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Happy trails

Four years ago, Erin Reed’s mom asked her to buy a bike so they could take up the hobby together. While mom decided biking wasn’t her thing, daughter fell in love with it. 

“Between my husband, our two boys and me, we now have eight bikes in the house,” said Reed, whose family regularly puts their pedals to use on many of the 1,800 miles of bike trails that run throughout the state of Iowa. “We love to get outside and bike together.” 

Reed not only enjoys biking on Iowa’s trails, she also loves running and walking on them. And it’s more than a hobby for her. In 2016, Reed became the executive director of the Dickinson County Trails Board in Northwest Iowa. 

“I always tell people that the trails are among the top reasons I moved to Iowa,” said Reed, who relocated to Iowa from neighboring Minnesota in 2001. “We may live in a small town, but we have tons to do outdoors and a lot of it is centered around the trails.”

Reed said the trails are open for use year-round where snow is cleared and it’s not uncommon to see snowmobiles riding along signed routes designated for winter use. Peak season for biking on Iowa’s trails ranges from April to October and that’s when many of the area’s most popular biking events take place. 

Interested? Here are some of Reed’s top recommendations:

  • Okoboji Bike & Bite, June 8 at the Dickinson County Fairgrounds in Spirit Lake. This will be the second year for this 17-mile ride that features food from local vendors.
  • Bike Ride Around Spirit Lake (BRASL), July 6. This will be the 27th year for the family-friendly ride around the scenic lake near the Iowa-Minnesota border. 
  • University of Okoboji Campus Ride, June 29 in Milford. This is one of the largest biking events in the area that attracts 1,400-1,500 participants and features three route options: 25, 50 and 100 miles. 
  • Sportsman’s Tiki Bicycle Ride, Aug. 3 in Spirit Lake. This one’s Reed’s personal favorite. It features treasure hunts and prizes along both the 15- and 40-mile routes. 
  • Oktoberfest Bike Ride, Sept. 28 in Okoboji. Take a 24-mile ride around West Lake Okoboji and there will be an ice-cold beer from a local brewery waiting for you when you cross the finish line.  

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