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MN bike season: Parties, festivals, rentals, paths, and more

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Everyone knows that in Minnesota we love our bikes as much as we love our outdoor patio bars. Many of us use two-wheel transportation to get to work, to get to the bar, and to get in shape. The fact that Minnesota is so bike-friendly is a little crazy when you think about it; our state is covered in snow and ice for two out of four seasons (three out of four if we're being honest). This makes the months when we can bike that much more special.

In honor of our bike-friendly summertime months, we've put together a list of bicycle happenings which include festivals like Tour de Fat, rides such as the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour, and wacky bike adventures like the Urban Assault Ride. We've also included some locations with prime trails and businesses who do bike rentals.

[jump] Wednesday, June 15 and Friday, June 17

Nature Valley Grand Prix

Wednesday's professional cycling race through downtown St. Paul includes a bike expo, family activities, and more at the Landmark Plaza (W. Fifth St. & N. Market St., St. Paul) from 4 to 9 p.m. Then Friday's Uptown Criterium will featuring intense turns and fast-paced riding and an expo from 4:30 to 9 p.m. around Calhoun Square (3001 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis). Other legs of the Grand Prix include Stillwater, Menomonie, and Cannon Falls. For more info, visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

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Saturday, June 18

Bike Art VI/Arty Garage Party

(Altered Esthetics, 1224 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis, 612.378.8888, www.alteredesthetics.com)

Once again AE is hosting a group show featuring photography, paintings, sculpture, and installation pieces inspired by the bike. At the party and garage sale this Saturday you'll be able to shop, hear what artists' have to say about their work, and pamper your wheels at the bikini bike wash, tune-ups, and bike maintenance demos. Free. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The art show runs through June 23.

Bike City Pre-Launch Party

(One On One Bicycle Studio, 117 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612.371.9565, www.oneononebike.com)

This party raises funds for Bike City, a new series that celebrates bicycle culture. The happening also includes Fulton beer, prizes from local bike companies, and more. You can watch the first episode here. Free. 6-10 p.m.

Saturday, June 25

Solidago Bombago

(Martell's Landing Education Center, 384 208th Ave., Somerset, 715.247.6070, www.martellslanding.org)

This Wisconsin festival kicks off at noon with a 35-mile bike ride starting at Bateman Plaza at Macalester College and ending on festival grounds in Somerset, WI. Performances include the Wapsipinicon, Crimes, Big Strong Men, Holly Munoz, Walleyes. There will also be food and drink, bike merchants, and workshops. For tickets and info, visit solidagoriders.com. $25-$30. 3 p.m. to midnight Saturday; 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday.

July 14-17

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2011 Red Ribbon Ride

(Mall of America, 60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, 952.883.8800)

This epic four-day event features a nearly 300-mile charity bike ride for HIV/AIDS groups in Minnesota. The ride starts at the Mall of America, then travels to Lake City, Rochester, and Northfield, then finally ends at the State Capitol. Visit www.redribbonride.org for more info. $75; $1,500 minimum funds.

Thursday, July 21

Third Thursday: Bike Night

(Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.870.3131, www.artsMIA.org)

This party features a free bike valet, happenings related to the Bicycle Film Festival's opening night, folks from local bike shops, prizes, music by Joey Ryan & The Inks. Free. 6-9 p.m.

July 21-24

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Bicycle Film Festival

This filmic homage to the bike features bike-friendly parties, movie screenings, concerts, and more in various locations. Events are still being planned, but be sure to watch www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/minneapolis as things are finalized.

Saturday, July 23

Tour De Fat

(Loring Park, 1382 Willow St., Minneapolis)

This awesome festival and party features a morning ride; music and theatrics by Squirm Burpee Circus, Dovekins, Daredevil Chicken Club, and Mucca Pazza; bike trade-in; beer and food; more. Proceeds benefit Midtown Greenway Coalition, Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, and Minnesota Off Road Cycling. Visit www.newbelgium.com for more info. Free. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

New Belgium Urban Assault Ride

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Part bike race, part obstacle course, this scavenger hunt takes riders through the city to compete in various challenges. The after-party features beer and prizes. Proceeds benefit MORC and MOCA. For more info, visit www.urbanassaultride.com. $40. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday, August 12-13

Powderhorn 24

www.powderhorn24.com

This event is a marathon on a bike. Get a team together or ride solo for 24 hours throughout the Powderhorn and south Minneapolis neighborhoods. The official race route will be posted July 1. $10. 7 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, August 13

IATP's Bike and Bite

Come celebrate the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy's 25th anniversary with this self-guided ride highlighting businesses and organizations that support local, sustainable food in the Twin Cities. The final stop will be an after-party at IATP's staff-run vegetable garden.

Register online at www.iatp.org/bikeandbite. $10.

Sunday, September 11

Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour

Enjoy 15 to 39 miles of traffic-free routes winding through St. Paul. There will also be special rest stops, food and beverages, live music, and more along the way. Details are still being hashed out, so keep an eye on www.bikeclassic.org for more info.   

Sunday, September 18

Minneapolis Bike Tour

(Parade Field, 400 Kenwood Pkwy., Minneapolis, 612.370.4846)

Choose from a longer ride through Minneapolis that includes moments along the Mississippi river, or a shorter course around Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, and Lake Calhoun. For more info, visit www.minneapolisbiketour.com. $30/$40; $10/$15 kids. 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saturday, September 24

No-Hater Rolling Dance Super Bike Mega Party 2011.0

(meet at W River Rd., under the Hennepin Ave. Bridge)

A dance party on wheels, folks will take to the street to the sounds of boombox jams. There will be stops along the way where riders will party to DJ sets. For more info, check out the event's Facebook page.

Ongoing:

Greg Ganeles: Under the Overpass

(Bicycle Theory, Northrup King Building, 1500 Jackson St. NE, Minneapolis, 612.229.7421, www.bicycletheory.com)

It's art in a bike shop! This exhibition features large oil and aerosol paintings and is part of Altered Esthetics' solo exhibition program. Now through July 17.

Recovery & Re-Cycle Bicycle Swap

(Re-Cycle Warehouse, 2718 University Ave. SE, Minneapolis, 612.216.2072)

Featuring live music, maintenance workshops, vendors, and more. Free. 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25, July 30, August 27, September 24.

Are you hosting a bike-related event this summer? Email [email protected] and we'll add you to the list.

Up next: Bike Rentals

BIKE RENTALS:

Baker Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

2301 Cty Rd 19, Maple Plain 763.479.2473

Cleary Lake Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake 763.694.7777

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

10145 Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington 763.694.7687

Nice Ride MN

(www.niceridemn.org)

Wheel Fun Rentals

www.wheelfunrentals.com

43rd St. W & E Lake Harriet Pkwy. (Lake Harriet), Mpls. 612.823.0077

4801 Minnehaha Ave S (Minnehaha Falls), Mpls. 612.729.2660

3000 Calhoun Pkwy E. (Lake Calhoun), Mpls. 612.823.5765

52nd St and Cedar Ave (Lake Nokomis), Mpls. 612.729.2660

Specialty bike rentals, including sit-down and four-wheel bikes.

Up next: Bike Tours and Trails

BIKE TOURS AND TRAILS:

Afton State Park

www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/afton/index.html

6959 S Peller Ave, Hastings 651.436.5391

4 miles paved.

Baker Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

2301 Cty Rd 19, Maple Plain 763.479.2473

11.1 miles paved.

Banning State Park

www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/banning/index.html

(Hwy 23 and I-35), Sandstone 320.245.2668

1 mile paved.

Bryant Lake Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

6800 Rowland Rd, Eden Prairie 763.694.7764

2.2 miles paved.

Carver Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

7200 Victoria Dr (Lake Auburn Camground), Victoria 763.694.7650

10.2 miles paved.

Cleary Lake Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake 763.694.7777

4 miles paved.

Eagle Lake Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

11000 Cty Rd 10, Plymouth 763.694.7695

1 mile paved.

Elm Creek Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

13080 Territorial Rd, Maple Grove 763.694.7894

29.1 miles paved and unpaved, including mountain bike trails. Park connects to the North Hennepin Trail Corridor.

Fish Lake Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

14900 Bass Lake Rd, Maple Grove 763.694.7818

3.2 miles paved.

Fort Snelling State Park

www.dnr.state.mn.us/stateparks/fortsnelling/index.html

101 Snelling Lake Road, St. Paul 612.725.2389

5 miles paved, 10 miles mountain bike.

French Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

12605 Cty Rd 9, Plymouth 763.694.7750

4.0 miles paved.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

10145 Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington 763.694.7687

8.7 miles paved.

Lake Calhoun

www.minneapolisparks.org

3000 Calhoun Pkwy, Mpls. 612.230.6400

3.2 mi.

Lake Minnetonka Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

4610 Cty Rd 44, Minnetrista 763.694.7754

3.3 mile paved.

Lake of the Isles

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

2500 Lake Isles Pkwy, Mpls. 612.230.6400

2.97 mi.

Lake Rebecca Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

9831 Cty Rd 50, Rockford 763.694.7860

8.1 miles paved; 3.7 miles mountain bike trail.

Lebanon Hill's Regional Park

www.co.dakota.mn.us/LeisureRecreation/CountyParks/Locations/LebanonHills/default.htm

860 Cliff Road (1 1/2 mi east of Pilot Knob Rd on Cliff Rd), Eagan 651.554.6530

4.27 miles of mountain bike trails.

Luce Line Trail

www.luceline.com

This trail runs 63 miles from Plymouth to Cosmos, Minnesota. Various areas of the trail are bike-, horse-, snowmobile-, and ski-friendly.

Midtown Greenway

www.midtowngreenway.org

5.5.-mile trail through Minneapolis.

Minnesota Valley State Recreational Area

www.dnr.state.mn.us/stateparks/minnesotavalley/index.html

19825 Park Blvd, Jordan 952.492.6400

6 miles paved; 35 miles mountain bike.

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

15501 Murphy Lake Rd (Cty Rd 75), Savage 763.694.7777

10 miles mountain bike trails.

North Hennepin Regional Trail

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

between Elm Creek Park Reserve and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Coon Rapids 763.559.9000

7.2 miles paved.

North Mississippi Regional Park

www.threeriversparkdistrict.org

5114 N Mississippi Dr., Mpls. 763.694.7693

1.5 miles paved.