On Saturday, June 20th the skies were sunny and the raindrops promised to stay away for a fun-filled day on the 4th Annual BikeMN Train & Trail Tour. After checking in at the BikeMN (Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota) table, at the Minneapolis Parks and Rec Board headquarters, everyone pedaled to the train. At the Target Field Station train platform, over 100 bicyclists boarded the Northstar Train for the ride to Big Lake, MN. After a 45-mile train ride, they arrived in Big Lake, where tour participants rolled their bikes off the rail cars. They were ready to take off for the 42-mile journey back to Minneapolis.
Facebook Photo Gallery of the 2016 Train & Trail Tour
Enjoy the pictures we took while following the riders that were having fun riding their bikes along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) in the HaveFunBiking Facebook Photo Gallery. The MRT is a bicycle route that has been mapped by MnDOT (Minnesota Department of Transportation). In Minnesota, the full route of the MRT meanders roughly 620-miles paralleling the river. Starting from its source at Itasca State Park to the Iowa border – then on to New Orleans. Utilizing largely low-traffic roads, the MRT route also includes relatively long segments of scenic state and regional trails.
In Downtown, the Elk River tour riders enjoyed a catered lunch in the town square. Located next to the fountain overlooking the confluence of the Elk and the Mississippi Rivers, it was a great location to see the rivers.
At the Highway 169 Bridge, in Champlain, the MRT trail allows riders to choose two routes into Minneapolis. Crossing the Mississippi River here, riders can tour the Twin Cities Gateway through the nine wonderful towns. These communities include Anoka, Coon Rapids, and Fridley, all paralleling the river on the East-MRT.
For the Train & Trail Tour, riders stayed on the Minneapolis Northwest 301 side, or West-MRT, heading south towards Minneapolis. After crossing the I-694 Freeway Bridge, riders found the shaded trails along this stretch a comfort from the hot sun. The afternoon heat on this day made things a bit sticky. Leaving the North Mississippi Regional Park, it’s approximately three-miles to the end. For Train & Trail participants it meant it was time for ice cream.
If you were not able to join BikeMN on one of these Train & Trail Tour adventures, then don’t worry. If you would like to experience this route on your own, it’s easy to plan. First, check Metro Transit’s Northstar Rail schedule and connection to get you and your bike up to Big Lake or all the way to St Cloud. Then, study MnDOT’s County Bike Maps for a desirable route that you would prefer to ride back.
HaveFunBiking – it’s a great multi-modal experience traveling by train and then biking back to your original destination.