Tag Archives: League of American Cyclists

Riding the Minnesota Trail out of Mankato

Biking Your Way to Adventure in Mankato and the Surrounding Area

by Andrew Ellis, 

It always amazes me how bike-friendly Mankato is and this time was no different. Taking in the Mankato River Ramble Bike Ride, I found several new and safe twist and turns the whole family will enjoy as a bike destination. Tucked along the Minnesota River, in Southwestern Minnesota, its a quick hour and a half drive from the Twin Cities to find your #nextbikeadventure here.

Bike-Friendly Mankato

Trail riding in Mankato

Trail riding in Mankato.

The city is located at the point where the Minnesota River and the Blue Earth River merge. This industrialized farm community is actually divided into two, with North Mankato located just across the Minnesota River and easily accessible by bike trail. With several trail systems that connects you to the north side, across the river and the many farm communities up on the bluffs it’s a great destination for all skill levels of cyclists.

Overall I found my recent visit here fun and easy to get around by bicycle. The bike-friendly roads and trail made it easy to connect from one trail system to the next. Plus, there are countless public bike racks within the area for safe storage. Spending a few days here before the River Ramble, using my bike to get around allowed me an easily way to see the city’s many attractions, such as the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, the rock climbing walls at Minnesota State University and many art exhibits. The presence of the colleges here adds to Mankato’s lively and welcoming atmosphere so you can easily browse of mix of nationally known and locally-owned shops, restaurants, and even venture outside the city limits for a tour of the local winery or brewery.

Biking Opportunities in Mankato

Family fun riding the Red Jacket Trail into Mankato.

Family fun riding the Red Jacket Trail into Mankato.

When you’re in a city that’s been certified as a bike-friendly community by the League of American Cyclists, you know you’ll find endless opportunities for pedaling around. That’s especially true for Mankato, the city and it’s surrounding area are full of walking and biking trail loops and more. So, no matter what kind of terrain you’re looking for, there’s bound to be some road or trail in the Mankato area right for you.

Mankato’s Paved Trails Systems

The Indian Lake Conservation Area, a 120-acre regional park, has a trail that’s just over 1 mile long. It takes you on small scenic tour of what the park has to offer. There is also the South Route Trail, in Minneopa State Park, that’s just over half a mile long. This trail connects to the North Minnesota River Trail which also connects to the Sakatah Trail. The North Minnesota River Trail also highlights Mankato’s prime location in the river valley at Riverfront Park.

Bike routes that lead to outlying farm communities

Family fun riding the southern end of the Red Jacket Trail.

Family fun riding the southern end of the Red Jacket Trail.

Mankato’s biking loops are a great way to explore the area without fear of getting lost. The Lake Crystal Loop is the most popular among bikers. It takes you south on the scenic Red Jacket Trail, and through the Minnesota River Valley for a very adventurous ride. You can even top it off top this adventure off with some award-winning pie.

You can also take the North Mankato Loop that mixes trails with low traffic roads, passing by several parks and opportunities to stop for a snack. If you prefer to tour the city, then the Mankato Loop contains mostly off-road trails. It keeps you in town and passes through the Minnesota River Valley.

If you feel like venturing outside the city, take the St. Clair/Eagle Lake Loop. It’ll give you a nice taste of small town hospitality, and you can even stop for a picnic in the park or eat at one of the local diners. If you want to explore north of the city, then try out the North Gravel Ride. You’ll ride along the Minnesota River’s bluffs on your way to the prairie land of Kasota. If you want to hit the open road, then try the St. Clair, Smiths Mill, Madison Lake Loop which takes you southeast of the city.

Mountain Biking

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, then behold Mankato’s mountain biking trails. The Ft. LeHillier Trail was created by the Mankato Area Mountain Bikers (MAMB) and offers both an easy and a difficult track ready for your wheels to get down and dirty. Also, check out the Kiwanis Recreation Area, which has four different loop options that total five miles of mountain biking thrills.  And lets not forget Mount Kato with over seven miles of wooded single-track trails that caters to all skill levels.

Outside of town you can try the trails at Seven Mile Park between North Mankato and St. Peter. It’s a multi-purpose trail system you can use, but watch out for other users.

Road Biking

Getting around the city and the surrounding area is relatively easy. The city’s streets and attractions are essential to making Mankato a bike-friendly destination. As for the surrounding area, there are plenty of roads that you can take to navigate around the area. Many of the loops mentioned above include using roads to follow the courses. However, each road differs in the amount of traffic and the amount of shoulder it has for riders – so stay alert.

An At-A-Glance Look at Mankato

Be sure to check out our At-A-Glance Mankato Article for more details on where to stay, play, and explore for your hand-held devises. As this story and the At-A-Glance Article are mobile-friendly for your convenience, have fun!

Have Fun riding in the Mankato Area.

Have Fun riding in the Mankato Area.

Now with fat bikes, any time of the year is the perfect time to visit Mankato.

Bike Pic Aug 21, miles of smiles Sunday in Mankato

Here in this photo a cyclist enjoys miles of smiles while exploring all the trails and designated routes to bike around Mankato, in Southwest Minnesota. With several State and Regional trails intersecting here, in this bike friendly community, your adventures with family and friends will guarantee some great memories to share.

See many more bike friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking. 

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike. While showcasing all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more place to have fun we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing the guide.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. And don’t forget to smile, while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next photos that we post daily.

Have a great day!

Bike Friendly Willmar now offers a fleet of yellow bikes

The picturesque Glacial State Trail, rolling into the city of Willmar, has now been enhanced with a series of bike friendly routes on city streets and trails. Another key factor worth mentioning is its fleet of yellow bikes. With several improvements over the last couple years, this spring, the city was awarded the Bronze Bike Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclist (LAB).

Bike Friendly Willmar a fun and safe place to Live and visit

According to an article published by the Bicycle Aliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), over the past seven years the city and its local advocacy group, ‘Willmar Bikes’, has upped their game in every aspect of bicycling.

Here Dorian Grilley, Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Steve Brisendine, Director of Community Education and Recreation for the City of Willmar celebrate Willmar being a bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists.

Here Dorian Grilley, Director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Steve Brisendine, Director of Community Education and Recreation for the City of Willmar celebrate being a bike friendly city by the League of American Bicyclists.

The community is now home to a small fleet of yellow-painted cycles for free public use. It hosts an annual Mayor’s Bike Ride. It works to connect low-income youth with an earn-a-bike programs. The community is also planning a bike route connection between a new development and a school being built. Also, they support bike trail maintenance. Residence and visitors alike can now enjoy the countryside trails that connect to many of the city’s streets and inter-city trails, making the community a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC).

In the northern part of Minnesota, Cloquet was was given an Honorable Mention this spring for its work toward bicycle friendliness.

Riding the trail in the countryside as it connects to trails and safe street routs in Willmar, MN. photo Steve-Brisendine

Riding the trail in the countryside as it connects to trails and safe street routs in Willmar, MN. photo Steve-Brisendine

BFC recognition is a nationally recognized thumbs-up. The program is administered by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). LAB commends towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas for taking concrete steps toward making bicycling more safe, more visible, and more fun in their communities. In Minnesota, there are more than two million residents who live in Bike Freindly Communities in the state. This exciting initiatives is making more communities safer for visitors as well as those who live in the stare.

Learn more about Bike Friendly Willmar and the fun you can have staying and playing here.

Bike Pic March 16, riding safely on city streets

Here Jeff Milbauer, with Valley Bike & Ski, in Apple Valley, MN and a League of American Bicyclist Instructor (LCI) with the Bike Alliance of Minnesota is giving this young cyclist a few pointers on riding safely on streets.

See all the MN LCI’s in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide, on page 72.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle tourism media our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As HFB searches and presents more fun cycling related photos, worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted that may help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us post? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to: [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 800 pixels wide or larger for us to consider using them. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for at the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of information, now available for mobile devices. 

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

Many new bike friendly communities announced today

In a press release today League of American Bicyclists (LAB) announce 55 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC). There were eighteen communities receiving their first BFC award, seventeen at Bronze and Hennepin County, MN, at Silver. Nine communities moved up to higher award levels, and the remainder renewed at their previous level.

Bicyclists ride using the Minneapolis bike share program Bike Friendly Hennepin Co. Minnesota.

Bicyclists ride using the Minneapolis bike share program Bike Friendly Hennepin Co. Minnesota.

“As biking has become more and more popular, more and more communities are committed to creating safer places to bike,” said Alex Doty, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “Winning a Bicycle Friendly Community designation shows a community’s dedication to creating safer and better places to ride your bike.”

According to LAB, this latest round saw strong growth in the top tiers of the program, as Madison, WI, became the 5th Platinum BFC, and four communities moved into the Gold tier: Austin, TX, San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz, CA, and Tempe, AZ.

Dave Cieslewicz, executive director of the Wisconsin Bike Fed and former mayor of Madison stated,  “What this says is that any city can be a great cycling city as long as there’s commitment from a broad range of city leaders and the population as a whole. This didn’t come about overnight; it was a decade-long effort. We had support from city leaders, the business community and the thousands of cyclists in the Madison area. The lesson we learned is that it has to be a broad-based effort, it can’t just come from the top.”

Want to see who is doing what? Explore the Bicycle Friendly Communities (and businesses and universities) in your state using the Leagues online award database. To apply or learn more about the BFC program, visit bikeleague.org/community.

Not listed as a BFC or a  Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB)?  If you own, work at, or do business with a Bike Friendly Business, the next deadline for that program is December 15. Learn how to apply here.

The Bicycle Friendly America program is generously supported by Trek Bicycle, and all of their members, partners, and local reviewers throughout the year.