Tag Archives: MN trails

In the heart of Minnesota's lake country, Park Rapids never lacks when it comes to outdoor recreation and bicycling fun around the areas lakes and forests. 

Bike Park Rapids and enjoy Minnesota’s forest and lake features

by Hayley Spalding

In the heart of Minnesota’s lake country, Park Rapids never lacks when it comes to outdoor recreational activities. Throughout the seasons, spending time visiting family and friends in the area I have had many fond memories through the years. Each fall you will find hunting and gravel road riding opportunities. Through the winter cross country skiing and fat biking are prime. Then in the spring, a color dash of trail riding. Before pedaling to many outdoor festival scheduled throughout the summer. It’s always fun here in the Heartland.

Riding the Heartland Trail out of Park Rapids

Riding the Heartland Trail out of Park Rapids

Exploring Park Rapids

Each year people spend time on the beach, pedal the Heartland Trail or discover Itasca State Park. If shopping is your thing  a stroll downtown on their quaint Main Street is another option. It’s fun to window shop through the old fashioned stores fronts, where parking is never an issue. Cars are allowed to park in the middle of the street and getting downtown by bike is easy. What I find most appealing, is the community itself. It has small town charm and little quirks that makes it appealing to people of all ages, whether they are into riding a bike or not.

Where to Bike

The Park Rapids area, offers fun opportunities for both the recreation trail rider and the touring cyclist, with:

The Heartland State Trail

This 49 mile paved trail system starts in Park Rapids on the west side. Then connecting with the Paul Bunyan Trail as it passes through Walker, before ending in Cass Lake. A multi-recreational trail system the Heartland Trail is open for biking, hiking and other trail uses. Parts of the trail also has a parallel grass track alongside for runners. This unpaved path is also available to mountain bikers, horseback riding and snowmobilers. The Heartland trail, meandering past shaded pathways that pass alongside several lakes, offers cyclists plenty to see.

Shorter rides on the Heartland

A mileage marker on the Heartland Trail

A mileage marker on the Heartland Trail

The Heartland trail is used by a variety of people from serious cyclists to leisurely riders and everyone in between. For those who prefer a shorter distance rather than the full 49 miles. consider biking to Dorset, the “Restaurant Capital of the World. Its about five miles out-and-back from Park Rapids. Riding from Park Rapids to Nevis and back is around 15 miles. This will allow you a chance to see the World’s Largest Tiger Muskie. No matter how far you bike on this State Trail, you will find a welcoming community and a Loon calling out to greet you.

Stopping in Nevis for a selfie

Stopping in Nevis for a selfie

Bike Itasca State Park

About ten miles up the highway from Park Rapids is another place for trail riding. This State Park, known for the Headwaters of the Mississippi River and Historic Douglas Lodge offers 16 miles of paved bike trails. The rolling trails in the park winds through virgin pine forests that meander around a couple lakes, fun for the whole family. For a full bicycle tour of the park the Wilderness Drive, shared with motorists, adds an additional 10 miles to your ride. For those into road riding, at the Headwaters parking lot, the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) begins its journey to New Orleans.

At the Headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park

At the Headwaters of the Mississippi River, in Itasca State Park.

Gravel and road touring options

Besides a road trip out of Itasca State Park on the MRT, the Park Rapids area also offers a network of bike-friendly roads so you can explore the Heartlands countryside. See more with MnDOT’s county bike map, of Hubbard County.

For more information on visiting the park Rapids Area see our HaveFunBiking At-A-Glance article on Park Rapids.

With summer now a cherished memory, we are counting the months before we can do a re-shoot of this Minnesota photo taken along the Mississippi River Trail.

Bike Pic Nov 16, seven months and counting for this photo re-shoot

With summer now a cherished memory, we are counting the months before we can do a re-shoot of this Minnesota photo taken along the Mississippi River Trail.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Requested Re-Shoot’ pic of the day!  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to 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 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 use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage 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 into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

So smooth out your day-to-day ride with Wheelie Wednesday, and:

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 apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Ready for Halloween, this young cyclist is.

Bike Pic Oct 31, trying on faces in preparation for Halloween

Here in Anoka MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World, we found this young cyclist this summer. She was checking out face painting options that she could use with her costume today.

With the leaves falling fast we hope you get out on your bike and enjoy all the fall riding possibilities and Halloween decorations. See many more bike-friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Thanks for viewing the Halloween Bike Pic of the day 

On Saturday, in Anoka, MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World these cyclists enjoy riding their bikes along the parade route.

On Saturday in Anoka MN, the Halloween Capitol of the World these cyclists enjoy a bike ride along the parade route.

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting 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.

Also at the Saturday event in Anoka the T-6 Thunder Planes fly over before the Parade as participants ran the of Gray Ghost Run.

At the Anoka event, the T-6 Thunder Planes fly over before the Parade as the of Gray Ghost Run was in progressed.

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!

Based on our quick MTB review at Interbike’s Dirt Demo, we have a demo Marin B-17 2 for a long term review. Read on for our "out of the box" review.

The Marin B-17 MTB review – out of the box and ready for the trail

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Based on our quick MTB review at Interbike’s Dirt Demo, we have been extended a Marin mountain bike demo for a long term review. This week, a big brown box showed up at our office. What was inside was a Marin B-17, a full suspension trail bike just waiting for me to put together and ride. However, before I ride it and give you a full MTB review let me share with you what is actually coming out of that box.

The Marin B-17 MTB review out of the box

The first thing I have to note about this bike, is that it isn’t a brand new bike. While it’s new to me, It has been to a few demos before. That being said, I have to note the immaculate condition this bike it arrived in.  Whereas the tires show signs of wear  the frame and components were cleaned to a level I have never seen before. Overall, the bike built up quickly and easily for a quick spin around the block.

Marin B-17

The Marin B-17 2 in all its glory. It won’t be so clean soon.

The Frame

The B-17 is an aluminum trail bike that uses Marin’s MultiTrac suspension system for 120mm of travel. The MultiTrac system is tuned to absorb large and small hits equally, while still maintaining pedaling efficiency. It accepts both 27.5” x 2.8” wheels as well as standard 29” wheels. On first inspection, the frame design is clean, with the cables running internally within the frame. The rear shock is tucked neatly in line with  the seat tube allowing for the use of a normal water bottle cage. For additional stand over clearance, the Top tube is welded low on the seat tube and uses a jack brace for strength. Overall, the B-17 frame looks like someone sweat all the details.

Marin B17

Here you can clearly see the cables enter the frame. Also, take a look at how each tube is shaped specifically shaped to its intended purpose.

The Parts

The version of the B-17 I am riding is an early production demo unit. For that reason, the parts are slightly different from the final retail bike. Most notably, my demo unit uses a Rockshox Pike rather than the Rockshox Revalation  suspension fork. For the most part the two forks will ride similarly, with the Pike being a bit smoother in operation. The rest of the bike uses Shimano parts for shifting (SLX) and brakes, which ensures great shifting and stopping. This model B-17 also uses a dropper seatpost, to let me get my weight back and low on the trail.

Throughout the rest of the bike, Marin uses house brand components for the rims, bar and stem. While this may have been an area of concern in the past, most brands are sourcing some exceptional parts. Any remarks of the house brand components would be incomplete if I didn’t remark on how well Marin has tied these products into the rest of the bike. The same graphic touches that make the frame look classy are carried through to the parts. The graphic are clean and understated, without overstating the bicycles brand name.

Marin B-17

Some Classy details as seen on the Marin B-17

What I am looking forward to

I really want to see if this bike handles as well on my home trails as it did in Las Vegas. Our parks have limited climbing and smooth features, so it will be interesting to see if the plus sized tires have the same dominance on these trails as they did in the steep, rocky terrain of Nevada. Finally, I can’t wait to really tune the suspension and see what it is capable of. Stay tuned for the long term review in the next few weeks.

 

Since the development of cycling nutrition, there has been amazing advancements in sports drinks

Cycling Nutrition Review: a clean, smooth approach to sports drinks

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As you begin doing longer rides like the MS150, Minnesota Ironman, or any other charity ride, sports drinks (cycling nutrition) becomes really important. The basic rule is to replace electrolytes and calories after riding for an hour. Considering most of our rides are longer than one hour, there are many nutritional products designed help. The popular cycling nutrition products are sports drinks, gels, and bars.

Sports drinks, the problem and solution

No doubt you are familiar with the stories of Powebar and Gatorade, both companies were born out of a need for in-activity nutrition and electrolyte replacement. Since their development, there has been many amazing advancements in sports nutrition. Read on to see how Tailwind Nutrition is moving the science forward.

The issue with sports nutrition comes from the fact that in many cases sports drinks have replaced soft drinks and nutrition bars have replaced snacks in many people’s diets. This evolution has led to nutrition that is to sweet, too heavy and resistant to quick digestion during activity. Therefore, most readily-available nutrition products force your body to expend too much energy attempting to digest it. Additionally, because they take so long to digest, they often times cause a stomach soreness.

Tailwind Nutrition’s story

That problem of heavy nutrition is a big part of why Tailwind came into being. The Idea for Tailwind came when Jeff (one of the founders) had trouble keeping his breakfast down when he was competing in the Leadville 100 (a one hundred mile mountain bike race in Colorado). He was struggling with the heavy nutrition products, available at the time. In an effort to fix his own nutrition issue, he used himself as a guinea pig. He consulted nutritionists and then developed a sports drink that fulfilled his calorie requirement, adjusted for electrolyte replacement, that had an incredibly light taste.

After sharing it with friends and selling the new product out of the back of his car at events, news spread fast. Soon the story of a customer who finished a 100 mile mountain bike race, for the first time after a decade of trying, solidified the company into being.

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

Jeff at Tailwind mixing some new cycling nutrition products to test

How it tastes

After my twenty years of drinking different sports drinks, Tailwind is a refreshingly light drink. The taste is a great mix of sweet and savory (my guess is that’s the carbohydrates and salts natural flavor). After the initial taste, I was amazed to find that there was no syrupy aftertaste. The aftertaste is really important because as you exercise and increase your breathing rate, any residual flavor can become overwhelming. It is so light that when I finished the bottle of Tailwind, I then filled that bottle with straight water and didn’t detect any aftertaste.

How it works

The best part of the Tailwind products I feel is its consistency. In my experience most nutritional products do a great job of bringing your endurance level up temporarily, then sadly your energy level drops off drastically as you continue on. What I found with the Tailwind products, they deliver consistent energy with no severe drop. Additionally, as the temperature goes up and electrolytes are more important than calories, this product offers salts that are quickly absorbed into the body.

Why use Tailwind

I know what you’re thinking, why shouldn’t I just grab a Gatorade down at the ole’ Circle K before my weekend ride? Well, the answer is as easy as comfort, results, and cost.

First, I have tried most sports drinks on the market and all of them left me feeling the same way – sick. Those heavy drinks sit in my stomach and sometimes, attempt to come back up again. By contrast, the Tailwind stuff never made a peep in my belly. Additionally, Tailwind offers 200 calories per serving rather than the 150 calories from Gatorade. That’s not only more calories, but I found they were better calories. Typical sports drinks gave me an initial energy boost, but then dropped off severely. By contrast, I found Tailwind to give sustained energy, but no harsh drop off. Finally, Tailwind is way cheaper. Tailwind can be as little as $.75. When compared to Gatorade at more than twice that per bottle. To me Tailwind makes good sense.

All in all, nutrition is a personal preference. While I may like one product, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee it is the right product for you. With that being said, I feel that Tailwind offers a great product for even the most sensitive stomachs. Give it a try, I think you will like how it works.

The Patrol 672 mountain bike was well worth the ride

Testing mountain bikes at Interbike’s Dirt Demo: Review Patrol 672

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking,com

I have to admit it, Interbike was more fun before the internet. The reason for this is that you would walk isle after isle and see all the new, awesome products. In the age of digital media it becomes a lot harder to find something new and even harder still to find something new and awesome. Well, I’m happy to report that I did find a diamond in the rough (more specifically desert) while I was out there. That diamond was Patrol bicycles, specifically the Patrol 672.

The Patrol 672 bike

The Patrol 672 is a 160mm travel mountain bike, equipped with 27.5” wheels. In the landscape of today’s bike market, it is relatively normal. It uses the tried and true Horst link suspension design and an all aluminum frame. Throughout the build kit you will find Rockshox and Shimano parts. What all this means is that Patrol hasn’t cut any corners. Overall the bike felt light and roomy in the cockpit with the suspension easily adjusted through air pressure.

Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 I rode in Bootleg Canyon

The Patrol ride

By the sound of the spec and design this bike should be unremarkable. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This bike just begged to gobble up rocks and loose sandy turns. While the top tube (and by extension wheelbase) isn’t as long as some other bicycles on the market, it was still sure footed and stable when things got hairy. I think that shorter overall wheelbase is what lends to this bikes snappy handling and playful demeanor. With any long travel bike like the 672, climbing is almost an afterthought, so I really didn’t expect much. Fast forward to the first loose climb and I was taken aback by this little goat. With the suspension set into its “full open” position (meaning that the suspension moves freely and is not stiffened to make for more efficient pedaling) there was some slight pedal bob under hard effort, but nothing that would be considered inefficient. With the suspension set to its climb mode, the bike shot up hill. My feeling is that for loose climbs, this bike works best in full open, but for extended smoother climbs, the climb mode eliminates any loss of effort.

Patrol 672

The Rocky and loose trails of Bootleg Canyon, served as a perfect test track for the Patrol 672

The Patrol 672 components

For this category of bike, short stems, wide bars, and single chain rings have become the standard. The 672 checks all these boxes with some really nice house brand aluminum bars and stem. For the drivetrain, they use a Shimano SLX group which will perform flawlessly for a long time.

Value

At $2,900 the Patrol 672 is really reasonable by comparison. If this were a bike from a larger name, you could expect it to cost well over $3,000 dollars. Now, why do you ask does this bike justify what seems like a hefty $2,900 price tag? Let’s start with the frame. Patrol uses sealed ball bearings and oversized hardware throughout all of it’s suspension. These features lead to better performing suspension that will continue functioning smoothly for seasons to come. Additionally, the 672 uses carefully manipulated tube shapes, created through a process called hydroforming, that allows the bike to be stiff, durable, and exceedingly light. Finally, Patrol has equipped this bike with parts that are as durable as the are functional, This ensures a lifetime of happy riding (even if you crash a few times along the way).

Why is it a diamond in the Rough?

Simply put, this brand is considered rough only because of their distribution. Take a look at their website and you will see Patrol offers bicycles across all categories, and at affordable prices. The bikes themselves are as polished as anything you will see coming out of a major brand. The only difficulty is you probably won’t see them at your local bike shop. But, I have a feeling as more people discover this diamond, it will become more available. In the meantime, if your interest is piqued, contact them directly and they can help you out.

Tubeless tires on bicycles: The basics of this exciting new technology

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the spring of 1999 the french rim maker MAVIC launched the first viable bicycle tubeless system. By working closely with their french neighbor, the tire maker Hutchinson, they engineered a simple system that could give riders the benefits of larger air volume, greater traction, lighter weight and greater durability that tubeless systems offer. Since 1999, tubeless has evolved to be lighter, more serviceable, and lighter.

Now, with more bicycles coming from the manufacturer with these tires as standard equipment, please read on to see how the current family of tubeless systems can benefit you.

What are tubeless tires

Tubeless tires are exactly what they sound like, tires that use no innertubes. Specifically, these tire and rim systems use the air pressure, combined with a sealant, to keep your tires seated and inflated on the rim.

Why tubeless

There are a few reasons as to why tubeless tires have become popular. In essence, they are less prone to flats, they ride more comfortably, they are lighter and they offer better traction.

Less flats

Tubeless tires protect against the most common type of flat tire, a pinch flat. How a pinch flat works is the tire is compressed between a solid object and the rim. When compressed the rim and object work like scisors and cut a hole in the innertube. Considering tubeless tires have no innertube, they cannot pinchflat. This isn’t to say you cannot cut the tire in the same circumstance, but that is far less likely.

Tubeless Tires

The innertube on the left (blue) is susceptible to pinchflats, while the tubeless setup on the right is immune.

Less weight

Innertubes are relatively heavy. The pair can easily weigh a pound. While a pound may not sound like a lt of weight, we need to consider were that weight is. Tires, tubes, and rims have a profound effect on the feel of a bike. Heavy rims, tubes or tires can make the bike feel very heavy (even if it’s overall weight is low). The reason for this is that when you pedal, the weight you are constantly accelerating, only to have it decelerate and need to be accelerated again is rotating weight (ie. Rim, tire, tube). Reducing the rotating weight will decrease the mass you need to constantly accelerate, and lead to a lighter riding bicycle.

More comfot

By doing away with the innertube, you automatically increase the air volume of the tire. This increased air volume allows for a greater degree of flex in the tire when you ride over objects. Increaseing that flex allows the bike to more comfortably float across road and trail.

 

More traction

Tires and tubes don’t actually play well together. A tire is built with high thread count fabrics that are designed to conform over objects, but not collapse under the efforts of turning and pedaling. That delicate balancing act is made more difficult when you introduce an innertube. An inflated innertube will press against the inner surface of the tire an hinder it from conforming over objects. This is because that pressure creates friction between the tire attempting to conform, and the tube exerting force on it. This, if you eliminate the tube, the tire is free to do what it was intended to do

Tubeless Tires

Air Pressure (Green) forces the tube into the tire causing friction (Red)

Types of tubeless tires

There are two primary tubless systems. Tubeless, and Tubeless-ready. A true tubeless system (like the tires on most automobiles) requires no sealant to inflate the tire. The tire is built with a airtight material grafted to the inner surface. Tubeless-ready tires require you to use a sealant because they have no airtight material applied. Overall, the tubeless-ready tires has become more popular because they ride better, are lighter and less expensive. For all those benefits, the trade off is that a sticky solution must be installed into the tire to seal it.

What you need to go Tubeless

There are four primary items you need to go tubeless. They are a tubeless compatible rim, rim tape and valve, a tubeless-ready tire, and sealant. In many cases new bikes are coming stock with tubeless compatible rims (the largest expense) so check with your shop to see if you are already half way there.

What happens if you get a flat with a tubeless  tire

In the rare instance where you do get a flat tire, you can simply remove  the tubeless valve core, and install an innertube. There is a bit of added mess with the sealant, but otherwise changing a flat is simple.

 

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. By commuting by bike you will find the hassle factor lessen while your overall trip can acts as your workout for the day. Saving you hours in the gym. After defining the best route to follow, we have listed what you need or that will make the commute that 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 actually have to have is a bike. However, for added comfort and safety here is a list of items that will make your ride safer and a few items that will make easier to function at work or class properly once you are there. 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 the most important product you can buy after the bike. While typically, self-preservation keeps us upright on our bike, while commuting we need to consider there is a vast amount of others actions we need to protect our self 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 better, have become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever before.

Lights

While the helmet is a key safety product, it is not the only important one. Lights, no matter if it is day or night or your level of bike riding skill, are essential to make sure you have the safest ride possible. Additionally, sometimes when you’re 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 leave it unattended for extended periods of time, which make it susceptible to theft. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help protect it. Here’s some info on the different kinds of bike locks, and other tips to ensure your bike’s safety.

Waterproof Bag

Being caught in the rain is not a possibility when commuting, it is an inevitability. In order 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. For riders looking to carry their things on the bike, there are plenty of waterproof panniers available.

Bike Commuting Niceties

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

Shoes and pedals

Most riders look at clipless pedals as a competitive advantage only, but nothing could be farther from the truth. When riding a bicycle, few things are as effective as clipless pedals and cycling shoes. There is a simple equation that always holds true: control = comfort. In the quest for more control of your bicycle, 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, a lot of 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 great comfort as well as unencumbered movement around the bicycle. Baggy shorts are very popular for their casual look and advent of pockets. There are even cycling skirts (called skorts) that offer excellent comfort and great off the bike look. Whatever short you decide on, the padding will make your ride more comfortable.

Fenders

Fenders are a standard option for many. They are light, 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 permenant option is a bolt on fender.

Studded Tires

Like winter tires for your car, there are also studded tires 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 form of exercise that will give you better attention, higher energy levels, and some free time to critically think without major distraction.

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Riding Courtesy; Great Ways to Consider Others on Your Next Adventure

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Did you know that bicycle traffic laws are different in many states? While these laws guide how you should operate on your bicycle, they also regulate how drivers should treat you. Laws are designed to keep both drivers and cyclists safe. Then there is offroad riding and most trail systems have guidelines that match up with the published list of rules from IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association). Beyond the laws and rules, we should also employ some common courtesy toward each other on both the road and trail.

Offroad Courtesy To Other Riders

Courtesy offroad is all about sharing the trail, leaving the environment as pure as possible, and not negatively impacting others experience. The simplest way to share the trail is to maintain control. Careening down a trail at Mach 5 with no ability to stop in time is a quick recipe for disaster. If you can’t control yourself, you are more prone to run into others or at the very least scare them. In order to maintain the environment, consider the trails off limits when wet. Trail systems that are wet are far more susceptible to damage from riders by leaving deep ruts in the dirt. In addition to leaving ruts, leaving any trash behind is unacceptable as well. Take care to pack any trash, like powerbar wrappers, inner tube boxes, or gel packs out with you. Finally, be concerned with others experience. There is nothing easier to reach that goal than to yield the trail when appropriate. If an overtaking rider wants to pass, slow down and make room for them to get by. When others are climbing up a steep grade, wait at the top of that trail for them to pass, before heading down.

Trail Courtesy To Other Riders

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

Be courteous on the trail especially when a one-way merges into a two-way.

While riding on the bike paths, small amounts of courtesy can go a long way to keep you and those around you safe. To begin, always pull off the trail when stopping. Making yourself a big roadblock in the middle of the trail puts all those who must get around you at a risk. Don’t assume others know where you are going, hand signals help for those looking, but also feel free to tell people (especially people you are passing) what is going on. A simple “on your left” can make a pass far safer.

Road Courtesy To Other Riders

While stopping along a road pulling off to the shoulder is being courteous to motorists and the safest thing we can do.

Road riding courtesy is most needed when riding in a group and drafting. Safety in a group is about two things – Consistency and communication. For Consistency, be sure to ride a steady line, don’t swerve from side to side. Also, try to keep a consistent pace, If riders are drafting behind you, it can be difficult and tiring if you constantly speed up and slow down. For communication, be sure to signal If you are stopping, where debris in the road is, and what direction the group is turning.

Trail and Road Courtesy To Traffic

Courtesy to traffic is as easy as being predictable. Try to ride at the same distance from the curb as consistently as possible. Also use hand signals when turning, and be clear when stopping (by placing your open palm down at your side). Using a bell is also a great way to signal your approach to parked cars. Ultimately, you want drivers to know where you are and where you are going so they can make safe choices as well.

Keeping Yourself Safe

Riding courteously is just another way to keep you and those around you safe while riding. Once you begin to employ these tips, and make them second nature, you will find that your rides become less stressful. Eventually, I hope you help remind others what courteous bike riding can do for everyone.

Please pass this information on to friends and family – Thanks!

The Minnesota Ironman is now less then two months away. If you have been reading and following our Ironman preparation articles, then congratulations, you are well on your way to earning those well deserved bragging rights for the 15, 45 05 100-mile route.

The Minnesota Ironman Bike Ride: How to Start Preparing 60 Days Out!

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The 51st Minnesota Ironman is now only two months away. If you have been reading and following our Ironman preparation articles, then congratulations, you are well on your way to earning those well deserved bragging rights. However, If you are just now starting to get ready, don’t fret, you have plenty of time to get prepared for a great ride through Waconia’s beautiful landscape. Wherever you feel comfortable on the preparedness spectrum, read on for helpful tips to get you ready.

You Need to Believe that You can Complete the Minnesota Ironman

No matter if you ride 15, 45 or a 100-miles, no swimming or running is required and bragging rights are always guaranteed at the end at the Minnesota Ironman.

No matter if you ride 15, 45 or a 100-miles, no swimming or running is required and bragging rights are always guaranteed at the end at the Minnesota Ironman.

Thousands of riders test their meddle every spring in the Minnesota Ironman. The first (and, for some, the greatest) challenge is committing your mind to complete an Ironman. The easiest way to get your mind on board is to register. Countless peripheral excuses to not complete go away once you register. Even if the weather is poor or you feel less than 100% that morning, as a registered rider, the chances of you going out are a lot higher. Once registered, Make a plan to get ready. The plan should include getting your body, your equipment, and the details of the event day ready.

Get Your Body Ready

Minnesota Ironman

Ride, Ride, Ride, wherever you can!

As the weather here in the Twin Cities is breaking, we are beginning to see signs of a spring thaw. Periodic warmer days give you the opportunity to check out the local trails or riding routes in your immediate area. If they are clear, take advantage of every nice day and get out to ride. In addition to sporadic rides as the weather permits, sign up for a spin class once a week, or go to a trainer class.

The Minnesota Ironman team realizes that undertaking an event of this difficulty can require help. For that help, they have partnered with Coach Bob McEnaney at Total Cycling Performance. Bob is available for individual coaching services and also runs bi-weekly indoor trainer rides (Monday & Thursday) at Penn Cycle’s Woodbury location. He publishes weekly workouts on Wednesdays that are a great way to stay motivated.

If riding is not in the forecast for you right now, try to focus some time on fitness. Getting your heartbeat up for an hour or two a week will pay deep dividends once the spring weather rolls in for good.

Get Your Equipment Ready

Minnesota Ironman

Knock the cobwebs and dust off!

If you haven’t done it yet, pull your bike out of mothballs. Lube the chain , put air in the tires, and take a ride. Taking a ride will give you a good idea of how far out of adjustment your bike may be. If the weather is poor, going for a ride will also give you the chance to test if your riding gear is comfortable in poor weather.

Cold weather gear like jackets, shoes, and tights are in ample supply at your local shop now, but if you wait until just before the Ironman, pickings may be slim. Also, waiting until the last minute to have your bike serviced might not be possible based on your shop’s schedule.

If your bike needs to be serviced, that’s a great time to think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A good bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries, and make you more comfortable and efficient. You can have a friend help you check the basics or have your shop take a professional look. Both Eric’s and Penn Cycle are Ironman sponsors and certified bike fitters.

Start Planning for the Day of The Minnesota Ironman

Minnesota Ironman

Riding as a group is fun!

At 60 days out you should feel comfortable encouraging family and friends to do the ride with you. Counter potential poor weather with good vibes by riding with a group who all ride at a similar speed. If your friends and family don’t want to ride, encourage them to come out and cheer you on at a set destination on the course. Your own personal cheer squad can be all the motivation you need to conquer those last 5 miles. After the ride you can all meet for dinner (giving you a chance to test out those newly earned bragging rights).

Speaking of food, 60 days out is the perfect time to see how your body handles different foods while exercising. Start testing foods like sports gels, power bars, and sports drinks to see how your body reacts as you ride. Knowing what your body prefers ahead of time will ensure you can maintain your energy the day of the event by eating foods your body is used to.

60 days is all that currently stands between you and your bragging rights. Be proactive and start to prepare for the 2017 Minnesota Ironman now.