Beating the Winter Blues
- Keep Active
- Get Outside
- Keep Warm – that won’t be a problem!
- See the Light
While the thought of bundling up to head outside for a winter bike ride may not sound appealing to many, it’s actually a lot of fun. You get to be outside and go way off the beaten path to experience nature’s wintry glory. Don’t wait until spring to arrive, head north to Grand Marais for stunningly blue vistas and shimmering snow-covered woods. Plunge into all that mood-lifting whiteness!
“Fat biking is suitable for all level of riders and a bucket-list worthy activity for any curious adventurer.” – Jay, Fireweed Bike Co-op
Unlike traditional mountain bikes, fat bikes are built for stability not speed with wide tires keeping you afloat on the snowy or rocky terrain. Therefore, making for more of a leisure and active ride that is sure to keep your blood pumping. For that reason, even on the coldest of days, overheating is more of a concern than being cold. Nevertheless, you still have to dress for the weather and here are a few basic tips.
Dress in layers – wool or synthetic base layers + outer wind stopping layer. *DO NOT WEAR COTTON!
2 pairs of gloves – thin liner glove + larger mitten will come in handy 😉
Headgear – Helmets are a no brainer of course, but we also recommend a thin hat with a neck gator to block the wind. On cold days you might want goggles.
Footwear – thick warm breathable socks + low profile winter boots. For cold days add some toe warms – less than $2, find them at Stone Harbor or Lake Superior Trading Post both within walking distance of East Bay Suites.
Biking Around Town
Downtown Grand Marais isn’t all that big, so ditch the car at East Bay and explore this quiet little fishing town by bike!
First Stop – Artist Point
Possibly the best place to catch an amazing sunrise or sunset in town is right here! Take a morning bike ride along the shoreline or take the road leading up to the Coast Gaurd Station. From there you’re on your own because there are no wrong turns. To the left, you have wood trails that are hard packed from hikers to explore and to the right, you have either a frozen bay or break wall to get the adrenaline pumping. Artist Point is beautiful and drastically different in all seasons – you must visit often!
Second Stop – Shops
There is a wide variety of shopping opportunities that are truly unique in Grand Marais. You won’t find any malls or big-box stores here. Instead, you’ll find unhurried shopping for just about every taste. You’ll find everything from general stores, wilderness supply stores like Stone Harbor, bike shops like Fireweed, and outfitters to specialized boutique stores for just dogs. We suggest bringing home a memory of your visit.
Third Stop – Lunch
You can’t go wrong with either The Gunflint Tavern or Voyageur Brewing if you’re looking for a crafty experience. If you still want to explore and ride a bit further before lunch, The Wunderbar Eatery &Glampground is a perfect destination. Amazing food and the perfect atmosphere if you want to feel like a local – exactly 1-mile from East Bay Suites back on Hwy 61.
Biking the Trails
Pincushion Mountian Trails – See the map
Jay and friends from Fireweed Bike Coop are the local volunteer grooming crew that maintain these trails and they do a fine job! Roughly 5 miles of pure fat enjoyment. These trails wind through deep forest with an occasional surprise view of the great lake they call Gitche Gumee.
Trail Difficulty – The trails are very well-groomed, making for an easy ride. Step off the path and you quickly remember how much snowfall Grand Marais has been hit with this winter. The only true difficulty most people have here is holding back a smile or childish giggle. If you like riding singletrack on hard snow-paved trails then this one is for you.
Trail Notes – The Talus Trail is a fun downhill ride for the most part. You’ll go through some rolling hills right before you pass over the creek to connect with The Fluvial Trail. From there it’s best to work counter-clockwise around Fluvial so you end the loop going downhill.
Norpine Trail – See the map
This is a shared-use trail with XC skiers that stretches from Lutsen Mountains to Cascade State Park. A 12-mile out & back route that will ease the mind. This is a good trail for beginners because the trails are wide so you don’t have to worry about hitting anything.
Trail Difficulty – Beginner to Intermediate. Grandpa should do just fine if you pick out sections of the trail and not commit to the whole 12-miles. The trail is wide and mostly downhill if you head the right direction.
Trail Notes – This is a super fun trail to pick up some speed and cruise through the woods. Less turns as Pincushion but more rolling hills to keep you entertained. Be sure to slow down around corners and when approaching xc skiers; they’re not to keen on the idea of sharing their trails as this is a new concept.