Bike Report: Paddle and Bike

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To promote community education and interest in paddling, Ski Hut is partnering with the Northland Paddlers Alliance and the St. Louis River Alliance for a sunset paddle on the third Friday of each month this summer.

“Our goal is just to really provide access to all paddlers, whether it’s access, recreational access through water trails or trying to preserve that area as well as we have helped sponsor different events and written grants to get youth organizations out on the water,” said Northland Paddlers Alliance member Alaina Pilate.

The program is free, although early signup is encouraged and life jackets are required.

“If people show up, they’re welcome. All levels are welcome,” said Ski Hut Community Outreach Coordinator Bobbie Larson. “You can bring any sort of craft. You can bring a kayak. It can be a kayak. It can be a whitewater kayak. It could be a sea kayak. It can be an old kayak. It can be a SUPboard or a canoe. We’ve had all those different crafts.

The event will also include an instructional component.

“The way that’s going to work is the first hour, from six to seven, will be focused on some basic paddling instruction,” explained Larson. “That will include basic paddle strokes as well as deep water rescues, wet accents, bracing some tips to rolling and then following that, we will then just do a social where we’ll paddle for about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how much light we have.”

Those interested can participate in a group bike ride before the paddle lesson.

“Each week, we will notify folks where the paddle will be and if there is a trail, we will facilitate a ride with that,” said Larson. “So you can be just a paddler or you can be just a rider doing this, or you can do both.”

For many outdoor enthusiasts, this combines two of their passions.

““I love there’s so many different aspects to paddling, from youth on. Anybody can paddle and there’s so many different crafts that you can do from children and getting them exposed to paddling and comfortable in the water,” said Pilate. “We live in this amazing Northland, and there’s places you can get to paddling that you can’t get anywhere else.”

We have such a great resource here where you have great trails literally across the street and you have this river, Lester River, and then we have the lake,” said Larson. “So for me, it’s hard to decide when you have a great day whether I’m going to paddle or I’m going to ride instead of choosing. We can do both.”

Every Thursday, WDIO News will bring you a story about the sport of bike riding. We will focus on the trail systems in our viewing area as well as equipment and bike maintenance.

If you have a biking story that you think we should cover, e-mail Sabrina Ullman at