Once again this year, thousands of Minnesota State Fair-goers are expected to use pedal power to get to the fairgrounds.
For a number of years the Minnesota State Fair has offered cyclists some of the best parking available, with free bike corrals at three different gates. While motorists are stuck in traffic along Como and Snelling avenues, bikers are usually able to ride at a comfortable pace, all the way to one of the designated parking areas.
If you haven't ridden to the fair, give it a go. With comfortable temperatures and little rain in the forecast, there is no reason to avoid getting in the saddle.
While riding to the fair is relatively simple, it is important to be cautious as you approach the grounds. With heavy motor and pedestrian traffic, following all traffic laws and obeying officers is essential. Also, keep the phone in your fanny pack until you are off the bike. Safety before selfies!
Bicycle parking (indicated by red circles on the map below) is located at the intersections of Como and Snelling (Gate 6), Hoyt and Snelling (Gate 2) and Randall and Buford (Gate 16).
When you arrive at one of the bike corrals, you'll be greeted by a friendly attendant, who will put half of a ticket on your bicycle and hand you the other half, akin to a coat check. Hang on to your ticket! You will need it to re-claim your bike. Without it you are required to produce proof of ownership to get your ride back.
The corrals are secure, so you don't even need to lug that U-lock, although a majority of the bikes do get locked up.
If you don't want to ride all the way to the fairgrounds, a handful of free park and ride lots have bike racks available. Just lock up your rig and hop on. Buses run every 20 minutes from these lots. More information on this option can be found here.
Once you've arrived at the fair, you can feel good knowing that you saved money, reduced your carbon footprint, and burned a few extra calories, making your indulgences a little more acceptable. (A 30 minute ride, both ways, at a moderate pace will burn approximately 650 calories. That's more than a Pronto Pup but still less than Cheese Curds and only about half of a turkey drumstick.)
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