Biking About Town: Where to Ride in Minneapolis

by Maggie Kirkwood
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May is National Bike Month, and what better way to slough off the cold, snowy winter than to head outside and explore the city? Voted one of America's top biking towns, Minneapolis boasts a vast network of bikeways that promise riders a more scenic view of our lovely city.

Here, we’ve put together a handy list of resources to help you say goodbye to hibernation and hello to getting out for a ride.

Show Some Bike Love

Ready to hit the trails? Before you do, head over to a nearby bike shop and give your ride a tune-up. Owning a bike requires regular maintenance, and having an expertly trained technician get your bike ready to roll will help you avoid malfunctions while biking about town. Local shops like Penn Cycle & Fitness, Behind Bars Bike Shop and The Hub Bike Co-op offer affordable tune-up packages for the bike enthusiast.

Don't own a bike? A great alternative for infrequent riders is to join a bike share program, like Nice Ride. Similar to ZipCar, you can grab a membership online or a pass at a designated kiosk anytime from April through November. Nice Ride also provides riders with pedal-themed tours, such as the "Mmmmm, Beer" tour and "I See Dead People" tours.

Find the Perfect Bike Trail

While the trails are seemingly endless, choosing the right path will make your ride even more fun. Minneapolis.org and City Pages showcase some of the top biking spots, including Midtown Greenway, Cedar Lake Trail and West River Parkway. Sites like Bike Walk Twin Cities help you locate bikeable routes with interactive and downloadable maps. Want to go analog and carry a hard copy? Snag one at most local bike shops and bookstores.

If you're new to the area or have yet to try urban biking, a great way to get started is by playing tourist for a day. Sign up for a 2-hour bike tour with The Fit Tourist and explore in and around downtown Minneapolis, including the Mississippi Riverfront and the Sculpture Garden. An added benefit: guides will help you learn the skills you need for going it alone, such as the rules of city riding and how to communicate to drivers with non-verbal signals.

Then take your adventure up a notch! Create your own route and track it on the go with mobile cycling apps that use your smartphone's built-in GPS, like MapMyRide and Cyclopath.

Get Social

Not in the mood to cycle solo? Whether you want to go for a leisurely afternoon ride or train like a pro for an upcoming race, joining a group is a fantastic way to have some fun while getting your fitness on.

And if you're a beginner rider, you'll also have the opportunity to try out new trails with the insight of an insider. Informal groups, such as Twin Cities Bicycling Club and Twin Cities Bicycling Meetup, help recreational cyclists discover the off-street routes and experience the lesser known areas and commuter-friendly pathways.

Now It's Your Turn

What are your favorite trails in Minneapolis and the greater Twin Cities area? Let us know what routes we should try in the comments below.

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