Start Location: Stone Arch Parking Lot (100 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, 55401). Although this is a parking lot, it is a pay lot and fills quickly. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to find parking and get to the start. Both the shorter and longer rides end here.
Route: Cycling along the Mississippi River, this split ride (a short 4.5 mile ride and a longer 12 mile ride) crosses five bridges (the iconic Stone Arch Bridge twice) with splendid views of eleven bridges.
The short route heads north on the bike trail along West River Parkway to Broadway, crosses the bridge, and returns through Boom Island Park and Nicollet Island (where we will cross the Merriam Street Bridge, built in 1887) and St. Anthony Main before crossing the river on the Stone Arch Bridge. This ride is almost entirely on bicycle paths (except for a lightly traveled road on Nicollet Island)is relatively flat.
The longer route continues south along the river, crossing the No.9 Bridge, the Washington Avenue Bridge, and the Franklin Avenue Bridge (the first two bridges are bike/pedestrians only; the Franklin Avenue Bridge has excellent bicycle lanes) before returning along a lovely bicycle trail along the eastern shore of the river and one final crossing of the Stone Arch Bridge. This portion of the route is almost entirely on bicycle paths. There are a couple of relatively steep climbs.
Start/Finish Time: We will start at 9:30 AM. The short ride will take less than an hour. The longer ride will take about 90 minutes.
Average Speed: 6-10 MPH. This ride is designed to be family friendly with a leisurely pace.