THUNDER BAY IRON MAN BICYCLE TOUR

We completed a 9-day bicycling adventure through Wisconsin, Minnesota, to Thunder Bay Ontario Canada in June 2005. We biked a 410-mile route that included highways and bike trails.

Of the 9 days, we spent one day driving up, 6 days biking, and 2 days driving home. We usually rode 60-80 miles/day.

Our trip began in Hager City, Wisconsin (on the Mississippi across from Red Wing, MN).

We biked north on Hwy 35, following the Great River Road. We crossed into Minnesota at St Croix Falls. On to Hinkley, MN where we encountered a severe thunderstorm with hail.

We biked the Willard Munger trail north to Duluth, MN, the Western Waterfront Trail through Duluth, and old Rt 61 along the northern shore of Lake Superior.

We biked portions of the Gitchee-Gummi Trail, which is still under development.

One boy crashed his bike on the Gitchee-Gummi trail on a sharp turn. He shattered his carbon fiber fork and ruined his front wheel. We transported him to Two Harbors Memorial Hospital where he was treated for abrasions and his right arm x-rayed. No fractures, but his elbow was sprained. His arm was splinted and the doctor ordered no biking for 24 hours. After that he continued the ride with his arm splinted using a spare bike.

BTW, the doctor was also a cyclist and knew the turn where our guy crashed. He had previous patients from that same spot.

We biked through about a half dozen or more beautiful State Parks, past incredible rocky Lake Superior shoreline, lighthouses, etc., etc.

Crossing the border into Canada was amazingly easy. No paperwork was asked for, not even a drivers license. We had birth certificates, written parental permission slips, and photo IDs along for all the boys.

Crossing the Canadian Shield into Thunder Bay presented us with some steep climbs. We saw one moose and a bald eagle along the way.

We visited Kakabeka Falls Prov Park and Fort William. A major storm system producing lightning and golf ball size hail north of Thunder Bay. Under the potential threat of tornado we decided to stay at a hotel that night.

We later celebrated the ride at Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis.

The trip cost $300.00, which included 3 hotels, and 5 nights of camping. Most of the 25 meals were eaten at restaurants (some pretty nice ones too). We also included high carb snacks.

This completes the northern anchor of a larger ride criss crossing America. We've been doing installments of 250-500 miles for several summers. We've biked about 4,000 miles so far; north/south now from Thunder Bay ON to Memphis, TN; and east/west from Portland, ME to Couer d'Alene, ID.

It was a great experience for the boys, ages 14-16. They were all first year riders in our Iron Man cycling program. I am very proud of each of them.

Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33

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