Category Archives: News

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

Many bicycle adventures await your visit to the Mesabi Trail Towns

by Andrew Ellis

The Mesabi Trail Towns, on Northeast Minnesota’s Iron Range, hosts several gems of the state’s history and great biking adventures. It’s not a mountain range, but a group of small mining communities along with this well-known trail system. The Mesabi Trail serves as an easy way to travel from town to town by bike. From Grand Rapids on the western end to Embarrass, 120 miles to the east, there is a lot to see along the way. For the mountain biker’s this mining-range has left a lot of deposits to perfect your skills. The area even boasts some of Minnesota’s best scenic road touring routes, with loop options that tie back to the Mesabi Trail.

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing

Mesabi bike trail near Hibbing.

More About the Bike-Friendly Mesabi Trail Towns

The area is vast and the Mesabi Trail Towns string through the Iron Range covering 11 different mining towns. Starting in Grand Rapids the trail includes Meadowlands, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mt. Iron, Virginia, Eveleth, Gilbert, Biwabik, Aurora, Hoyt Lakes, and Embarrass. Along the way, there is no shortage of walking tours. You can visit Bob Dylan’s childhood home, the Hull Rust Mine overlook and Greyhound Museum in Hibbing. You can look into the history of the Range’s “Queen City” at the Virginia Heritage Museum. Take a walk around the US Hockey Hall of Fame, in Eveleth. To enjoy the scenic thrills of mountain biking, there is Giant Ridge, near Biwabik. There are also plenty of lakes to drop a line, swim or enhance your tan.

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

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Mesabi bike trail near Virginia.

Biking Opportunities in the Iron Range

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

The Mesabi Trail

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

And don’t forget the Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Tour ’19. Ride for the fun or ride for the challenge. Either way mark your calendar for Saturday, August 3, 2019, for the most fun you can have on two wheels!

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

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

Mountain Biking

The Iron Range may not have mountains, but there are plenty of trails and loops for mountain bikers to battle down. Giants Ridge offers over 24 miles of trails and loops that will challenge you and offer up great scenery. Big Aspen offers a whopping 21 miles of trails on old logging roads and abandoned railroad grades. The sections vary in difficulty with many loop opportunities that offer many scenic vistas.

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

Road Biking Options

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

See more at At-A-Glance Mesabi Trail.

Biking around Hastings new 10-mile Scenic Circuit loop describes the route that follows along both the Mississippi and Vermilion rivers for all ages and skill levels

Hastings 10-mile trail loop allows riders scenery along two rivers

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

Biking along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) is just one of the many fun opportunities visitors can enjoy when biking in Hastings, MN. As this historic river town expands its bicycle infrastructure, I had to make it back to Hastings recently to check out the completed 10-mile trail loop. Dubbed the “Scenic Circuit” cyclist of all ages and abilities are finding this scenic trail loop, that follows along both the Vermilion and Mississippi rivers, breathtaking. Along this dual river trail route, cyclists will discover many unique points of interests in both the city parks and along the trails. For those who would like to add a few more miles from the Scenic Circuit it’s easy following the MRT to Schaar’s Bluff and beyond. See the Hastings HaveFunBiking map for more options.

Starting in Historic Hastings

The old mill ruins from 1857 to 1894 produced high quality flour under the name "Belle of Hastings."

At the old mill ruins, high quality flour was produced from 1857 to 1894, under the name “Belle of Hastings.”

Starting our ride in the historic Hastings Downtown Aea we found plenty of parking options when arriving. Both the city parking lot and streets around the historic city hall, on 4th Street, work well. Plus, it’s a short walk after your ride to 2nd Street (the city’s downtown main street) for a snack or meal. For this review we choose to ride the Scenic Circuit counter clockwise, leaving from Levee Park on the MRT.

Following the Mississippi River Trail out of Hastings

Just west of downtown Hastings, this metal sculpture was made from materials collected from the river clean up.

Just west of downtown Hastings, this metal sculpture was made from materials collected from a river clean up.

In the first few miles riding through Jaycee Park, we enjoyed an aerial show from several Bald Eagles. The river art along the trail was also interesting. Several markers explain the rivers history and one art sculpture made a statement from a river clean up project several years back. The giant dragonfly (above) was made from different metals dredged from the river at the time of the Clean Water Act. Further along the Scenic Circuit the trail passes by U.S. Lock and Dam 2. Here it’s always fun to stop and watch boats of all sizes move through the locks from the viewing platform.

The trail running along the back water here is a perfect place to view wildlife and and other bird species that frequents this area.

The trail along the back water is a perfect place to view wildlife and and other bird species that frequents the area.

Before leaving the river bottom another highlight was riding along the picturesque causeway before climbing out of the rivers bluffs. At the top, for those who would like to add a few more miles, Schaar’s Bluff and the new trail out to Dakota County’s Spring Lake Park is an option (see below). To continue along on the 10-mile Scenic Circuit riders should take a left, crossing Nininger Road and then follow the city trail south, down Pleasant Drive.

From the Mississippi to the Vermilion River

Now on the western side of Hastings the Scenic Circuit jogs a little further west along 4th Street, from Pleasant Drive – then heads south along General Sieben Drive. After crossing Highway 55, those who need a rest stop will find Culver’s, on the corner. Continuing south the route turns east onto River Shore Drive. Then, in about an eighth-mile watch for the trail to cross the road and head north up to Northridge Drive. There you should take a right and continue east on the Circuit.

These cyclists enjoyed a perfect day to ride Hastings 'Scenic Circuit'.

These cyclists enjoyed a perfect day to ride Hastings ‘Scenic Circuit’.

At Pleasant Drive take a right, the trail follows the road south to the Vermilion River. After crossing the bridge, on the east side, pick up the trail that flows with the river back into Hastings. You will soon discover why this section of the trail is such a popular part of the MRT.

Along the Vermilion River

Biking and rollerblading Hastings "Scenic Circuit is perfect for all ages and skill levels.

Biking and rollerblading the “Scenic Circuit is perfect for all ages and skill levels.

As the Vermilion River flows swiftly to the east the trail along this scenic stretch of river offers nature lovers a peaceful ride through serenity. From here cyclists and walkers alike will enjoy the two underpasses, one on County Road 46/47 and the second one at U.S. 61, to stay away from traffic. After passing under Highway 61 the Scenic Circuit is now entering Vermilion Falls Park.

Vermilion Park

As you cross over the Vermilion River you will notice all the padlocks attached to the railing.

As you cross over the Vermilion River here you will notice all the padlocks attached to the railing.

Riding into the park, at the first trail intersection you will have an opportunity to park your bike and walk about 100-feet to view Vermilion Falls. Continuing east and taking a left at the trails“T”you are now on the bridge where its easy to view the stream overhead as it cascades towards the Mississippi River. You will also, notice all the padlocks on the bridge’s railing?

No one knows exactly when, why or who started this European trend in Hastings. But this romantic ritual has become very popular with hundreds of locks being attached to the fence on the old railroad bridge that is now a part of the Scenic Circuit trail. The practice invites lovers to hang a padlock on the bridge and toss the key into the water below. For now the city parks department finds the trend touching and so far plans to leave the public love notes (locks) alone as a wall of art.

Another historic option to checkout is the Old Mill Park, about an eighth-mile ahead. Here is another opportunity to park your bike and walk down to the old mill ruins and maybe hike one of the many trails along the river.

From the Mill Park, the trail crosses the railroad tracks and then continues north again towards Downtown Hastings. At the next split in the trail riders should take a right and then follow the MRT signs back to the downtown area for some fun.

Enjoy Historic Downtown after your ride

Over the last few years downtown Hastings has been going through what many call a “Riverfront Renaissance.” With events scheduled throughout the spring, summer and fall the historic river town atmosphere is the perfect place to shop, dine and try biking or walking along the Mississippi River Trail and the Scenic Circuit. After our ride we found several options for cool refreshments and dinner in the downtown Area. You can find more options in our our At-A-Glance article.

If you didn’t bring your bike along, Hastings has a bike share program (first 2-hours free). The Zagster bike station is located under the bridge on 2nd Street and you will need a credit card to activate the locking system to the cycle you wish to ride,

More miles to Schaar’s Bluff and Spring Lake Park.

Returning back to Hastings from Schaar's Bluff its approximately 6-miles.

Returning back to Hastings from Schaar’s Bluff its approximately 6-miles.

The trail loop also connects to several neighborhood parks and the Mississippi River Regional Trail. Known by many as the “hidden jewel” of the Upper Mississippi River Valley, view some spectacular scenery along the way as you pedal along. Riding out to Schaar’s Bluff adds around 12-miles.

This newly completed section of the Mississippi River Regional Trail offers cyclist an occasional view of the river, bridges that cross deep ravines, prairie flowers that border along limestone bluffs.

This newly completed trail offers cyclist an occasional view of the river, two new bridges that cross deep ravines and prairie flowers that border along limestone bluffs.

If you choose to ride out to Dakota County’s Lower Spring Lake Park Reserve and cross the two new bridges on this trail it will add an extra 8-miles and is well worth the extra effort!

Summer fun for you and the kids is two wheels away. Here are the best ways to keep your kid's bike working well and operating safely.

Tips and tricks for keeping your kid’s bike running smooth and safe

by John Brown

Summer fun for you and the kids is two wheels away. It is a time to bond and explore a new area of the neighborhood and maybe share some life lessons? Sadly, that fun can come to a premature end if the bike breaks down, or worse, you crash. Here are the best ways to keep your kid’s bike working well and operating safely.

How much air should you put in kid’s bike tires

Nothing will spoil a fun ride faster than a flat tire, and most flats are due to low tire pressure. Take a few minutes before your kids ride to help them check the tire pressure. If your kids don’t know how to use your pump, checking pressure is a great way to teach them. When considering a pump, remember you kid’ bike tires work best around 35psi so make sure your pump can easily hit that pressure.

Adjusting your kid’s bike brakes

The biggest key to control in braking. Adjusting brakes for children is a little different than for adults. Due to children’s small and relatively weak hands, it is important to focus on the brake lever position before adjusting the brake. Ensure the lever is as close to the bar as possible (see image) and the spring tension on the brakes are as low as possible. You have it right if your kids can easily reach and squeeze the brake levers.

Lubing their chain

A dry chain will wear faster than one that is properly lubricated. Additionally, a dry and worn chain can break under stress. To avoid excess wear, be sure to lube the chain periodically in dry conditions and immediately after wet rides.

Inspect your kid’s bike for bent or broken parts

Every year, bike makers change bike designs to make them indestructible for kids. The following year, kids find new and interesting ways to destroy those bikes. Pay close attention to your kid’s bike for bent or broken parts. The most common parts that get bent are rear wheels, seats, handlebars, and rear derailleurs. The parts that most frequently get broken are brake levers, shifters, pedals, and reflectors (reflectors leave sharp sections of plastic behind). If anything is bent or broken, replace it immediately.

Also, inspect tires for wear

Tires are more susceptible to flats when worn. The normal wear indicator for a tire is when the tread goes bald. Beyond tread wear, there are a host of other indicators. Look for cracks in the tread or sidewall, threads coming loose, or bubbles in the tire. Worn tires should be replaced immediately.

Are the handlebar grips tight?

As rubber wears and ages, it becomes harder and less elastic. For grips, the softness and elasticity are what keeps the grips in place. Put your hands around the grip and twist hard. If the grip can rotate or move, get them replaced. Also, when a bike gets dropped on the ground the end of the grip can get torn. Once torn, that grip will leave the sharp end of the bar exposed with the potential to cut small riders in the event of a crash.

Is the seat adjusted and tight?

When riding, a stable seat allows your child to control the bike with their hips. If that saddle is loose, it can be difficult to control the bike. Check the saddle by grabbing it firmly, flexing up and down, and twisting. Be sure to tighten it if there is any movement.

How to bike fit your kid’s bike

Kids grow so quickly that it’s important to constantly check their fit in the bike.  Be sure they can easily pedal without their knees going to high. Also, ensure that they aren’t reaching too low for the bars.

Proper helmet fit

The final bit of safety for riding is probably the most important. A helmet needs to fit properly to work well. If the straps are too tight or the shell is too small, it will be painful to wear and your child will try not to wear it. Additionally, always check for dents or cracks in helmets. It is possible to break a helmet without crashing on it. Most helmets are relatively inexpensive, so making sure they are comfortable enough for your kids to want to wear them is a small investment to keep them safe.

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!