Watermelon Ride - a July 4 tradition

Dressed as a colorful watermelon, a costumed young woman danced around jangling bells and and pointing to the Snail Lake pavillion where a picnic lunch, including watermelon, was held at the end of the Twin Cities Bicycling Club-sponsored Watermelon Ride. (Pamela O'Meara/Bulletin)

Parents and kids take a break for a picnic near the end of the July 4 Watermelon Ride. (Pamela O'Meara/Bulletin)

Bicycle riders enjoy a picnic at Snail Lake Park near the end of the Watermelon Ride on July 4. Food included hot dogs and beans, healthy green salad, chips, cookies, drinks and, of course, large slices of seedless watermelon. (Pamela O'Meara/Bulletin)

A mother and her two children ride down Snail Lake Boulevard heading to a picnic at Snail Lake Park during the Watermelon Ride July 4. (Pamela O'Meara/Bulletin)

The day dawned cool and sunny with a few billowy white clouds for the July 4 Watermelon Ride through Shoreview and the surrounding northern suburbs. The annual ride sponsored by the Twin Cities Bicycling Club drew about 400 riders looking to celebrate the patriotic day by being active outside.

The parking lot at Incarnation Lutheran Church on Hodgson Road in Shoreview was full of cars and people of all ages unloading their bicycles and finalizing registration, and County Cycles bike shop mechanics were on hand to pump tires or do minor tune-ups before cyclists embarked on their 13, 25 or 50-mile journey.

The scenic family-oriented 13-mile ride (two miles of which were cut due to flooding) followed well-marked trails around Shoreview, through Vadnais Sucker Lake Regional Park and over to Snail Lake Park for a picnic.

The 25- and 50-mile routes went farther out on well-marked roads around the area. All distances offered stops with snacks, beverages and bathrooms, and ended at Snail Lake Park for a picnic, music, and as promised in the name of the event, watermelon. It was a fun way to start the July 4 holiday and a tradition for many of the riders.

--Pamela O'Meara


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