Cycling Opportunities About in St. Croix Valley

by | Jun 2024

Nancy Stepaniak, 91, rides the Van Raam Fun2Go at Lakefront Park.

Nancy Stepaniak, 91, rides the Van Raam Fun2Go at Lakefront Park. Photos: Matthew J. Stepaniak

Cycling programs for all ages and abilities flourish throughout the Valley.

You can bike through St. Croix Valley, around the Valley, up and down the Valley. And oh yeah, you can also bridge the Valley.

This region has trails spiking, err spoking, in every direction—and Hudson’s Matthew Stepaniak is making it possible for all Valley residents to enjoy the sights and sounds of their region on wheels.

“In the spring of 2019, my 87-year-old mother said she wanted to ride her 3-speed bike,” Stepaniak says. “I told her it wasn’t the best idea, as she might lose her balance and fall.”

That’s not where the conversation ended. With the 3-speed bike out of play, Stepaniak, an avid cyclist, thought something with three wheels would be a better fit. From there, he literally stumbled upon a piloted adaptive tricycle.

Stepaniak’s mom went biking and loved it.

So, he didn’t stop there. In 2019, Stepaniak co-founded Limitless Cycling alongside Darren Dobier. Its mission is to improve mental and physical health by bringing piloted adaptive bicycles to seniors, veterans and those who cannot bicycle independently. “Accessibility is important, inclusivity is more important,” Stepaniak says.

Eva Anderson, Boni Neeser, Michelle Anderson, Noah Anderson and Steve Anderson on a multigenerational ride on the Stillwater Loop Trail.

Eva Anderson, Boni Neeser, Michelle Anderson, Noah Anderson and Steve Anderson on a multigenerational ride on the Stillwater Loop Trail.

The bikes, costing upwards of $15,000, are made in the Netherlands. The Chat resembles a reverse rickshaw. Two people sit side-by-side in the front of the bike; the pilot pedals from the rear. The Fun2Go is a two-person bike with riders sitting beside each other; both riders pedal, one rider does the steering. The Veloplus is a wheelchair transport bike. And that’s just to name a few. All the bikes are motorized pedal assist.

Limitless Cycling is a frequent visitor to long-term care facilities located throughout the Valley. “We’ll get 20 to 30 residents to sign up and then give 60 to 80 rides,” Stepaniak says. “They absolutely love it.”

Limitless Cycling does not charge for its rides. Pilots are volunteers. Limitless Cycling is a nonprofit organization that operates under a 501(c)(3) sponsorship agreement provided by the River Valley Trails organization.

Limitless Cycling
matthew@limitlesscycling.org
Facebook: Limitless Cycling
Instagram: @limitlesscycling

Cycle Wisconsin

The bike scene to the east, St. Croix County in particular, has been bolstered by the 2017 adoption of the St. Croix County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, a guide to enhancing walking and biking opportunities throughout the county.

Bike circle tours, displayed on color-coded county maps, center on cities in Wisconsin including Baldwin, Glenwood, Hudson, New Richmond, and River Falls. The most ambitious ride is a 64-mile loop biking beside the Apple and Willow rivers. The Wildwood Trail is one of the county’s rare gravel trails. It sits on a former railroad right-of-way and spans 7 miles. The trail runs from the Village of Woodville out toward the St. Croix/Pierce County line.

Starting in Stillwater

Stillwater’s Mike Lyner has been biking the area for a long time. He’s the former president of the Chilkoot Velo Cycling Club and a current mountain bike coach at Stillwater Area High School.

When asked about recreational biking, his handlebars turn in the direction of Brown’s Creek State Trail, Gateway State Trail and St. Croix River Crossing Loop. “The beauty is that all three trails are connected,” Lyner says.

At 18 miles, Gateway State Trail sits on the former Soo Line Railroad bed. From St. Paul, the trail traverses the East Metro to Pine Point Regional Park, located just 4 miles northwest of downtown Stillwater.

Brown’s Creek State Trail is just under 6 miles long and connects the Gateway Trail in the city of Grant to the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway in Stillwater. Two miles of the trail run beside Brown’s Creek, a designated trout stream. One mile winds along the St. Croix River. Spectacular views abound.

The St. Croix River Crossing Loop Trail is easily one of the area’s more popular trails. The 4.7-mile loop, open to pedestrians and bicyclists, crosses both the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge and the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge.

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