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15 Mountain Biking Tips for Beginners

New to mountain biking? These 15 mountain biking tips are going to shorten your learning curve and make it fun to get out on your bike. I spoke with several very keen mountain bikers and asked them for their best advice for first time riders. I'll throw some of my own tips in too. Then the exciting part is going out to practice and explore. Matt Mosteller, aka Powder Matt takes to the mountain biking trails…

Exploring Alberta’s Iron Horse Trail

I get quizzical looks when I tell friends and family in Calgary that I'm off to explore the Iron Horse Trail. My husband guessed at its roots - an abandoned rail line but its location stumped everyone. The Iron Horse Trail is the longest completed section of the Trans Canada Trail in Alberta. Located northeast of Edmonton, it cuts a 300 kilometre swath across the province beginning 20 kilometres west of Smoky Lake at Waskatenau and continuing to a junction…

Urban Biking: Minneapolis versus Saint Paul

I had a week to explore Minnesota on a bike. That's not much time considering its size and its label - the most bike friendly state in the US. There's a lot to explore without adding in Saint Paul or Minneapolis. But they were included on my itinerary so I got a small taste of what both cities offered. I don't want to put my foot in my mouth and say one is better than the other. They're just different. What…

Why Duluth is Awesome: Beer, Biking & Attitude

Duluth - the first stop on my week long bike reconnaissance tour in Minnesota was a total surprise. I knew precisely zero about the city before I went and even had to check it's exact location - at the western most edge of Lake Superior - just on the off chance you don't know. It's got a long history as a port - transporting coal, iron ore and grain via the Great Lakes to the Atlantic…

A Bike Ride to the Headwaters of the Mississippi in Itasca State Park

As I peddled through a forest filled with the colours of fall with my guide for the week, Brian Fanelli of Pedal Minnesota, I was keenly aware that the real reason I was in Itasca State Park was to see one thing - the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The headwaters of the Mississippi River As the second longest river in North America, I have to say that the headwaters like those of other major rivers…

Cycling the Heartland State Trail in Northern Minnesota

Minnesota's Heartland State Trail slices right through the heart of northern Minnesota. Over its 49 mile length you can bike (or hike) between Park Rapids and Cass Lake. The cycling is flat and easy as far as Walker. This part of the trail is one of the first of the rails-to-trails in the United States. For the final four miles past Walker, you can look forward to some rolling hills. The biking is pretty on the Heartland Trail through…

Cycling the Gateway State Trail: St. Paul to Stillwater, Minnesota

The Gateway State Trail, a converted rail bed, offers cyclists and other non-motorized users an 18 mile, mostly flat paved trail that starts in St. Paul and finishes at Pine Point Regional Park, about four miles short of the ultra-cute town of Stillwater on the border with Wisconsin. Fortunately for the last four miles you can hop on the Brown's Creek State Trail to finish on the banks of the St. Croix River in Stillwater. If…

Discover Minnesota by Bike: The Gitchi-Gami Trail

Pour over a map of Minnesota and if you look closely you'll find the Gitchi-Gami Trail (an Ojibwa name meaning Big Sea or Huge Water) hugging the north shore of Lake Superior. The longest section of the trail starts in Gooseberry Falls State Park less than an hour's drive northeast of Duluth and the starting point for the day. While the trail is broken into five pieces totaling 30 miles, I only cycled from Gooseberry Falls to Beaver…

Cycling in Minnesota: The Mesabi Trail

The paved Mesabi Trail stretches from Grand Rapids to Ely, a distance of approximately 120 miles. It takes you through 28 mining communities with names like Taconite and Mountain Iron. The rolling landscape of hills the trail traverses is known as the Mesabi Iron Range and is home to some of the largest deposits of iron ore in the United States. The Star Tribune has called the Mesabi Trail the Best Rural Bike Trail in…

Exploring the Minnesota Bike Trails: The Cannon Valley Trail

If you're looking for a fun, pretty bike ride in Minnesota that's easily accessible from the St. Paul - Minneapolis or Rochester area (less than an hour's drive away), then the 22 mile (one way) paved Cannon Valley Trail needs to be on your radar. (An additional two miles is opening from Cannon Falls to Lake Byllesby Park.) It follows the former Chicago Great Western Railroad Line so the grade is minimal, descending just 115 feet from Cannon Falls…

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