13 Essential Minnesota Spring Bike Events

By Brian Fanelli

Almanzo Craig Linder
Two horses run alongside riders at the Almanzo 100 in southern Minnesota. Photo by Craig Linder.
 

Spring in Minnesota can be unpredictable. Will March usher in 80 degree days, or will it be snowing through May? Heck, it might do both. But unlike our famously fickle forecasts, you can always rely on the Minnesota bike community. Without fail, every spring in Minnesota is packed with a variety of fun bike events. Whether you’re a social city rider, BMX hound, gravel enthusiast or mountain biker, Minnesota’s spring biking schedule has something for everyone. So get pumped for spring with these essential bike events.  

MARCH

Ride The Factory by Dustin Grice
A BMX rider catching some air at The Factory in Northeast Minneapolis. Photo by Dustin Grice.

RideMN’s White Knuckle Jam

Choosing the right party to attend can be hard. Do you go to the bicycle party, or the art show? And what about that dance party across town? Well, at the RideMN White Knuckle Jam, held at The Factory on Saturday, March 25, you don’t need to choose. Complete with bicycle moto cross freestyle contest, subversive art show and an electronic dance party, White Knuckle Jam has something for everyone. Come as a spectator or drop in to the freestyle contest to compete for big prizes.

Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville

Saturday, March 25, the Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville race will be ~80 miles on a mix of gravel, pavement, and as much off road and questionable stuff as mother nature will allow. Ride out from Harry's Cafe in Lakeville, to Milltown Cycles in Faribault, and return. Start will be from Harry's at 8AM, park in the Walmart lot. Rider cap of ~100 people, email the race organizer to reserve your spot today.

14th Annual Twin Cities Bicycle Club Swap Meet

A long standing Twin Cities Bicycle Club tradition, the annual swap meet is free, open to the public, and brimming with bargains. Head to Hopkins on Saturday, March 25 to discover a variety of ready-to-ride bikes, bicycle frames, components, trailers, accessories, cycling clothing & shoes, bicycling books & videos, and much more.

APRIL

30 Days of Biking Group Shot

A group of joyful cyclists meet up for the weekly Thursday Ride hosted by 30 Days of Biking.


30 Days of Biking

30 Days of Biking is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April and share your adventures online: #30daysofbiking. This Minnesota-born tradition began as a tweet among friends and has grown into a bonafide phenomenon, with 8,566 participants who made the pledge in 2016. There’s no minimum distance — down the block and around your basement count just like a 20-mile commute or a 350-mile charity ride. If you miss a day, no worries — just keep riding and don’t give up! Check their website for friendly group rides near you, or take the opportunity to host one yourself!

30 Days of Biking Kickoff Ride

Celebrate the beginning of 30 Days of Biking in the town where it all started! Saturday, April 1, meet at 11 a.m. at The Commons Park in Minneapolis to enjoy artisan-roasted coffees from Bell Lap Coffee before hitting the streets at noon for a slow-paced bike stroll around the Twin Cities. End the ride with an after party at Surly Brewing Company's dynamite Destination Brewery (every rider gets one free beer or beverage).

Perennial Cycle Pastry Rides

Kick off your weekends the right way by heading to Perennial Cycle in Uptown Minneapolis every Saturday morning in April for a slow-paced morning bike ride to pastries. Each week riders gather in the parking lot behind Perennial Cycle before rolling to one of the Twin Cities' fabulous local bakeries (the shop owner, Luke, buys everyone a complimentary treat). All are welcome at these family- and beginner-friendly rides. Bring your helmet, reusable coffee mug and appetite for treats! 9 a.m. meet up, 9:30 roll out.

MN Ironman Ride

Entering its 51st year on Sunday, April 30, the Minnesota Ironman Bicycle Ride is the longest running 100-mile ride in Minnesota and an annual tradition for thousands of riders across the upper Midwest. Unlike past years that have begun in Stillwater, this year’s event is spreading some love to the west metro. Riders will gather at Waconia Senior High School to choose from 19, 26, 45, 55 and 100 mile journeys. Register early, or show up for in-person registration before 9:30 a.m. on the day of the race (8:30 a.m. registration cut-off for 100-mile riders).

MAY

Detroit Mountain biking2_Justin Miller_1400x570.jpg
Mountain bikers ride down a wood feature at Detroit Mountain. Photo by Justin Miller.
 

Mankato History Ride

Don your finest tweed apparel and hop on your velocipede to explore Mankato on this 14 mile, go-slow group bicycle ride. Expect frequent stops for brief history presentations, and an extended stop for lunch at the South Front Street restaurant of your choosing (lunch is not provided by the ride). Vintage bicycles will be on display at the Mankato Brewery at the end of the ride. This event is free and open to the public. Helmets are required and tweed is recommended. Early May, actual date TBD.

Fulton Gran Fondo

On Saturday, May 6, head to Northeast Minneapolis for the 4th annual Fulton Gran Fondo: a celebration of all things bikes, bands and beers. The ride departs from the Fulton Production Brewery in the morning with riders embarking on the 100 mile "Gran", or shorter (45-50 mile) "Medio" Fondo. Not riding? The free block party starts at noon and is open to all, with plenty of live music, food trucks, and Fulton beers to go around.

Lake Pepin 3 Speed Bike Tour Ad Large
The Lake Pepin Tour's lackadisical spirit is perfectly captured in this vintage bicycle advertisement
 

Lake Pepin 3 Speed Tour

Head to Red Wing for this unique bike tour down memory lane held over two days, May 13 and 14. The Lake Pepin 3-Speed Tour is based on cycle touring in pre-war England. Leave behind your modern equipment, but make room for your sense of adventure. Wear something appropriate for eagle watching or sitting in a café, and bring an honest-to-goodness rain cape because, of course, it rains in England. Be prepared to make new friends and be swept away by the scenery. Be prepared to stop here and there to take a photo or complain about your hard saddle or make an entry in your Tourbook. Be prepared to keep in mind it's not the destination you'll remember but the journey.

Almanzo 100

The Almanzo 100 needs no introduction. One of the most iconic gravel races in the country, this 100-mile ride starts in Spring Valley and brings the pain with mammoth hills, headwinds and choppy terrain. Make no mistake: this is a difficult race to finish. There’s no support team. Out here it’s just you, your bike and 100 miles of Minnesota’s most notorious gravel roads. But that’s why we love it. Saturday, May 20.

Detroit Mountain Shakedown

Race number two in the ten-race Minnesota Mountain Bike Series, the Detroit Mountain Shakedown is an exciting opportunity to experience what mountain bikers in Northwest Minnesota have known for years: these trails will blow you away. Held on Sunday, May 21, this premier mountain bike trail system throws racers a unique blend of tight and rooty singletrack, doubletrack, flow trails, flowy descents, gravity trails and custom built wood features. It’s a unique race course that will test and entertain all levels of riders.

Le Grand Du Nord

The second annual Le Grand Du Nord, held this year on Saturday, May 27, is one of the most amazing gravel courses in the country. Riders roll out of the stunning Grand Marais harbor and gradually climb to within a stone’s throw of Canada to find some of the North Shore’s most scenic views. From this halfway checkpoint, rides will grind through punchy rolling hills until finally descending back into Grand Marais. The 100 mile course is predominately gravel/US Forest Service road and includes almost 6,000 feet of climbing. You’ll never say Minnesota is flat again.