Twin Cities: Best Cities for Bicycling…to Beer?

(Reposted from The Growler)

Sure, Minneapolis has been declared one of Bicycling magazine’s top cities for bicycling—but I’d like to add to that honor by declaring the Twin Cities, as a whole, the best cities for bicycling to beer. Now I realize that my award may not carry the prestige Bicycling magazine’s does, but let me make my case.

Since 2007, bicycling has increased 52% in the Twin Cities. This is in part because of significant cycling infrastructure investments as part of the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program. Minneapolis was selected as one of four cities in the nation to receive $25 million in federal funding to increase bicycling and walking in the city and surrounding areas. In addition to educational programs like the Bike Walk Ambassadors, the program funded a portion of the Nice Ride Minnesota bike-sharing system, Cycles for Change’s Bike Library, and placed more than 75 miles of bike lanes and sidewalks on Twin Cities roads. (Though the recent Transportation Bill will strip bicycling/walking infrastructure funding in the coming years. Boo.)

These bike lanes make it possible to shift from recreational riding to riding for transportation—to the grocery store, to school or work, and, of course, to your local brew-pub.

Hop on the Midtown Greenway to easily navigate to Steel Toe Brewing, The Herkimer, or Harriet Brewing. With easy on- and off-ramps as well as the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center, the Midtown Greenway is a great way for beginning and experienced riders to navigate Minneapolis by bike.

If you need to top off your own brewing supplies, head south along the Bryant Ave. bike boulevard, which parallels Lyndale Ave., to visit Northern Brewer’s Minneapolis location. On the St. Paul side, pedal along the river trail in St. Paul and down the beautiful Summit Ave. bike lane before jutting one block over to the Northern Brewer on Grand Ave.

These are just a few of the bikeways that make it all the easier to pedal to your favorite neighborhood pub, brew-pub, or home-brew supply store. Pick up a copy of the Minneapolis Bicycle Map from Hedberg Maps and a copy of the new Twin Cities Beer Map from Minnehaha Media for easy navigating.

If you’re new to bicycling or to the Twin Cities area, there are a couple of annual group rides that give you an insider’s view on cycling in the city.

The Northeast Ride  is a bike tour that will take you on a twelve-mile creative tour of Northeast Minneapolis (home to some of the best bars in the city, in my opinion). Along the route, you can stop at neighborhood parks for activities such as lawn games, courtesy of Indeed Brewing, slow bike races by Nice Ride Minnesota, and visit the Johnstock Festival with its live local music and more than 50 arts and crafts vendors. The Northeast Ride takes participants along most of the new bikeways and bikelanes in that quadrant of the city and is a great place to begin navigating Northeast roads. It’s the perfect primer for biking to Stanley’s Bar Room, Psycho Suzi’s, and/or to the new Dangerous Man and Indeed Brewing locations. Miss the Northeast Ride this year? Don’t worry—it’s an annual event.

Another great pairing of beer and bikes is the Urban Assault Ride. Open to riders of all abilities, this ride is half obstacle course and half bike race. It is sponsored by New Belgium Brewery, so you know there will be no shortage of good brews to be enjoyed.

If you’re not convinced by these great organized rides, try biking to one of the local brew fests such as the The St. Paul Summer Beer Fest, the Autumn Brew Review, the Beer Dabbler at Highland Fest or Pride, or Firkin Fest. Organizations such as the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition and the North Star Sierra Club also offer annual rides. A new resource, Pedal Minnesota, can help you plan a bike tour and has an extensive events calendar.

And, of course, if you’re still searching for the ultimate bike and beer combo, then call up a few of your friends and rent a Pedal Pub. Then you can bike and drink beer to you heart’s content—and you don’t have to worry about steering!

With so many options to combine beer and bikes, it’s hard not to fall in love with Minneapolis in the summer (or all year for that matter).

As always, drink responsibly, pedal responsibly, and see you on the road!

Onward, to the Muddy Pig & The Happy Gnome!

Amber Collett

About Amber Collett

Amber is a bicycling advocate that lives in Minneapolis and spends a lot of time in Saint Paul. She loves growing and cooking food, knitting, and going on outdoor adventures. She tweets @AmberCollett.