With temperatures soaring over 80 degrees Monday, May 17, Lon Baumgardt decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and get his bike out on the Willard Munger State Trail.

Baumgardt, 65, of Big Sandy Lake enjoys the 70-mile paved path between Duluth and Hinckley. He comes to Carlton a couple times a month to use the trail and typically rides 25 to 30 miles at a time.

A local bike repair shop is hoping to use its proximity to the trail to encourage people to use it and highlight a new location in Hinckley. Carlton Bike Rental & Repair recently started the “Munger Mission,” challenging people to get on the trail and experience some of Minnesota’s extensive bike trails.

Owner Joelene Steffens recently opened a third Carlton Bike Rental and Repair in Hinckley to go along with locations in Carlton and Moose Lake. To accomplish the Munger Mission, bikers are asked to take a selfie of themselves in front of the three different shops along the Munger Trail and tag @MungerMission on Instagram or post in the “Munger Mission Bike Ride” Facebook page. Everyone who registers and completes the challenge will receive a “Munger Mission Accomplished” T-shirt.

The Munger Mission begins June 1 when all three Carlton Bike Rental & Repair locations open for the summer. Riders will have through the end of September to finish the challenge.

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“The Munger Mission was designed as an incentive for bikers to explore additional portions of our beautiful Willard Munger Trail,” Steffens said in a news release. “Now that we have expanded to Hinckley, it gives bikers a chance to discover additional portions of the trail beyond Moose Lake and Carlton.”

Bikers participating in the Munger Mission will receive a nylon bag with instructions and goals as well as an updated list from the state of Minnesota regarding COVID-19 protocols on state property.

“The big thing about it is we just want to get people out on the trail,” event planner Karley Graves said. “We’re partnering with a lot of local businesses, and the idea is to get people into these shops. I know with COVID, a lot of local businesses have definitely struggled, and we’re hoping to help out with that and maybe get some more traffic to some of these places.”

Baumgardt said that he is “all for” anything that builds awareness of the Munger Trail and gets people out on the path.

“I really appreciate the facility. I use it a lot, and I’m glad it’s here,” he said.

For more information or to register, go to carltonbikerental.com or email mungermissionride@gmail.com.

Carlton Bike Rental & Repair locations

  • 106 Chestnut Ave., Carlton

  • 505 Third St., Moose Lake

  • 105 Main St., Hinckley