3rd Annual Tour de Red Wing Kicks Off the Spring Riding Season

The 3rd Annual Tour de Red Wing is a great way to start off the riding season with its scenic views of the Mississippi River Valley in and around the city.  It's an opportunity to get in that first big ride of the year and support a good cause at the same time.  The Tour de Red Wing takes place on Saturday, April 27th and proceeds benefit the Red Wing Rotary Club S.T.R.I.V.E. Program (Students Taking a Renewed Interest in the Value of Education).

Image credit:  Red Wing Rotary Club
There are four scenic routes to choose from this year that include 10 mile, 16 mile, 37 mile and 43 mile distances for all levels of cyclists.  All routes will start and finish at the Minnesota State College Southeast Technical and participants may start their ride anytime between 7:00 & 8:30 am.  SAG wagons will be available to provide support along all routes.  There will be sheltered rest stops in place for riders to take a break along the way and the tour finishes off with an included pancake breakfast.

Image credit:  Red Wing Rotary Club

Register early for the 10 & 16 mile routes for $20 ($30 after April 24) and the 37 & 43 mile routes for $40 ($50 after April 24).   Riders under 18 accompanied by an adult ride for only $10.  Online registration is available or mail in your completed registration form to the Red Wing Rotary Club.  Tour de Red Wing performance t-shirts can be ordered and a limited number of cycling jerseys will also be available for purchase when you register.

For more information contact Tour Director David Anderson by email or by phone at 651-380-4672.  Follow updates on the Tour de Red Wing Facebook page by hitting the "Like" button.


HaveFun Tours Announces Four Multi-Day Rides For 2013

If you are looking for some multi-day excursions to see the beauty of  Minnesota by bike, HaveFun Tours offers three bus/bike tours and a fourth circle loop tour for 2013.  Each tour includes SAG and mechanical support, baggage transport to each night's destination, camping (with limited hotel/motel options available), breakfasts & lunches and admission to a last night gathering dinner party.  Transportation of bikes will be provided on three of the tours.

The Mississippi River Ride I is a Bus/Bike tour that begins and ends in Big Lake, Minnesota. Meet Tuesday afternoon on June 4, to board the bus for Park Rapids, for five days of riding. Starting Wednesday, June 5 - Sunday, June 9, following the river and many of its tributaries back to Big lake. The tour is limited to 150 people, for a multi-modal Mississippi River riding experience.

Day 1 - Leave Park Rapids for Itasca State Park, at the Mississippi's headwaters, then on to Bemidji.
Day 2 - Continue along the river, around Lake Winnibigosh to the Federal Dam, then to Deer River.
Day 3 - Here the ride will leave the river for the day, riding south to the Brainerd Lakes Area.
Day 4 - Picking up the Paul Bunyan Trail the route continues south to Camp Ripley, then along the Mississippi to Little Falls.
Day 5 - Your last day along the river, it's on to St. Cloud for lunch, returning back to Big Lake, to the starting point. 

Click here for more details.

The Minnesota River History Ride is a Bus/Bike tour that begins and ends in Shakopee, Minnesota. Meet Tuesday evening, July 9, to board the bus to Ortonville for five days of riding along the river, visiting many river communities full of frontier history along the way. From Wednesday, July 10, through Sunday, July 14, the tour is limited to 150 people, for a Minnesota River history ride experience.

Day 1 -Leave Ortonville, riding around Lac Qui Parle Lake, then on to Montevideo where a full scale railroad working museum awaits.
Day 2 -Continue along the river through Granite Falls, with an option of stopping at Upper Sioux Agency State Park, then Belview, and on to the Redwood Falls Area for you evening fun, food and rest.
Day 3 - While here check out a famous battle field or county museum, then enjoy a few more historic sites before reaching New Ulm.
Day 4 - After enjoying the German charm (maybe an optional brewery tour/guided history tour) the route continues on to Mankato, as both the river and bike route makes a swing to the northeast to St. Peter.
Day 5 - After taking in the sights of this college town and the Sioux Treaty Site/History Center the bike journey and river current continue north up through the river communities of Le Sueur,Belle Plain and Chaska before returning back to Shakopee.

Click here for more details. 

This Bluff Country/Root River Ride is a loop tour that begins and ends in Peterson, MN. Meet Wednesday evening, August 8, for packet pickup party and preparation for your bicycling adventure on Thursday, August 9 through the 11th. This 4-day tour is limited to 150 cyclist who want to enjoy the history and scenery of Southeast Minnesota.

Day 1 - From Peterson, journey up to Whitewater State Park, then St Charles on your way to Lanesboro.
Day 2 - Ride up the valley floor on the Root River Trail to Fountain then the route makes a loop over to Spring Valley, through Historic Forestville State Park, to Preston, and then on to Harmony.
Day 3 - After checking out the Amish culture the ride heads east, passing through the Steam Engine Capitol, Mabel, MN. then onto Caledonia, after checking out an historic mill along the way. Dinner party w/photo scavenger awards and fun follows!
Day 4 - After enjoying the charm here the route makes its way back up to the Root River, stopping in Houston, then Rushford before returning back to Peterson. 

Click here for more details.

The Mississippi River Ride II is a Bus/Bike tour that begins and ends in Hastings, Minnesota. Meet Friday evening, Sept 30, to register and relax in preparation for this Labor Day Weekend Journey. Saturday, after breakfast and a brief orientation the ride follows the river valley for a two day tour, to La Crosse. On Labor Day, Sept 2, enjoy the local bike festival there before a motor coach returns you andyour gear back to Hastings. The tour is limited to 150 people, for another multi-modal Mississippi River experience. 

Day 1 - After a kickoff breakfast along the river and a brief orientation the ride leave Hastings, winding through the river valley to Redwing, then Lake City, and on to Wabasha for the night.
Day 2 - As the eagles sour on the bluffs current, the tour continues south passing through Kellogg, then to Winona for lunch and some discovery time. After lunch the route takes you up past the historic Pickwick Mill to ride the scenic ridges and Apple Blossom Byway into La Crescent, then over the river to La Crosse for your final evening of fun on the Mississippi River.
Day 3 - Here the bike tour ends. After enjoying a leisure breakfast, take in the bike festival and charm of this historic river town before loading into luxury motor coach buses to catch parts of the river, we may have missed on the bike journey down. After taking in the sight along the way, the buses will return back to Hastings where your bikes and gear will be waiting. 

Click here for more details. 

Create some great biking memories this summer on one of these fantastic tours and see some of Minnesota's most beautiful scenery on two wheels.  For more information contact Russ or Steph by email at tours@havefunbiking.com or give them a call at 612-723-4511.


Minnesota High School Cycling League Getting Ready For 2013 Season

After a successful inaugural season, the Minnesota High School Cycling League prepares for 2013 with the addition of new teams & more racing, a series of informational meetings, Leader's Summit, the introduction of the new outreach initiative "Crank Sisters" and a movie night fundraiser.

Twenty teams are now registered for the 2013 season with additional teams forming in Chaska, Cuyuna Lakes, Maple Grove/Osseo, Shakopee and Champlin.  There will be two informational meeting for teams now forming in the Duluth Area on March 22nd & 23rd and another meeting has been scheduled for April 22nd at REI in Roseville.  If you would like to learn more about mountain bike racing, have an interest in becoming a coach or would like to volunteer at upcoming races, please attend one of these meetings.  To learn more visit the Minnesota High School League's Informational Meetings page.  A two day Leader's Summit has been scheduled for April 20-21, 2013 at Quality Bicycle Products in Bloomington for parents and volunteers who would like to become licensed coaches for the Minnesota High School Cycling League.

 Join Us – Let’s Get Girls Racing!
Our new outreach initiative, Crank Sisters, encourages high school girls to become racers and women to become coaches in the MN League. Through networking, knowledge sharing, scholarships, league and fee discounts, and coaching rebates, Crank Sisters will be the channel to overcoming fears, setting goals, and learning how racing and coaching in the MN League is both rewarding and the basis for a healthy lifestyle.

Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League

One fourth of the racers in 2012 were girls and the Minnesota High School Cycling League would like to see that double.  A Crank Sisters Summit Day has been scheduled for April 20, 2013.  More details and sign up information are coming soon. 

Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League

Singletrack High Movie Night is a fundraising event for the Minnesota High School Cycling League that will be held April 18, 2013 at the Edina Cinema-3911 W. 50th Street Edina, MN 55424.  Online ticket purchase for this event is recommended due to limited seating, but tickets may also be purchased at the door.

Singletrack High is a wonderful film that depicts what participation in mountain bike racing does for a community and its students. The film follows six athletes from the NorCAL League in the 2012 season.  The film does an excellent job of showcasing what NICA is all about and what the kids who participate in the league get from it. From an inner city kid that finds a means to escape the rough neighborhoods of South Sacramento to a pair of girls breaking into a sport traditionally dominated by boys. The film explores the wide range of positive outcomes from keeping adolescents active on bikes at an age when many are "trading in two wheels for four," as one of the subjects puts it.  "Come see what the MN League is bringing to our Minnesota student-athletes," said MN League Director Gary Sjoquist, "You will not be disappointed, more likely...inspired. See you at the movies on Thurs. April 18!"

Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League

About the Minnesota High School Cycling League
The Minnesota High School Cycling League, founded in 2011, serves all Minnesota high school-aged students, and regardless of ability level, is committed to providing a positive co-ed cycling experience. New for 2013, the MN League launched Crank Sisters, an outreach program established to recruit girls to race and women to become licensed coaches in the MN League. Each MN League season includes summer camps, a five-race series, wilderness first aid certification courses and a Spring Leaders’ Summit for training and certification of coaches. The MN League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and MN League sponsors including the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components; as well as establishing NICA sponsors Easton Foundations, SRAM, and Trek Bicycles; major sponsors Sho-Air, Clif Bar and Company, Clif Bar Foundation, Primal Wear, Quality Bicycle Products, GU Sports, Kinetic, Maxxis, CamelBak, Feedback Sports, Fort Lewis College, Fox Racing Shox, and Ritchey Designs; media partners Mountain Bike Action, Dirt Rag, and Cyclingnews. MN League specific sponsors include Founding Retailers Penn Cycle and Erik’s Bike and Board Shop, Mt Borah, Life Time Cycle, HealthPartners Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series, Park Tool, Ipsity Marketing, Random Bikes, and Valley Bike and Ski. For more information on the MN League, visit minnesotamtb.org.

Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League
Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League

Mission Statement
The Minnesota High School Cycling League works to establish and maintain safe, quality high school mountain bike programs. The MN League is responsible for establishing a climate that will:
  • Provide students who have the desire to mountain bike with the coaching and camaraderie that will help them achieve both competitive and non-competitive cross-country mountain biking goals in a safe and enjoyable manner;
  • Develop an awareness of what it is to be an amateur athlete that is both gracious and respectful to their community;
  • Create an environment in which they may discover new friendships and find role models;
  • Guide students towards learning new skills and disciplines, and spread the foundations of mountain bike racing across the U.S.;
  • Foster a responsible attitude toward the use of trails and wilderness;
  • Promote the value of cycling to our community as a mode of transportation and as a life long sport.''

Image Credit:  Minnesota High School Cycling League

If you would like to become a sponsor, make a contribution or volunteer please visit the Support Minnesota page.  Stay updated on the Minnesota High School Cycling League by signing up for League Newsletters, following on Twitter @MinnesotaMTB, or liking on Facebook.


2013 Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride Gets a Change of Scenery

The 2013 Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride is getting a change of scenery after 13 years in Lakeville, MN.  Ride organizers have decided to move the event to the scenic St. Croix River Valley with a starting point at the Washington County Fairgrounds.  The fairgrounds will be the centralized hub for the four routes this year which will include a 50 mile loop, two 27 mile loops and a 14 mile loop.  Riders will have the opportunity on the morning of the ride to choose a single route or a combination of routes to achieve their desired mileage.  Click here for a map of the 2013 preliminary routes.

Image Credit:  Derrick Williams, Lakeville Patch
The move will give cyclists a more challenging ride than at previous Ironman locations with more hill climbing on the way through the towns of Scandia, Marine on St. Croix, Stillwater, Afton and Lake Elmo.   The routes have been set up to attract all types of cyclists from beginners, middle distance riders and the experienced long distance century riders.  Because of the change of venue and the new routes, the Minnesota Gran Fondo will be put on hold for this year.

The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride has a reputation as the best organized ride with the worst weather because of its Spring rains and gale force winds, so dress appropriately and be prepared to ride rain or shine.  Helmets are required for all participants and SAG wagons will be providing rider support along the routes.  For more detailed rider information, click here

Individual and team registration is available online, by downloading the registration form and mailing it in or register the day of the ride between 6:30 & 9:30 am.  Check in and ride start will be between 6:30 & 9:30 am on Sunday, April 28th.

If you are interested in helping to make the ride a success by volunteering, download the 2013 Volunteer Form or send an e-mail to volunteer@ironmanbikeride.org.

Keep up-to-date by following the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride on Twitter @mnironmanride or liking on Facebook.  The Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride benefits Hostelling International USA, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization.


Meteorologist Kristin Clark Launches 2WheelWeather

Image Credit:  Kristin Clark
Meteorologist and avid mountain biker Kristin Clark has been very busy over the last year with her work at Weather Nation TV, the MORC Weather Blog and providing detailed forecasts for the Fatbike Frozen 40 and the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout.  Her passion for weather and cycling has spawned her newest project, 2WheelWeather.

"As a meteorologist and a mountain biker, I've always had the vision of combining weather and cycling.  Over the past year, I've provided relevant weather information for cyclists across the state of MN via my weather blog on MORC.  Out of this idea, 2WheelWeather.com was born...like the MORC Weather Blog but with more emphasis on getting the cyclists involved in sharing a cycling experience impacted by weather, uploading cycling photos and videos, or talking about the micro-climates that make their local trails special.  2WheelWeather will be an interactive, national cycling community about weather and it's impacts on cycling."

Image Credit:  SnapLoonPhotography.com
2WheelWeather will be your source for "everything and anything related to cycling weather".  It will contain a variety of information about cycling the four seasons and weather's affects on gear and trail conditions.

"2WheelWeather will  also be able to provide accurate, highly detailed hyper-local weather forecasts for events and races.  A white-labeled race day forecast has proven to be a tremendous asset to any race website.  Participants will keep coming back to the race website to get the latest weather updates and trail conditions.  With previous race day forecasts that I've done, knowing the specific weather details for race day has helped with early registration and has been a benefit to racers, sponsors and volunteers.  There's no denying that weather affects everything we do, especially when it comes to cycling!"

Image:  Kristin Clark
Kristin says 2WheelWeather is an ever evolving idea and will include the "CycleCast" providing past, present and future weather data.  If you have followed the MORC Weather Blog, you will know how valuable the CycleCast has been to cyclists planning and preparing for rides.  It has helped me many times to pick which days are best to ride and how I should dress for the weather.  It will provide cyclists with all the standard weather information such as temperature, wind speed and radar but with a much more in-depth look.

"Imagine getting a hyper-local quantitative precipitation forecast, seasonal outlooks, one-hour precipitation estimates, soil moisture anomalies and freeze outlooks for your favorite trail.  The possibilities are endless for what can be included in 2WheelWeather's CycleCast."

Kristin's hope is that 2WheelWeather will be a valuable resource to all cyclists, whether they are doing a long distance competitive endurance race, a leisurely Saturday afternoon ride or a quick trip down to the local mountain bike trail.  It is still a work in progress, but Kristin says, "2WheelWeather.com is rollin' along slowly but surely".

If you are a race or event coordinator that is interested in hyper-local weather information for your event, contact Kristin@2WheelWeather.com

Follow Kristin on Twitter @KClarkWNTV.


Bike Trail Picture of the Day - 3/11/13

Riding the St. Paul Riverfront

Taken 3/11/13

Location:  Sam Morgan Regional Trail
Upper Landing Park
St. Paul, MN

View BTPOD 3/11/13 in a larger map
Sponsored by: 
Equipment Sponsor: 


Take Mountain Biking to the Slopes

Minnesota has a lot of great mountain bike trails statewide, but if you want to add some challenge to the ride in the form of altitude and gradient, head to the ski slopes.  Once the ski season is over, the snow is long gone and the ground has dried up, several Minnesota ski resorts open up to mountain biking come late spring.  These trails will test your abilities with their tough climbs, fast descents, hairpin turns, rocks and roots to create a technically demanding ride.

The ski slope mountain bike season generally runs from May through October and most ski areas charge a trail fee which can be purchased for the day or the season.

Afton Alps

Afton Alps, located in Hastings, has over 7 miles of intermediate to advanced singletrack running throughout the ski area with great views of the scenic St. Croix River Valley.  The trails are open from sunrise to sunset and $9/day trail fee and helmets are required.  A season pass is also available for $110.

Mountain Biking Afton Alps from Wingman Productions

Buck Hill

While riding at Buck Hill in Burnsville is not open to the public, Penn Cycle holds Thursday Night at the Races here.  There are two series of races on Thursday nights, the first runs in May and June and the second in June through August.  There are three classes to race in, Beginner is about a 20 minute race, Recreational is about a 40 minute race and the Advanced race lasts about an hour.  There are lots of door prizes handed out and bring the kids for a free kid's race after the finish of the advanced race.  Dates for 2013 have not been set yet, but I will post them as soon as they become available.

One lap at Buck

Giants Ridge

Giants Ridge in Biwabik has over 24 miles of beginner to advanced singletrack, cross country ski trails, snowmobile trails and abandoned logging roads to ride May through October.  Mountain biking here is a great deal, only $5 for the day or $50 for the season.  Mountain bike rentals are also available at the Summer Rental Shop.  Trail Map

John Filander talks about mountain biking at Giants Ridge

Mount Kato

Mount Kato in Mankato has over 7 miles of beginner to advanced mountain bike trails of which 80% are wooded singletrack.  The trails will be open in late April through October and trail hours are sunrise to sunset.  A trail fee of $8 and helmet use are required.  Payment drop off is available so bring correct change or a check.  A mountain bike season pass can be purchased in the area office for $110 and is also good at Afton Alps.  Trail Map

Mountain Biking Mount Kato

Spirit Mountain

Spirit Mountain in Duluth has new mountain bike trails set to open on May 23rd, 2013.  These are flow trails which will test and develop your gravity-based mountain bike skills.  The two trails that will be opening are Candyland, a 1.5 mile beginner/intermediate downhill flow trail and Smorgasboard, a 1 mile intermediate freeride/downhill mountain bike trail.  The trails will be open Thursdays 4-8 pm, Fridays 1-8 pm and weekends 10 am-4 pm.  Spirit Mountain has installed the new "Spirit Express II" chairlift that will take riders and their bikes back to the top of the mountain after a ride down the trails.  Chairlift rates are $8 for a single ride or $20 for an all day pass.  Aaron Rogers, IMBA Midwest Trail Specialist has declared this to be the best flow trail in the Midwest". 


Velodroid For Android: A Simple and Accurate Way To Track Ride Statistics

Are you are looking for an easy way to track your rides for statistical analysis with the ability to upload the data to RideWithGPS or Strava, but don't want to shell out $250 to $450 for a Garmin GPS unit?  Do you have an Android smartphone?  Then Velodroid can accomplish this for only $3.15.  Do you want to try before you buy?  Then download Velodroid Free and test it out for 20 rides.  After I tried out the free version for a few rides, it was a no-brainer to upgrade to the paid version.

I have been using this app as a replacement for Endomondo Sport Tracker Pro since the beginning of the year and I am very pleased with the accuracy that the app has.  The developer claims it is the "simplest and most accurate GPS Bike Computer App on the market" and is "generally correct to within 1m, while a normal phone GPS can only promise accuracy to the nearest 30m".  I've compared the mileage difference from my bike computer to the Velodroid app and others (Endomondo Sport Tracker Pro, MapMyRide, My Tracks, etc.) and found it to be the one tracking app that records closest to the actual mileage.  Others I have tested have been off as much as a mile and a half on a 20 mile ride.

 Its large easy to read display makes using it as a bike computer very rider friendly.  All the important bike computer statistics are covered:
  • Current Speed
  • Route Time
  • Trip Distance
  • Average Speed
  • Maximum Speed
  • Current Elevation
  • Maximum Elevation
  • Elevation Gain
  • Current Gradiant
  • Maximum Gradiant
Select Metric or Imperial units and if you choose, keep the screen awake during your ride to use the app as a bike computer.

It's a great way to keep track of your ride history and your personal bests.  Just click on a ride or a personal best statistic to load that specific ride.

Velodroid maps out your ride in real time using Google Maps hybrid satellite/map images.  Not sure where you are at? Just check the map and get back on track.  After your ride simply name it and save it.  Your ride summary, map of your track and elevation & distance profile are ready to view.

Uploading a ride to your RideWithGPS account is built right into the app.  RideWithGPS has a bunch of tools to analyze post ride statistics.  For Strava users, a GPX file of your ride can be uploaded to your account via email.  For more information on RideWithGPS or Strava uploading, check out the Velodroid FAQ page.

Interval training can be done using Velodroid by selecting interval times and the settings give you a choice to loop them throughout your ride if you wish.  There is an intervals alarm that has the option to be muted.  With its speech capability, it can provide in ride statistics.

Velodroid seems to be a very stable app.  I haven't had one occasion where it quit working or gave wildly inaccurate results.  It's very simple to use and integrates well with RideWithGPS.  It has become my favorite tracking app for ease of use, simplicity and its statistical accuracy.

Download it from the Google Play Store and start analyzing your ride performance today.

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