This is a “flat as can be” 202k Permanent/ACP Brevet. It is intended also as a winter permanent with as little climbing as possible (around 700 to 1000 ft, depending on your GPS system). The brevet is also for those who want an easy brevet to get started in long distance cycling or to get back into shape. It can still be challenging on a windy day as there are many open farm fields with little wind protection. It is a scenic route with controls in Brooklyn Center – St. Francis – Princeton – Isanti – North Branch – Brooklyn Center.
Brooklyn Center to St. Francis (27 miles)
Starting in Brooklyn Center just north of the Minneapolis border, its first miles feature the scenic West River Parkway. This section is part of the Great River Road from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Usually, the first highlight would be crossing of the Mississippi on Coon Rapids Dam at mile 5.5. Due to construction of the dam, we’ll take a detour over the 610 bridge and follow the river on the East side. It’s almost prettier than the original route and may become the standard option.
After a few miles through Coon Rapids along Egret Boulevard and Foley Boulevard, we cruise through Bunker Hills Park. After leaving Bunker Hills Park, another secluded bike path takes us to Hanson Boulevard where we’ll have a short stretch with increased traffic, but wide shoulders or an optional bike path. A couple miles before the first control in St. Francis, we ride through Lake George Park – very pretty.
St. Francis to Princeton (22 miles)
After leaving St. Francis, we will be for a short stretch on the route of the legendary Paul Bunyan Double Century Ride (HW 47). We’ll leave that busy road pretty soon (nice shoulder, though), and continue on smaller county roads. We’ll mostly ride through open farm lands (yes, it can be windy), wet lands, pass by some occasional ponds. The short distance to Princeton is generally scenic. Shoulders are very narrow, but traffic is very low.
Princeton to Isanti (23 miles)
Now turning east, we’ll have a few gentle rollers. We’ll eventually reach HW 47 and have a few more miles on the Paul Bunyan route before turning east again. At mile 68, we’ll pass Lake Francis and from there it’s not long to Isanti.
Isanti to North Branch (13 miles)
Basically a straight shot east. Nice smooth road surface and good chances of having a nice tailwind. Even though it’s only 13 miles to North Branch, you might consider stocking up on food and beverages in North Branch as the last stretch will be 40 miles long.
North Branch to Brooklyn Center (40 miles)
We will have almost 12 miles of bike path after leaving North Branch, not too smooth, but hey, no traffic to deal with. Maybe some slower riders and roller skaters. After crossing I-35 in Wyoming, we’ll slowly work our way back into the city with increasing traffic. There’ll be some occasional rough patches of road, but nothing major. Even though we’ll pass a few lakes, you’re unlikely to seem on your left side. We’ll eventually pass Lino Lakes, cross I-35W a couple times. After crossing HW 10 on W County Road I, we’ll see Spring Lake Park on our right side, and we’ll continue west until we hit East River Road. A few miles south, we’ll cross the Mississippi on the I-694 bike path and will see the finish from there.
Files for this ride
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Starting Location Instructions:
Park on the North end of the Regal Cinemas Brooklyn Center parking lot, next to the Superamerica Gas Station (6545 W River Rd # 1, SW corner of HW252 & 66th Ave N.), the official start and ending location of the Northern Pancake 202k. To get to the parking lot, turn into Camden Ave N. from 66th Ave N.
Night Riding Requirements
All riders must have good to excellent night riding equipment, including:
– strong headlight capable of clearly lighting the road clearly for the whole night
– a backup headlight that is strong enough to ride through the night if your primary fails
– two or more strong taillights capable of being seen from several hundred feet away.
– taillights must be set in steady mode, not flashing
– reflective vest that clearly illuminates your body when light shines on it
– reflective anklets
– strongly recommended a helmet light or other light source to see cue sheets, street signs,