“Cycling culture in Minneapolis is thriving,” says Bicycling Magazine, ranking the city second best in the U.S. As most Minnesotans know, there are bike lanes, paths and trails all over the state. But there are also bike rental shops all over the state. No need to buy a bike carrier for your vacation. Just jump in the car and head to any the 24 major Minnesota bike trails. Here are just six of these great trails and nine shops where you can rent a bike to see some of Minnesota’s hidden beauty.
Cannon Valley Trail
One of Minnesota’s more picturesque rail-trails lies between Red Wing and Cannon Falls. This 20-mile excursion on paved trail winds closely along the Cannon River, leading the rider through forests, prairies, farmland and marshes to scenic bluffs and valleys. The village of Welch offers a rest stop midway on the trail. Pick up a $4 Wheel Pass at either trailhead bike rental shop.
Ben and Joe’s Fun Rental
1616 Old W. Main
Red Wing, MN 55066
Rent a bike, electric bike, scooter or canoe at Ben and Joe’s.
Cannon Falls Canoe and Bike Rental
615 N. 5th St.
Cannon Falls, MN 55009
Get a regular, recumbent or tandem bike shuttled to you at the Red Wing trailhead in the morning and drop it off when you arrive at Cannon Falls.
Cuyuna Lakes State Trail
There is no greater thrill than the 6.1 winding miles of the paved Cuyuna Trail. Along the way, you will see the Croft Mine Historical Park and the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.
Cycle Path & Paddle
115 3rd Ave. S.W.
Crosby, MN 56441-1333
Cycle Path & Paddle has all types of bikes including hybrids, comfort, tandem, mountain, fat and children’s bikes. Rent by the hour, half day, full day, weekend and week.
This paved trail runs from the City of St. Paul through Maplewood and North St. Paul, passing through Phalen-Keller Regional Park.
6028 Highway 36 Blvd. N.
Oakdale, MN 55128
Rent a Raleigh hybrid for as little as $20 at Gateway Cycle and pedal across the road for an 18-mile trek on Gateway Trail. Owners Paul Himmelman and Bob Sumada encourage outdoor enthusiasts to try something different by renting a tandem or recumbent bike. Rent duration can be for the day, weekend, week or month. You can also rent a trailer bike or bike trailer and apply the rental cost to a new purchase. See updated rental rates on the website.
Luce Line State Trail
Luce Line is a 63-mile trail from Plymouth going west to Cosmos. The first 30 miles is limestone. The trail turns to gravel at Winsted, continuing to Hutchinson, and then it’s crushed granite from Hutchinson to Cedar Mills and mowed grass from Cedar Mills to Cosmos.
Gear West Bike & Triathlon
1786 W. Wayzata Blvd.
Long Lake, MN 55356
Rent a bike at Gear West and peddle a half-mile up to the Luce Line on the north side of Long Lake as it crosses Stubbs Bay Road. Gear West has comfortable and lightweight Felt Café 3 bikes best suited for this purpose.
Related: Best Bike Trails In The Twin Cities
Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway
With nearly 40 miles of scenic paved bikeways, The Grand Rounds is the crown jewel of recreational biking. In a single trip, see the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, Minnehaha River, Minnehaha Falls, Mississippi River, beaches, gardens, bird sanctuaries and perhaps some live music in a band shell if you time it right.
Calhoun Bike Rental
1622 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
This is a good starting point for a ride around Lake Calhoun or the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Rent mountain, city, tandem or recumbent bikes. Also find child trailers, road bikes or electric bikes. Bike rental is available from April 1 to October 15, 2014.
The Alternative Bike Shop
3013 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Tandem bikes are the “most fun of all rental opportunities,” says Manager Joel Erickson. Park for free, pick out a favorite rental and start the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway on the Midtown Greenway.
Penn Cycle & Fitness
710 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Just a block away from the Midtown Greenway, “you can rent a variety of bikes like the Trek Hybrid and FX bikes as well as the Electra Townie. You can also rent road bikes from Trek and child trailers from Burley,” says Store Manager Tim Larson. Fat bikes from Trek, Surly and 9:Zero:7 are available year-round in Penn Cycle Eagan and Minnetonka stores.
Open: Apr 1, 2014 – Oct 31, 2014
You will be busy exploring 85 miles of bike trails and thousands of acres of waterways in and around Rochester. Rent an adult bike, kid’s bike, tandem bike, peddle go-kart or baby trailer at Silver Lake Boat and Bike Rentals. Electric paddle boats, kayaks and canoes are also available for a trip around Silver Lake or down the Zumbro River.
Related: Best Bike Shops In The Twin Cities
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.