By Bicycle, Minneapolis
Biking is huge here and a great way to explore the Twin Cities on a sunny day. Minneapolis was rated the best biking city in the country by Bicycling Magazine, and we're #2 for percentage of commuters who cycle to work. We have 92 miles of streets with dedicated bike lanes and another 85 miles of off-street paths with more being developed every year.
The city has a 24/7 rental service, Nice Ride, where bikes can be checked in and out of "stations" around town for anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. You need a credit card, and rates are by the 1/2 hour plus an additional subscription fee. The stations only operate from April - November and are geared towards folks just wanting a couple of hours of pedal time. For all-day or weekend riders, it's more economical to get your wheels from some of the other rental services around the area.
The Niceride website gives you all the details on short-term, self-checkout bikes here:
And they list many of the other bike rental shops (with links) here:
And last but not least, here's a good link for maps of bikes lanes in urban Minneapolis and some of the closer suburbs:
Bike maps of the greater Twin Cities area may also be obtained at any rental shop.
Minneapolis has a new greenway for pedestrians and bikes. It runs along an old railway line along 29th Street, just north of Lake Street. The final stretch from Hiawatha east to the Mississippi River, under construction as of summer of '06, is set to be paved by the fall of '06. Once this section is done you will be able to ride from the Mississippi all the way out to the western suburbs of Minneapolis. The majority of the path within Minneapolis is below street level, so you don't have to worry about cars. On the east end it hooks up with the river parkway paths and on the west end, in Uptown, it hooks up to Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.
The included website has a lot of very useful up-to-date information on the Greenway.
Minneapolis-St. Paul and surrounding suburbs have an extensive biking trails, either exclusive bike trail or shared street biking lanes.
Minneapolis chain of lakes, Ceder, Lake of the Isle, Calhoun, Harriet, Nakomis, Hiawatha and Minneahaha Creak are all connected by bike trails.
Also along the Mississippi Rive in both Minneapolis and St. Paul biking trails abound.
My personal favorite trails are located in the suburb of Eagan along the Mississippi/Minnesota River Valley. Either single or double track dirt trails. Even though the trails run within a mile of the airport and close to Interstate 494, in the lush wooded trails you really don't hear or smell the impending encrouchment of modern day living.
Actually probably the best way to explore Minneapolis/St. Paul is by bicycle. There are innumerable bike paths around the city, many lined by greenways. It makes for a very pleasant and low-stress way to see some beautiful parts of the city - even in the winter!
The Mississippi waterfront and Minnehaha parkway connecting the city lakes are two favorites.
We saw a man with a long white beard pedaling away in this experimental vehicle -- it is a research university after all:)
There are plenty of bikes on the university campus -- and also plenty of sculptures. In this case we have both :)