24 Aug Urban Biking: The Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis
It only makes sense that one of the best bike cities in the world has a trail that has been voted the best urban bike trail in the United States. That trail is the Midtown Greenway—the trail is 5.5 miles long and runs through Minneapolis, Minnesota. We’ve been out on the Greenway twice this year, most recently with our new Raleigh Bicycles!
Open to both bikers and walkers, the Midtown Greenway was built along an old railway corridor. The path spans south Minneapolis from the Mississippi River to the Chain of Lakes area, and the trail connects directly to several other bike paths.
The Midtown Greenway is open 24/7—it is lit at night and the snow is plowed in the winter, meaning the trail can be used all year long. Most of the path offers uninterrupted trails by passing over or under the roads via a bridge system. Even though most of the trail bypasses car traffic, there are still several roads and smaller streets that need to be crossed. There are over 25 exit and entrance points along the 5.5 miles of trail, some of which are stairways and others are ramps.
Another important aspect of the Greenway is art, and The Midtown Greenway Coalition works to bring performance art, temporary art and permanent art to the trail. One of the permanent art exhibits along the Greenway, takes place at some of the rest stops and benches. These benches are home to bronze shoes as well as questions about journeys you have taken in your life. The theme of this art exhibit is personal journeys and each stop highlights and discusses history, work, culture and life. Other past and present exhibits have been displays such as sculptures, graffiti, paintings and portraits.
The trail has been around for quite awhile now (over 15 years!), but it was completed over a number of years through various phases. Phase one of the trail opened in 2000, phase two opened in 2004 and the final phase opened in 2006. Since 2006, there have been various improvements to the trail and there is talk that the trail could be extended even farther in the future. There is also a convenient stop called The Freewheel Midtown Bike Center, which offers riders a bike store, repair shop, showers, and lockers.
One of the aspects we enjoyed most about the trail was the amount of greenery and trees along the way. Yes, we were riding through a city, but it was great to have a little escape and find so much nature on the trail, as well.
I also like the fact that there are community events held on the trail. A couple of the recent/upcoming events are a Progressive Dinner on the Greenway, a Craft Beer Bike Ride, and a Greenway Glow Arts Festival. These fun events are organized in collaboration with local businesses near the trail, and they incorporate biking, running, eating, drinking and the arts.
We have been loving our new bikes and were excited when we could try them out on a fantastic trail that we’ve been wanting to explore. I loved riding my bike along the Greenway—the ride was smooth and it gave me an opportunity to test out shifting gears on a longer ride. The gears were easy to maneuver and I felt like I could keep on riding, even when we finished. Plus, I love how light and easy my bike is to transport to and from the trail.
Micah liked that even though he has a mountain bike, he didn’t feel out of place with it on the city trail; however, it did make him anxious to get out on an actual mountain bike trail soon. Both bikes have been great so far and we can’t wait to take them out on future rides!
Have you been on an urban bike trail before? Where is your favorite place to bike?
Special thanks to Raleigh Bicycles for providing us with complimentary bikes! As always, all opinions are our own.