Sports tourism on two wheels is the new wave across the country, and nowhere is it more evident than Minnesota, which has recently begun boosting its potential as a cyclist touring spot, particularly in the autumn. Explore Minnesota Tourism sends the following information:
“Group cycling tours are a wonderful way to explore a new area,” says Scott Cabalka of St. Paul, Minnesota. Cabalka, a participant in past biking events, is an enthusiastic proponent. “Bike rides give you a way to get acquainted with new places at a basic level, via the sights, sounds and smells of the land, or through the eyes of the local communities.”
Organized bike rides are a great way to experience miles of beautiful fall Minnesota scenery and great cycling camaraderie. Typically, the rides feature traffic-controlled cycling, and many offer live entertainment, food stops and support along the way for those who may need a hand. Many tours cater to a range of ages and abilities by offering routes of varying lengths and difficulty. Some events support a charitable cause.
This fall, cyclists from Minnesota and beyond will enjoy grand group rides in the Twin Cities, including the 19th-annual Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour on Sept. 8, billed as the “rolling festival of fun” for the entire family. There are three route options: the 15-mile Summit Avenue loop, the 30-mile St. Paul Grand Round, and a 45-mile route that combines these. A week later, the Minneapolis Bike Tour on Sept. 15 is a popular 14- or 36-mile recreational ride that circles the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.
Up north, enthusiasts will gear up for Headwaters 100 near Park Rapids on Sept. 28 for a 100-mile trek through this beautiful lakes area, Itasca State Park and the Heartland Trail; shorter rides are offered, too. Down south, the Mankato River Ramble on Oct. 6 offers great 12-, 26- and 42-mile rides along the Blue Earth River during peak fall foliage.
Several other group bike rides happening this fall include: Taste of the Root River Trail, Sept. 7, 14 and 21 (split into three weekends through different trail towns along the Root River and Preston-Harmony state trails), PurpleRide Twin Cities on Sept. 15 (Maple Grove), Mora Bike Tour on Sept. 21, and Ride for the Cure on Oct. 5 (Cold Spring).
In addition to organized bike tours, for those who just want to casually meet up and ride, there are several organized groups and bike clubs across the state. More information can be found at http://www.pedalmn.com/.