There is a reason Minnesota has been voted the “Best Trails State”.
There is also a good reason we’re the second most popular biking destination in the country and one of the most bike friendly states in the union.
We have 30-plus state and regional paved 14-foot wide bike trails stretching over 700 miles from one corner of the state to the other ranging in length from six miles to 130 miles through friendly little towns and thriving metropolises, around crystal clear lakes and rolling rivers.
Seldom do you see a camper rolling down a Minnesota highway without a tangle of bikes hanging off the back. Most of our state parks and resorts offer some kind of bike trail access.
Fifty of our 75 state parks and recreation areas have at least five miles of bike trails and 14 have more than five miles. Many of the parks and forests are linked to neighboring communities with bike trails or bikeways.
Minnesota has 526 miles of rugged, natural-surface trails used by horses and motorized vehicles but become available for mountain and fat tire bikers to explore. Many gravel and off-trail bikers are using portions of the 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails.
The new Mississippi River Bikeway stretches 800 miles from Itasca State Park to the Iowa border connecting many our paved bike trails. This bikeway trend looks to the way we’ll be connecting many of our incomplete trail systems as well as providing biking opportunities for the sparsely populated yet beautiful parts of the state.
You can see just about every conservable kind of bike on the Minnesota trails. You see road bikes and mountain bike, cross-trainers and training wheels, fat-tire bikes and even unicycles on our trails. There is a growing interest in gravel road bikes and we even see winter mountain bike trails in our parks.
This wide variety of bike trails, are serving a wide variety of people and needs.
One of the most heartwarming scenes I’ve seen in recent years was of a man on a motorized wheel chair breathing from an oxygen bottle and looking at birds through binoculars along a paved bike trail.
Minneapolis has been named the number one bike friendly city in the country and the state is right behind it with a high ranking as one of America’s most bike friendly states in the union. Cities all across the state have been upgrading their bikeways, traffic signs, hospitality and safety features to become more bike friendly.
The number of people biking to work has doubled in Minnesota over the last decade. Our street designers are working hard to accommodate bike commuters. Our Safe Routes to Schools is also making it easier for students to walk or ride bikes to school.
We saw the start of the Minnesota High School Cycling League, which is organizing teams throughout the state to compete in five races in the fall.
It is said that with 10,000 lakes we can put every man, woman and child on water at any given day. We just might be able to say that about our bike trails.
There are so many trails and so little time. I better get outside. Now where did I put my tire pump?