Summer Cycling 2014: A road trip for experts

Categories: Cycling
Photos by Kristoffer Tigue
Looking for a harder ride than our intermediate trip? Last year, we brought you to Carver Park Reserve for our expert trip. This year, we're taking you 30 miles out of Minneapolis to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for live jousting, giant turkey legs, and more corsets and wizard cloaks than you may be able to handle in one day.

And while there are plenty of games, live performances, and toy swords to keep the kiddies entertained, we suggest you do not bring them along on this trip. In fact, because of the heavy downpours of rain last month, many of the trails on this route have been closed due to dangerous conditions, and some portions of the ride are on the shoulders of highways with speed limits of 50 miles per hour. (This is the expert trip, after all.)

For this trip, we also highly recommend using a smart phone or other navigational device in case certain routes are closed and you need to reroute.

Expert trip: Renaissance Festival
Path: Midtown Greenway, Cedar Lake, Kenilworth Trail, and Minnesota River Bluffs Trail, plus various roads and highways
Distance: 30 miles from downtown Minneapolis (one way)
Estimated Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

See also:
Summer Cycling 2014: A road trip for intermediates

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Bikabout, a new tourism site, is paying for info about Minneapolis's biking scene

Categories: Cycling
Attention, bike lovers. A new tourism site with its eyes on Minneapolis is looking for information about our city, and is willing to pay for it.

A select three or four people can earn $100 for sharing tips with Bikabout on the best spots to ride, providing feedback for their blog, or showing out-of-towners the sites. But it's not just cyclists: chefs, artists, microbrewers, musicians, and writers are being asked to point out bike-friendly shops, galleries, parks, and whatnot.

See also:
Powderhorn 24: Twenty-four hours on a bike

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Five rides to enjoy during Pedalopolis

Categories: Cycling, Festivals
Photo Courtesy Twin Cities Bike Fun 
This week, the Twin Cities will be exploding with over 20 informal bike rides aimed at providing fun ways to get out and enjoy the city without the pressure of competition. Hosted by Twin Cities Bike Fun, Pedalopolis originated as an international bike festival, called BikeSummer, that was a critical mass-inspired event. It grew in popularity over the years, and continues today in the form of Pedalpalooza in Portland and Velopalooza in Vancouver. Inspired by these types of bike-centered festivals, Nickey Robo, a cycling advocate and co-founder of Twin Cities Bike Fun, hatched a plan to create Minneapolis's own festival, featuring a week full of crowd-sourced bike rides that emphasize enjoyment and accessibility for all different kinds of cyclists.

"We wanted to create a space where people of all kinds of athletic levels could get together and have that experience together," Robo says. "The Twin Cities has amazing alley cats and racing, but not the same community around social rides. We wanted to encourage the idea that you don't have to be a hardcore racer to enjoy this festival. It's for everybody."

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Summer Cycling 2014: A road trip for intermediates

Categories: Cycling

All photos by Kristoffer Tigue
If you're looking for more of a challenge than our beginners' road trip is able to offer, consider taking our intermediate trip out to Summit Brewing Company in St. Paul. Last year, we took you to Lake Minnetonka for beach-going, good eats, and a stop at the local brewery. This year we're cutting out the fat and heading straight for the brewery.

Located about 12 miles from downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul's prized craft-brewing company is the perfect place to relax after a long ride with friends.

Intermediate trip: Summit Brewing Company
Path: West River Parkway, South Mississippi Boulevard
Distance: 12 miles from downtown Minneapolis (one way)
Estimated Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

See also:
Summer Cycling 2014: A summer road trip for beginners

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bike ride

Summer cycling 2014: A road trip for beginners

Categories: Cycling
All photos by Kristoffer Tigue
Warm weather is back, so it's time for another summer road trip. Last year we mapped out three summer cycling adventures for you to try, and we're doing it again this year. If you enjoyed pedaling down to Minnehaha Park and Sea Salt, you should consider taking our new beginners' trip to Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.

The route is simple, short, and, with plenty of things to do at the zoo, it makes for a perfect impromptu bike trip to take with friends and family.

Beginner Trip: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Path: Como Avenue Southeast
Distance: Five miles from Dinkytown (one way)
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

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Artcrank returns to Minneapolis with bike art and beer

Categories: Art, Cycling
Sneak Peak poster by Adam Turner 
Bicycle poster exhibition and celebration Artcrank is back for its eight year this weekend. The show features 40 local artists who have all created original posters that are available for purchase at $50 a piece. The event, hosted by Shelter Studios, features music provided by the Current, beer by Deschutes Brewery (with proceeds going to World Bicycle Relief), and lots of great food and socializing. 

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Open Streets Mpls to host six events in 2014, adds new Kingfield and Greenway happenings

Joanna Fox
Last year's Open Street in northeast Minneapolis
Now in its fourth year, Open Streets Mpls has proven to be a successful festival series. At each event, a major street closes down for the afternoon, and folks are invited to stroll along on foot or ride a bike at their leisure, free of traffic. Along the way, there are plenty of happenings to take in, including sidewalk sales, theatrical performances, roving entertainers, neighborhood organizations, live music, and more. While these gatherings are most prolific in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Richfield have also hosted their own celebrations.

Open Streets organizations tend to announce more dates closer to summer, but right now it looks like Open Streets Mpls is set to host six free gatherings. New spots include a Kingfield Open Street along Nicollet Avenue, a Franklin Avenue event, and a celebration on the proposed north Minneapolis Greenway. We've got the dates and locations after the jump.

See also:
Faces of Open Streets Northeast 2013 [slideshow]

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30 Days of Biking partners with Free Bikes 4 Kidz

Categories: Cycling
Now in its fifth year, 30 Days of Biking asks participants to pledge to bike a little (or a lot) each day for the month of April. That might mean biking to work, biking as a morning workout, or taking a moment to bike around the block. Folks are then invited to share their successes and struggles online at The event is organized locally, but has seen pledges from cycling enthusiasts around the world. Recent signups this year include folks from Minneapolis, Belarus, Spain, and Canada.

For 2014, the folks behind the challenge are sweetening the deal. This morning, they announced a partnership with the charitable organization Free Bikes 4 Kidz.
See also:
Top 10 bike shops in the Twin Cities
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Becoming a winter biker: Six lessons learned

Categories: Cycling, Winter
One evening not so long ago, I was struggling over a hazardous bike path into downtown Minneapolis. Witnessing my work, a fatbiker shouted across the path's poorly plowed expanse.

"How's it going?"

"Great!" I said back, and meant it, though I'd almost fallen in front of him. I smiled then rode on. I wasn't going to stick around to see how his enviable fatbike handled the terrain that had worked me and my single-speed. With only a mile to go, I was in animal mode, my eyeballs almost frozen, my body clad in Merino. Lovin' it.

This past November, I got a new job that meant, after a year-plus break from bike commuting, I'd finally have a good route again. Twelve miles across the Twin Cities. Years ago, biking to work -- 17 miles a day, every day -- had formed a cornerstone of my soul.

Now, during the toughest winter in years, I've once again gained a bike commute. Here, during my haphazard return to winter biking, is what I've re-learned.

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Cirque do SoGay rides again this Saturday

Categories: Cycling, LGBTQ
Photo by Joe Sullivan
The fifth annual Cirque du SoGay launches from Peace Coffee this Saturday. The ride, hosted by the Queer Bike Gang, is designed to connect participants to LGBTQ hotspots and resources through a scavenger hunt via bicycle. The theme this year is "Beyond Marriage," acknowledging that Minnesota's legalization of gay marriage doesn't conclude the LGBTQ struggle for civil rights.

"Aside from the fact that marriage isn't what everybody wants, there a lot of issues affecting queer people that still need to be addressed," says E.G. Nelson, Queer Bike Gang coordinator.

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