Mountain Biking Rules Of The Trail

Last fall Jules and I did a ride at Theodore Wirth Park (sweet single track right in the city!) in Minneapolis where we encountered some knuckleheads on the trail. As we talked about the situation I remembered my membership packet from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (Superior Cycling Association chapter) contained a “rules of the trail” flyer. I have repeated it below from the IMBA website. Following these rules will not only keep us all safe, it will also help foster a positive image of mountain biking… which is critical for expanding trails!

Rules of the Trail

IMBA developed the “Rules of the Trail” to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions.

  1. Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.
  2. Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
  3. Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.
  4. Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.
  5. Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
  6. Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Hiking and camping more your thing? Read my post about Leave No Trace and trail etiquette

BTW- why don’t you go show some love to the IMBA and make a donation. It will make you feel good!


Awesome Drone Video Of Beautiful Grand Marais MN

So the boxing deer video in South Dakota was pretty funny. And the video of the new destination Mountain Bike trail in Duluth was pretty exciting but this. This is makes me want to load the truck and head north. NOW.

Grand Marais FPV from StrangerDejaVu on Vimeo.

What did you think? Pretty cool huh?

If you have never been to Grand Marais you should go. It is a cross between a funky sea village and a wilderness town because, well, because that is exactly what it is. With a cool music and art scene thrown in for good measure. We won’t talk about how long the winter lasts!

Here a couple more posts about the area:

Winter Trails At Cascade State Park

Mt. LeVeaux- The Red Headed Step Child

Oberg Mountain Hike Overview

Cross Country Skiing Pincushion Mountain Trail System In Grand Marais BTW- there is awesome mountain biking here too! And by the Briton Trailhead too!



Quick Hikes Along Highway 61 In SE Minnesota

Panoramic view from Charity Bluff at John A Latsuch State Park

Panoramic view from Charity Bluff at John A Latsuch State Park

Late last fall I squeezed in one last hiking weekend and went to Whitewater State Park. I wrote a trip report about it here. On the way home I did a couple quick hikes along Highway 61 that I had always wondered about…

  • Charity Bluff hike at John A. Latsuch State Park
  • Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area
  • Frontenac State Park

John A. Latsuch State Park

This screen shot from MapMyHike shows the elevation gain of Charity Bluff

This screen shot from MapMyHike shows the elevation gain of Charity Bluff

My first stop was John A. Latsuch State Park which is Minnesota’s smallest state park at just over 1,600 acres.  The hike to Charity Bluff ascends 592 steps in half a mile and the effort is well worth it! The views of the Mississippi river valley are outstanding. I just wish I had been there for the fall colors. Once you are done soaking in the views you can continue on a trail along the bluff top and through the woods.

If the kids are getting a little stir crazy in the car and need to burn off some energy this quick hike should knock them out for the rest of the drive home.

View from the top of Charity Bluff

View from the top of Charity Bluff

Getting there: From Winona go approximately 12 miles northwest on U.S. Highway 61.

Weaver Dunes Scientific and Natural Area

I really wanted to love Weaver Dunes, a Nature Conservancy Site near Kellogg Minnesota. This description from the Nature Conservancy website had me expecting an unknown gem:

Visitors to Weaver Dunes will be captivated by the majestic sand dunes themselves, some of which reach a height of 30 feet. Another highlight is the variety of vegetation on the site. With the arrival of fall, the foliage of the sand prairie and flood plain forests are spectacular. Look for the Blanding’s turtles on their migration routes in June and late August; migrating waterfowl and raptors are numerous at Weaver Dunes.

weaver sand dunes

It was OK. The sand dunes were nothing like dunes I’ve experienced out west in the desert, these were completely covered with vegetation. The highlight was roaming the tall grass and taking some interesting pictures, but it wasn’t exactly stunning scenery. If I were to go again I think it’d be to see the Blanding’s Turtles.

Nonetheless, I say God bless the Nature Conservancy and the great work they do. You should show them some love with a donation.

Getting there (from the North):

-Travel south on Highway 61 to Kellogg, MN turn left into Kellogg at the blue topped water tower.
-At the stop sign, turn right to get on Dodge Street, going south
-Follow the signs to get onto County Road 84, going south
-Travel 5.5 miles south of Kellogg to Township Road 141, a small sand road on the left.
-Turn left onto TWP 141, bear left at the fork, and there is a parking area at the end of the road.

Frontenac State Park

I have been driving by the signs for Frontenac State Park on Highway 61 for years and have always wondered if it was worth stopping. Yeah, its worth it.

View of Lake Pepin from the bluff top at Frontenac State Park

View of Lake Pepin from the bluff top at Frontenac State Park

The views of Lake Pepin, a really wide portion of the Mississippi River, are outstanding. On top of the bluff there is a parking lot and a grassy area that’d be perfect for a picnic.

Even better than a picnic is to celebrate your legs on the 13 miles of hiking trails Frontenac has, most of which are on the bluff top. I patched together a few trails starting on top of the bluff and then descending steeply to river. Almost half of my hike was on top of the bluff and almost half was along the river.

mississippie river

You’ll get your cardio on with the stairs at Frontenac

Of course, as you descend you lose the grand vistas but you gain a new experience of being close to the water and the sound changes to a combination of waves and wind through the trees.

As you wander through the trees be sure to keep on eye on the sky and the tree tops. This is prime Bald Eagle country folks, all the way from Red Wing to Wabasha. Read my post Bald Eagle Viewing In Wabasha to learn more.

Eagles, grand views and a good cardio workout isn’t all this hike has to offer.

MapMyHike screenshot of Frontenac hike route

MapMyHike screenshot of Frontenac hike route

There is also a pretty cool rock formation called In Yan Teopa Rock, which is Dakota for “rock with opening”.  According to the park sign, there are many legends about In Yan Teopa Rock with the most common being that Native Americans used it for religious ceremonies but that hasn’t been substantiated.



Charity Bluff at John A Latsuch State Park: 3.5 out of 5 Boots. Good short leg stretcher with great views after steep climb

Weaver Sand Dunes: 2 out of 5 Boots, at least for hiking. I only recommend it if you want to see the rare Blandings Turtle.

Frontenac State Park: 3 out of 5 Boots. Best views are between the car and the trail. Still worth the time if you are in the area. Highlights include Eagles, views and In Yan Teopa Rock.


Random TrailPotato Post

Tying Shoelaces Sucks: Knot Bone LaceLock Eliminates The Task

I hate tying my shoelaces. Even when I double knot them they either eventually come untied or I can’t get the knot undone. That’s why I always buy Salomon running shoes like these… no knots to tie!

So when I opened my box of swag from Nite Ize, I was excited to check out the KnotBone LaceLocks. Note: if you read my Action Armband review you know the story of how I got introduced to them and that they have given me some product for free to review (and if you buy via one of these links I may get a small commission from the retailer).

When I first opened the package and couldn’t figure them out intuitively, I thought, “oh oh, these are going to be a great idea poorly executed”. Then I read the directions. I know my wife won’t believe that but, its true and they weren’t bad, mainly pictures. My kind of directions. No pesky words or 3 point font.

I know you’re thinking, “wonderful, the directions are good but, what about the actual product”?. Well, the LaceLocks are pretty cool but, I give them a high rating for a reason perhaps a little different from what Nite Ize intended.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Boots. If you don’t mind the commitment the LaceLock is a good alternative to tying knots. But tying knots is faster. For me, I will be carrying them as a cheap back-up for dealing with broken laces.


The way the LaceLock works is you slide the lace into the lock and cinch it in place. With no knot to tie, you have a lot of extra shoe string left over so, the directions instruct you to cut the extra length of shoe lace off. In other words, you gotta commit and that is the thing I didn’t like. What if I take the lock off to dry my boot and lose it? Then there isn’t enough lace to tie it back up the old fashion way that Mom taught me.

Fellas, another thing is they are not chick magnets by any means… they look a little goofy. But, the main reason I don’t think I will be using the KnotBone LaceLock all the time is that they are putzy and slower than tying my shoe.

KnotBone LaceLock Instructions

So, given that somewhat harsh assessment why do I give them a high rating? Because they work and I’ve had laces break out on the trail. The LaceLock is so small and light weight it is going to be a mainstay in my back… just in case I break a shoelace. That alone makes them worth the couple bucks and at such a low price they are a great value. I’ll definitely be adding them to my list of great gift ideas.

These puppies are NOT coming undone

These puppies are NOT coming undone