Everybody has his or her own favorite “home trail”. The trail they know all the nooks and crannies, and just feel comfortable on. For me, that trail is the River Bottoms. The trail follows the meandering Minnesota River through the southern suburbs of Minneapolis. It is where I spend a lot of my riding time, on either my El Mariachi fat front setup, or Beargrease.
I grew up very close to one of the trailheads. It was next door to the elementary school I went to and the trail provided year-round access to spend lots of time exploring in the woods as a child.
This is where I had my very first mountain bike experience in my early teens. I vaguely remember it as a very muddy adventure, and arguing with my parents about wearing a helmet. I do remember thinking that I would never do it again.
But somewhere along the line, a switch was flipped. Once I started mountain biking in earnest I went down there all the time to ride, including one time where I crashed and had to get stitches between my nose and upper lip. The varying conditions allowed me to constantly find new trails and learn to be a better rider.
The River Bottoms are blessed with floods almost every year. Flooding changes the trail, keeps it fresh, and offers something new from season to season. Copious amounts of river sand make this whole area a fatbike playground.
My favorite time of the year to ride this trail is the fall. We get some pretty amazing fall colors here in Minnesota and a bike on the River Bottoms can get you some views that you most likely won’t otherwise see. The trail runs through part of the largest National Wildlife Refuge found in an urban area, and it shows. Some of the biggest trees you will find in the Twin Cities live here, and wild animals are plentiful. Lots of deer, coyotes, beaver, weasels, owls, and eagles call this area home.
To keep things interesting there is a touch of history too. There are Native American burial mounds, old building foundations and the odd abandoned car carcass to explore. Thankfully this trail is a ten-minute ride from Salsa world headquarters, so I still get to ride it often.
This is my riding happy place; my home trail. Where’s yours?
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I’m the buyer for Salsa and when I’m not staring at spreadsheets, I like to ride bikes, any kind, anywhere. I like to take the road or trail that I have never been down and see where it goes. The band would like to thank: Katy, Bram, Lake Superior, Duluth, craft beer, Low, potatoes, Minnesota, cheap Mexican beer, The Marshall Islands, Gin, Jack Kerouac, The Big Lebowski, Semsational, avocadoes, Copper Harbor, Ernest Hemingway, the outdoors, and The Netherlands.