While we’re hoping to make bike riding one of the key strategies to get in shape, we’re still in the novice category. You know how it is, when you decide to start a new hobby, pastime or interest.
• You often begin by making a purchase. We bought the bikes this summer.
• Then you realize the experience would be a lot better if you picked up a few amenities to enhance that original purchase. We quickly realized good biking shorts were a must if we were going to enjoy a ride longer than a few blocks.
• And then you see that there’s a whole culture out there that emanates from your new area of interest. We have grown more aware of all things “biking.” “Oh, look what type of bike rack that couple has. Wonder how that’s working for them.” “A co-worker told me about a bike trail they highly recommend. We should check it out.” For having a nearly unbearably-lengthy winter season, Minnesotans are surprisingly into biking. More than we ever realized.
So, we remain in the “just figuring out all the biking options phase.” In this phase, we’re now investigating a variety of trails and we experienced a great one today.
It was a gorgeous September day in Minnesota. You know, the kind that make you wonder if it’ll be the last really nice day before winter. The household to-do list promptly got set a side and we decided to head out for one of the bike trails on the new “biking list.” Brent printed the Cannon Valley Trail map and we began putting together the bike gear. What we’re discovering is that this in itself can be quite a process – one we’re hoping to perfect soon so it doesn’t take nearly as long to prepare as ride the trail.
Thankfully, the bike rack was already on the RAV because that can take a half hour in itself. We pumped the tires and put the bikes on the rack with all the straps and bungee cables. Then there’s the snacks and filling the water bottles and back packs. Brent received a Camelbak hydration pack for his birthday, so we figured out how that goes together. (Another one of those amenities you just can’t do without.) We slipped on the biking shorts and headed out the door.
We decided to take the trail from Welch to Cannon Falls (10 miles one way). Welch is just 40 minutes from the south side of the Twin Cities, easy to get to and the trailhead is right off County Road 7. There’s a small parking lot that had plenty of parking today. You should note that this trail requires a $3 “Wheel Pass” (free to children under 18). Still at the novice level, I’m not a big fan of hills, so this trail made big points with me, although I did discover lack of hills means continued pedaling with very little coasting.
The trail is nicely groomed and marked. It runs along the Cannon River and is a pretty ride. We also discovered that in the winter the trail is used for cross-country skiing, our exercise of choice during the snowy months.
After nearly an hour on the trail we arrived in Cannon Falls and asked a passerby for a lunch spot recommendation. Since we always invite God on these little jaunts, we like to be open to how he directs us. In this instance, we ended up at the Old Market Deli and weren’t disappointed. The food was fresh and very tasty. The deli was clean and the servers very attentive. They also have ice cream and free WiFi! Everything they serve is made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. They use no mixes, preservatives or additives. I’m sure we’ll be back – on the trail and to the deli.
We finished our ride just before sunset began. Perfect timing! We got a work-out, an excellent lunch and a ride through some beautiful territory. What better way to spend a lovely fall day? At this time of year, you’ve got to get out and enjoy them when they come along!