Tag Archives: multi modal commuting

Cyclists biking from the Mall of America to one of the many attractions you can ride to in Bloomington.

The Vikings Camp and Bloomington attractions are easy to bike to

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

Biking to the new Vikings Training Camp, from the Mall of America (MOA) in Bloomington, MN can add to the fun when taking in a scrimmage game. With the recent announcement of the training camp’s schedule, the maps in the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide can help make it easy get to a game. Less of a hassle factor – starting at the MOA is the perfect place to meet friends staying at area hotels and bicycling together to a game.

A cyclist riding his fat bike across the 494 bike/pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River.

A cyclist riding his fat bike across the 494 bike/pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River toward Eagan.

Going to an area attraction like the Vikings Training Camp, the Mall is an excellent multi modal gathering point to get there. Biking from the north parking lot at the MOA it is less than seven miles to the new Vikings facility. Along the way make time stop by the Northwest Airlines Museum or Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Center.

Maps and Q-sheet make it easy to find area attractions by bike

Getting to the attractions on a bicycle can be fun and add to the memories. To plan your next visit to one of Bloomington’s Attractions look at the maps on pages 40-41 and 52-53 of the 2018 Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. For a trip to the Vikings camp copy the turn-by-turn Q-sheet below for your next bike adventure.

From the MOA Entrance on the north side!                                                                                         0.0 Cross the north MOA parking lot.
0.2 Right on East American Blvd (side walk 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.
1.6 Onto bike trails over Minnesota River.
3.9 Right on trail along Pilot Knob Rd.
4.1 Left onto Corporate Center Ln.
4.4 Left onto Trapp Rd.
4.9 Left on Egandale.
5.1 Right on Hwy 55 10 foot shoulder.
5.4 Left on Blue Gentian Rd.
6.2 Cross Dodd Rd/149 onto Vikings Pkwy.
6.3 Left at Round-a-bout onto Lone Oak Pkwy.
6.4 Right on O’Nell Dr.
6.8 North entrance to Vikings Training Camp (Valet gate) and bike racks are available at main entrance inside to secure your bike. 

Starting at MOA adds to the fun exploring Bloomington’s attractions

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

Bicycling to MOA from American Boulevard.

A revolutionary place for shopping, entertainment and attractions, John Emerson says, “I like using the MOA as a meeting point when biking around the south metro. It’s nice, I can come a little early or stay after a bike ride and 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 parking.” We agree with John. The MOA makes a perfect multi modal commuting hub where travel treasures can be exploredvon two-wheels in Bloomington.

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

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

From the north parking lot, at the Mall of America, the sidewalk/trail running parallel with American Boulevard make the best bike commuter route along the 494 freeway strip. Once at the Mall you will find bike racks near most of the main entrances and lockers for changing cloths inside.

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

Now riding east from the Mall, cross the 34th Avenue at the light rail station. Here at the southeast corner of this intersection you will see the Crown Plaza Hotel where the Northwest Airline Museum is located.

Northwest Airlines History Center Museum

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

One of the displays at the Northwest Airline Museum.

The Northwest Airlines History Center Museum, a mile east of the Mall of America is worth checking out if you are interested in aviation history. Here you will find a treasure trove of Minnesota’s home-town airline history on display. Visiting, you will find over 4,000 aviation artifacts, from 1926 to 1998, to sift through. Plus, a gallery of museum photos hanging in the hotels hallways to enjoy as you make your way to the exhibit. It is easy to spend a couple hours or more looking at the various collections here.

A short distance east of the NW Airline Museum, is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center

Another Bloomington attraction is the National Wildlife Refuge

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center over looking river and wetlands below .

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Visitors Center over looking river and wetlands below .

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 bigger 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 can learn about the wonders of the natural world.  There are also several large murals that are made out tiny pictures of animals that can be found in the refuge.

Step outside, right behind the center you will find a stone observation deck with two telescopes. Here it’s easy to focus on the flora and fauna across the river valley. It adds to the center’s castle-like vibe and enjoyment.

Back on the route, cross the Minnesota river to watch a viking scrimmage game.

Taking in a game at the new Vikings training camp

The new Vikings Training Camp in Eagan, MN, less than 7-miles from the MOA

The new Vikings Training Camp in Eagan, MN, less than 7-miles from the MOA

The team’s new headquarters, Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center will open next month for scrimmages, July 25th through August 16th.  Each day of practice games at the new facility the gate will open to 5,000 fans, via free tickets. Daily, 1,300 of those tickets will be held for the general public. Season ticket holders will have first option to the remainder.

There will be no access for fans without a mobile ticket. These digital tickets are free and available at vikings.com. There is a $10 fee for parking your auto if you you decide to drive. For more information see the article: 12 things you should know attending the training camp

If you have any questions about using the Vikings Mobile Ticketing App, contact the Vikings Ticket Office at (612) 338-4537.

More Bloomington attractions and sights to see by bike

Other travel treasure opportunities to consider riding your bike to and from the Mall of America include: Stopping at the observation area at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport; taking the trail to Lake Nakomis, then Minnehaha Falls and back through Fort Snelling State Park; and a family outing at the Works Museum.

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

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

For more fun when staying or visiting Bloomington check out all the activities, attractions and lodging accommodations here.

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 a 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 perfect for both 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.

Here the content in this carry-on luggage 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 and comfortably lay in the Classic pannier with a sports jacket and  laptop included.

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 less chances of the clothes wrinkling when secure in the pannier. For meetings, with the Two Wheel Gear’s Classic I can safely pack my laptop, presentation boards and promotional material. 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 inventory of gear. 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

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

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 like 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 offer 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

-Sizes

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.

-Brands

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.

Portability

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.

Commuting

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.

Stiffness

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.