News & Stories

Franklin and Northeast Boys’ Camping Trip — Bikes Only, No Vans!



By Coach Andrew Magill

The Franklin and Northeast Middle School Ski and Bike teams went on a boys-only summer bicycle camping trip earlier last month. Boys from both teams got to know each other better and coaches were able to work together to plan and lead the trip. Two nights of camping with 13 youth and 4 adults, 25 miles west of Minneapolis, without any youth having ridden in the Loppet van.

We set out from the Loppet warehouse (located 2 miles from Wirth Park) on bicycles after having a hearty breakfast, fitting helmets and filling water bottles. The group consisted of 13 boys and 4 adult leaders: Coach Sandra Peterson, Coach Dave Mott, Coach Andrew Magill and volunteer David Rhude.

It was a sunny, warm day and the group was anxious to hit the trail. The majority of the ride was on the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail which is surfaced with crushed limestone. We were riding brand new Trek Mountain Bikes recently purchased from Penn Cycle for Loppet Adventures. We rode 25 miles to reach the group campsite at Lake Zumbra within Carver Park Reserve, part of the Three Rivers Park District. Coach Dave led the pack on the ride out. The campsite was terrific, it had a plenty of space for tents and a shelter we used for cooking and bike storage. This park has a paved bike trail through the entire park, so we biked everywhere we needed to go during this trip (we did have a van along to transport our food and camping gear). Even after biking 25 miles to the park, the boys were anxious to get on the bikes again to pedal the 2 miles over to the beach to cool off. Dinner on the first night was delicious spaghetti prepared by Coach Sandra. We had a campfire and told stories and played games and then went to bed.

On day 2, after a pancake breakfast, we biked to the beach at Lake Auburn again for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Highlights were seeing a bald eagle while on the lake and the first time in a kayak for some of the boys. A few panfish were caught and thrown back. We next visited the Lowry Nature Center to see snakes, bees, raptors and exhibits about the ecosystems found in Carver Park. Later in the day we biked to Victoria for ice cream. The coaches didn’t get any complaints about the five extra miles we biked to and from the ice cream shop! After dinner, we were treated to some songs from Coach Sandra with her ukulele and David on backup vocals. David also led an impromptu knot tying class. We had some rain and a good amount of wind during the night, but everyone stayed dry inside their tents.

On day three, we started with a breakfast of oatmeal, fruit and nuts and were on the trail heading towards Minneapolis by 9 AM. We stopped at Excelsior Commons Park for a good look at Lake Minnetonka and some time out of the saddle. Back on the trail, Coach Andrew introduced a few of the crew to riding in a paceline.

We ended the trip with lunch at Pizza Luce in Hopkins. Five large pizzas were demolished by the crew in less than 30 minutes, proof that we all worked up an appetite during the morning’s ride. Or maybe, this is just proof that this group loves pizza!

Long live pedal power!