Tag Archives: multi modal commuting

Bike Pic April 01, kicks off 30 Days of Biking

It’s no April fools; 30 Days of Biking begins today with cool temperatures and a chance of rain. With layering for the elements, running errands on a bike could make your life more carbon-free. Have you registered for 30 days of biking yet? It’s free.

So, adjust to the warmer temps, have your rain gear ready, and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors for that #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.

Thanks for viewing today’s bike pic

Now rolling through our 20th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

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

As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile-friendly in our 15th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.

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. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.

Have fun as we pedal into 2024!

The Mall of America (MOA), located in the east side of Bloomington, is just one of the many travel treasures to explore by bike, when visiting.

Exploring the east side of Bloomington by bicycle for hidden treasures

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

When exploring Bloomington, the Mall of America (MOA) is just one of many travel treasures to visit. Along with MOA, venturing out on a bike can make it easy to see more south metro attractions. And, with designated bike routes and commuter paths along the area streets, it’s easy to spend several days seeing the sights here.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

When visiting Bloomington, the MOA makes an excellent multi-modal gathering point to see all the treasures here. Starting at the Mall’s north parking lot and pedaling east, it is less than a mile and a half to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center. Along the way, you can stop by the Northwest Airlines Museum to learn more about Minnesota’s aeronautical history.

If you like watching big planes land and take off, it is fun to take the northern bike route to the viewing station at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. To the west, less than five miles, saddle up the family for a day’s adventure at the Works Museum. Along the Minnesota River Valley, mountain bikers and hikers alike will find hours of fun to the south.

Add to the fun, exploring Bloomington by bike.

One of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

On the north side, one of many bike parking racks at the Mall of America.

A revolutionary place for shopping, entertainment, and attractions, John Emerson says it best, “I like using the MOA as a meeting point when biking around the south metro. It’s nice, and I can come a little early or stay after a bike ride, get some shopping in, or grab a bite to eat. Plus, getting to and from the Mall is easy with the bike-friendly sidewalks, access to light-rail, and ample bike parking.” We agree with John, and the Mall makes the perfect multi-modal commuting hub to explore Bloomington on two wheels.

When exploring Bloomington, the sidewalk/trail running parallel to American Boulevard works well as a bike commuter route along the 494 Freeway strip from the Mall of America’s north parking lot. Once at the Mall, you will find bike racks near most of the main entrances and lockers inside for changing clothes.

If you are coming in by Metro Transit (bus or light rail), use the lower ramp on the east side. There are plenty of bike racks next to the bus station to secure your bicycle. For more information, see MOA services and map.

Northwest Airlines History Center Museum

Riding east from the Mall, a tour rider can stop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the NW Airline Museum is located.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the many displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

Located one mile east of the Mall of America, the Northwest Airlines History Center Museum is worth checking out. Here you will find Minnesota’s hometown airline of the past. Visiting, you will see over 4,000 aviation artifacts from 1926 to 1998 to sift through. Plus, a gallery of photos hanging in the hotel hallways to enjoy as you make your way to the museum. It is easy to spend a couple of hours looking at the various collection here!

What you may discover at this home-town airline attraction

According to the Minnesota Historical Society’s review, you will find records on air routes, aircraft accidents, hijackings, and more. Also, see information and video on Northwest’s involvement in World War II. In the airlines, correspondents section discover communications with aircraft manufacturers and aviators like Amelia Earhart. There are also newspaper accounts of the 1989 takeover of NWA Inc. and the company’s brush with bankruptcy.

To find the museum in the Crowne Plaza Aire MSP Hotel at Two Appletree Square, take the elevator in the lobby to the 3rd Floor. As you make your way to the museum, enjoy the photos along the hallway. If the weather isn’t conducive to bicycling to the museum, consider using the light rail from the Mall of America. The Hotel is across the street from the 34th Avenue Blue-line station.

When Exploring Bloomington take in the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The castle-like presence of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center.

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center are overlooking the river and wetlands below.

A short distance east of the airline museum and across from the Hilton Hotel is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center. Its grand stature overlooking the river valley below offers a castle-like presence. Inside it feels more significant than the average visitors center, and it is. It has everything, including information on the wildlife that calls the refuge home. In the theater and interactive exhibits, kids of all ages can learn about the wonders of the natural world. Several large murals are made out of tiny pictures of animals, and can also be found inside.

Step outdoors, right behind the center; you will find a stone observation deck with two telescopes. Here it’s easy to focus on flora and fauna across the river valley while relaxing in the center’s natural surroundings.

When exploring Bloomington, take a walk and get close to nature.

If you are up for a walk and want to get close to nature, take a hike on one of the well-managed trails in the refuge. Walk at your own pace and stop periodically to reflect on the serenity of nature. As you explore some of Minnesota’s environment, you will find sitting areas scattered along the path to pause and reflect.

Long Meadow Trail

At some point, if you walk far enough, you’ll connect to a dirt road known as the Long Meadow Trail. This multi-use trail takes you up the river valley to the old Cedar Bridge and beyond. Along the path, you will pass by fields that grow long grass; trees that now and then shelter you from the blazing sun; waterfowl floating in the wetlands; and a bridge that takes you over the Minnesota River. If you’re lucky enough, you might even pass by an artist seeking inspiration from what’s around them and putting it on canvas.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find these attractions from the MOA

With free admission to get into these two attractions, commuting by bike can add to the fun and memories. First, look at the map on pages 40-41 of the 2022 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to the NWA Museum and Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center.

Exploring Bloomington from the MOA to the MN Valley Wildlife Center                                     0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
1.1 Cross 34th Ave. NW Airlines Museum/Crown Plaza Hotel (SE corner)
1.3 Entrance to the MN Valley Wildlife Center (across from the Hilton Hotel)

The Works Museum can engineer fun for the whole family

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

Plenty of bike parking is available at the Works Museum.

A five-mile bike ride west of the Mall of America in Bloomington brings you and your kids to the Works Museum for some mind-expanding fun.

In the interactive Experience Gallery, your family can experiment with simple machines, structures, and shapes with sensors, imaging, and optical technologies. Your kids can touch, try and build as they explore how things work.

The Workshop in the museum is a new creative space for families. This space is perfect for the youngsters in your home. Especially for those who like to sew, build things, or create art — the ideal place for a bonding exercise with your child. The art department classes here will help you and your child produce a stop-motion animation video together. Another level allows you to create your own LED sign, and there are many more classes to select.

The Works Museum is located at 9740 Grand Ave S, Bloomington, MN 55420.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find the Works Museum from the MOA

Getting to the Works Museum by bicycle can add to the fun and memories when riding a bike there. First, look at the Bloomington bike map in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet for your next bike adventure to this museum.

Please note – the following route offers a combination of roads with parallel bike/walk paths and quiet neighborhood streets.

From the MOA north side entrance to the Works Museum!   

0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
0.9 Left on 12th Avenue
1.2 Right on 82nd Street
1.4 West onto trail across Smith Park
1.6 Left (south) Park Street
2.1 Right on 86th Street
2.5 Left on 3rd Avenue
3.0 Right 90th Street (Bloomington Aquatic Center)
3.2 Left on Nicollet
3.6 Right on 93rd Street
3.7 Left on Blaisdell Avenue
3.9 Right on 95th Street
4.2 Left on Grand Avenue
4.5 Cross 97 ½ Street into the Works Museum

Watch the planes at the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station.

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

The MSP Observation Area for those wishing to watch the big planes land and take off.

Another fun opportunity to ride your bike from the Mall of America includes a visit to the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport Viewing Station.

From the MOA to the MSP Aircraft Viewing Station! 

0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot
0.2 Right on East American Boulevard (sidewalk trail or street)
0.9 Right on 12th Avenue
1.6 Right on Diagonal Boulevard
1.9 Left on Bloomington Avenue
2.4 Right on 86th Street
2.6 Left on Old Cedar Avenue
2.9 Right 66th Street across Cedar Avenue
3.0 Left (south) Longfellow Avenue
3.5 Left Cargo Road
4.0 MSP Aircraft Viewing Station

Check here for more fun activities, attractions, and hotels to bike to when staying or visiting Bloomington, MN.

Family or group bike outings to nearby events adds to the fun

With so many summer festivals and attractions for a family to take in, commuting by bike can add to the fun. Especially if the event is within three to seven miles of your home or the lodge you are staying at. By leaving the car behind and traveling by bike everyone in your group can spend more time having fun with less of the hassle factor of driving and finding parking at the event.

This bike photo shows a family riding a trail that parallels a road that will take them to a local community celebration five miles away.

This bike photo shows a family riding a trail next to a busy road that will take them to a local community celebration.

In most cases by using trails, quiet roads and bike friendly streets to reach a community event is much faster. Plus, it will allow everyone in your group a more unique and unforgettable adventures. To make your next family or group outing safe and fun please consider these suggestions when planning on driving your the bike to the event and leave the car behind:

Plan your bike route before heading out with family and friends

If you are not familiar with the area you plan to ride, look at city and county maps. Most are available online and Google Maps is a good backup option. Most cities offer maps available at the tourism center, library or city office which show both the streets and trails in an area.

When planning a route is a lot easier when you know where the quiet secondary streets are. Especially when trails are not always connected to the destination you want to ride. When trails or bike designated routes are not available look for parallel streets and avenues that are a block or two off the main auto route to the event. Usually these streets offer low traffic shaded lanes to get you to the destination desired.

For the first few outings, a six to fourteen mile round trip by bike is plenty. If the festival is further away and your family is new to biking to events consider multi-modal commuting. Using a car or public transportation to travel part of the distance and then bicycling the rest of the way).

Before leaving, instruct all family members that they have to abide by the rules of the road when biking on roadways and trail. Remind them they need to, “Drive their bike”, obeying all rules as if they are driving a car.” That means riding on the right side of the road or trail  signaling their turns, stopping at stop lights and giving pedestrians the right of way.

When the temperature is hot while riding a bike it good to find shade periodically and hydrate.

When the temperature is hot while riding a bike it good to find shade and drink some water periodically.

If younger children are riding, allow plenty of time. When it is hot make frequent stops every couple miles to take a drink of water, rest, stretch, etc.

Check your bike gear so everything is ready for a fun journey

Before heading out, check that all the tires are properly inflated, brakes are working and chain is lubed (the ABC’s). You don’t want to worry about any mechanical issues when the family is riding. Especially on the bike trip home, when everyone is a little tired.

To freshen the air in your tires you can find the recommended tire pressure on the sidewall of the tire. Here you will find the recommended PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) behind it as your ideal pressure.

Is everyone carrying plenty of water or are there frequent hydration stops planned where water is available? On a hot day taking a sip or two of water every couple miles a good idea.

Bike safety and visibility

How visible is your clothing? Check to see that everyone is wearing highly noticeable – bright clothing so your group is seen by traffic from a distance. If your return trip is later in the day have rear flashers and reflectors on each bike will help to be seen by others on the road. If you plan to return after dark a front headlight should be a part of your bike equipment.

For more information on bicycle safety when riding alone or with the family check out the Walk! Bike! Fun! Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety curriculum. Brought to you by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, it is free for you to download and use.

In this bike photo the family has gathered together at a busy intersection to cross on their way to the local fair.

In this bike photo the family has gathered together at a busy intersection to cross on their way to the local fair.

With these helpful bike commuting tips, we hope you and your family will find the next festival or event you participate in, twice as fun. Especially when incorporating your bike into the adventure. Remember, with less parking and traffic hassles a family or group of friends has more time to bond and have fun.

The Classic Garment Pannier is a practical bag for all your gear.

A garment pannier that will keep clothes presentable on the ride

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier may be the perfect travel bag for bicyclists. Especially when packing dressier clothes for the commute to work or touring. If your next trip requires posher duds for that special event or evening attire, Two Wheel Gear has you covered. This pannier is roomy, with a universal attachment system that fits any standard bike rack. When space is needed for a suit, this pannier works perfectly for the touring cyclist and the business professional. If dress attire is not a prerequisite, the space is flexible enough to keep all your gear neat and organized.

The content in this carry-on luggage will fit into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier.

This carry-on luggage, with a laptop, all fits into the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier below.

The items in the luggage case above comfortably fits into the Classic Garment Pannier , with room fr a sports jacket and a laptop.

Items transferred from the carry-on luggage comfortably lay in the Classic pannier.

For me, the pannier works well when exploring a new destination to write about or biking to a power meeting. See the video on this multi-functional pannier. With this bag, there are fewer chances of the clothes wrinkling when secure in the pannier. I can safely pack my laptop, presentation boards, and promotional material for meetings with the Two Wheel Gear’s Classic. As the perfect all-in-one luggage bag, this pannier also meets airline carry-on requirements. Plus, in the satchel position with the shoulder strap, it’s easy to carry.

The Classic Garment Pannier in its satchel position meets the the airline requirements for carry-on..

The Two Wheel Gear’s Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier, in its satchel position, meets airline requirements for carry-on.

The key features of the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier 

For the daily commute or a multi-day bike trip, the Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier is a great addition to any cyclist’s gear inventory. With several compartments in the bag, organizing everything you need to shower and change for a productive day at the office or on a trip is a breeze.

The Classic 2.0 Garment Pannier comes with a clip on bag with a highly visible waterproof cover.

This Classic Garment Pannier comes with a clip-on bag to store the highly visible waterproof cover.

The Two Wheel Gear universal mounting system

The universal mounting clips on the bottom side of the panniers make it a snap to clip the bag onto the rear rack. That is all that is required to mount the Classic Garment Pannier (see video) easily.

Here the Classic's highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road slush.

Here the Classic’s highly visible and waterproof cover protects the pannier from wet weather and road residue.

Waterproof, high visibility cover

In a clip-on pouch, the Classic’s cover will keep your gear dry in wet weather conditions. Using the neon green cover with reflective silver accents over the panniers also adds additional visibility to the bike. A helpful tip: If the pavement is wet and the bike lacks wheel fenders, consider using a  sheet of plastic material over the bike rack before securing the bag. This will act as a guard helping to repel moisture away from the underside of the pannier.

The panniers exterior offer reflective material and straps to attach blinking lights for more visibility.

The Two Wheel Gear panniers exterior offers reflective material and straps to attach a blinking light for more visibility.

Plus a padded sleeve for a laptop

Everything about this Two Wheel Gear bag is durable and high quality. Even the zippers to several compartments will help keep things organized. The bag also has a 15″ padded sleeve compartment designed for a laptop. This allows me the opportunity to leave my computer bag at home and use more of the Classic’s all-in-one features.

Folding bikes are an essential bicycle for anyone with limited space, a multi-mode commute, or the desire to travel with a bike.

Folding bikes are easy to use and fun for a ride or commute

Folding bikes are an essential bicycle for anyone with limited space, a multi-mode commute, or the desire to travel with a bike. Many companies make great folders that are easy to transport, featherweight and easy to use. Read ahead for tips on how to choose the right one and for information on all the benefits of a folder.

Types of folding bikes


Wheel size is the major differentiation between folding bikes. They range from 12” wheels, like the wheels you find on a kid’s bike, up to 700c full size adult wheels. Most folding bike frames are sized as one size fits all. The Seat and handlebars can usually be raised and lowered almost infinitely to fit any rider. The most noticeable part of different wheel sizes is comfort and stability.


There are many different brands out there. The major players are Dahon, Tern, and Bike Friday. Each have models that are oriented toward road riding, off-road, or touring. Tern and Dahon make their bicycles in Asia out of aluminum or steel. Bike Friday on the other hand, produces all their bicycles in Eugene Oregon out of steel. There are many other brands that make folding bikes as well, but these are the three most readily available in bike shops.


Folding bikes are great because of their size. For storage, having the ability to fold a bike up into a suitcase sized package offers a lot of options. These bikes can fit under a bed, into a closet, or the trunk of your car.


A barrier for many people to enter into bicycle commuting is distance. For some, it is just not possible to ride 25 miles to work. A folding bike can help split up a bicycle commute. By being folding, you can ride the bike from your home to the bus or train, ride public transportation and then finish the trip to work on your bike again.

Wheel size

Most folding bikes use smaller wheels than their non-folding counterparts. Those small wheels are great when it’s time to fold the bike up, but while riding, they can be a bit harsher than a full size wheel.

Unique parts

Folding bikes use proprietary parts in order to fold as small as possible. Most of these parts are specific to each folding bike brand and are designed to make the bike as fold-able as possible while also being very light. The downside to unique parts is getting replacements can be an issue. Overall, these parts aren’t usually wear items, so the instance of replacement is low.


Folding bikes use smaller frames in the pursuit of getting as small and light as possible once folded. The side effect of a small frame is low stiffness. This flex would be appreciated if it were in a vertical plane, as it would absorb road vibration, but sadly the lateral flex of a folding bike only robs the rider of efficiency.

Tips to buying

Trying before you buy can be difficult because most shops don’t stock a large selection of folding bikes. Start by making a few calls to local shops to see what’s available to ride. Because of that scarcity, focus on testing two things – Wheel size and frame material. The wheel size and frame material have the largest effect on the ride quality of the bicycle. If you can solidify the wheel size and frame material you prefer, you can then determine the other features without riding them.

Travel Bikes

Travel bikes are full sized bicycles that can be deconstructed to fit into a suitcase. While they offer the same ride quality as a standard bicycle, they do not disassemble quickly. I would recommend a folding bike over a travel bike if you plan to make frequent short trips with the bike. If you plan to travel longer distances, and ride more miles, a travel bike is great.