Saturday, December 25, 2021

All weather (but especially winter) cycling clothing guide (Wheel and Sprocket, with comments)

I came across this on Facebook, but I can't find it on the Wheel & Sprocket site. It's the best visual guide to cold weather clothing I've come across:

What would I add or change?
  • Poagies/bar mitts: If you have straight bars these are a game changer for below 30F. Between 30-40F they let me ride in thin gloves or even fingerless bike gloves.
  • You hardly ever need a "warm jacket". T-shirt + thermal base layer + a good quality wind shell (ideally GoreTex). Below 20F consider adding a down vest that you can take off when you get too hot.
  • You don't need a winter helmet, a balaclava and headband combo will do it.
  • You do need a neck gaiter. Brilliant invention. Mine is some thin synthetic from Outdoor Research.
  • Below 15F winter boots and wool socks may need chemical toe warmers or LiOn electric socks.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Eastern Metro Twin Cities: St Croix and Mississippi Rivers


83 miles - leaves from Lake Phalen (Clockwise direction)

It's missing a 13 mile segment that Google doesn't know about, that map is below a few variations not his ride. I'll update this post with comments after it's done. (This is a improvement from an earlier version, I substituted Stagecoach Trail for 95 south of Stillwater and added Selma's Ice Cream. I'm continuing to tweak the Google Map but will update the image below.)

Some points of interest on route
  • Bruce Vento Nature Center
  • Selma's Ice Cream Parlor - 44°53'56.9"N 92°46'59.7"W
  • Velo du Nord  in Afton (Bike/Coffee shop. Also - French!)
  • St Croix Bluffs Regional Park - 44°48'03.6"N 92°47'34.4"W
  • Carpenter Nature Center (just south of the St Croix Bluffs Regional Park)
  • The park just west of Prescott is a great water refill station
  • Stillwater and Hastings
  • Afton Inn
  • St Paul & Spiral Brewing
  • Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter (Stillwater)
  • Rock Island Swing Bridge
  • Hmong Village
Tricky turns
  • Transition to Stagecoach Road after Highway 36. Run into Kings Plant Road and need to turn right onto 56th Street N that runs into Stagecoach Trail N then turn left.
Update after doing the tour
  • After crossing over 36 we didn't directly do Stagecoach, we took a park trail system that meets-up with Stagecoach, they aren't shown on Google Maps but I think they run through Valley View park
  • Stagecoach to Afton isn't bad though in places the speed limit is 55. There's often a wide shoulder and drivers are used to cyclists.
  • After Selma's in Afton instead of slowly climbing out on St Croix Trail S we took River Road S which is flat and pretty until it ends with a long steep climb. I prefer River Road S.
  • After Afton Alps St Croix Trail S is two lanes, no shoulder, 55 mph and pretty popular. 47/50 drivers were excellent but 3 were mediocre. (Motorbikes were all great.)
  • The Carpenter Nature Center is a great place to stop to eat what you are carrying, refill water bottles, and use the rest room. (Leave a donation.)
  • St Croix runs smack into Highway 10 which is a friggin highway with up to 4 lanes going 65-80 mph. The bike trail across the road is inaccessible from the intersection. The only way to cross Highway 10 is to wait for a break in traffic and run.
    • If you run across you can take the broad shoulder about 400 meters left (east) and you'll see the trail and can walk across some grass to it. OR (I think) you can walk 25 meters right (west) and there's a short dirt path that leads to the trail.
Misc advice

(this one isn't as optimized as the first version)

The gap at the bottom of both maps is a Google error -- there's actually a trail there. The gap is 13 miles, which takes the entire ride to 88-89 miles. A bit longer than my 80-85 mile target so I'm going to trim a few miles. It is mostly bicycle trail with a segment of 4 miles of road that may have industrial traffic during the week but is very quiet on weekends. Of those 4 miles about 2 miles are packed dirt and gravel but it is doable on any bicycle tire.

Variation from Charles S is very similar to first version, it shows the climbs and drops (not as bad as it looks). It's 83 miles.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

MacGroveland to Como Park (connects to Grand Rounds trail)

During the bad times highways completely messed up Saint Paul. We're still recovering; only recently have we developed some north-south routes that safely cross rail and freeway.

Below are two examples that go between Macalester college and Como Park pavilion. It's about a 4.7 mile trip each way. From Como there are now quite good Grand Rounds trails west and east to Gateway (Stillwater).

These routes use some bike-pedestrian walkways over rail and freeway that are barely visible on Google maps and omitted from most paper maps.

UPDATE: The 2nd route, which is basically Griggs all the way, is excellent. Do that.


(Snelling may be impossible to cross, so consider going up to St Claire or down to Jefferson just before you reach Snelling)

Friday, June 18, 2021

MSP Explorer - 15 miles

This route starts and ends at Lake Monster brewery. It explores some neat urban routes and spaces. Not many places to go fast, so allow 2 hours.

I have an 8 page map up as of June 2021 and a MapMyRide version but I can't guarantee it will stick around. Lake Monster to Dinkytown to Sheridan Memorial Park to East River Parkway to The Stone Arch Bridge to The Monument on Summit to Prior to Gilbert (CFSP) to Lake Monster.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Minneapolis to Sunrise Prairie (31 miles 1 way, but on to Duluth)

Via Facebook, AK shared a route from MPLS to Sunrise Prairie. At Sunrise Prairie one can start the trail to Duluth.

... It’s almost all bike lane/trail. The last big chunk that isn’t is all a county road but it has 10 ft shoulders ... Also, on Lake Rd, you go through Circle Pines which has a more populated section (but still has a big shoulder) but if you are uncomfortable with that, there is a frontage road you can ride on till you get to a less populated area...

 I also wonder about this as a route to Hugo, but I'm not sure we can get through Lino Lakes.


Saturday, May 29, 2021

Gravel rides around Northfield MN (south of MSP)

Bruce Anderson posted this 5/23/2021 on the Cannon Valley Velo Club Facebook Group. I'm just republishing here:

Want to ride gravel in the Northfield area? Look no further! Here’s a growing list of gravel routes of all lengths and levels of difficulty.

Rides are categorized below as:

• Easy (less than 20 miles, any amount of climbing*)

• Moderate (20 to 40 miles, any amount of climbing)

• Moderately Hard (30 to 40 miles with more than 1500 feet of climbing)

• Hard but Relatively Flat (more than 40 miles and less than an average of 30 feet of climbing per mile)

• Hard and Moderately Hilly (more than 40 miles and an average of 30 to 40 feet of climbing per mile)

• Hard and Hilly (more than 40 miles and an average of more than 40 feet of climbing per mile)

• Killer but You’re Gonna Love It Anyway (more than 100 miles and plenty of climbing)

*Climbing elevations are generally as reported by the RideWithGPS mapping tool. In the author’s experience, actual climbing as recorded on these routes by GPS is often significantly higher than the RWGPS estimates. 

You can, of course, double your options by riding any of these routes in reverse. If you would like to add your favorite route(s) to the list, please comment on this post and a moderator will edit the original post to include the route if it is deemed a good addition. 

Most routes start and end at Bridge Square in the heart of historic downtown Northfield. If they start or end elsewhere, there’s likely a brewery or something else inviting involved! (Three excellent breweries and a cidery are within a few blocks or miles of Bridge Square for post-ride refreshments: Imminent Brewing (two blocks away), Tanzenwald Brewing Company (0.3 miles), Chapel Brewing (3.1 miles), and Keepsake Cidery (6.1 miles).

Ride on!

Northfield Gravel Rides

Easy (less than 20 miles, any amount of climbing)

• Southwest, Return on East Cannon River Trail (14.3 miles, 406’ of climbing)

• Cannon River Ramble 15-miler (15 miles, 438’ of climbing)

• Northeast and Back on Sciota Trail (16 miles, 584’ of climbing) 

• Isaacson Trail Quickie (16.8 miles, 606’ of climbing)

• Cold Moon Howl (18.8 miles, 560’ of climbing)

• Patrick L-Approved Loop (18.8 miles, 826’ of climbing, including a couple of challenging climbs)

• Crow Moon Howl 20-miler (19.8 miles, 478’ of climbing)

Moderate (20 to 40 miles with less than 1500’ of climbing)

• McKnight Prairie Fly-By (21.6 miles, 553’ of climbing)

• Chub Lake Super Blue Moon Howl (24.3 miles, 650’ of climbing)

• Easy Like Sunday Afternoon (27.7 miles, 633’ of climbing)

• Burma Passage and Ghost Nike Missile Site (28.9 miles, 796’ of climbing)

• Randolph -- Strachan Farm Loop (30.1 miles, 648’ of climbing)

• Farmer Trail – Big Woods – Dennison (30.2 miles, 1078’ of climbing)

• Western Gravel Staying East of I-35 (30.7 miles, 677’ of climbing)

• Chub Lake Howl (30.7 miles, 792’ of climbing)

• Burma Passage – Randolph (31.2 miles, 638’ of climbing)

• Chub Lake – Burma Passage (31.4 miles, 765’ of climbing)

• Boy Scout Camp Loop with Cherry Valley Descent (31.4 miles, 956’ of climbing)

• Farmer Trail – Eiler Ave – Rice County Wilderness Area (32.3 miles, 1361’ of climbing)

• 20th Ave Rollers (32.4 miles, 1496’ of climbing)

• Beware Falling Mergansers (33.0 miles, 911’ of climbing)

• Burma Passage – Chub Lake (33.5 miles, 893’ of climbing)

• Lewiston Boulevard – Passage to Burma (34.3 miles, 726’ of climbing)

• Circle Lake 36-Miler (36.2 miles, 1358’ of climbing)

• Wilderness Park – Cannon City – Farmer Trail – Isaacson Trail (37.1 miles, 1308’ of climbing)

Moderately Hard (30 to 40 miles with more than 1500’ of climbing)

• Westerly to Union Lake Trail and Baseline Road (30.4 miles, 1534’ of climbing)

• Farmer Trail – Big Woods – Isaacson Trail (32.3 miles, 1786’ of climbing)

• Beautiful Barn Loop; (37.9 miles, 1679’ of climbing)

Hard but Relatively Flat (more than 40 miles and less than an average of 30 feet of climbing per mile)

• Camp Winona Trail – Union Lake Trail (52.1 miles, 1354’ of climbing)

• Vermillion Highlands – Chimney Rock (63.2 miles, 1472’ of climbing)

• Montgomery Calling (55.6 miles, 1580’ of climbing)

Hard and Moderately Hilly (more than 40 miles and an average of 30 to 40 feet of climbing per mile)

• Full Strawberry Moon 42-Miler (42.5 miles, 1595’ of climbing)

• Falls Trail – Union Lake Trail (43.0 miles, 1349’ of climbing)

• Shady Lane Trail Pronto (44.7 miles, 1597’ of climbing)

• Small Taste o’ the DAMn (48.1 miles, 1757’ of climbing)

• Union Lake Trail – Cody Lake Trail – Lake Ave (49.7 miles, 1677’ of climbing)

• Full Strawberry Moon Howl 50-miler (50.4 miles, 1875’ of climbing)

• Clark Valley Trail – Byllesby Dam (52.5 miles, 1848’ of climbing)

• Heywood 55 (53.3 miles, 1932’ of climbing)

• Camp Winona Trail – Cody Trail – Union Lake Trail (57.2 miles, 1931’ of climbing)

• Randolph – Chub Lake – Union Lake Trail Meander (58.9 miles, 2192’ of climbing)

• Wilderness Park – Faribault – Monkey Valley (61.2 miles, 2215’ of climbing)

• Shady Lane Trail – Monkey Valley 100k (62.3 miles, 2386’ of climbing)

• Skunk Hollow – Clark Valley Metric Century (63.4 miles, 2311’ of climbing)

• Shady Lane Trail – Wanamingo – Scenic Barn (63.7 miles, 2347’ of climbing)

• Welch – Miesville Ravine – Randolph (78.0 miles, 2812’ of climbing)

• Clark Valley Trail – Sunset Trail – Welch Trail – Miesville Ravine – Chimney Rock Loop (88.6 miles, 3171’ of climbing)

Hard and Hilly (more than 40 miles and an average of more than 40 feet of climbing per mile)

• Monkey Valley – Nerstrand Big Woods (42.7 miles, 2037’ of climbing)

• Shady Lane Trail – Scenic Barn (45.5 miles, 1833’ of climbing)

• Earth Day Gravel Grinder (52.4 miles, 3048’ of climbing)

• Wanamingo, No Foolin’ Around (57.5 miles, 2363’ of climbing)

• Chimney Rock or Bust! (59.3 miles, 2492’ of climbing)

• White Rock Trail – Oxford Mill Road (61.0 miles, 2890’ of climbing)

• (Bit Longer) Taste o’ the DAMn (61.5 miles, 2468’ of climbing)

• Area 57 with Return via Monkey Valley (66.0 miles, 2908’ of climbing)

• Sunset Trail – Welch – Miesville Ravine – Byllesby Dam (71.9 miles, 3068’ of climbing)

• Heywoodish Lite (76.9 miles, 3697’ of climbing)

• Angry Catfish Comes to Town (82.6 miles, 3748’ of climbing)

Killer but You’re Gonna Love It Anyway (more than 100 miles and plenty of climbing)

• Skunk Hollow -- Clark Valley -- White Rock – Vasa – Welch -- Miesville Ravine -- Chimney Rock Century (100.8 miles, 3894’ of climbing)

• Camp Winona Trail-LeSueur-Montgomery Gravel Century (103.9 miles, 3103’ of climbing)

• Thunder Moon Howl: Good Stuff to the West and East (105.5 miles, 5844’ of climbing)

• Heywood 110 (109.9 miles, 5024’ of climbing)

• It Ain’t Paradise but It Used to Be (127.6 miles, 5903’ of climbing)

• Heywood 165 (163.8 miles, 7298’ of climbing)

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Twin Cities Metro Ride

A friend shared this off Facebook. That's more than I've ridden for decades so it will take some work to get ready for it.

This is a related ride I may do with a group of friends.