Tuesday, December 22, 2020

the Pig's Eye lap

 It's been a warm and dry December, the snow for October is long gone. On Sunday, the weather was perfect for a long bike ride down the Mississippi River. 

Taking advantage of the new bike paths that connect Saint Paul to the South Saint Paul trails, it's never been easier to bike a lap of Pig's Eye Lake. It's almost all asphalt bike path. The only real road riding is a one block section of downtown and the Robert Street bridge; I took the sidewalk for both sections.

New bike path on Plato, it's so nice!

Through the airport.

It took three or four of these bridges to connect the Saint Paul trails to the South Saint Paul. It would be a shame to let those tax dollars go to waste. I passed bikes and dog walkers in this section. It will be interesting to see how well used it is come summer.

Through the woods, south to Kaposia Landing.

West bank of the Mississippi River.

Looking north from the 494 bridge.

Battle Creek slough.
I didn't take a picture of Pig's Eye Lake, maybe next time.

Dayton's Bluff

Port Authority signage.

Looking back at the Lafayette bridge from Dayton's Bluff.

The opposite of this image from my commute to work.

Looking back downstream.

Saint Paul's most famous fur trader and bootlegger. (1830's)

- Ride North 

Dec. 20th | 38f | partly sunny

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Ironton, Minn.

It was COLD, I almost forgot what that was like. The afternoon high of 44f felt balmy compared to the first daytime, sub-freezing temperatures of the year. We even had some snow that shut down the trail system for a day.

For four days this November the Ride North crew were out on the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails. Joined by some friends, we stayed in an airbnb in Ironton, just yards from the main trail head. The rental house had a gas fireplace that was put to good use warming up cold bikers.

the Ride North crew

We've been visiting this destination mountain bike community every spring and fall for the past few years. The Portsmouth campground is connected to the trails and has an excellent little beach with clear waters. When the weather gets cold, a rental is the way to go.

Sagamore lake has groomed trails for winter biking.
It's the only trail system that stays open when precipitation threatens the red dirt trails.

When snow forced us off the main trail system, we had to get creative. A visit to the Sagamore unit produced some good family fun. The snow was a little deep for the smallest peddler in our group (4years old). In the afternoon we toured dirt roads that wrap around the old mine pits. After a chat with the local DNR, we determined that snowmobile trails on state land were fair game for biking. After everyone was inside warming up, I snuck in an evening solo ride. I rode the most miles of any single day on this wet, cold, snow day.

exploring back roads

snowmobile trails along Blackhoof Lake

Our cozy little fireplace, perfect for whisky sipping.

Mrs. North made the following comment the other day: "What do you think about going to Arkansas for spring break? I heard there are some mountain bike trails down there." It was all I could do to play it cool and calmly say, "yes."

- Ride North

7 bike rides | Oct. 15th - 18th | +10 riding hours | 44f - 25f

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Checking out new and old trails

Went out for a cool, early December bike ride to check out the new bike trail that connects Lilydale park to the highway 52 bridge and great river bike paths. It's amazing. The 52 bridge takes me into the east side of downtown and a large network of bike trails in Mounds Park and the Phalen neighborhoods. (and from there out to Stillwater MN) Brand new trail continues east from 52 along the airport and breaks through the woods, connecting to the Great River Trail.  

New bike path along the once busy Plato Blvd. 
(the red section)

Lafayette avenue bridge/ highway 52

Dayton's Bluff
There's an eagle on the roof in the foreground.

Saint Paul

Swinging bridge at Kaposia Landing, Mississippi River

 Kaposia Landing - once a Dakota village 

"They called the general area Imniza-Ska or white cliffs 
referring to the towering sandstone bluffs." - Historic Saint Paul

Building a cenrer to honor the "Dwelling Place of the Sacred" - Wakáŋ Tipi Center

- RideNorth

December 6th | 44f | an hour or two, wasn't really counting

Monday, November 30, 2020

Fall in the North


Mississippi River, August 28th, 66f/81f

Pickerel Lake, September 8th, 46f/54f

Prairie transition, September 16th, 61f/ 70f

Little Blue Stem, September 16th, 61f/ 70f

Biking, September 16th, 61f/70f

Mississippi River at the Ford Dam, September 22nd, 57f/82f

University of St Thomas, September 22nd, 57f/82f

Shepard Road, September 22nd, 57f/82f

Mississippi River Bluff, September 22nd, 57f/82f

Snake River, September 26th, 61f/72f misty rain

Cherokee Park, September 30th, 48f/63f

Ironton Minn. October 15, 25f/39f

Sagamore Mine lake, October 16th, 25f/36f snowed all morning

Snowmobile trail in Ironton, October 16th, 25f/36f

Huntington Mine lake, October 17th, 23f/36f

Mississippi River bluff, November 5th,  39f/66f

Gun Club Lake outlet, November 11th,  21f/37f

Minnesota River November 11th,  21f/37f

Minnesota River November 28th, 26f/52f

Three months of beautiful, cool-weather riding in Minnesota this year. Most of my riding hours were with family on our local mountian bike trails. Mrs. North, Jr., and I took every oppertunity to get out and explore the woods on bikes and on foot, fueling the love of exploration in all three of us. This year I am most thankfull for all the time we got to spend together. While it wasn't always easy, we made the most of it.  

Happy Thankgiving!

- RideNorth

fall | 2020 | sunny with a chance of snow