Local Walk and Ride Groups

Groups go the distance to bring friendship and fitness together.

Sometimes we just need a little nudge—a tiny bit of inspiration to get us up and out into the pastoral vistas of Maple Grove. Thankfully, the Maple Grove Parks and Recreation services offers opportunities for walking and biking that encourage participants to get a move on!

Nordic Walking Club

The benefits of Nordic walking—walking with the aid of long poles resembling ski poles—outpace those of standard walking precisely because you use poles, says certified Nordic walking instructor Sher Monfore. They help with balance and joint pain, she explains, but poles also increase the usage of your arms and upper body in the activity.

The result is an exercise that uses up to 90 percent of your body’s muscles, producing a 30-40 percent increase in heart rate and caloric burn over standard walking.

Before a chance encounter with Nordic walking changed her life, Monfore says she “could hardly walk to the mailbox.” But in one session of training with poles, says Monfore, “I walked a full hour. I bought poles that day.” She became certified as a Nordic walking instructor and in 2012 became the leader of the Nordic Walking Club through Maple Grove Parks and Recreation. Three times a year (spring, summer and fall), she sponsors an indoor training session for potential new members, and she always has poles available for trial.

The group (as many as 18 but often fewer) meets Wednesday mornings at the Maple Grove Community Center (MGCC) to walk locally; Monday and Friday mornings it meets at different locations, including Fish Lake, Eagle Park, Elm Creek and French Park. “We walk all year outside,” Monfore adds, usually three to four miles, for about an hour to an hour and a half. Speed is not the objective; having fun is.

If walking outside in the winter isn’t your idea of fun, club member Shelley Nerdahl has developed an alternative group, which Nordic-walks in the MGCC several days a week. Nerdahl joins the main group whenever weather permits. She’s gotten strength, endurance and friendship from the group, she says. “I never could have gotten here without Sher.”

MG Wheelers Bicycling Club

Lee Newman, Nadine Dahms and Cathy Goemer are all ride leaders for the MG Wheelers Bicycling Club, a loosely organized group of about 35 cyclists, who meet Thursday mornings (weather permitting) for a several-hour bike ride somewhere in the metropolitan area. “The leader chooses and leads the ride,” Goemer says. “We always have a sweep,” she adds, referring to a member who brings up the rear, can usher you back to the start and offer encouragement and assistance as needed.

Start points (usually at 9 or 9:30 a.m.) include Fort Snelling—Newman’s favorite—and Minnehaha Falls, which Goemer likes best. Dahms is partial to what she calls the Chanhassen lake ride. It circles several lakes in a clover leaf pattern, good for riders who may want to do only a part of the ride, as each small loop returns them to the start. “We average 10 miles per hour,” says Newman, but of course, adds Dahms, you have to add in the stops for coffee and treats.

Newman took up cycling in earnest about 15 years ago, he says. Dahms says she’s biked all her life, starting on a banana-seat, three-speed Stingray and eventually pulling kids behind her. She’s even ridden a unicycle. Goemer, too, has ridden most of  her life. “I rode two days before I gave birth to my [now 47-year-old] daughter,” she laughs. “It’s so good for you.”

If you’d like to join them, the season started in April and “we ride 28 Thursdays straight,” says Newman. Rides can be canceled at the discretion of the leader. For information on how to get your name added to the email list of members, contact Kris Orluck at the MGCC or by calling 763.494.6514.