Tag Archives: explore Minnesota by bike

Alexandria, a bike-friendly getaway you can make on one tank

By Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking

There is no shortage of fun in Minnesota, and looking at the latest MN Bike/Hike Guide, with all the maps, we wanted to see how Alex (Alexandria) fit as a one-tank, multi-modal, round-trip destination. With increased gas prices taking a bite out of every motorist’s wallet, we found the Alexandria Lakes Area fit the criteria well. The perfect place to visit, parking the car at the selected lodging and using a bicycle to get around. On this trip, we found the Cedar Rose Inn charming and a great place to relax. This allowed us to easily reach the local bike routes, trails, Alex’s historic downtown attractions, and several restaurants within easy walking distance.

The welcoming Cedar Rose Inn B & B

With the bikes loaded and gear packed, Alexandria is proximately 130 miles (about a two-hour drive) northwest of Minneapolis on I-94.

See a whole lot more biking in Alexandria

Using the Alexandria Bike Map, on pages 50-51 of the MN Bike Guide, you will find options for routes to ride comfortably around town and scenic loops that take you out and around many lakes in Douglas County. Looking at the map and planning your next visit, check out the Explore Alexandria website for many other fun outdoor activities the area offers.

The 8-mile Historic Alexandria Route

Big Ole, at the Central Lakes Trailhead in Alexandria, MN

From the Central Lakes Trail, north of the downtown area, the scenic Alex Loop uses the quiet north/south neighborhood streets that parallel the main highway or Broadway Street from 30th Avenue. If you start at the trailhead, take a selfie with Big Ole, then visit the Runestone Museum, Fort Alexandria, and the Legacy of the Lakes Museum & Gardens. Further along this loop, the route passes the Douglas County Historical Society and several parks where ducks, geese, and pelicans are close by to view.

The 22-mile loop to Garfield returning on the Central Lakes Trail

Touring the scenic bike-friendly roads in the Alexandria Lakes Area

The Garfield Loop uses a series of streets and county roads around a couple of lakes up to the town of Garfield. Here you will find the Central Lake Trail to return to Alex.

The 35-mile North Lakes Loop

This route winds around the picturesque lakes north of Alex, offering wide paved shoulders on the designated bike-friendly routes. As you ride your bike past the lakefront communities, options for stops include Carlos Creek Winery, the 23 Northman Brewery, or several eating establishments along the way.

Prefer staying on the Central Lakes Trail?

From Big Ole, head east to Osakis or west on the Central Lakes Trail to the many towns before Fergus Falls.

To the east, Osakis is 11 miles and connects to the Wobegon Trail. To the northwest, Garfield is 8 miles, Brandon is 14 miles, and Fergus Fall, at the far end, is 44 miles.

Mountain biking in the Alexandria Area

Prefer to bring your mountain bike on your next visit to Alex? Mountain biking is a growing sport in the Alexandria Area, and you can find great riding out at Kensington Runestone County Park and Lake Brophy County Park.

Mountain Biking the forest trail

Runestone Park is near Kensington, and the mountain bike trails here are tons of fun with easy-to-follow signs and many add-on loops to make a ride a little longer if you want. See map and further details here.

Mountain Biking on the prairie single-track trail

Lake Brophy Park is a relatively new multi-use trail system wandering through the upland prairie fields that take you to some of the best views in the county. A highlight of the park is that using the main trail gets you to the high point. At the top of the hill, 140 feet above Lake Brophy, you can choose from the easy, medium, and challenging trails to descend for an adrenalin fun experience. See map and further details here.

Where to stay

We stayed at the Cedar Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast for this trip to Alexandria. It is located at 422 7th Ave. West and Cedar St. is a very charming B & B, and the delicious breakfast Brenda serves each morning makes your visit to Alexandria even more special.

A blueberry brioche with maple syrup drizzled over

For more places to stay and things to do, see Explore Alexandria.

Discover micro-mobility on the massive E-bike Challenge test track

With the Omicron-fueled surge declining, enjoy an eco-friendly experience at the E-bike Challenge, discovering the latest in micro-mobility on April 2 & 3. The event will offer those attending a comfortable place to compare and ride the latest electric bike technology, testing the latest bikes on a mammoth indoor test track in the Minneapolis Convention Center. With several social distancing procedures in place, visitors can discover the advantages of e-bikes bikes for hauling cargo, health, and ecological purposes. Making it easy to compare the latest brands and models to learn how micro-mobility can be incorporated into a person’s daily life.

Enjoy the E-bike Challenge and be a part of micro-mobility

Micro-mobility and the return of the E-bike Challenge

Hicle, Inc., the organizers of hike and cycle fairs in Europe, held the first E-bike Challenge here in 2019, with much interest. At this year’s Challenge, those who visit can discover why the electric bikes and trikes are perfect for family activities. Perfect equipment for running errands, hauling cargo, commuting to work without working up a sweat. Then, enjoy a fun cardio workout on the return trip. Even if you can’t replace a car entirely, the event demonstrates why most trips within a 10-mile range can be less expensive with an e-bike. And, in many cases, taking less time than a carbon-fueled vehicle for the same journey.

Find a huge selection to fit your riding style.

E-bikes to ride on the large test track

Some brands already registered for the Challenge include Giant, Serial 1 by Harley Davidson, Pedego, Riese & Muller, and Skyl Power Bikes. Along with e-bikes from Erik’s Bikes, Now Bikes, and Trailhead Cycle, to name a few of the shops that will be there. The event will also feature several breakout sessions, a kids’ bike test track, fun family activities, and free maps of fun places to explore by bike.

Find micro-mobility options from around the world, returning.

Fun for the whole family

Along with a chance to compare and test ride the latest e-bikes on the mammoth indoor track. Find featured breakout sessions on Easy commuting by e-bike, E-biking back to health, and more. Also, find a kids’ bike test track, an e-bike theater, and other fun family activities. Plus, visitors will receive a complimentary 2022 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, full of bicycling maps of popular Minnesota destinations to explore, at the door.

For more information about the E-bike Challenge in Minneapolis on April 2 & 3, visit www.ebikechallenge.com.