This weekend I did two separate 40 miles rides with different friends. Both were excellent and there are opportunities to combine them to create new routes.
The first ride was supposed to a rerun of a 30 mile ride but I zigged where I was supposed to zag so it was different but also a lot of fun. It was about 40 miles - ridewithgps.com 95373242.
Comments on this route:
1. Minnehaha trail surfaces are a bit rough in places but not bad.
2. We made some false turns trying to get around a detour south of Cedar Lake but they did lead us to a Cedar Lake beach I'd never seen (and that looks like a great place to launch a canoe).
3. The section just across the river east of the Victory Flagpole is confusing on the map, but just follow the trail that starts south along the river, it quickly goes east.
4. Deming Heights park is start of a good climb. There's a cheat to bypass by going a few blocks north and returning after the hill.
5. I misread my phone map when I made the right turn onto 29th ave. I really wanted to head south on NE Arthur street parallel to Stinson (Stinson has too many cars). It did lead me into a quite interesting approach to NE Minneapolis though. From NE MPLS we entered the river road north of where the bike trail starts; if I did that section again I'd go a bit south on quiet streets so we entered at the bike trail start.
6. I love the little known (and quite expensive) trail that starts at the UMN rowing facility and ends with a fun climb up the bluff.
The second ride (ridewithgps.com 40068258) included a Saint Paul Great River trail favorite (drop down to Yacht Club) then took the river to Greenway and did a city look, then over to Como Park and south on the under appreciated Grigg's north-south route.
We did close to 40 miles. There was minimal overlap with yesterday's 40 miler  with Penny and Matt but there are lots of variations one could make combining the two. A few observations...
1. This was entirely on car-free trails/transitway or pleasant low traffic streets. Incredible to be able to do that across two metro areas. MSP rocks.
2. Excluding a few short stretches the trail surfaces were excellent (Greenway restored! Great River lovely. Mendota bridge amazing!) and the multi-million dollar bike bridges are a miracle. Thank you government.
3. I did not see the homeless encampments we had grown accustomed to.
4. We had to work to pass people with motors :-).
5. Como trail is a game changer for east-west travel and creating fun routes.
6. The UMN transit way is an amazing heads-down on-the-drops hammer stretch that zooms across the industrial metro (and connects to Como trail).
7. The detour around light rail construction to get to Cedar Lake and Theo goes through a neat neighborhood and over the Cedar-Isles channel. I need to schedule a weekend for Emily and I to paddle there.
8. Utepils is a good stop on this route (but no food truck today).
9. I learned the route from Utepils into MPLS around the baseball field to the river from a Utepils rec ride. It's a great trick, note the left turn into the MPLS farmer's market.