Tag Archives: Winona MN

‘Ride the Ridges’ out of Winona, are up for the challenge?

How far, how high? how tough you ask? With ‘Ride the Ridges’ (RTR) bike ride, out of Winona, MN, you choose the level of challenge you want with four routes options. Ranging from 18 miles to a Century, Ride the Ridges features something for everyone.

If you up for the challenge and believe you will exceed your planned level of endurance this summer here is a memorable way to test those glutes, thighs and calf muscles. In its seventh year, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, the Winona Rotary Club is expanding its annual road tour event. This ‘Ride the Ridges‘ event will take riders through some of the most scenic areas in Southeastern Minnesota.  Participants of RTR will pedal into lush valleys riding alongside cascading streams then up into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Will you be up for the challenge?

Bike Routes on Riding the Ridges

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

Choose one of four RTR routes, each having hills, valleys, and spectacular views. All routes have rest stops and SAG support!

Registration, with a stunning jersey available

Early registration is through September 1 and includes a pair of RTR socks, rest stops, SAG support, post picnic and party. If you like the jersey, orders close Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

The RTR benefits the Winona Rotary Clubs – Feed My Starving Children program. Can’t ride, donations are always welcome!

Visiting Winona

Check here for places to stay, eating establishments and attractions when visiting.

What past riders say about RTR

You have to do this ride if you enjoy biking. Great roads, great event!

  • The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this event one to remember.
  • Ride The Ridges is as good as it gets when it comes to bike tours. It offers great scenery, safe roads, superb organization, wonderful volunteers, excellent rest stops, mechanical support and a choice of distances…….everything a cyclist could ask for.
  • Ride the Ridges had the best rest stops and volunteers. The food selection was excellent. The volunteers were extremely friendly. I also loved the HAM operators supporting the ride.
  • See more comments here.

For more places to ride this Fall

See the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide.

During bike month and any time of the year Winona is a fun place to visit with a bike.

It’s bike month in Winona and fun anytime of the year to visit!

Celebrating communities coast to coast with National Bike Month, we wanted to share what residence of Winona, MN are saying. A Bronze Bike Friendly Community, this area offers many bike-related activities for you to enjoy any time of the year while visiting.

Located in Southeast Minnesota along the Mississippi River, the city is a very comfortable place to explore on two wheels. Thanks to Pam Eyden, who profiled the following cyclist, we think you will agree that Winona is a place to consider while visiting with your bike.  Don’t miss the fun, also check their May Bike Month web page www.visitwinona.com/may-is-bike-month to find out what’s happening.

Fun biking around Winona and the 6-day 500-mile ride, Profile #1

Enthusiastic as a kid about riding her bike, Deb Hegland rides 500 miles in Six Days and loves it! Whether alone, with her husband Bryan or with friends, she gets out as often as she can. When together they both enjoy riding the roads at home and away. This winter Deb and Bryon went to Australia, where they did city tours on e-bikes.

Deb and Bryon Hegland in Duluth on a ride.

Deb and Bryon Hegland in Duluth on a ride.

Biking in the Habitat for Humanity Minnesota 500 Ride, every summer, is another high point of Deb’s year. This will be her eighth year of riding for the charity. Her goal is to do 20-consecutive years. “I wish I’d started earlier,” she laughed. Eight years ago, a friend talked her into signing up for what was then a seven-day fundraising ride in support of Habitat for Humanity and its aim of providing safe, affordable housing for all who need it.

Riding 500 miles in seven days sounds daunting for the average recreational bike rider. Her husband was skeptical because Deb had never done anything similar before. “He said, “fine, sign up. Just don’t sign me up!” Deb recalled. “He fully expected that I would call and want to be rescued part way through the ride.” Her daughter expected the same thing but that didn’t happen. Early on, Deb was overwhelmed and considering dropping out.

Then she was befriended by a woman who knew the ropes. “She taught me everything!” Deb stated. Everything meant riding 90-miles a day, pacing yourself — it’s a ride, not a race — washing shirts in a sink at night and sleeping in school gyms alongside dozens of “new best friends” as Deb calls them.

Deb owns her own business and works out of her home, a perfect situation for someone who likes to create her own schedule and freedom to ride and train when she wants. “I will never retire because I love my business,” she said, “but I really love to have fun,” she exclaimed.

The Habitat Minnesota 500 Ride will be held July 14 – 19 (it’s now just a six-day ride) this year in northern Minnesota. Despite recuperating from ankle surgery, Deb said she and her husband, who joined the ride after that first year, will be there. They don’t want to miss the fun, and she suggests that you don’t want to miss it, either.                                                         — Pam Eyden

A family on wheels, biking around Winona, Profile #2

When they first met in Utah years ago, some of Sundra and Patrick Menton’s first dates were on mountain bikes. “He was already into it,” she said, “so I started riding, too.” They married, moved to Winona and now have two kids, Avri and August and biking is a total family activity.
“We ride wherever we can ride together,” said Sundra. Sometimes that means riding around Lake Winona; sometimes it’s gravel country roads, and sometimes it’s the Root River Trail out of Rushford, MN. At the end of that ride, there’s ice cream for a treat — a sure incentive.

The Menton’s taught their children to ride using “balance bikes,” pedal-less
bikes that toddlers can walk, stride, push and glide on. Kids seem to learn faster how
to steer and keep their balance than when they start with tricycles or training
wheels, Patrick said.

Avri has just finished her first year on the Winona Composites/Winona High School mountain biking team. She knows the trails up on the bluffs behind Holzinger Lodge and at Bronk Unit’s Cherry Hill pretty well by now. Her brother August just joined the team. The family will be taking their vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas, this spring. The town has become a mountain biking mecca because of its many miles of constructed mountain biking trails in nearby hills, ravines, and forests.

Patrick, who works as Winona’s assistant recreation director, is an enthusiastic supporter of the new “Bluff Traverse” trail system Winona is planning to build. It will connect the town with the blufftop, and offer both hiking and biking trails for people of all skill levels. “We have all the trailers and gear we need,” he said, “but when Winona’s new trails are built, we’ll be able to ride from our house, around town and to the top of the bluffs without driving.”          — Pam Eyden

Fun anytime, biking around Winona, Profile #3

Kay Peterson, a client services coordinator at Winona Volunteer Services, loves bicycle riding. She has six bikes — a road bike, a fat-tire bike, two mountain bikes, a winter bike with used snowmobile bar mitts to cover her arms, and her everyday bike, which she calls her “horse.” She rides her horse to work, a four-mile round trip most days.

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Kay said. “I started when I had an old car that burned gallons of gas just to drive short distances. It was a waste of money! I thought, ‘This is such a small town, I’ll try riding everywhere.’ After I started, I was hooked.”

She rides all year, even in the depths of winter, when wind chill temperatures are way below zero, in blizzards, ice, snow, wind, and rain. She’s got the gear, she’s got the clothes and swears she never gets cold. Or not very cold.

Biking clears her mind, she said. New ideas come to her while she’s wheeling down the street. In the summer she also loves gardening. “Biking and gardening are always competing for my time,” she laughed.

Mountain biking

A few years ago a friend persuaded her to try mountain biking. She soon came to love the challenge and the thrill of it. Her favorite trails are at Cherry Hill, in the Bronk Unit (location). “It’s a hidden gem,” she said.

She encourages friends and clients to get on bikes and ride. In an effort to get bikes to people who need them, she coordinates the Winona Volunteer Services Bike Program. Adventure Cycle and Ski accepts donated bikes, fixes, and tunes them up, then the Bike Program donates them to qualified people who need them. The program has given away 160 bikes in the last ten years.                                                                                                                                    — Pam Eyden

Bike around Winona, Profile #4

Emily Krall, 31, likes biking for the freedom and for the convenience of it. Manager of Blooming Grounds Coffeehouse, in downtown Winona, she usually bikes to work, at least when the weather’s good. She lives just a couple of miles away and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best. “I haven’t timed it, but biking is probably faster than driving,” she said. “Besides, the great thing is I don’t have to find a place to park! Before I got my bike I got lots of parking tickets. I work full time — having to move my car every two hours all day is no way to live.”

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

She also rides her bike to do errands, like to pick up a few things at Target. She carries purchases home in her backpack, which works fine, she said, because she’s not a person who likes to buy a lot of new stuff. She prefers the side streets and always rides defensively. “I trust that no one will hit me, but I watch everything,” she stated.

Bike touring after work

After work, she enjoys touring around Lake Winona and out to Prairie Island on a 13-mile loop near the river that passes the Minnesota City Boat Club and the airport.

Access to the natural world is one thing Emily loves about Winona. She recently moved here from Greenville, North Carolina, a city of 80,000, where the traffic was bad and biking was difficult. “Greenville wasn’t bike-friendly at all. I had to drive a couple of hours just to find a place to ride in nature. Here it’s so easy! There aren’t a lot of bike lanes in the town, but Winona is surrounded by so much beauty!”

Emily bought her bike on Craigslist for $150 from someone whose family had had it for three generations. It’s a classic Schwinn, with original green paint, original logos, and original seat. She mostly rides alone now, but will soon have company. Her four-year-old daughter is about ready to ride along.                                                                                                                 — Pam Eyden

Getting around Winona by bike, Profile #5

When Jo McGrath moved to Winona, from Rochester in 1997, friends told her to bring her bike because the town was flat and bikeable. She can’t remember why she was skeptical, but she did as they advised. Twenty-one years later, she’s still riding. She never bought a car. “I have a big bike with three baskets. That’s all I need,” she said. “If the weather’s bad or the trip is long, I can put my bike on the bus — although not if the baskets are full.”

Jo, who retired from work as a nursing assistant and personal companion, now volunteers one day a week at the Catholic Worker’s Bethany House. She lives on West Broadway and rides her bike to town several times a week — to the Bluff Country Coop, the library and farmers market. She also rides over to the river to see how the floodwaters are doing. “I just do the normal things,” she said. “I stay off of Broadway and take Seventh St. instead, which is easier.”

Using Winona’s quiet neighborhood streets to get around

She used to go on biking adventures with her husband and she also rode with the bike group at the Winona Friendship Center. One of her four daughters leads bicycling tours in Europe, but biking is just a part of everyday life for Jo. She’s happily riding her bike to the Center in Winona to play ping-pong. “As a child, I had training wheels on my bike until I was in seventh grade!” she said. “I didn’t give them up until my friends wanted to go on a picnic at Mayowood. Then I learned. I was not going to ride with training wheels on my bike that day!

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

“We all have to be aware of each other. Bikers can do crazy things, so can walkers and drivers. I believe in mindfulness. Of course, putting it into action is another thing!” she laughed.                                                                                                                                          — Pam Eyden

A mountain biker, Profile #6

Sheldon Morgan discovered the sport of mountain biking in the late 1980s and has been doing it ever since. Now he rides his mountain bike at least eight hours a week and travels to other parts of the country for trail events and races, besides organizing rides here in Winona.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Winter he rides fat-tire bikes in the snow

To work at his office in downtown Winona, where he consults on IT projects, he rides his everyday bike — a 20-mile round-trip commute. I ride more miles on roads, but more hours on trails,” Sheldon said. “I mostly ride on roads when the trails are wet.”
Mountain biking is number one for him. Trails put him closer to nature, which he enjoys. Riding through the woods is solitary and challenging. Endorphins and risk are also addictive.
“Even riding the same trails, you can always improve your speed, your grace, and your not-falling!” he said.

The Hillbilly Gravel Grinder

In early May he organized the Hillbilly Gravel Grinder, a 100-mile ride on the gravel county roads of Winona, Fillmore and Houston Counties. About 25 people started out at 9 a.m. and most completed the route by 6 — nine hours, including breaks. People enjoy the county roads because there isn’t as much traffic. “I ride for the mental stability and the exercise. I like to run, too, but I can’t run as long or as far as I can ride,” Sheldon said.

Winona’s mountain bike trail design

Over the years, Sheldon has developed an interest in and expertise in trial design. He and a partner formed a business, Dirty Deeds Earth Services, LLC, to help with trail maintenance and design at Holzinger Park, which, he says has “old school” trails, not well designed to counter erosion. He’s also helped the city at Sugar Loaf and has designed and created single-track mountain biking trails at the Bronk Unit of Minnesota’s Richard Dorer State Forest. This area, called Cherry Hill, is one of his favorites in the area.

Trails at Holzinger and Sugar Loaf will get a new, close examination for sustainability during the Winona City park planning process this summer.

Trails can be great therapy for kids

Sheldon believes mountain biking could be great therapy for kids who’ve lost touch with their roots and with nature. “There’s a lot of stress on teenagers these days. It’s higher than ever, because of social media and access to all kinds of media,” he said. “They need to re-engage with the world.”

Sheldon points out that parents and peers can do a lot to encourage kids, first maybe by getting on a bike themselves. “The city has to provide the infrastructure, but parents and peers bring will kids in.” That’s how he learned. “My whole family was very active in outdoor sports. It’s in my DNA, I think?”

He and his 26-year-old ride together, as they have for years. They go on mountain bike journeys together, riding and camping, and taking a break once in a while for rock climbing.
Biking, rock climbing, running and kayaking — he loves it all. “And it’s all right here in Winona!” he exults.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay stay for the hospitality.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay for the hospitality.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to give biking a try. National Bike to Work Week 2019 will be held from May 13–19. Bike to Work Day is May 17!

If you think you will exceeded your planned level of endurance through the summer and are looking for a memorable way to test those glutes, thighs and calf muscles consider 'Ride the Ridges'.

As a seasoned summer rider will you be ready for ‘Ride the Ridges’?

If you think you will exceed your planned level of endurance riding through the summer and looking for a memorable way to test those glutes, thighs and calf muscles, consider ‘Ride the Ridges’. In its sixth year, on Saturday, September 15, 2018, the Winona Rotary Club is expanding its annual road tour event. This ‘Ride the Ridges‘ (RTR) event will take riders through some of the most scenic areas in Southeastern Minnesota.  Participants of RTR will pedal into lush valleys riding alongside cascading streams then up into the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Are you up for the challenge?

Bike Routes on Riding the Ridges

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this ride one to remember.

Choose one of four RTR routes, each having hills, valleys and spectacular views. All routes have rest stops and SAG support!

Registration

Early registration is through August 31, and includes a pair of RTR socks , meal voucher ($7.50 value), rest stops, SAG support, and after-ride drink token at Island City Brewing Co.

The RTR benefits the Winona Rotary Clubs – Feed My Starving Children program.

Visiting Winona

Check here for places to stay, eating establishments and attractions when visting.

What past riders say about RTR

You have to do this ride if you enjoy biking. Great roads, great event!

You have to do this ride if you enjoy biking. Great roads, great event!

  • The beautiful scenery and the challenging hills make this event one to remember.
  • The ride is beautiful and scenic with long flats and some rolling hills. But what makes this event stand out are the wonderful volunteers along the way. They all had smiles on and each one offered us enthusiastic encouragement. The warm and tasty coffee from Mugby Junction made the event all the more welcoming and memorable.
  • Great ride support. Will do it again.  Hopefully without the rain.
  • Even in the rain, the camaraderie of participants and volunteers was excellent. I would ride definitely ride again.
  • Shower after and a vegan option food truck…what could be better.
  • I have done multiple century rides and the spacing, food quality and staffing of the rest stops is the best I’ve seen. Thank you!
  • Ride The Ridges is as good as it gets when it comes to bike tours. It offers great scenery, safe roads, superb organization, wonderful volunteers, excellent rest stops, mechanical support and a choice of distances…….everything a cyclist could ask for.
  • I have participated in many century rides around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. This was my first time doing the “Ride The Rides” century and it was a treat! It was challenging, beautiful, fun, great volunteers and in the top 3 of all the century’s I have completed.  If you want an awesome ride come to Winona!
  • This was my first organized cycle event. Being from out of town l was a little nervous but i met some awesome volunteers and local folks that made it a great experience well done.  See you next year.
  • Best organized ride that I did this season. Very scenic and somewhat difficult route.  Just the kind of ride that I want to usher in the end of an awesome road biking season. Thank You All….
  • You have to do this if you enjoy biking. Great roads, great event!
  • This is my third time Riding the Ridges. The route is my favorite among sponsored rides. The signage is always clear and the support along the way is wonderful.  Will definitely do it again!
  • Ride the Ridges had the best rest stops and volunteers. The food selection was excellent. The volunteers were extremely friendly. I also loved the HAM operators supporting the ride.

For more places to ride this Fall

See the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide and the Iowa Bike/Hike Guide.

Riding south out of Winona, MN, on a scenic bluff country ride, the Historic Pickwick Mill  makes a perfect stop to relax and reflect how our world continues to change. 

Bike Pic June 5, using the Pickwick Mill a rest stop on a bluff ride

Riding south out of Winona, MN, on a scenic bluff country ride, the Historic Pickwick Mill  makes a perfect stop to relax and reflect how our world continues to change.

Get into the zone and plan your next bike outing with family and friends at one of the many HaveFunBiking Destinations. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the new HaveFunBiking Guide.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Rest Stop’ Pic of the Day  

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 destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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 latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great day and a memorable new year ahead!

During bike month and any time of the year Winona is a fun place to visit with a bike.

It’s bike month in Winona and fun anytime of the year to visit!

Celebrating communities coast to coast with National Bike Month, we wanted to share what residence of Winona, MN are saying. A Bronze Bike Friendly Community, this area offers many bike related activities for you to enjoy any time of the year while visiting.

Located in Southeast Minnesota along the Mississippi River, the city is a very comfortable place to explore on two wheels. Thanks to Pam Eyden, who profiled the following cyclist, we think you will agree that Winona is a place to consider while visiting with your bike.  Don’t miss the fun, also check their May Bike Month web page www.visitwinona.com/may-is-bike-month to find out what’s happening.

Fun anytime, biking around Winona, Profile #1

Kay Peterson, client services coordinator at Winona Volunteer Services, loves bicycle riding. She has six bikes — a road bike, a fat-tire bike, two mountain bikes, a winter bike with used snowmobile bar mitts to cover her arms, and her everyday bike, which she calls her “horse.” She rides her horse to work, a four-mile round trip most days.

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

Kay Peterson, in front of Winona Volunteer Services

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” Kay said. “I started when I had an old car that burned gallons of gas just to drive short distances. It was a waste of money! I thought, ‘This is such a small town, I’ll try riding everywhere.’ After I started, I was hooked.”

She rides all year, even in the depths of winter, when wind chill temperatures are way below zero, in blizzards, ice, snow, wind and rain. She’s got the gear, she’s got the clothes and swears she never gets cold. Or not very cold.

Biking clears her mind, she said. New ideas come to her while she’s wheeling down the street. In the summer she also loves gardening. “Biking and gardening are always competing for my time,” she laughed.

Mountain biking

A few years ago a friend persuaded her to try mountain biking. She soon came to love the challenge and the thrill of it. Her favorite trails are at Cherry Hill, in the Bronk Unit (location). “It’s a hidden gem,” she said.

She encourages friends and clients to get on bikes and ride. In an effort to get bikes to people who need them, she coordinates the Winona Volunteer Services Bike Program. Adventure Cycle and Ski accepts donated bikes, fixes and tunes them up, then the Bike Program donates them to qualified people who need them. The program has given away 160 bikes in the last ten years.                                                                                                                                    — Pam Eyden

Bike around Winona, Profile #2

Emily Krall, 31, likes biking for the freedom and for the convenience of it. Manager of Blooming Grounds Coffeehouse, in downtown Winona, she usually bikes to work, at least when the weather’s good. She lives just a couple of miles away and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best. “I haven’t timed it, but biking is probably faster than driving,” she said. “Besides, the great thing is I don’t have to find a place to park! Before I got my bike I got lots of parking tickets. I work full time — having to move my car every two hours all day is no way to live.”

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

Emily lives just a couple of miles away from work and could easily drive or walk, but biking is best.

She also rides her bike to do errands, like to pick up a few things at Target. She carries purchases home in her backpack, which works fine, she said, because she’s not a person who likes to buy a lot of new stuff. She prefers the side streets and always rides defensively. “I trust that no one will hit me, but I watch everything,” she stated.

Bike touring after work

After work she enjoys touring around Lake Winona and out to Prairie Island on a 13-mile loop near the river that passes the Minnesota City Boat Club and the airport.

Access to the natural world is one thing Emily loves about Winona. She recently moved here from Greenville, North Carolina, a city of 80,000, where the traffic was bad and biking was difficult. “Greenville wasn’t bike-friendly at all. I had to drive a couple hours just to find a place to ride in nature. Here it’s so easy! There aren’t a lot of bike lanes in town, but Winona is surrounded by so much beauty!”

Emily bought her bike on Craigslist for $150 from someone whose family had had it for three generations. It’s a classic Schwinn, with original green paint, original logos and original seat. She mostly rides alone now, but will soon have company. Her four-year-old daughter is about ready to ride along.                                                                                                 — Pam Eyden

Bike fun, Profile #3

Bicycling has become part of the culture at the Winona Police Department. Twelve of the department’s staff are avid road bikers, mountain bikers or both. Here Paul Bostrack, Anita Sobotta and Jay Rasmussen from the department share their experiences.

Many of the Winona Police Department staff are avid cyclists.

Many of the Winona Police Department staff are avid cyclists.

Paul Bostack

Police chief Paul Bostrack rides his new Trek mountain bike at least twice a week on the trails at Cherry Hill or Holzinger. When he was younger, before he had kids, he used to ride everyday and in all kinds of weather. He gave it up for a while, but now that the kids have grown up a bit, they’re getting him back into it.  “They fell in love with it. Then we went riding in Montana and it kicked me into gear. Biking is a lifetime activity,” Paul said. “I got a new bike so I can almost keep up with them,” he laughed. “Bikes have changed a lot. There’s a lot of new technology, but biking is still biking.”

Anita Sobotta

For patrol officer Anita Sobotta, road biking through the hills and valleys of both Trempealeau and Buffalo Counties in Wisconsin (across the river from Winona) is a welcome chance to get away from everything.

“Riding clears my mind,” she said. “I get away from cell phones and leave all other technology behind. It’s just me and the scenery, the birds and the wildlife.”

It’s also a good workout, which she relishes. Besides biking, Anita runs those same hills, and is training for a marathon race. She always wears a helmet, but would not ride her bike in town because she doesn’t like riding in traffic.

Jay Rasmussen

For Winona patrol sergeant Jay Rasmussen, who works the afternoon shift, biking is both a great stress-reliever.  Especially right now, with his job and it’s a great family activity. He rides with his nine-year-old daughter to school every morning and takes his three-year-old with him whenever he goes out for fun. “I have four kids,” Jay said, “so when I go riding I always have KJ with me.”

Right now KJ rides in a special seat in front of his dad. He likes the trails through the woods, but loves road biking down hills. KJ will say, “Dad, let’s scream!” when we go down hills. “So we do and sometimes we ride down Garvin Heights Road, although my wife doesn’t like us to do that,” Jay said.                                                                                                                             — Pam Eyden

Getting around Winona by bike, Profile #4

When Jo McGrath moved to Winona, from Rochester in 1997, friends told her to bring her bike because the town was flat and bikeable. She can’t remember why she was skeptical, but she did as they advised. Twenty-one years later, she’s still riding. She never bought a car. “I have a big bike with three baskets. That’s all I need,” she said. “If the weather’s bad or the trip is long, I can put my bike on the bus — although not if the baskets are full.”

Jo, who retired from work as a nursing assistant and personal companion, now volunteers one day a week at the Catholic Worker’s Bethany House. She lives on West Broadway and rides her bike to town several times a week — to the Bluff Country Coop, the library and farmers market. She also rides over to the river to see how the floodwaters are doing. “I just do the normal things,” she said. “I stay off of Broadway and take Seventh St. instead, which is easier.”

Using Winona’s quite neighborhood streets to get around

She used to go on biking adventures with her husband and she also rode with the bike group at the Winona Friendship Center. One of her four daughters leads bicycling tours in Europe, but biking is just a part of everyday life for Jo. She’s happy riding her bike to the Center in Winona to play ping-pong. “As a child, I had training wheels on my bike until I was in seventh grade!” she said. “I didn’t give them up until my friends wanted to go on a picnic at Mayowood. Then I learned. I was not going to ride with training wheels on my bike that day!

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

Jo is quite comfortable riding at her own speed, on side streets, but she’s watchful.

“We all have to be aware of each other. Bikers can do crazy things, so can walkers and drivers. I believe in mindfulness. Of course putting it into action is another thing!” she laughed.                                                                                                                                          — Pam Eyden

A mountain biker, Profile #5

Sheldon Morgan discovered the sport of mountain biking in the late 1980s and has been doing it ever since. Now he rides his mountain bike at least eight hours a week and travels to other parts of the country for trail events and races, besides organizing rides here in Winona.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Sheldon commutes 20-mile round trip with his everyday bike.

Winter he rides fat-tire bikes in the snow

To work at his office in downtown Winona, where he consults on IT projects, he rides his everyday bike — a 20-mile round-trip commute. I ride more miles on roads, but more hours on trails,” Sheldon said. “I mostly ride on roads when the trails are wet.”
Mountain biking is number one for him. Trails put him closer to nature, which he enjoys. Riding through the woods is solitary and challenging. Endorphins and risk are also addictive.
“Even riding the same trails, you can always improve your speed, your grace, and your not-falling!” he said.

The Hillbilly Gravel Grinder

In early May he organized the Hillbilly Gravel Grinder, a 100-mile ride on the gravel county roads of Winona, Fillmore and Houston Counties. About 25 people started out at 9 a.m. and most completed the route by 6 — nine hours, including breaks. People enjoy the county roads because there isn’t as much traffic. “I ride for the mental stability and the exercise. I like to run, too, but I can’t run as long or as far as I can ride,” Sheldon said.

Winona’s mountain bike trail design

Over the years, Sheldon has developed an interest in and an expertise in trail design. He and a partner formed a business, Dirty Deeds Earth Services, LLC, to help with trail maintenance and design at Holzinger Park, which, he says has “old school” trails, not well designed to counter erosion. He’s also helped the city at Sugar Loaf and has designed and created single-track mountain biking trails at the Bronk Unit of Minnesota’s Richard Dorer State Forest. This area, called Cherry Hill, is one of his favorites in the area.

Trails at Holzinger and Sugar Loaf will get a new, close examination for sustainability during the Winona City park planning process this summer.

Trails can be a great therapy for kids

Sheldon believes mountain biking could be great therapy for kids who’ve lost touch with their roots and with nature. “There’s a lot of stress on teenagers these days. It’s higher than ever, because of social media and access to all kinds of media,” he said. “They need to re-engage with the world.”

Sheldon points out that parents and peers can do a lot to encourage kids, first maybe by getting on a bike themselves. “The city has to provide the infrastructure, but parents and peers bring will kids in.” That’s how he learned. “My whole family was very active in outdoor sports. It’s in my DNA, I think?”

He and his 26-year-old ride together, as they have for years. They go on mountain bike journeys together, riding and camping, and taking a break once in a while for rock climbing.
Biking, rock climbing, running and kayaking — he loves it all. “And it’s all right here in Winona!” he exults.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay stay for the hospitality.

Come for the trails, see the views, then stay stay for the hospitality.

National Bike Month

May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try. National Bike to Work Week 2018 will be held from May 14–18. Bike to Work Day is May 18!

Road touring along the Mississippi River Trail, out of Winona, is colorful this time of the year.

Pedaling around Winona can give you a feel of Indiana Jones

by Andrew Ellis

Now, with beautiful fall colors starting to peak in and around Winona, pedaling along the bluffs may make you feel like you’re Indiana Jones scouring foreign lands for lost treasure. But hold on there just one minute Major Tom, you’re still in Southeast Minnesota. Ready to enjoy the thrills and features of one of the most bike friendly communities in the state. The city of Winona and its surrounding area is a must-visit destination for those yearning for a free wheeling outdoor bicycle experience.

Mountain biking in the Mississippi River Valley id colorful this time of the year.

Mountain biking in the Mississippi River Valley area is colorful this time of the year.

The area allows you to roam nearly wherever you choose – and there’s plenty for you to explore. You can forget about your weekday worries as you pedal down the scenic country roads. And if you’re looking to take a break and spend some time on the water, then there’s  lakes, rivers, and streams to wet your line or paddle around on.

Biking opportunities in Winona

The town of Winona, bordered by bluffs in the Mississippi River Valley offer several opportunities to explore the area. You can enjoy the trails around Lake Winona, explore the many low traffic county roads, the local section of the Mississippi River Trail, or get in some mountain biking around the bluffs. Whatever you and your two wheels crave, there’s something for you. Like a ride out to the historic Pickwick Mill south of town.

Levee Park and the Winona Lake bike path

I love to swing by Levee Park when I am in the area and look at the river. Especially in the morning and catch the sun rising, slowly leaking over the river and onto the rooftops of the city.

Riding or walking the trail around Lake Winona, enjoy the colors surrounding Sugar Loaf (Chimney Rock) in the background.

Riding trail around Lake Winona, enjoy the colors surrounding like Sugar Loaf (Chimney Rock) in the background.

At Winona Lake Park the paved trail offers riders a 3.7 and 5.3 mile loop option. It runs along the south side of the city and circles both segments of Lake Winona. The terrain is flat and easy for all skill levels. It’s also a multi-use trail if you prefer to walk it.

Mississippi River Trail (MRT) and the wildlife you will see

The Historic Pickwick Mill is just on of the sights you will see south of Winona.

The Historic Pickwick Mill is just on of the sights you will see riding south out of Winona.

The Mississippi River Trail is a bike route that follows the Mississippi from Lake Itasca to New Orleans. Signage is complete through Winona to make it easy to follow. One of my favorite routes, if you like to view wildlife take the MRT along the river, upstream. Turn right out of Prairie Island Park and follow the left fork of the road (the right leads to McNally’s Landing) down a long straightaway. Watch for waterfowl — you’re surrounded by the National Wildlife Refuge.

Road biking Winona’s roads

Winona’s roads offer long and refreshing rides along scenic county roads where you can get a glimpse at all nature has to offer. And there are many loops you can follow so you won’t have to fear getting lost. There’s the Gilmore Valley Loop which takes you past St. Mary’s University, the Burns Valley Loop, the Pleasant Ridge Loop takes you by the Bunnell Historic House, the Prairie Island Loop, the Richmond Ridge Loop, and the Rollingstone route goes through Winona State University and ends at the Luxembourg Historical Museum. See more on page 46-47 of the Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Mountain and fat bike fun in Winona Area

With several off-roads cycling opportunities in the area the whole family will enjoy the trail systems here.

Holzinger Lodge Trail

The mountain bike trail offers 12 miles of short and steep climbs and downhills, as well as winding curves as it forks and wanders through mature hardwood forest and bluff top. Most of the surface here is rocky clay and in the spring, wildflowers bloom to add to the picturesque scenery.

Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest

This state forest offers mountain bikers and hikers alike several options with the Bronk Unit Plowline Trail. Winter, spring, summer of fall the trail sytem here offers a mixed terrain ride of fun loops to ride. The North loop has two spur trails that lead to scenic overlooks of Stockton Valley and the Mississippi River Valley. There’s also the Trout Valley Forest Management Forest Unit which has two multi-use loops that take you from the valley to the top of the bluffs and more. You can also go on another unforgettable adventure in the Kruger Forest Management Unit that takes you along the Zumbro River and the area’s bluffs.

 

 

More About Bike-Friendly Winona

Sitting on the edge of the Mississippi River, Winona is also home to three unique colleges: St. Mary’s University, Minnesota State College Southeast, and Winona State University. These colleges add a lot to the city’s bike-friendly atmosphere making it easy to take in all the attractions here.

The city’s bike-friendly nature allows for more than just hitting the trails and its scenic roads. There’s plenty to discover about its history and many of the buildings here are on the National Register of Historical Places. You will also find many locally-owned shops and restaurants, so there is something for everyone.

An At-A-Glance Look at Winona

Be sure to check out our At-A-Glance Winona Article for more details on where to stay, play, and explore for your hand-held devices. As this story and the At-A-Glance Article are mobile-friendly for your convenience. So have fun, visit Winona and enjoy the fall colors.

 

Road Biking Minnesota with a rest stop at the Pickwick Mill, just south of Winona, along the Mississippi River Trail.

Bike Pic Nov 30, A Memorable Rest Stop Along the Mississippi River Trail

Road biking Minnesota with a rest stop at the Historic Pickwick Mill, is a few miles south of Winona, along the Mississippi River Trail.

As many upper Midwest bike riders are now changing their gear over to winter fun activities, including fat biking, ice fishing, skiing, snowshoeing and other cold weather sports, see all the places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic captured along the Mississippi River Trail

Now rolling into our 10th 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.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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. Please share all our picks with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with one of our camera’s ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. We may capture you in one of our next Pic of the Day posts.

Have a great day!

Having fun bike riding in the rain and snow. We captured these two cyclists riding their bikes in Winona, MN

Bike Pic Nov 19, Having Fun Riding in the Rain and Sleet

Having fun bike riding in the rain and snow, we captured these two cyclists riding their bikes in Winona, MN. As many upper Midwest riders are changing their gear over to winter activities, including fat biking, ice fishing, skiing, snowshoeing and other cold weather sports, the possibilities are endless.

With the leaves now pretty bare and plenty of fun winter events scheduled, we hope you get out on your fat bike, X-C skies, snowshoes, etc. and enjoy all the winter’s active outdoor possibilities. See many more bicycle friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide

Thanks for viewing the Fun Bike Pic of the Day 

Now rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle 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.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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!

Bike Pic Nov 13, Sunday Smiles Biking Aound Lake Winona

Miles of Sunday smiles while Biking on the trail around Lake Winona. A little cooler since this photo was taken this summer, in Southeast Minnesota, but its still a nice day to get one more ride in. The chimney rock in the background is a pinnacle on Sugar Loaf Bluff overlooking the City of Winona and the Mississippi River.

With the season changing, we hope you get out on your bike and enjoy some more fall riding possibilities. See many more bike-friendly places to explore in the new Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide

Thanks for viewing the Sunday Smiles Biking Pic of the Day 

Now rolling into our 10th 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.

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: editor@HaveFunBiking.com. 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!

Bike Pic Jan. 25, a friendly ride around Lake Winona

Riding your bike around Lake Winona is a great way to enjoy the many cycling opportunities here on the north edge, of Southeast Minnesota’s “Driftless Area”. With several miles of paved trails around the lake, friendly roads with many scenic vistas and mountain bike trails overlooking the Mississippi River bluffs, Winona is a great place to bring your bicycle and visit.

#FindYourNextAdventure

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to editor@HaveFunBiking.com with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!