“When I go biking, I repeat a mantra of the dayâs sensations: bright sun, blue sky, warm breeze, blue jay’s call, ice melting and so on. This helps me transcend the traffic, ignore the clamorings of work, leave all the mind theaters behind and focus on nature instead. I still must abide by the rules of the road, of biking, of gravity. But I am mentally far away from civilization. The world is breaking someone else’s heart.”
The simple act of riding a bicycle is a liberating experience. Whether you are a utilitarian bicyclist commuting to work and running errands or you are a recreational rider hitting the vast Minnesota trail system you surely have experienced the physical and mental benefits that come with a bicycle ride. There is something special about a human powered vehicle that gets your heart rate going (for all the right reasons) while exposing you to the natural environment that surrounds you.
But, sometimes cycling the roads with cars just isn’t enough. It’s times like these that I’m thankful for the vast car-free bicycle trail network that crosses the great state of Minnesota. There are 18 dedicated rails to trails bicycle paths in Minnesota. This is in addition to the many miles of on street bicycle lanes throughout the Twin Cities metro area.
In addition, there are many types of trails for many types of bicycling. Trails in Minnesota include paved transportation-oriented trails (without speed limits), paved recreational trails (with speed limits), crushed limestone trails, and a few seasonal off-road type mountain biking trails.
Don’t have a bicycle? No problem. You can rent a bicycle from almost any bike shop in the Twin Cities. Calhoun Cycle (near Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis) specializes in bicycle rentals and the Midtown Greenway Coalition along with Freewheel Bike is expecting to open a Bike Center at Midtown Exchange that will offer bicycle rentals right on the Midtown Greenway trails in the Spring of 2007.
The following resources should give you a good start on plotting out your next car-free bicycle experience. See you on the trails!
Search online or check your local bike shop for:
- Hennepin County Bike Trail Map
- Little Transport Press
Twin Cities 7-county area with mountain bike trails on reverse
- Twin Cities Bike Map & Commuter Guide
Both downtowns and nearby suburbs
- Minnesota Bike Atlas
Detailed bike routes in the Twin Cities, greater Minn. and western Wis.
- Minnesota Bicycle Trails Reference Map
Over 120 trails