Reporting Mike Binkley
But it’s tough to match the scenic beauty of Tour de Pepin, which takes place in the bluff country of southeast Minnesota in the spring. It’s a little more challenging than other rides that follow paved trails.
The first 12 miles of Tour de Pepin take bikers along the hilly shoulders of Highway 61 from Lake City to Wabasha — with Lake Pepin on one side and wooded bluffs on the other. Cars and trucks continue to use the highway during the ride, but with the wide shoulders, there’s room enough for everyone.
Those who choose the 32-mile option will then cross from Wabasha into Wisconsin and right into the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The highway shoulders become a little narrower, and the ride becomes less scenic, but you pass through the friendly towns of Pepin and Stockholm.
For those who’ve had enough after 32 miles, the Pearl of the Lake paddlewheel boat takes them and their bikes back to Lake City. But those who are up for the full 72-mile loop will continue through Bay City, Maiden Rock and Red Wing, on their way back to Lake City.