Unipacking around minneapolis

Hello all,
After UNICON, I will be staying in the US for a bit more than 2 weeks.
I am planning some unipacking around Minneapolis, but I don’t really know if there is specific things to know, and more important, I don’t know which roads I should be taking.
One option is a trip from Minneapolis to Chicago, but when looking for a road, I find the Mississippi river trail, which is apparently an highway. Are those safe, or should I take a very different road ?
Does somebody have advices ?
Does somebody else plan a similar trip during the same period ?
Is there a trip you would recommend, doable in a big week with 80-120 km days ?


This video only highlights Chicago to lacrosse Wisconsin but may be of help along part your journey. You may want to reach out to him. He may of made that journey at some point he also has Chicago loop video.

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Thank you, it looks a lot like what I have planned for this part of the trip. I will watch that more carefully pretty soon. I still need to find a path from Minneapolis to Lacrosse, or have a confirmation that the mississppi river trail is safe enough.

the mississippi river trail will be separated from cars until just short of red wing, then it will mostly be improved road shoulder. The US has designated this Bicycle Route 45, which means there will be signs identifying it as a bike route, but unfortunately the federal bike route designation is mostly aspirational, with the idea that the road could be improved with bike lanes. It follows US-61 which from my look on google maps is frequently divided and has slip roads, so i’d be quite hesitant to try to follow it south of red wing, and rather try my luck on the wisconsin side of the river following wisconsin 35. MNDOT says the whole way has a paved shoulder greater than a meter wide, so it’s not the worst but it is high traffic and would be unpleasant. Once you’re in Trempealeu WI you should be smooth sailing on bike route 30 across the state, then lake shore should be good all the way into chicago.

Minneapolis and Madison both have great cycling infrastructure compared to most american cities.


Thanks for the advices, as a piece of information, this is the first draft of what I am planning.

I will probably check for warmshowers and look for more detail on the sleeping areas later.
If you have any advice or thing to say about it, please do (and if you know a place where I could store my luggages and non-touring unis during the trip, I’m willing to know more about it).

Your route is already avoiding the bad section of 61 I was worried about. I suspect you might find some friendly faces in Madison, since there is a large club there.

You want a place to store your gear in chicago between unicon and your arrival? Or are you thinking storing gear in Minneapolis and riding the train back? I might know someone to check into putting you in touch with either way.

It was not until an hour ago. I saw it was not really good before, but didn’t know if the other side of the river would have been better. I changed it after your advice.

I’m really intersted in meeting them, if you have any contact information, I am willing to know about it.

I am planning the second way. I have a plane schedulded in Minneapolis, so I want to travel light, and just have to return to Minneapolis in time, where ever I end up finishing my trip

Adventure Cycling has some route maps in that area. You can find them here: Interactive Network Map - Adventure Cycling Association

Also, Rails-to-Trails has some routes, but they tend to be shorter and regional which may not help you as much: National Trail Map for Biking, Walking, Hiking | TrailLink and https://www.railstotrails.org/

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Thanks, I have just looked at it, and it seems very helpful

MadUni.com for the Madison group. You should be able to get in touch that way.

I remember driving from the Twin Cities to LaCrosse, Wisconsin after a unicycle meet (42 years ago!) I was hella falling asleep because those were weekend events and sleep was optional. The route we drove was pretty, following the Mississippi river most of the way. Your route may be different though. My grandparents lived in LaCrosse. My grandpa briefly tried my unicycle, and I remember his comment: “Now I can see why they’re hard!”

Bring insect repellent; I recommend “Deep Woods Off”. Alaska has bears, Minnesota/Wisconsin have mosquitoes. They’re about equal. :slight_smile:

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My route should be pretty similar to that, and it seems to be both the best and the worst part of the road.
The trail parts look wonderful while the highway parts (nearly 50% of the distance) seem beautiful, but so annoying due to cars.

I am still planning to do this trip after unicon, but I haven’t planned my nights yet.

Each of my days should end up in places with campings or hotels, in which I will probably rent a place during unicon.

However, if any unicyclist living along my path is willing to host me for a night, it would be with pleasure. I am especially thinking about unicyclists from Madison, since I know there is a club in there.

I am still looking for a place to store my stuff in Minneapolis while I am travelling (one 29er, one 20er, one backpack and one suitcase).

By the way, does anybody know how bivouacking is perceived or what are the rules about it in Minnesota and Wisconsin ?