My Home Trail

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?


This post filed under topics: Beargrease El Mariachi Fatbike Mountain Biking Thomas Scherber

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Thomas Scherber

Thomas Scherber

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.


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Joe | November 15th, 2013

Vultures Knob in Wooster Ohio. 11 years ago when I rode there for the first time, I ended up with a few stitches to show for it. Back in the day it was about 50% rideable for the most of us. Since then it has gone through many changes but it is the best trail around. I feel at home every time my tires touch that awfully sticky mud.

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brianW | November 15th, 2013

My go to trail is Bartram Trail along the shores of Lake Thurman on the GA/SC border just north of Augusta.  It is an 18 mile trail one way.  Nothing technical, just a place I can cruise, push it hard, relax, or best of all ride it with my wife and 4 daughter.  My 11 year old did her first night ride last week there and loved it.  For added challenge I can connect it with keg Creek and Mistletoe trails for 65ish mile ride with only 5 miles not singletrack.

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Stephen Boyd | November 16th, 2013

I just rediscovered the River Bottoms trail after a long absence. Bought a Mukluk2 this fall and started doing the Fat Bottoms group rides on Saturday mornings. Beautiful place to explore with a fat bike.

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Jack Mitchell | November 25th, 2013

I recently bought the carbon XX1 and have not stopped grinning every time I get on it.  I am spending all my time in the mountains around Ojai Ca and in the river bottom.  Am waiting for a chance to get up to Mammoth Mountain and try it in the snow.  What a great bike

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John Mullens | December 8th, 2013

The Olde Muskingum Trail, in Stark County. By way of the Ohio-Erie Towpath Trail. I discovered this one in 2012 and finished building a Fargo 3 in late summer of that year. The Fargo has become a frequent flier on the trail. We’ll pick the Ohio-Erie up near our house, ride about 12mi into Canal Fulton then pick up the Olde Muskingum til it ends about 6mi south of town. Then, we pick the towpath trail back up and ride south until reaching a popular LBS/trailhead/deli for lunch and shopping. It’s a nice 41mi round trip.

Those of you who believe in ghosts might want to ride that route early in the morning or late in the evening, watching for the occasional whistlepost, mile marker, abandoned section of rail or long-discarded air brake cylinder. The route was a PRR/Penn Central/Conrail main line back in the day. Better pedal a little faster…a J-class or E8 might be gaining on you. In the quiet, you can almost hear them.

It would be nice if Stark Parks some day converts the abandoned right-of-way north of Canal Fulton and ties it into the Ohio-Erie Towpath Trail at Clinton, then extends it from its current southern terminus into Massillon and ties it into the Sippo Valley system.

One can dream. I’ll take what we have for now - it’s a lot of fun.

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Joe | December 9th, 2013

I know the Olde Muskingum quite well. And that local bike shop you are talking about is mine!

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