St. Joseph – Sauk Centre – Spicer -Hutchinson – St. Joseph
BAM 2019 was a loop tour beginning and ending in St. Joseph, Minnesota. Host communities along the way included Sauk Centre, Spicer, and Hutchinson. Minnesota’s central lakes area offered incredible views and much to explore. Each day cyclists rode between 60 to 70 miles on paved roadways and trails.
Thursday, August 15. Day 1: St. Joseph – Sauk Centre
62 miles, 1700 feet of climb
Our first day had us winding through the lake-filled countryside via scenic low-traffic roads and the Lake Wobegon Trail. We stopped to visit the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and St. John’s Abbey Church at St. John’s University.
From there, it was on to the Hemker Park & Zoo to see the penguins, giraffes, camels, zebras, kangaroos, otters and a whole lot more! Once in Sauk Centre, we toured the Historic Boyhood Home of Nobel Prize winning author Sinclair Lewis, visited the Carnegie Library – listed on the National Register of Historic Places – which also houses the Sauk Centre History Museum and Research Center and strolled down Main Street with its unique shops and restaurants. Lakeside camping offered a great opportunity to relax and make new friends.
Friday, August 16. Day 2: Sauk Centre – Spicer
66 miles, 1600 feet of climb
On Friday we rode through a wind farm on our way to the Max Bat baseball factory in Brooten, MN. They make bats for all levels of softball and baseball, including the Major Leagues. Later on, we stopped at Sibley State Park and helped them celebrate their 100th anniversary. Some riders went for a swim at their public beach, canoed, or hiked to the top of Mount Tom and visited the exhibits in their Interpretive Center.
We enjoyed beautiful lake views as we headed to Spicer. That evening, many were entertained by the Little Crow Ski Team as they performed their water ski show.
Saturday, August 17. Day 3: Spicer – Hutchinson
Regular route: 57 miles, 1200 feet of climb
Century route: 100 miles, 2000 feet of climb
On Saturday, riders had three routes to choose from – a 57 mile, an 80 mile or a century ride!
A century ride is a road biking event of 100 miles or more and is a true badge of honor among cyclists. The century route offered plenty of lake views as the course traveled around portions of Green Lake and Lake Koronis. The route also included a portion of the Glacial Lakes State Trail.
All routes included a stop at the Forest City Stockade to visit a rebuilt stockade and see volunteers in 1800-style dress illustrate period rituals and activities.
Once in Hutchinson, our host town for the evening, we will camped near the Hutchinson Aquatic Center and enjoyed a dip in the outdoor pool and slid down the water slides.
Dinner was on our own that evening. Part of BAM’s mission is to bring tourism to the host cities on the route so we invited riders to explore the many local dining options in Hutchinson for their final evening meal in lieu of a group meal.
Sunday, August 18. Day 4: Hutchinson – St. Joseph
68 miles, 1700 feet of climb
On our final day, we wound our way back to St. Joseph on more quiet, country roads.
We visited the Darwin Twine Ball Museum and saw the world’s largest twine ball made by one man. Francis A. Johnson started his obsession in March of 1950 and wrapped twine for 4 hours every day for 23 weeks. He finally stopping adding to his creation in 1979. The Twine Ball is 13 ft in diameter, 40 ft in circumference, and weighs 17,400 pounds! We also were able to see Johnson’s other creation, The World’s Largest Hand Carved Multiple Pliers.
Finally, we arrived back at St. Joseph to say our goodbyes.