Week Five: Falling in Love with Minnesota by Bike
Week 5: September 20th – Sept 26th
Fargo, North Dakota to Maple Grove, MN
Total Miles Pedaled This Week: 296
Total Miles to Date: 1,440
Summary of route:
Hallelujah!!! Week 5 of our world record attempt on the electric bicycle found us on the best roads and bike paths that we toured across in the entire country thus far. Route 10 west from Fargo was a four lane divided highway, but it had wide shoulders with rumble strips between the shoulder and lane so biking on this route was safe, even though you are sharing the road with speeding drivers and large trucks. After turning onto route 34 at Detroit Lakes, the road narrowed to two lanes but still had a decent-sized shoulder with the protective rumble strips. Once we were able to access the Paul Bunyan State Trail – the longest continuously paved trail in the US – near Akeley, MN it was smooth sailing all the way to Brainerd, MN. South of Brainerd we jumped onto highway 371, which offered similar riding conditions as route 10 – i.e., big shoulder and rumble strips. In fact, every state road we had the pleasure of riding on during week 5 boasted a nice wide shoulder, perfect for biking. The only dangerous and congested area we hit was once we started getting into the suburbs around Minneapolis, particularly as we neared I-94.
This week Tomas had to change his 2nd flat tire (back tire again) which was caused by normal wear compounded by riding on a rough gravel road. He patched the tube and replaced the outer tire. The front tire seems to be holding up much better on the e-bike, probably due to the fact that the back tire is carrying most of the weight of the batteries.
Why Everyone Who Loves Cycling Should Go to Minnesota
After biking through 23 states at the time of writing this (we’re a little behind on the blogging!) we can honestly say that Minnesota is THE BEST state for cycling that we have been to. There are hundreds of miles of paved multi-use trails as well as tons of mountain biking trails as well. And where there aren’t trails, most state roads provide wide shoulders with rumble-strips, and the urban areas such as Minneapolis offer a great number of bike lanes, shared lanes, and bike route signage. It’s easy to see why Minnesota is ranked as the nation’s 2nd most bicycle-friendly state in the nation after Washington.
Fall emerged in all it’s colorful glory almost the moment we crossed overland into Minnesota. It was such a relief to see green landscapes and trees again after pedaling and driving for weeks through the arid high plains of Montana and North Dakota. We enjoyed camping at several of the state’s 10,000+ lakes, and since we were arriving after the high season we had the campgrounds pretty much to ourselves. It couldn’t have been more perfect! No mosquitos, no awkward shower moments – just a few chilly nights huddling in the warmth of our van or near the campfire. Although it was too cold to swim in the pristine waters of the lakes we visited, the fall colors more than made up for that as they reflected their yellows, reds, and oranges.
We did get one warm day of Indian Summer at Lake Ann in the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. After camping overnight in the rugged tent sites – all by ourselves of course – we awoke the next morning to a sunny, hot day. If it had not been for Tomas’s flat tire on the way out, we may not have stopped for a swim in the lake. We decided to make a day of it as we fixed the tire and enjoyed the nice sandy beach and shady picnic tables along the lake.
As we approached Minneapolis, we decided to take a rest from our family adventure at a KOA in the suburbs to get organized, and we were also able to visit with Dylan’s cousin and do some grillin’. Not exactly an Argentine asado but we put the tiny campground grill to good use!
Stay tuned for week 6 as we navigate Minneapolis by bike, get invited to stay in a stranger’s home, and unknowingly stay a night at the scariest Super 8 in the country!
Detail Summary of Week 4:
Day 29: September 20th
Total Miles: 0
Rest Day in Fargo, ND
Lodging: Vista Inn & Suites
Day 30: September 21st
Total Miles: 64
Start: Fargo, ND
End: Frazee, MN
Lodging: Birchmere Resort & RV Park
Day 31: September 22nd
Total Miles: 80
Start: Frazee, MN
End: Pine River, MN
Lodging: Ruttger’s Pine Mountain Camping Resort
Day 32: September 23rd
Total Miles: 60
Start: Pine River, MN
End: Little Falls, MN
Lodging: Clifwood Motel
Day 33: September 24th
Total Miles: 65
Start: Little Falls, MN
End: Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
Lodging: Ann Lake Campground
Day 34: September 25th
Total Miles: 27
Start: Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge
End: Maple Grove, MN
Lodging: Minneapolis NW KOA
Day 35: September 26th
Total Miles: 0
Rest Day in Maple Grove, MN
Lodging: Minneapolis NW KOA