Our 12th Annual!
BAM 2017 Tour will begin in Walker, Minnesota, with overnights in the host communities of Bemidji, Park Rapids and Staples before ending in Walker. Northern Minnesota has incredible scenery with crystal blue lakes, the smell of pine in the air, much to explore and nearly guaranteed beautiful sunsets every evening. Each day cyclists can expect to bike 65 to 75 miles with a Century option on Day 2.
Wednesday, August 23. Begin your tour in Walker. We will have a spot for riders to pitch tents Wednesday night or stay in the comfort of a local hotel before heading out for four days of cycling. Arrive early to take in the sights of Walker including the Walker General Store (a vintage-inspired shop that will take you back in time), Aunt Belle’s Confectionary (a drool-worth candy store), or the many beautiful and winding roads and trails in the area, including the undulating Shingobee Trail. Watch the sun set over Leech Lake before retiring for the evening.
Thursday, August 24. Day 1. Walker to Bemidji. 65 miles. 1,200 feet of climbing. Day 1 of cycling heads to the north along country roads and portions of the Heartland, Paul Bunyan and Mi Gi Zi trails while winding through the Chippewa National Forest. Visit Lyle’s Logging Camp and Cass Lake Museum along the way. Then its onto Bemidji, where there’s much to see including Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Lake Bemidji, the Beltrami County History Center, and the Headwaters Science Center…or head to Bemidji Brewing and try one of the beer “paddles”!
Friday, August 25. Day 2. Bemidji to Park Rapids. 68 miles. 2,300 feet of climbing. (Century Option – 100 miles and 3,300 feet of climbing total for day) We leave Bemidji and pedal along the Great River Road/MRT (Mississippi River Trail) on our way to Itasca State Park and the Headwaters of the Mississippi. Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest state park and totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Walk across the mighty Mississippi as it starts its winding journey 2,552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico! Add just 32 miles for a Century option, which offers the beauty of Lake Bemidji, Lake Bemidji State Park and Wilderness Drive in Itasca State Park. If you’ve never ridden 100 miles before, Day 2 offers a perfect first Century to try! Lots of gently rolling terrain. Then we’ll continue south to Park Rapids for the evening.
Saturday, August 26. Day 3. Park Rapids to Staples. 74 miles. 1,000 feet of climbing. From Park Rapids we’ll make our way to the Menahga Historical Museum for a glimpse into local history in an historic building including an old-fashioned kitchen and living room with pump organ, a 1903 fire engine, and the Lake & Pine Baseball Hall of Fame. The England Prairie Pioneer Days Threshing Festival is scheduled along the route where you can watch threshing and sawmill demonstrations, an antique tractor show, or refuel on homemade pie. Then move on down the road into Staples, where you’ll find fun at the Rail Road Days Festival including a parade and free corn on the cob!
Sunday, August 27. Day 4. Staples to Walker. 70 miles. 1,100 feet of climbing. The final day of riding turns us back north. We’ll go through Nimrod, Nevis (be sure to get your photo taken with the Nevis Muskie!), and Akeley (where you can sit in the ‘hand’ of the 33-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan) before getting into Walker, where riders will retrieve their cars and bid farewell to new and old friends.