Prairie Woods fat tire bikes get you where you need to go in rural Spicer

Thanks to volunteers with the Kandi Trail Riders, Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center has 4.5 miles of mountain bike trail to explore in rural Spicer. Now, it also has fat tire bikes available for rental. The bikes allow everyone a chance to explore this sport and the outdoor scenery of Prairie Woods.

Staff member Steve Friedlein keeps up with young rider Wesley as they explore the mountain bike trail Wednesday at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer. Prairie Woods now has fat tire bikes available for rental. Tom Cherveny / West Central Tribune

SPICER — Fat tire and mountain bike enthusiasts love the bikes for taking them places they could not otherwise go.

Here’s an even better reason to hop on one: They take you where you should go.

That would be the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center in rural Spicer, where about 4.5 miles of mountain bike trail is waiting.

And now, so are the bikes. As of Monday, Prairie Woods has been offering fat tire bike rentals. Call ahead to reserve, and staff will have a bike or bikes ready to go.

“It’s a big boost for Prairie Woods,” said staff member Steve Friedlein of the bike rentals.


The nonprofit usually hosts programs for schools and other groups, but the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented that from happening. In its place, Prairie Woods is now offering fat tire bike rentals, along with canoe and kayak rentals, as the means to allow individuals and small groups to enjoy the outdoors.

As always, the more than five miles of hiking trails available on the grounds are open and free to all visitors.

It’s all in keeping with the organization’s mission of introducing people to the outdoors.

Volunteers with the Kandi Trail Riders Club led by Corey Barber went to work more than a year ago to develop the mountain bike trail at Prairie Woods. The trail opened in August, and remains open and free for use to anyone bringing their own bike.

The trail offers a great way to get outdoors, get a workout, and enjoy the prairie, woodlands and wetlands that comprise the 500-site located at the southeast corner of Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County.

A grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources No Child Left Indoors program, funding help from Charles and Sharon Olson, and donations to Prairie Woods made it possible to purchase 25 bikes to rent to the public. The fleet includes 23 fat tire bikes and two BMX-style bikes. The fat tire bikes come in three different wheel sizes, 15-inch, 17-inch and 19-inch, to accommodate people from 4 1/2 feet in height to over 6 feet.

The bikes and trails accommodate riders of all experience levels, from novice to accomplished. That’s on purpose, according to Friedlein and fellow staff member Kory Klebe.

“It’s important that everybody can do it,” said Friedlein. By having the bikes available to rent, Prairie Woods is offering people new to the sport an opportunity to try it out and see if it’s for them.


The main bike trail is well-suited for novice riders, but there are also spurs for those looking for a technical challenge. The spurs offer sharp turns and challenges with trees, rocks, roots and even a teeter-totter.

The bike rentals will be available year-around, as snow is no obstacle for fat tire bikes.

Klebe and Friedlein emphasize that Prairie Woods will be working to assure that everyone practices social distancing. The requirement to reserve a bike with a phone call before arriving is a means of making sure no crowding occurs. Bikes will be sanitized thoroughly before rented.

Helmets are available as part of the rental, and required.

Both men believe the fat tire bike rentals will be popular once the public discovers them. Fat tire bikes are something an entire family can enjoy, they said.

They are equally optimistic about the summer rental of canoes and kayaks. The watercraft will allow paddlers to explore the relatively sheltered waters of the Florida Slough and enjoy the best of a Minnesota summer close to home.

The fat tire bikes are available to rent in two-hour blocks at $20 for adults and $5 for youth and $10 for adults who are members of Prairie Woods ELC. Call 320-354-5894 to reserve.


What To Read Next
Get Local