30 Days of Biking: Take a trip to these cool destinations
April showers normally bring May flowers, but this year the flowers have arrived early. It's especially good timing, as this month marks the 30 Days of Biking challenge, an event where folks take an online pledge to bike every day in April. There's also support, so if your endurance waivers you can check in with other participants as they share stories, jokes, and photos of their experiences via social media. Although the idea has spread internationally, it began with two dudes in Minneapolis.
We recently attended a workshop at Grease Rag and Wrench, a safe forum for women, trans, and femme cyclists to learn about maintenance and repair. In between adjusting derailleur gears, folks swapped stories and shared some great rides for how cyclists can fill up their 30 days.
One gal we got advice from was Janni Schaap, a bike mechanic at Recovery Bike Shop and the sister of a co-creator of the 30 Days of Biking. "I am a huge fan of Parkways in north Minneapolis. I feel like they're pretty underused. If you go down to the Parkways in south [Minneapolis], they're crammed with people, but you go to the Victory Memorial Parkway there's nobody up there," she says.
Victory Memorial Parkway turns into Theodore Wirth Parkway, which passes the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Theodore Wirth Park is also the entrance to the mountain biking single-track trail.
If you're looking to take a ride without using a car, there's always a day trip to Stillwater. The 18-mile Gateway State Trail starts near the state capitol and ends just four miles northwest of Stillwater. Seasoned bikers prefer to ride it and back in a day. However, if you're not quite there yet, shacking up with a crew of friends at a bed and breakfast makes an overnight affordable.
Back in town, both sides of the Mississippi River offer enticing rides. Since Longfellow Grill is right on West River Parkway, it's a convenient stop to enjoy some sweet-potato fries before using Marshall to travel between St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Charlotte Fagan, the facilitator of Grease Rag and Wrench in Northeast, prefers the Ford Parkway, the other access point across Mississippi, which connects the West River Parkway and the South Mississippi Boulevard. "If you bike down to the Ford Parkway bridge and then cross into Minneapolis, you can bike down and hang out underneath that bridge. It's a cool hangout."
Seasonal restaurant Sea Salt Eatery recently reopened last March, which makes it a fun destination for 30 Days of Biking. It's off of Godfrey Parkway and Minnehaha Avenue near the falls, and is a perfect place to park after enjoying the bike trails.
Northeast Minneapolis has a gob of new bike boulevards. One to try is the 18th Avenue Bikeway, says Jamie Flora, whose bike was used in a demonstration on replacing a gear cable. "It's really good for just toodling around town if you're on an easy ride with friends. You end up coming out right on Marshall and 18th, and then Psycho Suzi's is a couple blocks down, which is a great spot to stop. And they have lots of bike racks," she says.
While there are a crap-load of great spots off the Greenway, one definitely worth investigating is Corcoran Park. It's near the Midtown YWCA on Lake Street, just east of Powerhorn Park. It's a great spot for a picnic. "You can exit the Greenway and then go to Corcoran Park and watch bike polo," says Fagan.
For more info on 30 Days of Biking,visit 30daysofbiking.com.
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