exhibiting

Take in the Lakeville Art Festival with over 90 artists exhibiting

Many are considered one of the finest art festivals; the Lakeville Art Festival is held on the third weekend in September. This year the event will feature over 90 artists in an intimate and accessible setting. The artist booths are staged in a park-like atmosphere. This allows for a unique circular type arrangement to help showcase their work. Plus, many artists have scheduled demonstrations over the two days of the festival.

Another family-friendly highlight at the art festival is a stop at the “Young at Art” tent. This workshop area has plenty of art supplies, ideas, and experts to flow the creative juices.

If you prefer to check out the new mountain bike trail in Lakeville

Working closely with the city, the Lakeville Cycling Association has constructed a mountain bike trail system on the west side of Lake Marion. Another family-friendly attraction, the new course, is approximately five miles long. The trail segments in the park allow plenty of fun features for beginning, intermediate, and advanced mountain bikers. This single-track, one-way trail system includes multiple switchbacks, berms, and rollers. The final construction of the West Side Trail was recently completed for all to enjoy.

The new Lakeville mountain bike course is fun for the whole family.

The new Lakeville mountain bike course is fun for the whole family.

See the map to check out this new, year-round mountain bike trail system. You can access the trailhead in Casperson Park by parking in the gravel lot north of the soccer fields at 19720 Juno Trail. Watch for trail updates and trail conditions on the clubs’ Facebook page.

For those visiting the area who want to learn more about connecting from the area hotels to the trails and fun things to do when not riding, see the At-A-Glance Lakeville and their map.

Road touring along the Mississippi River Trail, out of Winona, is colorful this time of the year.

Pedaling around Winona can give you a feel of Indiana Jones

by Andrew Ellis

Soon, Minnesota’s beautiful fall colors will be gracing the Mississippi River Bluffs in and around Winona. Pedaling along the bluffs at this time of the year may make you feel like you’re Indiana Jones scouring foreign lands for lost treasure. But hold on there just one minute, Major Tom, you’re still in Southeast Minnesota. Ready to enjoy the thrills and features of one of the most bike-friendly communities in the state. The city of Winona and its surrounding area is a must-visit destination for those yearning for a free-wheeling outdoor bicycle experience. And perfect for a one-tank. day or overnight staycation.

Mountain biking in the Mississippi River Valley id colorful this time of the year.
Mountain biking in the Mississippi River Valley area is colorful this time of the year.

The area allows you to roam nearly wherever you choose – and there’s plenty for you to explore. You can forget about your weekday worries as you pedal down the scenic country roads. And if you’re looking to take a break and spend some time on the water, then there’s lakes, rivers, and streams to wet your line or paddle around on.

Biking opportunities in Winona

The town of Winona, bordered by bluffs in the Mississippi River Valley, offers several opportunities to explore the area. You can enjoy the trails around Lake Winona, explore the many low-traffic county roads and the local section of the Mississippi River Trail, or get in some mountain biking around the bluffs. Whatever you and your bike crave, there’s something for you, like a ride out to the historic Pickwick Mill south of town.

Levee Park and the Winona Lake bike path

I love to swing by Levee Park when I am in the area and look at the river. Especially in the morning and catch the sun rising, slowly leaking over the river and onto the rooftops of the city.

Riding or walking the trail around Lake Winona, enjoy the colors surrounding Sugar Loaf (Chimney Rock) in the background.
Riding the trail around Lake Winona, enjoy the colors surrounding like Sugar Loaf (Chimney Rock) in the background.

At Winona Lake Park, the paved trail offers riders a 3.7 and 5.3-mile loop option. It runs along the south side of the city and circles both segments of Lake Winona. The terrain is flat and easy for all skill levels. It’s also a multi-use trail if you prefer to walk it.

Mississippi River Trail (MRT) and the wildlife you will see

The Historic Pickwick Mill is just on of the sights you will see south of Winona.
The Historic Pickwick Mill is just on of the sights you will see riding south out of Winona.

The Mississippi River Trail is a bike route that follows the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to New Orleans. Signage is complete through Winona to make it easy to follow. One of my favorite routes, if you like to view wildlife, pedal your bike along the Mississippi River Trail upstream. Turn right out of Prairie Island Park and follow the left fork of the road (the right leads to McNally’s Landing) down a long straightaway. Watch for waterfowl — you’re surrounded by the National Wildlife Refuge.

Road biking Winona’s roads

Winona’s roads offer long and refreshing rides along scenic county roads where you can get a glimpse at all nature has to offer. And there are many loops you can follow so you won’t have to fear getting lost. There’s the Gilmore Valley Loop which takes you past St. Mary’s University, the Burns Valley Loop, the Pleasant Ridge Loop takes you by the Bunnell Historic House, the Prairie Island Loop, the Richmond Ridge Loop, and the Rollingstone route goes through Winona State University and ends at the Luxembourg Historical Museum. See more on page 46-47 of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Mountain and fat bike fun in Winona Area

With several off-roads cycling opportunities in the area, the whole family will enjoy the trail systems here. Here are a couple options:

Holzinger Lodge Trail

The mountain bike trail offers 12 miles of short and steep climbs and downhills, as well as winding curves as it forks and wanders through mature hardwood forest and bluff top. Most of the surface here is rocky clay, and in the spring, wildflowers bloom to add to the picturesque scenery.

Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest

This state forest offers mountain bikers and hikers alike several options with the Bronk Unit Plowline Trail. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, the trail system here offers a mixed terrain ride of fun loops to ride. The North loop has two spur trails that lead to scenic overlooks of Stockton Valley and the Mississippi River Valley. There’s also the Trout Valley Forest Management Forest Unit which has two multi-use loops that take you from the valley to the top of the bluffs and more. You can also go on another unforgettable adventure in the Kruger Forest Management Unit that takes you along the Zumbro River and the area’s bluffs.

More About Bike-Friendly Winona

Sitting on the edge of the Mississippi River, Winona is also home to three unique colleges: St. Mary’s University, Minnesota State College Southeast, and Winona State University. These colleges add a lot to the city’s bike-friendly atmosphere making it easy to take in all the attractions here.

The city’s bike-friendly nature allows for more than just hitting the trails and its scenic roads. There’s plenty to discover about its history, and many of the buildings here are on the National Register of Historic Places. You will also find many locally-owned shops and restaurants, so there is something for everyone.

An At-A-Glance Look at Winona

Be sure to check out our At-A-Glance Winona Article for more details on where to stay, play, and explore for your hand-held devices. As this story and the At-A-Glance Article are mobile-friendly for your convenience. So have fun, visit Winona and enjoy the fall colors.