Tag Archives: Twin Cities Gateway

With many trails rolling in and around Anoka, I felt a welcoming charm in this relaxing community with hospitality everywhere that I turned.

Anoka is a fun place to take a fall trail ride, especially around Halloween

With many trails rolling in and around Anoka, the charm in this relaxing community is everywhere that you turn. One of nine Twin Cities Gateway communities, Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World and offers a vast network of bike-friendly roads and trails. A perfect place to begin a ride, this river town is at the confluence of the Rum River as it flows into the Mississippi River, next to the famous trail with the same name the MRT. Making it easy to view many of the historic buildings which are near the trail and downtown Anoka.

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails and bike friendly roads in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A great destination for the whole family riding the trails in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Along with the many trails to ride, the history and Holloween decor is another reason why you should consider visiting Anoka in the fall. Stop by the local Chamber or call and ask about the festivities surrounding the week of Halloween. Then, when you arrive, check out some of the dining establishments to fuel your body before or after your ride.

Hans’ Bakery

The bike ride to Hans’ Bakery, two miles south of the downtown area will excite your sweet tooth with a delicious assortment of legendary pastries. This establishment started as a diner by German immigrants. Now step through the door and it’s like you have been sent back to a simpler time. The menu items are on a chalkboard. What they offer is presented brightly in a lit showcase window in the front. The only modern amenity they have is an I-tablet to ring you up. If you select to use a credit card to pay.

They have many specialties. One of the most well known is the Texas Donut. Its name speaks for itself and comes in a couple different version. No political jokes here, but its larger than most peoples’ hands.

Avant Garden

This little cafe tucked into the historic downtown area is a great place to stop by if you’re looking for a supreme coffee fix that is local. This establishment has everything you would want from a popular cafe too. In addition, their own unique daily sandwich options can be enjoyed with a Coke from a glass bottle, making it extra special!

Historic homes to see while visiting Anoka

Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, in the Twin Cities Gateway

Each year, in mid-summer, the Anoka Heritage Home & Garden tour will take you on a very memorable journey covering Anoka’s history, when the gardens are in their prime. For a fall visit, ride your bike south of the downtown area into the historic Slabtown and Christian Hall neighborhoods. With many homes in the area decorated with Halloween decor swing by the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, on the National Registry of Historic Places. Then the Woodbury House that is home to the Mad Hatter Restaurant and Tea House. These are just a few of the historic treats that will tease you to come back in the summer and explore more of the area.

Area trail to explore

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) into Anoka.

Riding the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) from Elk River, back into Anoka.

Two major trails in Anoka are the Rum River Trails and the Mississippi River Trail (MRT).  Looking at the Anoka Bike Map, provided by the Twin Cities Gateway, the Rum River Trail offers a scenic view of the river and several historic artifacts as the paved trail passes through the downtown area and connects to the MRT. Along ‘Old Man River’ there are connections to the Mississippi River Trail on both sides of the river.

If you are staying in the area for a few days, consider a multi-modal tour. Board the Northstar Train, with your bike, to a station upstream along the MRT and ride your bike back. Just buy a ticket and hop on board. The train will drop you off close to the Mississippi River Trail so you have plenty of time to ride your bike back to Anoka.

Each October, planning a fall bike ride here adds to the fun

Anoka has many happenings throughout the year that you’ll definitely want to check out. But in the fall, the most memorable events is the Anoka Halloween celebration where you will find spooktacular events throughout October.

Known as the Halloween Capital of the World, the city brings out all the stops with everything from the largest pumpkin contest to a scavenger hunt. There are also two main parades: Light Up the Night and the Grand Parade that takes place before Halloween.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade - the largest in the state.

The finale of the Halloween Capitol of the World is the Grand Day Parade – the largest in the state.

So come and discovering Anoka’s history, food, and bike-friendly attributes for your next bike adventure. You will find with plenty of lodging opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway to make your stay comfortable.

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway.

A Minnesota fall bike/birding hotspot in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

As fall approaches and many of the migratory birds starting to gather for their departure south on the flyway, we wanted to share a few bike/birding hotspots we found in the Twin Cities Gateway. While ground-truthing a few bike maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide we noticed some wildlife haunts perfect for viewing the fall migration.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

As migratory birds start gather for their departure south on the flyway this fall.

An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today the nine communities in the Gateway offer excellent viewing opportunities in the parks along its lakes and the Mississippi River. These parks provide nature enthusiasts several places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of waterfowl, along with hawks and songbirds that are still around. Starting with many spots along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), the Rice Creek Trail and the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) check all the Important Birding Areas (IBA) out:

Bike/birding hotspots along the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River, north of Minneapolis, is an important IBA waterfowl area that is adjacent to floodplains areas easily accessible to the MRT bike trails passing through Anoka, Coon Rapids and Fridley. This IBA area also connects to the Rice Creek corridor and its adjacent floodplain on public lands. With the bike trail following the stream, it flows out of the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes, near Lino Lakes, towards the Mississippi where you will find many birding opportunities. According to the National Audubon Society website this IBA lies within an area that has a very high population density and an area that is one of the fastest growing areas in the Twin Cities area.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

A viewing spot on the Mississippi River Trail near the Coon Rapids Dam.

The Mississippi Flyway is not only a tremendously important flyway for waterfowl, it also attracts raptors and other migratory birds. Warblers can be seen in abundance along the river because of its rich source of insects during both the spring and fall migrations.

Bike/birding hotspots along the Rice Creek Trail

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

A group of birders set up viewing along the Rice Creek Trail.

The Rice Creek IBA is another Important Birding Area and consists of two parts: The Ramsey County Open Space, also known as Arden Hills Army Training Site (AHATS) and Rice Creek North. This stretch, you will find sizeable populations of birds and other animals in a supported variety of marsh, grassland, and wooded habitats. See the National Audubon Society website on this northeast section of the Rice Creek flowage.

The Blaine Wetland Sanctuary

Back in the center of the Twin Cities Gateway, the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary (BWS) offers over 500 acres of wetland and upland habitat for viewing. A boardwalk through the sanctuary, extended from a parking area connect the existing paved trail to East Lake Park. Walk or ride your bike, with viewing equipment, along with the boardwalk and trail.

For more information on these birding hotspots and others, contact Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department at (651) 748-2500 or see www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks for more information.

Nearby places to stay and connect to the trails while birding, see these Twin Cities Gateway lodging properties. For maps showing bike trail access from your selected hotel, check here.

Have Fun!

With the second Largest rookery in the state, bike over to Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days. The event starts on August 17th and will keep you and your family entertained for the whole weekend!

Ride your bike to and from Blue Heron Days for a good time

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.

When you’re in Lino Lakes it can feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of northern Minnesota, especially when you bike to Blue Heron Days. One of eight Twin Cities Gateway communities, Lino Lakes has the second largest Blue Heron rookery in the state. While visiting you can pedal along many wide open roads and trails that take you by lakes and scenery that can meet you with the horizon. A place where roads, with no shoulder, offer trails or sidewalks that parallel the street to connect you to the vast Twin Cities Gateway trail system. Along the way enjoy the many options including the Blue Heron Celebration, August 17-19, when visiting Lino Lakes.

Bike to Blue Heron Days

Start the weekend with a free yoga session, perfect for yogis or newbies alike. After a relaxing workout, head over to Sunrise Park and catch some softball. There, the American Legion and Lino Lakes Police Department tournament will be taking place and is sure to be a great game. Afterwards, take the kids over to Lino Park with some blankets to watch Disney’s Inside Out. Finish the Friday by dancing the night away at the street dance featuring the band, A Girl’s Journey.

Saturday’s Event

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

The Lino Lakes Blue Heron Days Festival parade has many floats and marching bands.

Saturday, August 20th is packed full of events, making it one day you don’t want to miss. Bright and early, at 8 a.m., the day begins with Police Officer Shawn Silvera Memorial Run. Bring the kids to the YMCA at 9 a.m. for a Kids’ Fun Run and then head over to the parade at 11a.m. to enjoy music and floats. After catching and eating all that candy at the parade, jump off all of the sugar on the inflatables in Lino Park. Sit for a caricature drawing or a henna tattoo from 1 to 4 p.m. nearby. Also, take in the Business Expo, the Art Fair from noon to 4 p.m., a petting zoo, kiddie carnival, and live music by Authorities, all in Lino Park.  Saturday afternoon will keep you busy. Afterwards, another street dance closes the night with the band 8 Foot 4 jamming out for your entertainment.

Sunday’s Event

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. take a tour of Waldoch Farm’s Garden. Come on an empty stomach because they will also have a corn feed. Close out the weekend by supporting the royalty program. At 4:30 p.m. in Centennial Middle School, watch the crowning of the new Lino Lakes Ambassadors.

Get ready for a great weekend and bike over to Blue Heron Festival that runs from August 17th to the 19th.

More info for planning a trip to the Twin Cities Gateway

For bike friendly maps of the to get around the Lino Lakes and the rest of the Twin Cities Gateway click here. For lodging opportunities when visiting click here.

Mounds View is a great mix of busy and calm where you can ride your bike along creek side trails to visit festivals like the town’s 60th Annual Festival in the Park. This two-day jam-packed festival is a great way to start the end of summer vacation. 

Bike races are a big draw to the Festival in the Park, in Mounds View

Emily Stocker, HaveFunBiking.com

Mounds View is a great mix of busy and calm where you can ride your bike along creek side trails to visit festivals like the town’s 60th Annual Festival in the Park. This two-day jam-packed festival is a great way to start the end of summer vacation. Watch the fastest bike racers in the Midwest roar around Mounds View. Or give it a try yourself in the events beginner race.

It all starts on Friday, August 18th, in Twin Cities Gateway community of Mounds View, MN. where one can find such an adventure. The festival begins Friday evening with a dance and leads into Saturday with bike races, games, a parade and more music to add to your summer memories. Whether you and your family come by bike, or by car, be prepared for an exciting day.

A Fun Filled Day at the Festival in the Park

Here safety mascot’s ride in the communities fire truck bucket Festival in the Park parade.

Start your morning off on a run, literally. The Festival in the Park’s 5K race kicks off at the community center starting at 8:30 in the morning. After dashing through town, head over to the North Ball Field and see some snazzy cars. The car show is celebrating its tenth year at the festival and will be going on until 3:30 p.m. – with awards to see if your favorite car wins at 2 in the afternoon. At 10 a.m. get ready to catch some candy at the parade. Afterward, take the kids over to the Front Parking Lot to have some fun with the Fire Department activities. At 1 p.m. there will be a K9 demo in the West Ball Field.

Foot Stomping Music at the Festival

It’s your time to show off your inner star. You have about a week or so to pick your favorite hit song and warm up your vocal chords. Karaoke is on stage from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and usually has some surprises and great singers to please your ears. This year’s band is Big Toe and the Jam, which starts playing at 5:30 p.m. to entertain the masses. Apart from having a fantastic name, Big Toe and the Jam will have you stomping your feet and singing along. From “Party Rock” to “Jesse’s Girl”, you don’t want to miss this eclectic set-list everyone will love. The night ends with a bang – fireworks over City Hall Park.

Bike Rodeo and Sprint

Watch as the USA Cycling racers stir the air as they sprint by at Festival in the Park.

Watch as the USA Cycling racers sprint by the spectators, stirring the air as they dart by at the Festival in the Park.

The Mounds View Festival in the Park Sprint Races starts at Noon with the last race starting at 6:05 in the evening. The course is a rectangle with the total distance of 1.1 miles. If you are feeling extra adventurous on this particular day, as this is a USA Cycling Race, there are one-day licenses available at registration. Otherwise, it is just as fun watching the cyclists as they dart by, pedaling as fast they can. Competing or not, the race will be an adrenaline filled phenomenon.

So make plans today to head over to Mounds View on August 17 and 18th.

Plus the perfect trail to ride when in the area

Many who visit here also enjoy pedaling their bikes on the trail along the natural settings of Rice Creek.

Shoreview offer miles of paved trail to enjoy

Shoreview’s music will have you dancing on your pedals to natures beat

by Andrew Ellis

The trails here, can be your playground for you and your bike in Shoreview  – there’s no where you can’t go. This Twin Cities Gateway community here offers friendly road routes, trails and sidewalks so you can take another bike journey wherever you wish. The city also offers some off road paved trails to get closer with nature and all the beauty the community has to offer. You may even find some smaller paths worth exploring. It’s your adventure and it all starts as soon as you leave your hotel in the Twin Cities Gateway. And don’t forget Slice of Shoreview Days July 27-29.

A perfect vacation headquarters, the Twin Cities Gateway is a cooperative of nine communities including Shoreview and just a few bike friendly miles north of Minneapolis. Here you can enjoy:

Concerts in the Commons

Shoreview's Concerts in the Commons is the perfect way to get a pedal dancing rhythm for your #NextBikeAdventure.

Shoreview’s Concerts in the Commons is the perfect way to get a pedal dancing rhythm for your #NextBikeAdventure.

This summer features free entertainment outdoors at the Shoreview Community Center concerts, starts in June. Each Wednesday the Center features an outside concert with a different band, starting at 7 pm. It’s free, so steer your bike over and get ready to tap your feet.

Rice Creek North Regional Trail

Get close to nature on all the paved trails winding through Shoreview.

Get close to nature on all the paved trails winding through Shoreview.

With more than 50 miles of paved trail (see map) there’s plenty of riding for several visits. Although it is hard to see some trail markings, especially when connecting from a road route to get to the next section, these trails offer many opportunities to take wildlife pictures, discovering the area’s diverse landscape while catching scents of wildflowers. As you ride you will also see and hear plenty of birds of different kinds chirping away. Every once and a while the the trail crosses over the creek and you may want to consider some fishing.

Other Activities

If you want to take a short bike ride over to nearby Spring Lake Park, you can also enjoy the Shorview Sweetroll Skate Park. The SweetRoll is a tier-one skating facility on the north side of the Community Center. The park here includes a wedge, a spine, a fun box, a quarter pipe, grind rails, and a mini ramp..

If you’re looking for a fun way to cool off, you can bike on over to the Shoreview Community Center for their tropical-themed water park in the Twin Cities Gateway. This three-story water slide equipped park features a one-of-a-kind jukebox with over 100 songs ready to played along with a light show that sliders can enjoy as they twist and turn down to the bottom. At the main pool you can also play volleyball and there is even a adults-only whirlpool and patio area.

Disc golf opportunities are always a highlight in the many parks of the Twin Cities Gateway.

Disc golf opportunities are always a highlight in the many parks of the Twin Cities Gateway.

For those wanting a round of disc golf all you have to do is ride over to Hansen Park in New Brighton. With 12 holes, this disc golf course is complimented by stands mature trees amongst open spaces to skillfully connect with the baskets. It’s a great way to take a break from biking while still enjoying the the amenities of Shoreview.

And don’t forget Slice of Shoreview Days

Consider biking to the Slice of Shoreview for a weekend of fun.

Consider biking to the Slice of Shoreview for a weekend of fun.

If you’re exploring the area in July, from the 27th to the 29th, then you will be in time for the communities annual celebration. Slice of Shoreview Days is packed with fun for the whole family. There is live music, local arts, chalk drawing, a petting zoo, pony rides, a carnival, fireworks, and more.

Visiting shoreview with your bike can be a memorable weekend you won’t soon forget.

In Minnesota, at the confluence of the Rum entering the Mississippi River you will find many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes and gardens to tour.

Anoka’s Heritage Home and Garden Tour is enjoyable by bike

At the confluence of the Rum entering the Mississippi River, you will find many beautiful turn-of-the-century homes and gardens to tour. This coming Sunday, July 15th, by bike, car or on foot explore 13 historic neighborhoods on the Anoka Heritage Home and Garden Tour.

The Big White House is century old home on the garden to tour.

The Big White House is century old home on the garden to tour.

A part of the Twin Cities Gateway communities, Anoka happens to be a very bike friendly town. Biking is the perfect way to travel from one historic home to the next on this tour. The locations are far enough away from each other that you may not want to walk? On the other hand, they are close enough that driving is cumbersome. Biking is an excellent way to justify stopping at one of the many establishments downtown and grabbing a delicious treat after the tour.

The Heritage Home and Garden Tour

This year there are around 18 stops along the tour, showcasing the community’s past while flower gardens are in bloom. Also featured this year is the Federal Cartridge Clubhouse. Along with a special pop-up tornado exhibit and marketplace at the Anoka Armory, that had been destroyed in the 1939 disaster.

The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea Room, in the Woodbury House, is another home worth seeing.

The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea Room, in the Woodbury House, is another home worth seeing.

As you tour this river community admire some of Minnesota’s most beautiful homes and gardens up close. From the historic neighborhood of Slabtown to Christian Hill, discover how they got their names. Hear the stories of the first occupants who lived there.

One of the homes featured on tour is the Ticknor Hill Bed and Breakfast, built in 1867 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. . Another home The Mad Hatter Restaurant & Tea House, located in the Woodbury House with great gardens, is also listed on the National Registry Historic Places. These are just two of the many homes on this tour that you will enjoy seeing.

All participants receive a tour booklet, which contains a map and addresses for you to easily  find the charming homes and gardens on the tour. Once you have purchase your tour book, with map, look at these locations on the city’s bike map showing connectors trails.

For more bicycle opportunities in the Twin Cities Gateway check out these maps.

The Fridley Historic Home & Garden Tour coming July 22

Downriver from Anoka, enjoy a new tradition with the Fridley Historic Home & Garden Tour. This tour, on Sunday, July 22nd  will ramble back in time  to this community’s most famous era, the 60’s! Enjoy scenic homes and gardens by bike as Fridley is another bike friendly community in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Watch the Fridley Historic Home and Garden tour video on YouTube. (Link opens in new tab) 

See the Fridley Historic Home and Garden Tour Event Tickets site for more information and to purchase tickets!

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway, north of Minneapolis this summer and near Blaine, here are a couple events you may want to consider jumping on your bike and riding too. The Blaine Festival is family fun!

The Blaine festival and farmers market are two fun events to bike too

by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com

If you are in the Twin Cities Gateway, north of Minneapolis and looking for fun this summer? Blaine offers several events that includes a festival, this weekend, that you may want to consider jumping on your bike and riding too.

The Blaine Festival is family fun!

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

You will find the parade and a whole lot more to bike too.

Fun for the whole family, the 2018 Blaine Festival (June 22 -23) is a community event now celebrating its 49th year. The fun kicks off on Friday at Noon, with a medallion hunt and

Stack the Oreo cookies always gets grins, young and old.

Stack the Oreo cookies always gets grins, young and old.

festivities that runs through Sunday, at 6 p.m. for a weekend of fun.

Pig races and a “Not So” ugly contest are just a few of the fun events

Events throughout the three-days includes: carnival rides, crafter/business fair, civic tent, petting zoo, magician, recreational activities, food and live bands. Along with the traditional parade scheduled at Noon on Saturday event other highlights include: pig races, a pedal tractor pull, an Oreo stacking contest and the “Not So” Ugly do contest!

Join the fun, the festival is located in Blaine at Aquatore Park (northwest of Highway 65 & 10). With free admission and parking there is a wide variety of entertainment with something for everyone.

The Blaine Farmers Market

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

The Blaine Farmers Market is easy to get to by bike.

One of the many joys of summer is to savor the fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. However, not all of us have the time and space to raise our favorite produce. That’s where farmers’ markets come into play and the Twin Cities Gateway (TCG)has you covered. Along with the Blaine Market, TCG offers six other farmers’ markets, on different days and locations to choose from.  A great place to pick up the couple things you want for a healthy snack on that next bike outing.

In Blaine, each Wednesday in the city hall parking lot stop in at the farmers’ market, throughout the summer.

Visit the Blaine Market, from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday’s at: 10801 Town Square Drive NE, Blaine, MN 55449

Don’t forget two-wheel racing in Blaine

Every Thursday and some weekend offers you the option to participate or watch racing at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine  – see more here!

Need lodging for your visit to Blaine?

You can find a complete listing of lodging opportunities in Blaine and neighboring communities Twin Cities Gateway communities here.

Have Fun!

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail, north of Minneapolis, takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley. With the annual '49er Days, live theatre and a stunning gallery everyone will be inspired biking or hiking in Fridley.

The art of biking and festivals in friendly Fridley Minnesota

Pedaling along the Mississippi River Trail (MRT), north of Minneapolis, takes cyclists through the remarkable art community of Fridley, with the annual ’49er Days,  June 14 -16. One of the nine communities in the Twin Cities Gateway the city offers a one of a kind experience for art and bike lovers alike. From live theatre, a stunning gallery and a festival with many craft artist, everyone visiting will feel inspired after taking a look at the creative scene in bike-friendly Fridley.

Craft art is one of the highlights at the ’49er Days Festival

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.

Come for the 49er Parade, stay for all the fun activities and food scheduled throughout the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fridley Lions Club, ’49er Festival starts with a parade on Thursday, June 14.
Then throughout the weekend the festival hosts many fun activities. In a family-friendly community tradition celebrating the year Fridley was incorporated as a city!

Banfill-Locke Center for Art

ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL GARDEN AS YOU ENTER THE BANFILL-LOCKE CENTER FOR THE ART IN FRIDLEY.

ENJOY THE BEAUTIFUL GARDEN AS YOU ENTER THE BANFILL-LOCKE CENTER FOR THE ART IN FRIDLEY.

Just off of the MRT the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts makes a great rest stop on your bike ride. Stop in to cool off and admire the works in the gallery. Maybe pick up a gift for another art lover in their gift shop. If seeing all the collections that inspires you, consider making the trip to Banfill-Locke regularly and sign up for a class. You can find a class that would best fit your schedule, from a single lesson to an eight week workshop. The Banfill-Locke Center offers classes in literary, visual, and self-discovery arts. The center also allows brings in local poets for poetry enthusiasts to appreciate.

On Thursday, June 21 from 5 – 8 p.m. the Banfill-Locke Center celebrates the impact the arts have on the Fridley community during our Summer Solstice Soiree.

Fridley Community Theatre

Along with wonderful art, Fridley also has a renowned community theatre. With three productions a year, the community theatre works hard to bring wonderful live theatrical performances to its audiences. For this year’s summer production “Sister Act” is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film that had audiences jumping to their feet!

There is still time to get your ticket, the show opens in July with performances on July 20, 21, 26 at 7 p.m. and a matinee performance, July 28 at 2 p.m.

Also playing is the Fridley Community Youth Theatre Production the Lion King, June 29 through July 1, check it out!

Natural art can be found at the Springbrooke Nature Center

After walking through Springbrooke's Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

After walking through Springbrooke’s Interpretative Center take a stroll down one of the many trails there.

There are two parts to Springbrooke. The inside contains information about the center and interactive section in the back. You can learn about the different kinds of trees, see live snakes, frogs, turtles, wild turkey, and more. It’s a great place to prepare for a hike on the Nature Trail.

Once you get outside there are a couple access points to the trail – and this is where the real adventure begins. Everywhere you go you will be surrounded by nature. You’ve got trees of different kinds everywhere, small and large bridges that will take you across all kinds of creeks and wetlands. There’s even a large walkway that takes you across a semi-large pond were you’ll have the best chance to catch some bird sighting.

So bike on over to Fridley to get your fill of all things art.

A safe and fun adrenaline sport this may be the last year, for a while, to try or watch track cycle racing in Minnesota. Track or velodrome racing has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels”. Blazing speed, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes make Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around.

Last chance to experience track cycle racing in Minnesota, for a while

An exciting and fun sport this may be the last year, for a while, to try or watch track cycle racing in Minnesota. Track or velodrome racing at the National Sports Center (NSC) has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels.” At blazing speeds, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes makes Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around. One of the few wooden tracks still left in the United States, the track at the National Sports Center has now been repaired for another season of memorable fun.

At first glance, track cycle racing is a chaotic, confusing sport. After you have seen a race, the uniqueness of the sport creates a memorable impression that is only amplified by the simplicity of the competition. And, with only one gear and no brakes, the track bikes used are the epitome of simplicity.

The track in Blaine is near its end

Built to host the 1990 Olympic Festival track racing events and National Championships, the NSC Velodrome is one of the most unique tracks in the world. It is the only outdoor wood-plank velodrome in the Western Hemisphere and is slated for demolition in 2019. So, this may be your last chance to experience the excitement of the track at the National Sports Center. Through the 2018 season (May to September) you can still come out and test out your skills and speed at the velodrome. Like many of the Twin Cities Gateway attractions in the area, each Thursday evening, ladies can come out and have some fun in between several men’s races. Take a look at the schedule here for several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

Test your Olympian skills in Blaine on Minnesota's only Velodrome track.

Test your Olympian skills in Blaine on Minnesota’s only Velodrome track.

Learn to ride program

Check out their Learn to Ride Program offering riders as young as 12 years of age the opportunity to ride one of the finest velodromes in the country.

The schedule has several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

The schedule has several open sessions to try bicycle racing, even for kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride or watch, here is the skinny on velodrome racing

Learn all about track cycle racing.  Find the specifics about velodromes, the details about track bicycles. This is the place to learn about the fastest sport on two wheels and to the different type of races held on the track.

Track cycle racing could come to an end in 2019

Without the support of the cycling community, the existing velodrome track could come to an end in 2019.  The NSC Velodrome in Blaine is one of only 26 cycle tracks in the United States. With tly, plans are for the track to be demolished after the 2019 racing season. That will end one of the most storied eras in Minnesota cycling history. However, the Minnesota cycling community is working on a replacement if the Blaine velodrome is demolished.

The next generation of Minnesota’s sports leadership has developed a vision for a multi-purpose community bicycle facility. A non-profit organization the MN Cycling Center is working to build this important cycling venue. A place where training and racing can be provided year round. One thing that that all cyclists can help with immediately, is writing their legislators and asking for their support in this upcoming legislative session.

30 years of Minnesota track cycling history 

Since the 1990’s the NSC Velodrome has hosted hundreds of events. Attracting thousands of racers from around the world and teaching them to ride a track bike.  It has produced Olympic medalists and dozens of elite national and world champions. Some like multiple Olympic Silver Medalist Kelly Catlin, of Arden Hills, who learned to ride the track here.  She notes, “It is an incredibly rare asset to have a velodrome, much less a international-standard track. It makes Minneapolis one of only a handful of cities in North America that can host international caliber events, it would be a despicable waste to lose such a treasure.”

More to see in the Twin Cities Gateway when visiting the track

When in the area you will find many more activities to enjoy. From curling, disc golf, to miles of bike trails and road routes, you will find many opportunities for fun in the Twin Cities Gateway.

Finding a birding hotspot to check in Shoreview is easy with all the park and trails.

Bike/Birding hot spots in the Twin Cities Gateway to enjoy

With summer soon upon us, we wanted to share a bike/birding hotspot we discovered to add to your list of Minnesota places to explore. Checking out several bike trails in the north suburbs of the Twin Cities this summer. Ground truthing the maps in the MN Bike/Hike Guide our interests were piqued by several birding haunts that we noticed in the community of Shoreview. An area once inhabited by Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, today this community has many parks along its lakes. These parks provide both residents and visitors places to enjoy bird watching. Why here? From these areas alone you are able to spot an impressive list of songbirds, hawks, and waterfowl. Looking for some new birding spots to explore? We’ve got you covered starting with a local apple orchard. From there, we have identified several additional birding hotspots in the Twin Cities Gateway that is worth checking out.

A Birding Hotspot – Victoria Valley Orchard

Another birding hotspot to see hawks is the victoia Valley Orchard, in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot to see hawks is at the Victoria Valley Orchard in Shoreview.

As September will soon be upon us, many of the nesting sites in the apple trees at the Victoria Valley Orchard have fulfilled their use. One task finished, they are now a good place to spot many seasonal birds and hawks. Like many of the groves around the country, the orchard here is a rich habitat for nesting birds as they forage nearby. Here are a few of the birds that have been observed here: the Baltimore Oriole, Blue-Winged Warbler, Chimney Swift, Osprey, Red-Shouldered Hawk, several species of sparrows, and the Scarlet Tanager.

Location: The Victoria Valley Orchard is located at: 4304 North Victoria Street, in Shoreview, MN. You are welcome to wander the orchard throughout the year to spot the different birds that live or pass through here. Commercially they are only open from early September through mid-November if you would like to buy some of the 19 varieties of apples that they grow. For more information please visit their website at: http://www.victoriavalleyorchard.com/.

A Birding Hotspot – Snail Lake

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

A birding hotspot can be found along most of the paved bike trails that meander through the parks in Shoreview.

Another birding hotspot on our tour in Shoreview is the trail along Highway 96. This trail borders the north side of Snail Lake. One of two areas to observe the birding activity here is at the grassy area just off the trail. With a few potholes and a line of trees partially blocking the lakes view, you may spot several varieties of warblers, if they haven’t left. Plus, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse of the Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of other marsh birds that use this area can also be seen here.

Location: The trail location is on Highway 96 and across from the Shoreview Public Library. There is a public park at the south end of the lake for another viewing location.

Birding Hotspot – Sucker and Vadnais Lakes

Now heading further east along Highway 96, our tour of birding hotspots takes us first to Sucker Lake. Then, across County Road F, the trail takes you into Vadnais Lake’s park area. Both these lakes and the park areas are a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park and are reservoirs for the St. Paul Regional Water Authority. These lakes are fairly deep and the wetlands are composed of extensive tamarack and shrub swamps with large marshy areas. The forest area here is mainly mature pine plantations with some oak woods for nesting Pine Warblers and Red-Shouldered Hawks. A variety of marsh birds use the shoreline here. Along with the fall migratory waterfowl activity of both lakes, this area is also good for migratory warblers and Red-Breasted Nuthatches.

Location: Just south of Highway 96, take the Rice St. exit from I-694 and go north. The north access and parking is east of Rice St. on Sucker Lake Road. The south entrance is east from Rice St. on County Road F, then north on Sucker Lake Road.

Another birding hotspot is in some of the open meadows that paved bike paths pass through the par

Another birding hotspot is in Grass Lake where paved bike paths pass through some of the open meadows.

Birding Hotspot – Grass Lake

Another birding hotspot in Shoreview is Grass Lake, which is also a part of the Vadnais-Snail Lakes Regional Park system. The main vegetation here is the deep water cattail marsh with floating mats. On both the east and west sides of the lake, Oak woodlands can be found. On the north side of the park there are a mixture of swamp shrubs and grasslands that are prevalent. Here at Grass Lake is where Marsh Wrens, Osprey, and Red-Shouldered Hawks commonly nest. Common Loons are often seen in the spring and summer along with many sparrow species that stopover during their migration.

Location: Grass Lake is reached by turf and paved trails from the parking area off of Gramsie Road. The parking lot can be reached by taking the Victoria St. exit from I-694 and going north to Gramsie Rd., then east to the MacKubin Rd. intersection. Entrance is on your right.

For more information on these birding hotspots and others, contact Ramsey County Parks and Recreation Department at (651) 748-2500 or www.co.ramsey.mn.us/parks for more information.

A 12.5-mile Bike Loop to Shoreview’s Birding Hotspots

For those interested in riding their bicycle to the above parks described, we have identified an easy path to take to have optimal bird watching capabilities. Please download the 12.5-mile Turn-by-Turn Route to begin your bird watching journey by bike to see some of Shoreview’s birding hotspots.

More map options can be found at the Ramsey County Maps.