We’ve all heard the saying, “everything looks better from far away.” But for motorcyclists, everything looks better from the vantage point of their bike. With movies like Easy Rider (1969) and books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), the motorcycle has long been at the center of a romantic portrait of American freedom on the open road. And most will agree, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of speeding along the highway with nothing between you and the pavement but a couple wheels and a pair of boots.
So what does Minnesota have to offer motorcyclists? Read on…
Route 7: Just to the northeast of the Twin Cities, Route 7 is a picturesque, 15-mile stretch of sweeping curves heading east to the St. Croix River. With an estimated ride time of about 25 minutes, it’s the perfect choice for when you’re short on time but could use a break from the city. Keep a look out for deer, especially at dusk.
Route 15/Shoreline Dr: To the west of Minneapolis, Route 15 from Lake Minnetonka to Watertown is a beautiful 18-mile ride along rolling hills and winding curves. Finish up with a Cowboy Burger for lunch at Lord Fletcher’s on your way back, while you gaze out at the lake. Estimated time: 34 minutes.
Waconia to Henderson: This 40 mile stretch, beginning in Waconia and ending in Henderson, winds through hills and valleys and is perfect for some introspective solo riding time. Two noteworthy pit stops are Lola’s Lakehouse on Lake Waconia (a great starting point that serves up lobster and shrimp pie!) and Lisa’s Bar in Carver.
Highway 61/North Shore Scenic Drive: If you’ve got a little more time on your hands you can head north from Minneapolis on I-35 until it joins Highway 61 (of Bob Dylan fame). A 150-mile scenic byway from Duluth to the Canadian border that runs alongside Lake Superior, Highway 61 showcases breath-taking vistas of the lake to the southeast and picture-worthy views of the foothills of the Saw Tooth range to the northwest. This close to the border, it’s a ride best enjoyed in the warmer months.
Highway 1: If you’re up for an even longer trip, you can’t go wrong with Highway 1. At 346 miles, it’s the longest state route in the MN. It begins in the wheat fields of western MN at the North Dakota border and ends at Lake Superior, passing through some of the most beautiful forests and lakes that Minnesota has to offer along the way. Be sure to check the weather and road conditions before heading out.
Before you head out to taste that freedom, make sure that you and your bike are in top working order. Although the purpose is fun and enjoyment, motorcycling is extremely dangerous and both physically and mentally demanding. The most important thing – live to ride another day.