Mesabi Trail Tour celebrates milestone

For 10 years, “happy trails” has been more than a corny saying for participants and volunteers of the Mesabi Trail Tour.

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A decade of offering bicycling enthusiasts a fun and exciting way to experience northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Trail has resulted in a reputation for being one of the best-run tours in the state.

“Our volunteers are rated, and I quote, ‘the best in the planet,'” said Tour Director Ardy Nurmi-Wilberg. “We give everyone a healthy does of that northern Minnesota nice experience and treat them like gold.”

The ride (official name Great River Energy Mesabi Trail Bike Tour), offers four routes of varying lengths (from 12 to 69 miles) along the 115-mile paved path that leads from Grand Rapids in the west to Aurora in the east, with plans to complete the trail to Ely.

This year’s tour begins in Fayal Township near Eveleth and ends in Coleraine. The hospitality of volunteers, more than150 in all, help make the ride fun, but the whole package: scenery, food,music and fellowship, make it an event that keeps families and groups coming back year after year.

“It’s always fun to see people register in their tour shirt from years past,” Nurmi-Wilberg said. “For a lot of folks, the tour has become a family tradition.”

The full-service tour includes transportation for bikes and riders, mechanical assistance and first-aid. Not to mention snacks and music at every rest point along the way and a picnic with entertainment at the end.

Rest stops include the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing and Hill Annex Mine State Park in Calumet. At the finish line, paddle a canoe or kayak, compliments of Spring Creek Outfitters of Mountain Iron.

The tour wouldn’t have been possible without support from day one from Great River Energy and Ampers, a collection of 15 independent radio stations across the state. The event is a fundraiser for both the trail and Ampers. To mark the tenth anniversary, participants will be getting a special gift from Great River Energy. Registration is inexpensive (kids under 18 ride free) and includes snacks, picnic lunch and a t-shirt.

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