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Roads to Ride

August 2014: This page is undergoing a much-needed refresh!  Your suggestions are wanted!  Please e-mail your suggestions for places to ride around the Twin Cities (gophersandcheese@gmail.com).

NEW CONTENT:

WI-35 to Trimbelle, WI via County Road O
  • Distance (miles): 9 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 13m (one-way)
  • Description: This is an absolutely beautiful scenic road just north of Red Wing, MN on the Wisconsin side of the river - lots of curves and great natural scenery.  The speed "advisory" is 25 mph but it doesn't say "limit".  You can go much faster and I have seen sport bikes fly down this road so keep an eye in the rear view mirror.  I have also seen deer on this road so be careful.  At the end of the route is Gas-Lite bar, near the site of the SCVR Chili Feed.
  • Blog Post Labels: None


Welch, MN to Vasa, MN via County 7
  • Distance (miles): 8 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 13m (one-way)
  • Description: Welch is a tiny little town about 15-20 miles south of Hastings and about the same distance west of Red Wing.  The road from Vasa to Welch is a fun and curvy road through some nice scenery.  I counted about 30 curves.  Since it's so short, I love to ride this road back and forth a few times in a row.
  • Blog Post Labels: Welch, Vasa


Please e-mail me your suggestions for roads to ride (gophersandcheese@gmail.com)!





OLD CONTENT:

This page details some of my favorite places to ride around the Twin Cities. Some are fun to ride, some are beautiful and scenic, and others are just plain efficient to get from point A to point B.  I'll keep adding to this page so check back often.  I have organized this page into five sections (click to jump to that section):
The you can zoom in/out and pan around on the maps embedded below to get a sense of where these roads are.  The distances listed are just for the routes shown on the maps, not including the distance to get there from wherever you live.


Roads in the Twin Cities

Grand Rounds - Victory Memorial
  • Distance (miles): 3 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 8 min (one-way)
  • Description: The Grand Rounds is made up of seven byway districts.  The Victory Memorial district is one of them.  This part of the Grand Rounds is very straight (with the exception of a 90 degree turn).  The parkway is lined with trees and green areas which makes it stand out.  However, this is not a very fun ride and I would recommend you ride other sections of the Grand Rounds first.  Be aware that there is a 25 mph speed limit throughout the Grand Rounds.
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Grand Rounds - Northeast
  • Distance (miles): 7 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 20 min (one-way)
  • Description: The Grand Rounds is made up of seven byway districts.  The Northeast district is one of them.  I have not ridden this section yet.  Be aware that there is a 25 mph speed limit throughout the Grand Rounds.
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Grand Rounds - Theodore Wirth
  • Distance (miles): 4 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 10 min (one-way)
  • Description: The Grand Rounds is made up of seven byway districts.  The Theodore Wirth district is one of them.  Theodore Wirth Parkway is a moderately curvy road alongside a golf course.  It's an OK ride but nothing too special - I'd recommend you ride other sections of the Grand Rounds first.  Be aware that there is a 25 mph speed limit throughout the Grand Rounds.
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Grand Rounds - Chain of Lakes
  • Distance (miles): 15 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 45 min (one-way, includes circling lakes)
  • Description: The Grand Rounds is made up of seven byway districts.  The Chain of Lakes district is one of them.  The lakes offer lots of recreation options right in the heart of the city.  They have beaches, fishing piers, jogging paths, bicycle paths, and a lot more.  Motorcycling around the lakes is a lot of stop-and-go but the scenery is great.  You get a lot of nice views of the city.  Be aware that there is a 25 mph speed limit throughout the Grand Rounds.
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Grand Rounds - Minnehaha
  • Distance (miles): 12 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 40 min (one-way)
  • Description: The Grand Rounds is made up of seven byway districts.  The Minnehaha district is one of them.  Lake Nokomis offers much of the same options as the rest of the Chain of Lakes (beaches, fishing, running, bicycling, etc.).  Minnehaha Park is home to Minnehaha Falls, which is beautiful and definitely worth checking out.  Be aware that there is a 25 mph speed limit throughout the Grand Rounds.
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Grand Rounds - Mississippi River

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Grand Rounds - Downtown Riverfront

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Roads North of the Twin Cities

Ride to Lake Mille Lacs via MN-47
  • Distance (miles): 80 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 1 hour 30 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is just a great ride through farms and tiny towns. There are some nice curves and very few stop lights/signs. There are a few bars along the way too. If you're headed to Lake Mille Lacs, MN-47 is a much more enjoyable motorcycle road than US-169 even though it is slightly slower.  You certainly do not have to go all the way to Lake Mille Lacs to enjoy MN-47.  Sometimes, I just go as far as St. Francis and turn around.  It's still a great ride.
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Lake Mille Lacs Circle Tour
  • Distance (miles): 60 (loop)
  • Distance (time): 1 hour 10 min (loop)
  • Description: You can ride all the way around Lake Mille Lacs.  Some parts are better than others as there are some sections where you can't even see the lake.  The scenery is great for most of the ride and you will see lots of places to stop for a drink or take a picture. If you feel like gambling, Grand Casino is right on the lake.
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Champlin, MN to Osseo, MN via Fernbrook Ln
  • Distance (miles): 6 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 10 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is a great little road I found that I like a lot.  It's not curvy but it's very hilly through farmland and it's in a rapidly developing area where you might not expect to find it.  I ride this road often when I want to ride but don't want to be be gone for a long time.  Be careful and watch out for gravel in the tight 90 degree turn by the church.
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I-35 to Taylors Falls, MN via US-8
  • Distance (miles): 20 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 25 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is another way to get to Taylors Falls.  It takes you through Chisago City, which has a few good bars.  You also pass through a few towns with sister cities in Sweden.  You'll hit some traffic lights in the towns but overall it's an enjoyable ride.
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Duluth, MN to Silver Bay, MN via North Shore Dr and MN-61
  • Distance (miles): 60 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 1 hour 30 min (one-way)
  • Description: The north shore of Lake Superior is absolutely beautiful and is fantastic by motorcycle.  From Duluth, you'll start off on MN-61 and then the road will split.  You will have the option to continue on MN-61 (called "Expressway to Two Harbors") or take North Shore Drive / Scenic Dr.  Take the scenic route!!!  There are tons of places to stop along the shore, get off your bike and walk down to the water.  The view is fantastic.  Along the way there are great restaurants (Nokomis & Scenic Cafe to name a few).  Just after passing downtown Two Harbors, stop at Betty's Pies for a delicious slice of pie.  Two Harbors alone is a good destination but if you choose to continue on, I recommend seeing Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse.  Silver Bay was a somewhat arbitrary destination as you can continue north along the shore and the views remain breathtaking.  Alternatively you can head west from Silver Bay inland into Superior National Forest.  Dress warm!  The breeze off the lake is a lot colder than you think, even in summer.
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Roads East of the Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN to Stillwater, MN via MN-36
  • Distance (miles): 25 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 40 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is not a scenic route or much of a fun ride.  However, it is a good way to get from the Twin Cities to the MN/WI border (where the fun & scenery is) if you want to avoid I-94 for some reason.  If you are specifically trying to get to Stillwater , this route is just as fast as I-94.  If you're actually trying to get to Hudson or areas farther south, I-94 or I-10 are much faster options.  There are quite a few stop lights along MN-36.
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Stillwater, MN to Taylors Falls, MN via MN-95

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I-94 to Prescott, WI via County Rd F
  • Distance (miles): 17 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 45 min (one-way)
  • Description: There are lots of ways to get to Prescott.  Taking Exit 2 off I-94 to County Road F is a really nice way to get there.  It's mostly farmland with some nice curves and there is one particular section that makes this road really exciting.  There is a bridge where you have to drop down a very steep hill, cross the bridge, and come back up the other side.  It's kind of like the first drop on a roller coaster.  Do not take that section too fast (seriously)!
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I-94 to Prescott, WI via St. Croix Trail
  • Distance (miles): 17 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 30 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is yet another way to get to Prescott.  You can take Exit 258 off I-94 to St Croix Trail.  This is another good road.  It takes you through Lake St. Croix Beach, the official start of the flood run.  It also takes you through Afton, a quaint little town.  What's really nice about this route is some of the curvy bits through the woods.  In some sections, the speed limit is way too low but for most of it, it's an enjoyable ride.  If you're looking for ways to mix up how you get to Wisconsin, this is another good option.
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I-94 to Prescott via US-10
  • Distance (miles): 20 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 20 min (one-way)
  • Description: This is probably the most efficient way to get to Prescott.  You can take Exit 244 off I-94 to US-10.  With the exception of a few traffic lights, US-10 is pretty much a straight shot of higway from St. Paul to Prescott.  There isn't a ton of natural beauty and there are certainly no curves to have fun with.  You will see a lot of industrial buildings and railroads as well as quite a few shopping centers.  There are some neat sights you'll pass such as the Drive-In Theater in Cottage Grove and a Go-Kart/Batting Cage/Arcade.  I like this route for it's efficiency to get me to river where I really want to be.
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Prescott, WI to Diamond Bluff, WI via WI-35
  • Distance (miles): 15 (one-way)
  • Distance (time): 15m (one-way)
  • Description: This is my absolutely favorite stretch of road near the Twin Cities - high speed curves and hills with beautiful scenery.  Don't let yourself get stuck behind slow traffic.  Pass if it's safe to do so.  Otherwise pull over and wait to get a nice gap between you and the vehicles in front of you.  This road needs to be enjoyed unobstructed and is too good to be stressed out behind someone riding their brake and going well under the speed limit.
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Wisconsin County Road O

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Roads South of the Twin Cities

Vasa, MN to Welch,MN via County Road 7

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Roads West of the Twin Cities


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