Duluth offers plethora of biking options

Photo by Brett Groehler

Photo by Brett Groehler

Bike riding is one of the more prominent outdoor activities in Duluth. With over 90 trails, there are plenty of opportunities to get tread on your tires.

“The trails are super fun,” said Levi Nelson, a senior at UMD, as well as an avid cyclist, “and there are like four that are close to campus.”

A way to get more involved or find people who have the same affinity for biking is the UMD Cycling Club. They hold weekly rides and welcome all levels of interests and abilities.

“My freshman year there was an opportunity to sign up for three club meetings,” Nelson said. “Probably about 20 or 30 freshman went on a ride to Hartley. That was a good way to get to know some new people and get a feel for the club.”

Natural wear and tear can cause some issues for bike maintenance. In 2013, UMD added three bike fixing stations throughout campus. They can be found outside of the Kirby Bus Hub and Lake Superior Hall, as well as on the path from Woodland Avenue to campus.

Associate director of RSOP Tim Bates believes that the fixing stations give students a cheaper and convenient way to fix their bike.

“There’s not an opportunity or location close to campus where a student that might not have any tools can repair their bike,” Bates said. “You would have to go to a bike shop if you didn’t have any of your own tools.”

The fixing stations have a variety of tools and wrenches to make basic adjustments on a bike, as well as pumps to put air in the tires.

There are many opportunities and resources to get out biking in Duluth. Bates encourages students to ride.

Map by Rebecca Kottke

Map by Rebecca Kottke

“Having a bike on campus opens your world to so many different things in the community,” Bates said. “It’s great for health and fitness. Rather than ride a vehicle, get on a bike and go exploring.”

A resource for figuring out where to ride is the Cyclists of Gitchee Gumee Shores (COGGS). The group gives updates on the condition of the major mountain biking trails in Duluth: Hartley, Duluth Traverse, Lester, Mission Creek, Piedmont and Spirit Mountain. Along with trail length and skill level, COGGS goes into detail about the history of each trail and how it was constructed.

Another resource is Trailforks. They rely on users to log in and contribute information about every individual trail within the major trails. For most of the trails there is also a description of it, as well as a closer look at the outline of the trail.

On campus, the Office of Sustainability, Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP), Transportation and Parking and the UMD Wellness Program have come together to create the Bike-to-Campus Program. It began in 2011 and the purpose is to encourage students and faculty to ride their bikes or use alternate ways of transportation to get to campus.

To get started, bring your bike to RSOP and an employee will put a Radio Frequency Identification tag on the front wheel of the bike. Once the bike is tagged it needs to be registered.

To get credit for riding, you will have to go past a “Zap Station,” with one of them located between the Darland and the Lund Heating Plant and the other near the Stadium Apartments. A “beep” will sound when passing the “Zap Station.” Within 15 minutes the data will be transferred to your calendar.

In the past, they used to hold monthly prize drawings for students who rode their bike to campus at least eight times that month. Due to budget cuts, there are no prize drawings this year.

For students who don’t have a bike, the RSOP’s Buck-A-Bike Program allows students to rent a refurbished bike for the day for only one dollar.