Are you curious about mountain biking? Join me for a beginner’s ride, Wed. June 13

Since I rediscovered mountain biking a year ago, I’ve been promoting the sport to whoever’s willing to listen to my lecture: the new style, erosion-resistant flow trails are hugely fun, even for beginners. And while it helps to have a mountain bike, some of the beginner trails can be ridden with a hybrid bike.

As the new mountain bike ride coordinator for the Cannon Valley Velo Club, I’m going to be scheduling rides for all levels of riders in the coming months. (If you’d like to be kept informed, register here.)

First up: A C/D Level ride at Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails in Harmon Park, Inver Grove Heights, a 35-minute drive from Northfield.

C Level: experienced at riding gravel or dirt trails/roads, few hills, no obstacles

D Level: little or no off-road experience

Riders with A or B level skills are welcome to attend but you’ll be on your own.

Salem Hills was built specifically for beginning/intermediate riders:

The park is about 70 acres, laid out in a long north/south direction with gently rolling hills, a small pond and wet land area.  A major portion of the park is reclaimed farm land that has been seeded with natural prairie grasses and wildflowers.  The city also has sections seeded with hardwoods along with a few small sections of pine forest and a few sections of hardwood forest.

Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails


Wed, June 13: meet at Bridge Square at 4:45 pm if you need a ride. We depart at 5:10.

Meet at Salem Hills at 5:45. We head out on the trails at 6 pm and return to the parking lot no later than sunset, but more likely between 8 and 8:30.

If the trails are wet, they’re closed, so check here for an update. I’ll confirm the ride by noon.

Bring a water bottle. Wear athletic shoes. You have to ride with a helmet on your head. I’ll have tools.


  1. Myrna Mibus said:

    Quick questions:
    1) Should we wear bike shorts/regular shorts for the ride or is it best to have long pants for protection? Or does it really matter?
    2) Do we need bug spray? On my road bike I’m fast enough 😉 that I outride the bugs but I’m not sure this will be the case on a mountain bike on trails.
    3) Once we start are we committed to do the whole loop? I’m slightly concerned that my son will get tired.
    We plan to meet you at Salem Hills!

    June 11, 2012
  2. john george said:

    Just a few questions, Griff-
    1) How do you “bike” a mountain?
    2) Do mountains come with training wheels for beginners?
    3) Most mountains are pretty steep, except for the Sawtooth Range along Hwy 61. Is this reflected in the price for one?
    4) Do you people who ride these things take them for granite?
    Ok, I’ll quit for the time being.

    June 11, 2012
  3. Griff Wigley said:


    1) shorts are fine. Virtually no one wears long pants but it doesn’t really matter

    2) no bug spray needed in general. The only time bugs were a problem for me in my year of riding was when the deer flies were out up in Cuyuna late last summer. They could keep up and were able to get inside my helmet vents.

    3) Salem has a .7 mile initial North loop that ends back at the parking lot. The Pond loop is 1.3 miles that also loops back to the lot. If Ryan’s feeling ambitious at the halfway point of Pond, then we can do the Prairie loop which is 3.6 miles, making for a total of 4.3 because they hook together.

    So we can be flexible!

    June 13, 2012
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Thank for quitting, John!

    June 13, 2012
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Myrna, I just checked the MORC forum trail discussion on Salem Hills and one rider reported on Monday:

    My wife and I rode the trail on Sunday, and the trail needs a trimming soon. The open areas need to be trimmed back. Tall grass and weeds are hip high and growing fast. The wooded areas are ok, but in a week or so the trail will be pretty well overgrown in most areas.

    A MORC guy reported back:

    I sent the city an email regarding the tall grass in the field, mowing should be done soon! Last week of June, just got the reply…

    So it might be best for us to just ride the North and Pond loops tonight and not the Prairie loop. If we’re needing more of a workout, we can do those loops more than once. They’re both fun.

    June 13, 2012
  6. Myrna Mibus said:

    Griff, thanks again for taking me and Ryan out to Salem Hills for some mountain biking fun. Ryan says he wants to go again and I sure am excited to give it another go!

    June 13, 2012