A Smooth Ride From the Suburbs to the Country on the Luce Line State Trail

I had never ridden on an aggregate trail before so I wanted to check it out.  Was it a rough ride?  Did you need a mountain bike or could you use a street bike or hybrid?  Could you get your speed up and maintain it?  These were just a few of the questions I had and I decided to head to one of the longest aggregate trails in the state to get the answers.

I chose a section of the Luce Line State Trail that I thought would be suitable for both mountain bikes and hybrids, since these are the bikes that my wife and I ride.  The section I chose is part of a 30 mile stretch that is surfaced with crushed limestone.  It starts in Plymouth and continues on to Winstead.  It is constructed on a former railroad grade making it pretty flat for most of the way.

We started our ride at the Plymouth Trailhead and headed west along the trail.  I locked out my front suspension like I always do when I am not riding singletrack and the first thing I noticed was that it was a pretty smooth ride.  Maintaining a steady fast speed was not a problem since the crushed limestone was so fine and packed that I almost forgot that the trail wasn't paved.

I enjoyed watching to scenery change along the way.  It started with a city feel as you passed by the luxury homes and a golf course and slowly transitioned from suburbs to the fields and farmland of the country.  It was kind of refreshing to see cattle, llamas and sheep as we rode through the countryside.  It seemed as though we left the hustle and bustle of the city behind.

We decided to turn around at the 15 mile mark on our trip which put us at the Co. Rd. 26 crossing just past Ox Yoke Lake.  This would make for a 30 mile round trip ride which would take us about two hours to complete and give us a nice cardio workout.

There are several parking lots available along the trail (four along the route we took) so you can make your ride as long as you want it to be.  There are also plenty of restroom facilities along this route.

 The Luce Line is used by bikers, mountain bikers, hikers, and horseback riders in the summertime because of its multi-use designation.  If you want to try some singletrack, the section of trail from Plymouth to Winstead has a parallel treadway mostly used by horseback riders but can be used by mountain bikers.  Just make sure to use an audible signal when passing horses so as not to spook them.

I had a good ride on the Luce Line and will ride this one again, perhaps from Winstead to Hutchinson which is surfaced with a larger class 5 aggregate making it more like a gravel road ride. I recommend this trail for anyone that would like to take a ride in the country without having to leave the Twin Cities.

To view the photo gallery of the section of the Luce Line State Trail mentioned in this post click here.

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