Group Bike Rides in Central Minnesota Are Enjoyable Recreational and Social

Organizer Randy Noordmans owns Wheels and Things LLC in Pine River and is part of a group working to get Pine River designated as suitable for bikes. He proposed the plan to organize weekly hikes at a meeting for the Bike Friendly Pine River group.

“I decided, hey, we have this beautiful Paul Bunyan trail running through town and fall is a great time for biking,” Noordmans said. “I decided I was looking forward to making Pine River a bike friendly town. It’s kind of a stepping stone in that direction to get people to recognize what we have here. I decided. since I cycle regularly anyway I might as well invite people to come with me. “

Since September 19, he has met a group of people at 3 p.m. every Sunday at the Pine River Information Center. Many in his group saw leaflets that Noordmans posted all over town. They are not always the same either. The first trip there were four in addition to Noordmans and his family. A couple showed up on September 26 and there were three new runners on October 3.

Each time the group gets together, they start by making a plan to figure out which direction they want to go and how far they want to cycle. They take into account the direction of the wind and the temperature, as well as the slight upward slope when moving north. No one has to go the whole distance.

“We did 12 miles on the first trip,” Noordmans said. “Not all eight of them made it all the way. We leave together and end up together a bit, but if you want to turn around before we reach our goal for the day, no one is going to force you to do it all. Kilometers. You’re just aiming for a goal and if you don’t, it’s more about having fun and enjoying the bike ride than killing yourself. “

The bike group caters for all experience levels, including riders like Rodney Dibble, who rides a bike several times a week but wouldn’t hesitate to take longer rides. Likewise, Troy Gregory felt grateful for the at-your-pace approach to the race. He said it made him more welcoming.

“It was kind of at our pace,” said Gregory. “We kind of set a destination and a couple continued on their own and I stayed with another friend and then there was some behind us too. So you can sort of split up into groups and rate it yourself. and nobody seems to care if it’s like that. “

Some of those who join the bike rides find that riding a bike with a group makes it more enjoyable and makes them more likely to set aside time for cycling.

“I like to cycle in general. It’s one of the things I love to do when I have the time, ”said Gregory. “So I think having a group and committing to other people always appeals to you a bit more. You sort of devote time to it in your schedule. “

“I think it will make me use my bike more,” said Dibble. “It’s good company to be around and it livens up the city a bit.”

Biking the trail not only puts cyclists in close contact with the surrounding forest, but also provides a social opportunity to meet new people.

“I think of some of the people I met in the first race,” said Gregory. “It’s kind of inspiring to hear some of them say 30 miles is a normal bike ride for them as I look at six miles.”

Randy Noordmans, Rodney Dibble and Mary Kay take part in a <a class=bike ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail north of Pine River as part of a weekly continuous hike. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal” width=”1140″ height=”-1″/>

Randy Noordmans, Rodney Dibble and Mary Kay take part in a bike ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail north of Pine River as part of a weekly continuous hike. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Of course, there are also the health benefits.

“It allows me to move and reduce my weight,” Dibble said.

These are just a few of the reasons Noordmans, Gregory, Dibble, and other community members strive to make Pine River a bike friendly community. If the interest seems sufficient, Noordmans plans to set up a more formal club that will meet several times a week for bike rides.

“It’s really in the brainstorming stages,” Noordmans said. “But I’m thinking of doing the same sort of thing as the weekly bike ride next summer, but maybe doing it more often and planning a little more ahead with specific routes in mind. People. could sort of choose, don’t you want to hike this route. Maybe they’ve never been on this route before, maybe they could do it with a few other people to see how it works. is happening. And I would probably do longer trips, but I would also plan a few shorter trips go up. “

Although it is formal, it would not be too strict.

“It wouldn’t be a high engagement. You don’t have to be here that many times,” Noordmans said. “It’s more of another reason to get out and roll, knowing that others are going to plan to roll around then. That sort of thing. Give it a little bit of structure, but not tons of structure where you stand. feel compelled to commit to a yearlong cycling event. “

Those wishing to borrow a bicycle can also arrange to do so by contacting Noordmans at 218-851-9388 at least one day before this week’s ride. Riders must be 18 years old or accompanied by an adult. Riders must bring a helmet and water.

Maria R. Newman