Bike Ride to Siren, WI

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siren trail.jpg

On Friday I rode my bike 97.4 miles to a friend's cabin a couple of miles outside of Siren, Wisconsin. I had been planning this trip all summer and in fact was thinking of taking it in early June. I wasn't ready and spent the last couple of months training by going on rides ranging from 30 to 70 miles. The training definitely helped as I had plenty of energy as I finished the ride. My ass was (is) sore from sitting on a bike for 9 hours, but I definitely had enough gas to go even further. Here are some other thoughts as I spent nearly 11 hours going from Minneapolis to Siren on a bike:

There is a huge shift in the neighborhoods around the state capitol. One moment one is riding by mansions of former railroad, lumber, and milling barons and then next riding by tired old single family homes, public housing barrack-style housing, and rough looking bars. All in less than 10 minutes on a bike.

The ride took about 45 minutes longer than I had conservatively hoped. There were a couple of reasons for this: 1) My calves started cramping early in the trip. In fact after only 12 miles or so. I did lots of stretching but was never able to fully shake the cramps. I will need to talk to a doctor about how I can overcome this issue. 2) I was going against a steady head wind the whole trip. Look at the map above, it is primarily a north-east route and the wind was coming out of the north the whole day. 3) The Gandy Dancer Trail which I took from St. Croix Falls to Siren was crushed limestone, which I knew, and it slowed me down more than I thought. Also it was primarily uphill for 24 of the 32 miles on the trail.

Of the 97 miles. I would say less than 30 was not on a designated trail and a lot of that was on back country roads with wide shoulders so I felt pretty safe as far as car-bike relations went. The Gateway Trail from St. Paul to north of Stillwater is a very nice trail and quite interesting as one moves from inner city to suburban sprawl, to exurban development, to farmland. The Gandy Dancer Trail in Wisconsin is mostly through farmland and woods and is adequately maintained and quite empty. I saw no other bikers on the Gandy Dancer. Since it was Wisconsin, every time the trail entered a town, there were helpful signs letting me know where to find the local tavern.

When one is on a back country road and with no one else in sight with an I-Pod blaring in one's ears, it is natural to start singing out loud like one does alone in their car. If the woman who was getting her mail south of Scandia is reading this, I was singing the Talking Heads Building on Fire as I rode by, just in case you were wondering.

For the second year in a row I was able to accomplish a goal I set out early in the year for my bike. Which means I need a new and tougher goal for next year. Right now I am thinking of a bike trip to Duluth or Two Harbors, maybe with an overnight stay. I am open for suggestions however.

9 Comments

Congrats on reaching Siren. I hope you had a good time at the cabin.

Wow, 97 miles! Congrats!

Damned impressive, sir.

That's amazing, free. Congrats, and I bet it feels good (minus the cramps and sore ass that is).

Care to share with me the route you took? I am planning the same trip myself and I'm unsure which way to go. Looking for ideas. Thanks.

Sure.

From SW Minneapolis I took the Greenway to the River, Summit Avenue to the Capital where I connected with the Gateway Trail (see link above). I had to take some back country roads from the end of the Gateway Trail to Taylors Falls. Cross the River into Wisconsin and the Gandy Dancer Trailhead is on your right about a mile into Wisconsin. The Gandy Dancer (again see link above) will take you right into Siren and beyond.

Yeah, the gritty piece was from the Gateway Trail to Taylors Falls. Not sure what route to take there. I guess I'll figure it out once I get out there. Thanks.

Sorry, I shoulda figured out that was the tricky part.

Assuming you can look these up on google maps....

I took Norell Ave and then Olinda Trail North (both had wide shoulders and practically non-existent traffic). The hard part is to figure out when to head east to Highway 95. I took 260th Avenue across. However that was a mistake as it was a gravel road that was recently re-graveled. You can take Highway 97 east in Scandia. It looked like it had a decent shoulder. Highway 95 didn't have the greatest shoulder in places so I wanted to stay off of it as much as possible. 260th Ave is the furthest north before Olinda veers west. But that gravel road was a pain. I can't remember if 220th Ave or 240th Ave were gravel or not, sorry.

Good luck, it's a great ride!

Sweet! Thx.

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This page contains a single entry by Freealonzo published on August 24, 2009 10:03 AM.

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