10/12/2020

2021 Minnesota Bike Tours, Rides, Races & Events Schedule



The 2021 bike season is filling up fast with all sorts of events, rides, tours, races and festivals.  I have compiled a chronological list of events with links to more information and some with online registration.  Earlier is better when planning which events you are going to participate in as some have a cap on the number of participants or registration deadlines. Use this event listing to save the date for the ones you want to participate in.

This post is a work in progress, so bookmark it and check back often for new event listings.  If you are an event organizer and would like to have your event listed in this post, send me an email (or visit my contact page) with the information and available links.

*Due to the Covid-19 pandemic some events may be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled.

January

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fat Bike Rennet-January 9, 2021
Highland Park Reserve
Bloomington, MN
25k, 10k
Online Registration (Opens 10/1/20)

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

City of Lakes Pre-Loppet-January 10, 2021
The Trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN
17, 8 km

St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra-January 16-17, 2021
St. Croix State Park
Hinckley, MN
40 miles

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fatbike Frozen Forty-January 23, 2021
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN
40, 30, 20, 10 miles

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Arrowhead 135-January 25-27, 2021
International Falls, MN
135 miles
Registration (Opens 10/10/20)

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

February

The Trailhead
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN
37 km

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN
20 km

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fat Bike Vasaloppet-February 14, 2021
Lake Mora
Mora, MN
30, 15 km

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

March

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Superior Municipal Forest
Superior, WI
5 km run, 5 km bike, 5 km ski

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Minneapolis Convention Center, Hall E
Minneapolis, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

April

30 Days of Biking-April 1-30, 2021
Worldwide

Escape to Wisconsin-April 24, 2021
Stillwater HS
Stillwater, MN
119 km

May

City Slickers-May 1, 2021
Dunn Bros.
Minneapolis, MN
200 km

Fulton Gran Fondo-May 8, 2021
Fulton Beer
Minneapolis, MN
100, 43, 19 miles

Dakota County Technical College
Rosemount, MN

Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
200 km

Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
300 km

Houston, MN
6.8 mile canoe, 7.9 mile bike, 3 mile run

Fleche Team Ride-May 21, 2021
Anywhere
360 km

Le Grand Du Nord-May 29, 2021
Grand Marais, MN
110, 54, 20 miles

West Union, IA
200-600 km

June

Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
200 km

Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
300 km

Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
400 km

Jackson County Central Senior High
Jackson, MN
Beginner Course: 150m pool swim, 9 mile bike, 2 mile run
Sprint Course: 300m pool swim, 12.3 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

Tour of the Driftless-June 11-13, 2021
Richland Center, WI
1000 km

Caramel Roll Ride -June 12, 2021
Lake Wobegon Trail
Albany, MN

Maple Grove Venues
West Salem, WI
Online Registration

Bergsteiger Century-June 13, 2021
Maple Grove Venues
West Salem, WI
101, 55, 38 miles

Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Crosby, MN
3 mile paddle, 8.5 mile mountain bike, 2.5-mile trail run

Tour of Minnesota-June 18-25, 2021
Hastings, Lake City, Winona, Wabasha, Red Wing and back
Hastings, MN

Sanford Event Center
Bemidji, MN
17 miles

Lake Wobegon Trail
Avon, MN

Huber Park
Shakopee, MN
100, 65, 37, 5 miles

Adams City Park
LeRoy, MN
70, 55, 40, 20, 4 miles

Railroad Park
White Bear Lake, MN
1,200 miles
Online Registration (Opens 12/6/20)

Apple Valley Classic-June 26, 2021
Caribou Coffee
Apple Valley, MN
600 km

Lutsen 99'er-June 26, 2021
Lutsen Mountains
Lutsen, MN
99, 69, 39, 19 miles
Online Registration opens January 2, 2021

July

Lakefront Park
Prior Lake, MN
50, 25 miles

Tour D'Amico-July 4, 2021
D'Amico & Sons
Golden Valley, MN
62, 41, 29, 21 miles

ACP-July 10, 2021
TBD
200 km

ACP-July 10, 2021
TBD
200 km

ACP-July 10, 2021
Sugar Lake Lodge
Cohasset, MN
Super Sprint: 264 yards/.15 mile swim, 5.5 mile bike 1.5 mile run
Sprint: 587 yards/ 1/3 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 3 mile run
International: 1760 yards/1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, 6 mile run

Habitat 500-July 11-17, 2021
TBD, MN
500 miles, 500 km, 200, 100, 79 miles

Tour of Saints-July 11, 2021
College of Saint Benedict
Saint Joseph, MN
50, 35, 18 miles

Heck Epic-July 16-18, 2021
Donald Ferguson Demonstration Forest Area
Two Harbors, MN
336 miles

Tour de Meeker-July 17, 2021
Meeker Memorial Hospital
Litchfield, MN
62.2, 50, 25, 15, 5 miles

Golden Pancake-July 24, 2021
Speedway
Brooklyn Center, MN
200 km

Memorial Park Stadium
Montgomery, MN
50, 35, 15 miles

Paradise Park
Chisago City, MN
Sprint: 1/4 mile swim, 22 mile bike, 3 mile run
Half: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13 mile run
Half Aqua Bike: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike

August

Mesabi Trail
Northern MN
Routes TBD

Rail Trails 100-August 7, 2021
Fergus Falls, MN
100 miles

Gary, SD to Hager City, WI
240 miles

Maple Grove Triathlon-August 20-21, 2021
Weaver Lake Park
Maple Grove, MN
International: .93 mile swim, 23 mile bike, 6.2mile run
Sprint: .47 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Super Sprint: .25 mile swim, 5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run
Duathlon: 3.1 mile run, 11 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

Minnesota Red Ribbon Ride-August 20-22, 2021
Minneapolis, MN
200 miles

Bluff Land Tri-August 21, 2021
Creekside Park
Rushford, MN
3.1 mile run, 15.5 mile bike, 2.1 mile hike

Gooseberry Falls State Park
Two Harbors, MN
55, 34, 28, 8 miles

Mn Rando 600k-August 21, 2021
TBD
September

Hopkins Royal Triathlon-September 4, 2021
Shady Oak Beach
Minnetonka, MN
Sprint Course: 750 yd swim, 13 mile bike, 5k run
Mini-Sprint Course: 100 yd swim, 4.5 mile bike, 1.75 mile run

ACP 100th Anniversary Brevet-September 11, 2021
TBD

Caramel Apple Ride-September 11, 2021
Lake Wobegon Trail
Sauk Centre, MN

North Star Bicycle Race-September 15, 2021
US Bicycle Route 41
St. Paul, MN
630 miles

Ride the Ridges-September 18, 2021
Winona Middle School
Winona, MN
107, 106, 65, 43, 18 miles

Heck of the North-September 25, 2021
Two Harbors, MN
100, 55, 20 miles

October

The Filthy 50-October 9, 2021
Lanesboro, MN
50, 24 miles

November



December


Central Lakes Trail
The Central Lakes Trail is a 55-mile trail 
that runs through the heart of 
west-central Minnesota 
from Osakis to Fergus Falls

10/01/2020

Winter '20-'21 MN Fatbike Events

Winter fatbiking in Minnesota has grown immensely in popularity over the past five years.  With new events popping up as well as the seasonal favorites, there's plenty of races and rides for those that love getting out on the bike in the snow and cold.  Start planning your calendar now and check back often for updates.


This season's calendar will include all types of  winter fatbike events from festivals and races to demos and group rides.  Below is a list in chronological order.  Race and event organizers, if you would like your event listed please send me an e-mail (or visit my contact page).  I will continue to add events to this post as they become available
.
Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Palmers Tavern
Hibbing, MN
Facebook Page

Sunday Morning Fat Ride-November 29, 2020
Location TBD
Twin Cities, MN

Monday MTB Group Rides-November 30, 2020
Mcknight Park
Chaska, MN

First Friday Fat Tire Mountian Bike Ride-December 4, 2020
Sioux Falls Bicycle Company
Sioux Falls, SD

Global Fat Bike Day-December 5, 2020
Worldwide

Global Fat Bike Day - Champlin-December 5, 2020
Trailhead Cycling-Champlin
Champlin, MN

Trailhead Cycling-Plymouth
Plymouth, MN

Global Fatbike Day Ride!-December 5, 2020
Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Sunday Morning Fat Ride-December 6, 2020
Location TBD
Twin Cities, MN

Monday MTB Group Rides-December 7, 2020
Mcknight Park
Chaska, MN

Saturday Morning Fatbike Rides-December 12, 2020
Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Sunday Morning Fat Ride-December 13, 2020
Location TBD
Twin Cities, MN

Monday MTB Group Rides-December 14, 2020
Mcknight Park
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Monday MTB Group Rides-December 21, 2020
Mcknight Park
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Monday MTB Group Rides-December 28, 2020
Mcknight Park
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fat Bike Rennet-January 9, 2021
Highland Park Reserve
Bloomington, MN
25k, 10k
Online Registration (Opens 10/1/20)

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

City of Lakes Pre-Loppet-January 10, 2021
The Trailhead at Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN
17, 8 km

St. Croix 40 Winter Ultra-January 16-17, 2021
St. Croix State Park
Hinckley, MN
40 miles

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fatbike Frozen Forty-January 23, 2021
Elm Creek Park Reserve
Champlin, MN
40, 30, 20, 10 miles

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Arrowhead 135-January 25-27, 2021
International Falls, MN
135 miles
Registration (Opens 10/10/20)

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

The Trailhead
Theodore Wirth Park
Minneapolis, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN
37 km

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN
20 km

Bde Maka Ska North Beach
Minneapolis, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Fat Bike Vasaloppet-February 14, 2021
Lake Mora
Mora, MN
30, 15 km

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Superior Municipal Forest
Superior, WI
5 km run, 5 km bike, 5 km ski

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

Michael's Cycles-Chaska
Chaska, MN

9/24/2020

Seven Rail Trails a Short Drive From the Twin Cities for Fall Color Rides


The Fall colors are starting to show and what a better way to see them than on a bicycle.  Minnesota and Western Wisconsin have numerous rail trails within a two hour drive of the Twin Cities that will show you some of the best nature has to offer.  In this post I will list some of the favorites I've ridden, in no particular order, that I found well worth the drive. 

Stower Seven Lakes State Trail


The Stower Seven Lakes State Trail is a 14 mile crushed limestone trail that like the name says, brings riders past seven scenic lakes.  There are plenty of fall colors to see along the way as you pass through woods, wetlands and prairies on this former railroad corridor.  Travelling from Dresser to Amery, this trail also goes through the towns of Nye, Wanderoos and Deronda.  Parking is available near the trail in Amery and on city streets in Wanderoos and Dresser.  There is also parking at Lotus Lake Park in Dresser just 1/3 of a mile down the road from the trail.  

Cyclists age 16 or older need a Wisconsin State Trail Pass while using the trail.  Trail passes can be purchased at self-registration stations in Nye and Amery.  Trail passes are $5 per person a day and $25 per person annually.  A Stower Seven Lakes State Trail map is available online to download and print.

Red Cedar State Trail



The Red Cedar State Trail is a favorite of mine for its scenic beauty as it passes through the Dunnville Barrens Wildlife Area, Lower Chippewa State Natural Area and along the Red Cedar River Valley.  This 14.5 mile crushed limestone former railroad grade travels from Menomonie to the junction of the Chippewa River State Trail just southwest of  Dunnville as it passes through Irvington and Downsville.  Parking is available at the northern trailhead in Menomonie, Irvington, Downsville and at the southern end of the Chippewa River State Trail trailhead in Durand.

Cyclists age 16 or older need a Wisconsin State Trail Pass while using the trail.  Trail passes can be purchased at self-registration stations at the Menomonie depot trailhead, Downsville and in Durand at the trailhead of the Chippewa River State Trail (which leads 7 miles northeast to the trail junction of the Red Cedar State Trail).  Trail passes are $5 per person a day and $25 per person annually.  A Red Cedar State Trail map is available online to download and print.

Cannon Valley Trail 


The Cannon Valley Trail has long been a favorite of cyclists to take in the Fall colors of the Cannon River Valley.  This paved former Chicago Great Western Railroad line will take cyclists 19.7 miles along the south side of the Cannon River past prairies, scenic overlooks, hardwood forests and wetlands between Cannon Falls and Red Wing.  Parking is available on either end of the trail at Red Wing and Cannon Falls as well as the middle of the trail in Welch.  A Wheel Pass is required for any cyclist age 18 and over for $5 a day or $25 for the season.  Wheel Passes can be purchase at self-pay boxes at entry point kiosks in Cannon Falls, Welch and Red Wing, online or at participating business vendors.  A Cannon Valley Trail map is available online to download and print.  There is also an interactive map of the trail online.

Douglas State Trail 



Head south down Highway 52 to Pine Island for a Fall color ride along the Douglas State Trail.  This 12.5 mile paved trail built on a former railroad grade takes cyclists through some amazing rural scenery including the woods and pastures of this agriculturally rich area between Pine Island and Rochester.  Parking is available at the trailheads in Pine Island, Douglas and Rochester.  A Douglas State Trail map is available online to download and print.

Gandy Dancer State Trail-Southern Segment


Take the short trip across the border to St. Croix Falls, WI to view the Fall colors of the Southern Segment of the Gandy Dancer Trail.  This crushed limestone trail takes cyclists 47 miles from St. Croix Falls to Danbury through the towns of Centuria, Milltown, Luck, Frederic, Lewis, Siren and Webster.  The rural scenery and woods along the way make this trail a great choice to take in the Fall colors.  At the end of the trail in Danbury you will find a 520-foot trestle that crosses the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway into Minnesota providing fantastic views of the river valley.  Parking is available in St. Croix Falls, Centuria, Milltown, Frederic, Siren, Webster and Danbury.

Cyclists age 16 or older need a Wisconsin State Trail Pass while using the trail.  Trail passes can be purchased at numerous locations along the trail.  For a complete list of the designated trail pass vendors, visit the Friends of Gandy Dancer State Trail website. Trail passes are $5 per person a day and $25 per person annually.  A Gandy Dancer State Trail-Southern Segment map is available online to download and print.

Chippewa River State Trail

 
The Chippewa River State Trail is part of a group of trails that makes up the Chippewa Valley Trail System which also includes the Red Cedar State Trail and the Old Abe State Trail.  This asphalt/asphalt emulsion trail stretches 30 miles along the Chippewa River from Durand to Eau Claire passing through the towns of Meridean and Caryville and the Dunnville Wildlife Area near the confluence of the Red Cedar and Chippewa Rivers.  The changing habitat includes river bottoms, woods, prairies, bluffs and wetlands making it a great choice to the see the Fall colors by bicycle.  Parking is available at Tarrant Park in Durand, Meridean, Caryville and at Phoenix Park in downtown Eau Claire.

Cyclists age 16 or older need a Wisconsin State Trail Pass while using the trail.  Trail passes can be purchased at a self-registration box in Durand and Eau Claire.  Trail passes are $5 per person a day and $25 per person annually.  A Chippewa River State Trail map is available online to download and print.

Willard Munger State Trail 


Take the short trip north to Hinckley and ride the 70 mile Hinckley-Duluth segment of the Willard Munger State Trail.  This completely paved former railroad route will take cyclists through the cities of Willow River, Moose Lake, Barnum and Carlton on the way to Duluth.  Riders will also experience great Fall colors scenery in the General C.C. Andrews State Forest near Willow River and Jay Cooke State Park near Carlton.  Parking is available at numerous locations along the trail.  A Willard Munger State Trail map is available online to download and print.

8/18/2020

Camping at Cuyuna is Easy in a True North Basecamp Cabin Tent


One of my favorite places to ride is Cuyuna and when I do I stay at True North Basecamp. I've stayed at their lakefront cabins before but I wanted to try out camping in one of their cabin tents.  I have most of the camping gear needed from my bikecamping adventures but I didn't feel like spending the weekend in my bivvy tent so this was a much more comfortable option.  It would give me the camping/bike weekend experience without the hassle of setting up and tearing down camp.  All I had to do was unload my gear and bikes and get to riding.


Each cabin tent is a spacious 10'x12" that has enough room for you, a friend and all of your gear.  They come with two padded cots that I will say I slept quite comfortably on.  After the first night's rest I was ready for a full day of hitting the trails.


Cabin tent campsites include a fire ring, picnic table, plenty of trees for setting up hammocks and a nearby vault bathroom. If you don't have a camp stove, meals can be prepared over an open fire.  Firewood can be easily ordered and delivered right to your campsite by texting your cabin/campsite number and quantity of bundles before 2:00 pm for same day delivery.  Charges will be applied to the credit card on your reservation. 


Whether it's paddling the mine pit lakes, hitting the singletrack, riding the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail or crushing some nearby gravel, True North Basecamp puts you right in the middle of all the action Cuyuna Country has to offer.  Being trail connected is why it's my basecamp for a few days of on-the-bike adventures.


The Cuyuna Lakes State Trail is just a short ride from the Basecamp and offers 8 paved miles through woods and past lakes from Crosby to Riverton.  The trail also brings guests to access points for the mountain bike trails and nearby roads for roadies and gravel enthusiasts.


If gravel roads are your thing, Cuyuna has them so bring along that gravel bike.  Try one of the 40, 70 or 100 mile Woodtick gravel loops or plan out your own route with the help of Gravelmap or RideWithGPS.


One of my favorite amenities of True North Basecamp is the on-site access to 30+ miles of Minnesota's best mountain biking at the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.  I've been known to stay out on the trails all day with a stop or two back at camp for rest and refreshments.


These world class mountain bike trails offer something for riders of all abilities while providing spectacular views of the surrounding forest and mine pit lakes.


After riding all morning it's time to head back to the basecamp for some lunch and a little break before hitting the trails in the afternoon.  At the basecamp you can hit the trails hard all day or take it in at a leisurely pace.  When you're trail connected it's all just a short ride away.


After a day of riding I can cool off by taking a dip down at the lake or drop a line and try my luck at fishing for northerns and panfish.


When the day is winding down its a short ride or walk to the shower house to get cleaned up and changed before starting up the campfire and cooking dinner.


There is so much to do here that I end up exhausted after a full day of riding and couldn't wait to get back to camp for some much needed relaxation and a cold beverage or two.  When trying to fit your Cuyuna bike adventure into a day trip just won't do, the cabin tents at True North Basecamp make camping easy without roughing it.  Just bring your camping gear and bikes, the campsite is already set up and waiting for you.


True North Basecamp has special weekday rates that can save you cash.  Rent one of the cabin tents Sunday through Thursday for only $49 a night, Friday and Saturday nights are just $65 a night.  Check in time is at 4:00pm and check out is at noon.

To book your stay visit the True North Basecamp website for Cabin and Camping reservations.  For updates and more information visit the True North Basecamp Facebook Page, Twitter Page or send them a message on their contact page.

7/26/2020

Five Twin Cities Trails to Beat the Heat


The dog days of summer can get pretty hot and steamy in Minnesota but that doesn't have to mean an uncomfortable ride.  The Twin Cities area has quite a few trail systems that run through the cool shade of the woods that I frequent during hot days.  Below I will share some of my favorites to ride to beat the heat.

Brown's Creek State Trail

The Brown's Creek State Trail is a 5.9 mile long rail trail that runs from Grant to Stillwater through a canopy of trees that keeps riders cool on a hot day.  Trail users will parallel Brown's Creek for about two miles and the St. Croix River for another mile as they make their way along this scenic trail.  For those looking to get in some extra mileage, the trail connects to the Gateway State Trail, local trail systems and the newly opened 4.7 mile St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail.  Parking for the Brown's Creek State Trail can be found in Downtown Stillwater, the Brown's Creek Nature Preserve and under the Gateway State Trail bridge in Grant.

Dakota Rail Regional Trail

The Dakota Rail Trail has been a long time favorite of mine for its scenic ride through woods and along lakes and wetlands.  This 14.84 mile paved trail connects Wayzata with Lake Waconia and extends another 12.5 miles (Carver County segment) to the county line just west of New Germany.  A frequent stop along the trail for me is Cathy Mackenthun's Meats & Deli in St. Bonifacius for a quick lunch and to stock up on some of their award winning smoked meats, bratwurst and jerkey.  Parking is available at numerous locations along the trail making it easy to pick the round trip distance you would like to ride.

Mendota Trail

When I want to get in some dirt riding through the cool of the woods, the Minnesota River Bottoms' Mendota Trail in Fort Snelling State Park is my "go-to" spot.  This trail travels 6 miles along the Minnesota River's south bank from underneath the 77 Bridge in Eagan to the Sibley House Historic Site in Mendota. With connectors like the 494 Bridge, Mendota Bridge, Big Rivers Regional Trail and Minnesota River Greenway, different mileage route options for a multi-surface ride are quite numerous.  Parking can be found in Mendota and underneath the 77 Bridge in Eagan.

Gateway State Trail

The 18 mile Gateway State Trail takes cyclists northeast from St. Paul to Pine Point Park just outside of Stillwater.  With plenty of connections including the Bruce Vento Regional Trail and Brown's Creek State Trail and numerous parking locations along the trail, varying routes can be planned for the mileage you would like to do.  The scenery changes from urban to rural as riders pass lakes, woods and wetlands on the way towards Stillwater.  With plenty of trees along the trail this is one ride that will help you stay cool on those hot summer days.

Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail

The Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail has been a longtime favorite of mine for its scenery as well as shade on hot days.  This 15.92 mile aggregate trail stretches between Hopkins and Carver Park Reserve in Victoria as it passes by Lake Minnetonka and through numerous communities along the way.  Make sure to stop in Excelsior for a pint at Excelsior Brewing or Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream at Tommy's Tonka Trolley on the waterfront.  For those that like a little longer ride, take a trip around Lake Minnetonka by traveling through Carver Park Reserve to St. Bonifacius and jumping onto the Dakota Rail Trail on your way to Wayzata and back to Hopkins.  Parking can be found at numerous locations along the trail but I tend to start near the Depot Coffee House in Hopkins at the junction of the Cedar Lake Trail and the Minnesota River Bluffs LRT Regional Trail.

6/10/2020

Weekly Summer Group Rides in Minnesota



As restrictions from the COVID-19 outbreak begin to ease we will see the return of weekly group bike rides of all kinds.  These rides will include mountain biking, gravel, road and trail that recur on specific days of the week.  Check the Facebook event pages for more information on specifics and locations as some ride details may change from week to week.  I will continue to update this post as more group rides become available.  

Monday

Michael's Cycles in Chaska has started their Mammoth Mondays mountain bike ride that will continue on through the end of the year.  Meet at the Mammoth MTB Singletrack in Chaska for a 6:00 pm ride.

This ride will primarily be on the Mammoth MTB Singletrack.  If trails are to wet then the ride will take to the surrounding gravel and paved trails.  Meeting point will be the shelter at the park. 

Tuesday

If you're looking for a group mountain bike ride that rotates among south metro singletrack trails, then Micheal's Cycles' Weekly MTB South Metro Trail Ride is for you.  This ride will have two start times, 5:30 pm for more experienced riders and 6:30 pm for newer riders.  Going on now through November 24th.

Weekly rides that will rotate to different south metro single track trails.  If trails are closed on a Tuesday we will most likely ride Wednesday.  We will have two set times.  The first will be 5:30 PM and this will be designated for faster and/or more experienced riders.  The later time of 6:30 PM will be for those newer riders and those that are in no hurry.  This will be a no drop lap and will be focused on helping others.  We do ask that riders bring spare tube/CO2 for emergencies.  Bring water and snacks if needed.  Helmets are required.  

Wednesday

Life Wellness Center will once again be holding their weekly summer mountain bike rides on Wednesday nights at various singletrack trails around the metro area.  Join the Life Wellness Group Rides Facebook page for all updates & ride locations.


Join Mesabi Outdoor Adventures on Wednesday nights for a relaxed roll along the Mesabi Trail out of Virginia.  The Wednesday Evening Ride on the Mesabi Trail meets at Olcott Park for a 5:30 pm roll out on a two hour ride.  Going on now through September 30th.

With the governor's new stay safe Minnesota rules going into affect 5/18/20, we are now able to gather with friends in groups of 10 or fewer for outdoor activities like biking so long as we maintain social distancing standards. Join us on a Wednesday evening for a leisurely bike ride on the Mesabi Trail. We will meet in the upper portion of Olcott Park in Virginia near the fountain and head out for a couple hour ride. If more than 10 people show up, we will split into groups of 10 or fewer and go separate directions. Hope to see you there!

Thursday

Trailhead Cycling in Champlin is now hosting their Thursday night Ladies MTB Ride Group at Elm Creek through October 29th.  This no-drop group ride for riders of all levels takes off from the Elm Creek singletrack trailhead (Hayden Lake Road) at 6:00 pm weekly, as long as the trail is not closed.  

Ladies! Join the Ambassadors of Trailhead for a Fun No-Drop Socially Respectful Ride at the Single Track of Elm Creek! We Meet Every Thursday Evening at 6 pm; as long as the trails are open; we ride! Helmets Required, Lights Strongly Recommended. We will stagger starts, depart in small groups, wait at intersections, be helpful, supportive, encouraging and most importantly: HAVE FUN RIDING OUR Mountain BIKES!!! Bring a Friend and a Smile! 

Saturday

Trailhead Cycling has started up their Back in the Saddle Again Saturday morning road ride.  This no-drop weekly ride will cover 35 to 50 miles at an 18 mph pace.  Ride departs the shop at 7:30 am.  Going on now through October 3rd.

Folks it's time to get back to (socially distant) group riding. We'll be respectful and stay 6' apart; but we miss you - so let's Get Back In the Saddle Again!

Announcing:
Saturday Morning Road Bike Ride; a non-competitive, no-drop ride; sticking to county roads, obeying all traffic signs and waving in a friendly fashion to all passers-by. Routes will vary from 35-50 miles, pace: 18mph, meeting 7:30 am Saturdays at Trailhead. First ride is This Saturday, July 11th. In accordance with Social Distancing Protocol; we are asking for riders to break into smaller groups of 10-14, stagger start times if necessary and maintain a distance of 6'. 

Helmets Required. Lights Strongly Recommended.


Micheal's Cycles has started its Mixed Surface and Destination Rides out of its Prior Lake shop Saturdays at 9:00 am.  Routes, ride surface and starting location will vary from week to week.  Now happening through December 12th.

Saturday morning rides that we will mix up each week.  These rides may be road, gravel, trail, MTB, fat bike, etc.  The routes will vary, the milgage will vary, and the Ambassador will rotate.  Each Ambassador will have their pick for the week they lead the ride.  Please follow event by indicating Interested/Going to insure you see updated posts.  We will try to keep the time the same each week.  This is a co-supported weekly ride by both the Prior Lake and Chaska shop Ambassadors.  Starting location may also vary.  These rides are all about fun and enjoying the ride.  


For more group rides not listed in this post visit Groupride.com.  Users of the site can search the interactive ride map, view the ride directory or post up a ride.

If you are a ride leader that would like your group ride listed on this post contact me by sending an email to Mnbiketrailnavigator@gmail.com with the ride details, Facebook event page or website link to more information.

5/25/2020

Bikefishing Basics To Get You Started


Bikefishing is something I have come to love over the past couple of years because it combines two things I really enjoy doing, riding bikes and fishing.  Living in Minnesota with its bike infrastructure and abundance of lakes, rivers and streams makes it a perfect place to marry these two activities.  As a kid I used to do this all the time and I've revisted it again as an adult.  Now, getting to my fishing spot is half the fun.  One of the nice things about bikefishing is you don't need a lot of fancy equipment to do it, just the basic gear and a bike.  This post will go over some of the techniques and items needed to get started on your own fishing adventures via bicycle.


I like to travel light on the bike with regard to fishing gear.  I only bring what I think I'll need for the fish I am targeting.  For panfish I usually just bring my ultralight collapsible rod/reel combo, jig box, forceps, line cutter, a depth finder weight, towel and waxies/nightcrawlers for bait.  These can all fit in a bar bag, frame bag or backpack.


Three of the other species I like to fish for are catfish, carp and northern pike.  For these I use a medium action collapsible baitcasting pole and reel with 30# braided line.  Targeting these fish requires me to bring along a little extra gear such as a small tackle box, blood bait, live bait and a rod prop for bank fishing.


I prefer collapsible fishing rods for their convenience of storage and transport on the bike but multi-piece travel rods will do the trick also.  Some of the other things I will bring along for the trip are a portable digital scale with tape measure (can be found on Amazon for under $15), vinyl or latex gloves for handling fish and bait, a collapsible stool, a small cooler with beverages and snacks, zipper bags and of course, a fishing license.


I usually use live bait for panfish which includes waxworms, nightcrawlers and crappie minnows.  Transporting these is pretty easy, for waxies I use a bait puck, nightcrawlers in the package they came with and minnows in a Bait Up container.  When the weather heats up it is a good idea to keep your bait cool.  I'll store my bait puck and worms in a small cooler or bring along a frozen gel ice pack to place against them in my bike bag or backpack.  The Bait Up container can be stored in a cooler, with a frozen gel pack or in the body of water I'm fishing to keep the minnows alive and active.


There are a couple of different methods and bikes I use depending on the terrain involved and the species of fish I am targeting.  Traveling light is a must for me but I also want to make sure I have everything I need for a successful and comfortable outing.  A backpack or commuter bag is usually my first choice when I don't want to bring along a lot of gear but still have room for a couple of beers, snacks and my portable folding stool.


For longer distance travel to get to my fishing spot I will take my gravel/commuter bike.  These are usually lakes within 20 miles of my home that I fish for panfish or northern pike.  I also have some secret spots along the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers that are easily accessible for skinny tires where I frequently try my luck for channel catfish and jumbo carp.


For those harder to reach areas like sandy beaches along the river or hidden spots that require some bushwhacking to get to, I will opt for my fatbike.  Since there are no rack mounts on my carbon Farley I have to carry everything I need for the outing in one of my appropriately sized backpacks.  This method is great for moving along the river bank and trying multiple spots in search of catfish.  I usually go by the old catfisherman's words of "if no bites in 15 minutes, it's time to move on."


When I want to carry a few more items or just want to skip the backpack I will strap on the panniers and let the bike carry the weight.  This allows me the extra storage space to bring along more tackle, extra rods and live bait for those longer outings or times when I want to target several species of fish.


For those short fishing trips or when I want to go after panfish only I will pack very light, usually only a rod, jig box, towel, forceps and waxworms or nightcrawlers.  All of this fits nicely in a small handlebar bag.


Living in the land of 10,000 lakes means there are probably several of them within biking distance from your home.  The Minnesota DNR website is a terrific resource to find out more information about the lakes, rivers and streams near you.  Visit the Where to fish page to get started.  Here you will find helpful links including a LakeFinder for desktop or mobile, river maps and accessible places for shore fishing.  If you are new to fishing visit the Learn to fish page for tips and links to get you started.


Minnesota has more than 200 fishing piers and on-shore platforms around the state and finding them is easy with the DNR's Fishing piers and shore fishing sites page.  Here you'll get the information you need about the location, a link to the LakeFinder page that contains size, depth and fish species and directions to get there using Google Maps and Bing.  When using the Google Maps link make sure you select bicycling directions to find the most bike-friendly route to get there.

When I want to learn more about the structure and depth of the area I will be fishing I use the Navionics Boating Marine and Lakes app on my phone.  Another handy feature of this app is that it allows me to set markers on the map with notes about the structure or fish species so that I may return to that exact spot later.  This app does have an optional paid subscription that has access to more advanced features and downloadable chart layers.  Available for both Android and IOS.



If you have questions or would like to learn more about bikefishing from those that do it regularly, put in a request to join the Bikefishing Facebook group.  This is a private group and membership will need to be approved by the admins or moderators to see posts and who is in the group.


Fatbikers that use their bikes for fishing those hard to reach areas may be interested in joining the Sport-Utility Fatbikers Facebook group.  In addition to fishing, this group is also for the cyclist that uses their fatbike for hunting, bikepacking, bikecamping, bikejoring, winter commuting or adventure riding.  This is also a private group and membership will need to be approved by the admin to see posts and who is in the group.


When the open water season comes to an end that doesn't mean that bikefishing has to also, it's just time to shift gear and methods for hardwater season.  For more information about ice fishing by bike see my updated post "Fatbike Ice Fishing and How to Do It-Revisited."


Bikefishing can be as simple or complex as you want to make it.  This usually depends on the duration of time to be spent and the fish you'll be going after.  For me it was trial and error to see what was convenient and what worked best.  Travel light or bring extra gear, it all depends on how you are going to carry it on the bike to your fishing spot.

Make sure to follow all Minnesota fishing regulations for the body of water you'll be fishing.  These can be found online on the MN DNR's Minnesota fishing regulations page, be downloaded in PDF format to your computer or phone or a paper copy can be picked up at licensing agents around the state.  Minnesota residents over the age of  16 will need to purchase an angling license to legally fish.  These can be purchased online, by phone at 1-888-665-4236 (1-MN-LICENSE) or in person from numerous ELS agents around the state.  A list of these agents can be found on the MN DNR's Where to buy a license page.  Good luck and happy bikefishing!
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