Northwoods Experience: Unicycles Join the Route for Bemidji’s 9th Annual Loop the Lake Festival
For nine years and counting, cyclists of all abilities have gathered at the shoreline of Lake Bemidji with the goal of looping the lake. Over 800 people joined this year’s Loop the Lake Festival, with about 10 of those participants traveling the 17-mile route in a unique way: on a unicycle.
“We are lucky to have good pathways and roads around the lake and a 17-mile course when you can take a rest at different stops along the way,” said Loop the Lake Volunteer Coordinator Donna Palivec. “You can enjoy local music, local food. What a better way to celebrate Bemidji and bikes?”
This year’s event saw new additions like electric bikes, as well as unicycles. These cyclists on a single-wheel wanted to not only promote Unicon 21, the upcoming unicycle world championship being held next year in Bemidji, but also to introduce people to their preferred mode of transportation.
“I think the cycling community is going to be really surprised at everything that Bemidji has to offer. I’m sure they’re looking at it as a small Minnesota town. ‘Why are we going there?'” said Unicon 21 co-director Kirsten Goldstein. “I’m certain [Unicon participants] are going to be surprised at what Bemidji has to offer, and I think Bemidji is going to be surprised to see the international community come here and show them all their unicycle skills.”
Whether it was on one, two, or three wheels, the biking community of Bemidji came together to celebrate the outdoor activity they love.
Unicon 21 will be held from July 14-26, 2024. Bemidji is the first Minnesota city to host the event since Minneapolis in 1994.