Bikeverywhere News

Biking the Stillwater Bridge

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 19th , 2017.

The new Stillwater Bridge across the St. Croix River has a wide, protected bike and pedestrian lane for crossing the river between Minnesota and Wisconsin. During our visit this weekend, we also discovered that the bridge is a popular destination for folks who want to get to the middle of the river to take in the scenery. The bike/ped lane has observation areas looking upriver toward Stillwater or the active boating scene on the water.

The crossing starts at a bike lane on Hwy 95 north of the bridge and runs two miles to County Rd E, nearly a mile inland from the Wisconsin bank of the St. Croix River. The bridge is accessible by bike from Stillwater and points south and west, but the layout of the roads and trails has changed considerably.

We spent Sunday afternoon logging the changes. Those changes have been added to the mobile Twin Cities Bike Map and the map has been updated on Avenza. The update is free if you have already purchased the 2017 version.

The biggest disappointment is that the Wisconsin side of the crossing drops cyclists off at County Highway E, a busy road with only 18 inches of striped shoulder. There’s a lightly traveled option to return to the old river crossing, and Highway 35 south may work as a gateway to the vast network of paved rural roads in this part of Wisconsin, but it will take some research.

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Bikes Only Campsite at Carver Park Reserve

Posted by Doug Shidell, September 5th , 2017.

Stopped by the bike camping site in Carver Park Reserve. The site has been expanded, adding more space for tents and at least two extra hammock options. The site also has a couple of picnic areas and the LRT trail from Hopkins has bike camping signs at The Depot and at the turn to the bike trails in Carver Park Reserve.

Darren Drummer, operations supervisor for Carver Park Reserve, has additional improvements in mind for the site, including pavers around the campfire and movable seating with backs (bicyclists rarely carry chairs on camping trips),

The site has been used over 35 nights since opening in June, which averages to about one out of every three nights. September and October are prime camping months, so the totals should go up. At $10 per tent and no reservations, this is the perfect site for a spontaneous overnight getaway.

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Biking to the Minnesota State Fair

Posted by Doug Shidell, August 29th , 2017.

Interested in riding your bike to the Minnesota State Fair this year? Parking will be easier with 100 new bike parking spots at the State Fair bike parking corrals. For more information about bike related activities at the State Fair, check out this great post from Have Fun Biking.

Larger bike corrals relieves the hassle-factor going to Minnesota State Fair


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Updated Mobile Maps

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 29th , 2017.

Updated two mobile maps today on Avenza. The updated Twin Cities Bike Map includes the Nine Mile Creek and the Spring Lake Park Trails mentioned in earlier posts plus numerous smaller changes and tweaks not mentioned in Facebook posts.

The updated Twin Cities Bike Trails map now shows all trails that have been added or tweaked since this map was last updated in January of 2016.

If you’ve purchased either of these maps in the past, you can download the updated maps for free.

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Spring Lake Trail

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 17th , 2017.

The Spring Lake Park Trail covers a lot of ground in its short, five-mile stretch along the Mississippi River near Hastings. It runs atop bluffs near the eastern trailhead, bridges a deep ravine, drops to near River level then rolls to the western trailhead off Highway 55. The trail runs through recently seeded prairie (heavy on Black-eyed Susans this time of year), some woodlots and lots of terrain.

Round trip distance is under 12 miles, but riders looking for more distance have plenty of options. From Schaar’s Bluff, the trail continues southeast through the park and along residential streets to the edge of Hastings. Watch for a somewhat obscured sign that directs you down an incline to the River where you will cross an earthen dam and ride up to Lock and Dam #2. The trail follows the Mississippi River downstream to the heart of Hastings for food and drink.

The City of Hastings has its own trail system for more mileage options. Stay on the River Trail past downtown, then follow trails and quiet residential streets to Vermillion Falls Park and an attractive trail along the Vermillion River. It’s possible to return to the main trail using residential trails and streets or you can backtrack along the original route.

The final option in the Hastings area is to cross the new Hwy 61 bridge over the Mississippi River., the bridge has a separated bike and pedestrian lane, then drop into the city marina and continue following the trail toward the city of Prescott, WI. The trail ends at a popular beach on the St. Croix River.

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Nine Mile Creek Trail

Posted by Doug Shidell, July 11th , 2017.

The Nine Mile Creek Trail, part of the Three Rivers Park System, runs from 76th St. in Richfield to Valley View Rd on the west side of Highway 100. At first blush, this hardly seems like a destination trail. Riding through inner ring suburbs along residential streets doesn’t inspire a “Must See” response. Although the trail has multiple sections along residential streets, there are highlights that make it surprisingly pleasant for an easy afternoon ride.

The most surprising section of the trail is in Edina between Centennial Lakes and Southdale. The trail has an urban park setting with abundant green space, pools, flowing water, sculptures and park benches. The photos below hint at the amenities along this trail.
A stretch of trail along the east side Highway 100 alternates between a short stretch that is loud and somewhat stark to a quieter rolling wooded trail near a lake.

The trail flies over Highway 100 on a dedicated bike and pedestrian bridge then crosses woodlands, Nine Mile Creek and wet lowlands on boardwalks. One of the boardwalks is nearly a mile long.
Eventually the Nine Mile Creek Trail will hook up with other trails in the Three Rivers System, offering an escape route from Richfield and Edina to major trails throughout Hennepin County and beyond. The completed portion of the trail is on the mobile Twin Cities Bike Map.

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Bikes Only Campsite at Carver Park

Posted by Doug Shidell, June 20th , 2017.

Three Rivers Parks has just opened a bikes-only campsite in the Lake Auburn Campground at Carver Park Reserve. Tentatively called 2oaks, the site is unique in several ways. Besides being a bikes-only site, it is based on the European concept of the “Commons.” It can hold about 5 tents and two hammocks.

A fire ring, bike rack and picnic are shared by all campers. Riders share the site and register when they arrive, there are no reservations. As a camper, you may have the site to yourself or share it with others, all of them fellow bike campers. The cost is minimal at $10 per tent.

With this arrangement, Three Rivers makes it easy to take that spontaneous overnight trip or plan a small group outing without reserving multiple campsites.

Carver Park Reserve is approximately 30 miles west of Uptown Minneapolis or 15 miles west of The Depot in Hopkins on the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail. The route is car free and the distance is close enough that a leaky tent or forgotten sleeping bag can be remedied with a phone call to a friend or family member. who could drive to the campsite within the hour.

This is not a site for large group outings. Large groups will be encouraged to reserve group campsites anywhere in the Three Rivers system.


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Updated Mobile Twin Cities Bike Map

Posted by Doug Shidell, May 15th , 2017.

The latest update on the mobile 2017 Twin Cities Bike Map is now available on Avenza. If you’ve already downloaded the map since 2017, you can download the updated version for free and pick up numerous small road and trail changes. If you still haven’t downloaded the 2017 map, expect much bigger changes that reflect not only the newest changes, but older changes such as the extension of the Nine Mile Creek Trail across Hwy 100 and across a long, beautiful boardwalk near Bredesen Park in Edina.

2017 Mobile Twin Cities Bike Map

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The Morning Commute

Posted by Doug Shidell, May 15th , 2017.

Burl walks with his shoulders high and rolled forward. His head leads his shoulders by a couple of inches, but otherwise his posture is upright, especially for an 80-year-old man. I first noticed him several years ago on my morning bike commute. He always looked to be hunched against the wind, even on a calm summer morning.

I waved and said “Good Morning.” It startled him, but he managed a “Hi!” in a voice too low to hear. Although I could read it on his lips. We repeat the routine whenever we pass each other. That simple exchange inevitably raises my spirits.

Others notice.The dog walker in Hyland Park, for example, picks up the vibe and says “Good Morning.” In early spring and late fall he walks the trails wearing a heavy jacket with wool hat, gloves …and shorts.

The runner doesn’t notice. He runs with a heavy shuffle. The balls of his feet land with a thud and shift forward with each step. He runs with a permanent grimace, eyes mostly closed and head down. I see him frequently. We pass within inches of each other each morning, but we’ve never exchanged a greeting.

For one glorious summer, I saw a young woman gliding the trails each evening. She skated with a sweeping exuberance unlike any other inline skater I’ve seen and it showed in a radiant smile that engulfed everything ahead of her. I didn’t see her for at least one season, then she returned with a male companion. I haven’t seen her since.

There are people who I don’t expect to see again. The elderly couple, for example, with squeaky bike chains. I saw them several times per week for a couple of seasons. They disappeared for a while, then one morning the man was on the trail alone. It was the last time I saw him.

It’s been many years since I’ve seen the older woman who walked the morning trails regularly in full sun protection: a large floppy-brimmed hat, long sleeves and a loose piece of material draped over her hands.

One morning I waved to Burl as I passed, then spontaneously slowed, circled back and introduced myself. That’s when I learned his name and his age. He worked in the warehouse at Super Valu and felt a lifelong gratitude for the way they treated him. His niece, a Physical Therapist, got him to start walking, something he does daily. In winter, he walks the mall. That’s all I know about him. I don’t know if I’ve spelled his name correctly and I can’t guarantee that the details of our conversation are accurate. It doesn’t matter.

I saw him again last week, after nearly a month. I felt a sense of relief, waved and said Good Morning. He said Hi and raised a hand. A few minutes later the dog walker said Good Morning and the runner passed by without a word.

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2017 Mobile Twin Cities Bike Map now available

Posted by Doug Shidell, January 17th , 2017.

The 2017 mobile Twin Cities Bike Map is available at the Avenza Map Store with some interesting updates. See the screenshot below for the recently opened extension of the Three Rivers Park system’s Nine Mile Creek Trail. The trail now spans Highway 100 on a new bridge. To the west, the trail includes an extended boardwalk across marshland and to the east it runs on its own path through Edina and Richfield to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.

Avenza Maps has also introduced new technology that makes Explore More by Bikeverywhere more user friendly. For starters, you can link directly from the Avenza Map Store to the Explore More Dropbox site. You’ll see the link in the map description.

The downloaded placemarks also support hyperlinks. For users that means the description for Baker Park Reserve, for example, will be a direct link to the Park’s official web page. Wherever possible, I’ve updated placemarks throughout the Twin Cities Bike Map with hyperlinks.

I’ve also made the downloads easier. You can now import all of the placemarks in one step rather than download each category separately. Avenza has also updated and simplified the interface for importing placemarks.

2017 promises to be an exciting year for Bikeverywhere’s mobile maps. More announcements to come.

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