The nation's largest pedal-powered adventure obstacle series returns to Minneapolis June 10th and organizers expect more than a 1000 riders to participate. Racers will depart from the Peace Coffee Roastery and have their street smarts, bike skills and savvy put to the test as they map out their own routes on the fly to checkpoints and landmarks around Minneapolis.
This is the 10th season of the Urban Assault Ride and its popularity with cyclists continues to grow because of its "Choose your own adventure" format which has participants planning their navigation strategy to checkpoints and landmarks throughout the city. Each stop will have the riders drop their bikes and take on funky, challenging tasks which may include sliding down a 30' water slide, playing "limbo" on mini bikes or power-sliding big wheels through a race course. Upon completion, cyclists will enter a huge party featuring New Belgium beers and prize contests.
"Our main goal is to create the best possible day on a bike," said event founder Josh Kravetz. "However, the UAR has a deep and long lasting impact in the markets where we've held our events. Since riders have to plan their own course around town, they end up teaching themselves safe riding routes." The result: The majority of UAR participants end up using their bikes more for transportation following their experience.
"The Urban Assault Ride has been a favorite event of the brewery for seven years. It combines elements that we covet: costumes, bikes and community. Add a handful of zany obstacles and checkpoints to that mix and you get why we're such big fans of this event," said Mike Keller, New Belgium's National Festivarian. "We appreciate that Adventure Fit continues to strive to produce zero-waste events. If you haven't been before, this is your year."
"If you are unable to make the ride, at least join us for the after-party festivities," adds Keller. "Proceeds from beer sales go to benefit local bicycling advocacy groups." In Minneapolis these groups include MORC, MOCA and the Midtown Greenway Coalition.
The 2012 Urban Assault Ride contains all new obstacles and after party contests to test riders of all skill levels. Anyone seven years of age or older is welcome to participate. Coed, Male, Female and Family are the team divisions for the ride and prizes will be awarded to the top three teams in each division. There is a limit of 1500 riders for this event and a sellout is expected.
Would you like to see a video preview of what the Urban Assault Ride is all about? Click here.
On Friday, June 8th there will be a MSP New Belgium Beer UAR Beer Bike Ride. This is a social event fun ride that kicks off from the Midtown Greenway Coalition HQ at the Midtown Bike Center. More information can be found on their event Facebook page.
Adventure Fit is celebrating 10 years of the Urban Assault Ride by holding their "10 Years of UAR" contest. They are giving away a bunch of great prizes and would like you to tell them your Urban Assault Ride story for a chance to win. The Grand Prize winner will get their story published in Bicycle Times Magazine. Go to the Adventure Fit blog for more details.
The Douglas State Trail is a scenic tour through some of southern Minnesota's most fertile farm country. It is a 12.5 mile trail on a former railroad grade that is designated as multi-use providing paved trail access to cyclists, skaters, hikers and has a separate natural surface treadway for horseback riders.
Pine Island Trailhead
There are three trailhead accesses to choose from to start your ride. The first is in northwestern Rochester, the second is at about the halfway point in Douglas and the third is in Pine Island.
All three have plenty of parking, picnic areas and restroom facilities. The Pine Island trailhead contains the Borrow-A-Bike program for those that would like to ride the trail but do not own a bike.
The trail has recently been widened and repaved for a smooth ride along its full length. You will experience quiet, peaceful rural views of rolling croplands, farms and woods along the way. Most of the trail is canopied with trees which makes it a great choice to ride on hot or windy days.
You will encounter multiple bridges along the way that cross creeks and
roads. The two bridges in Pine Island that were damaged in the floods
of 2010 have been replaced with new ones opening up the section of
trail that had been closed for the last two years.
Crossing the Zumbro River
One of the new bridges in Pine Island
If you are looking to extend your ride mileage, the trail connects to more the 60 miles of Rochester city trails. Overall, I enjoyed this trail and found it worth the drive to experience the scenery it has to offer.