Bike the Heart

SIDE LAKE — Today cyclists from around the region are set to gather at McCarthy Beach State Park for the first in a series of rides called “Bike the Heart.”

The 15-mile-long ride is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., whisking cyclists along a scenic loop through wetlands and lakes and winding through a facade of pines, like the northern boreal forest laden with strands of reds and whites, leatherleaf-black spruce lowlands, aspen and birch. Riding along the Taconite Trail, people can take in the rich sights of the George Washington State Forest and the Side Lake community.

According to a press release from St. Louis County, the “Bike the Heart” ride is open to the public and is being put on by an outdoor community called the Heart of the Continent Partnership, which is a coalition of land managers and stakeholders who collaborate on cross-border projects with the aim of promoting the cultural, economic and natural health of the area’s forests, lakes and communities along the Ontario and Minnesota border.

A multitude of bike trails are scattered throughout the border amid lakes and scenic vistas, making it a draw for bikers, which inspired the partnership to reach out to various communities and bike clubs to organize a series of differing biking events that are set to take place throughout northeast Minnesota beginning today and running through mid-October.

“We are inviting bike shops, accommodations and cafes that cater to the cycling crowd to join in, so we can help share all that is available to cyclists in the area,” said Frank Jewell, a member of the Heart of the Continent Partnership Steering Committee.

The scheduled events are expected to take riders on various tours, whether urban, dirt or paved trails, including a ride in the old mine site areas of Steep Rock, Shuniah and Mesabi Iron Ranges as well as rides in the Duluth and north shore area.

The McCarthy Beach State Park ride is expected to maintain a fairly flat terrain on grass, gravel and paved surfaces, according to the organization’s website.

To learn more or to view the map and event information, visit www.traveltheheart.org, or contact the park at 218-274-7202.

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