Ride Boldly!

Bikes, bicycling, and road safety.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Starts June 15

Nature Valley Bicycle FestivalTomorrow, the first two stages of the 2011 Nature Valley Bicycle Festival will hit St. Paul, and wander around the area (including Wisconsin) through Sunday. This is a fun pro event, offering a variety of disciplines and opportunities to watch race action. The criterium stages are especially good events to attend with children, as unlike a road race everyone gets to see the racers repeatedly — a key entertainment plus with little ones in tow.

The schedule is also good to know for another reason: If you need to get around in downtown St. Paul Wednesday, or Uptown on Friday, the race will seriously mess with your routing.

Here’s the race schedule:

  • St. Paul TT: Wednesday, 8:30AM -noon
  • St. Paul downtown criterium: Wednesday, 6:15 PM – 9:00 PM (expo opens at 4)
  • Cannon Falls road race: Thursday, 5:00 PM – 8:30 PMish
  • Uptown criterium: Friday, 6:15 PM – 9:00 PM
  • Menomonie road race: Saturday, noon – 4:15PMish
  • Stillwater criterium: Sunday, 11:45AM – 4:00PM

The St. Paul, Uptown and Stillwater sites are easily accessible via multiple bike routes, with the caveat that going in and out of Stillwater can be a wee rolling and possibly a challenge with small children, trailers or trail a bikes. Using the Midtown Greenway to access the Uptown Crit is a best bet and avoids the headache that is Uptown parking on a Friday evening.

This year’s event also includes a gran fondo in Menomonie, and an amateur race in Stillwater. Most stages feature a kids’ fun race before the pros get rolling. Full info is available at the festival web site.

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Author: julie

Julie Kosbab is an online marketing consultant and active transportation advocate living in Anoka County, Minnesota. She was one of Minnesota's only League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructors when certified in 2005. She is a past member of the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association. She has 2 children and 4 bicycles. Find her on Twitter as @betweenstations.

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