Last weekend our family enjoyed a bike tour in one of Minnesota’s most popular biking destinations, the Root River Trail. I’ve known of this area for many years. I’ve heard about it being the Bed & Breakfast capital of Minnesota. I’ve seen presentations of the economic impact of cycling. I’ve heard from droves of people about their awesome experiences. Unfortunately for me sometimes these destination areas are built up so big that my experiences don’t match my imagination and I end up disappointed.
No disappointment this time. In fact never before have I wanted to write a general tourism type of article praising an area. Our family just had so much fun. The trails were clean and beautiful. The towns and businesses around the trail are set up to support cyclists. You don’t have to deal with vehicles hardly at all, a great thing for kids and for parents not worrying. Did I mention food in every town and at every stop? Again, I know I am gushing, but I/we truly enjoyed it and will go back again.
So…A few details about our trip. You’ll notice in some of the pictures below that we did not carry panniers or bags full of stuff. Nope, we were staying in Lanesboro at a B&B. Our intent was to drive down Friday night, stay in the B&B, get up early and drive to the other end of the trail, park the car and ride the trail back to Lanesboro area and stay at the B&B. These plans quickly changed with the severe thunderstorms in the area and we decided to treat Lanesboro as our “camp” and do day rides out and back. There are 3 trail sections to do out and backs if you wish to ride every inch, or mile, of trail. If you don’t want to stay in a B&B, you could also set up a main camp site in Lanesboro, or in any number of the trailside campgrounds. The area is set up to please.
Our goal was to push our kids and ourselves a bit and ride just a bit further than we’ve ridden before. I’m pleased to say our kids quite easily knocked out the miles and we rode east on day one and west on day two. Keep in mind that pretty much every town we ended up spending money on food, exploring the local trailside museum or historical society, or having a snack that we brought with. I probably spent as much on food as I did on transportation and housing. Seriously, the kids ate a lot (as you can see in the pictures below.)
I will leave you with one last thought, that being I can’t wait to go back. I really want to go back in the fall to ride one of the 3 paved trails we did not ride and see the fall colors. I can’t wait.
A few quick notes:
– Maps – They are available in most businesses and the trail is well marked with mile markers and town maps.
– Other activities – If you don’t want to just bike, go canoeing, kayaking, hiking, or tubing. The entire area is set up for fun and outdoor activities
– Arts – Lanesboro has a great arts community. I like art so I recommend checking out and supporting the local artists
– Helmets – Wow, lots of people don’t use helmets. Crazy. I encourage you all to use one!
– Food – We didn’t plan much other than stopping in most towns. They are spread anywhere from 5-9 miles apart from each other. You just need to know that small towns can have odd business hours but we didn’t have trouble finding a place to eat regardless.
Anyway, enough words. How about some pics?!