Small world. You must have gone to school there then. I don't know how old you were or if you would remember or if you were still there, but I directed the Indian Education program for the school district in the 1980's. Yes, the Ely area is great for bike riding. As a boy I lived north of Ely out the Fernburg Trail on Ojibwa Lake. Now I'm on Eagles Nest 3 off the Bearhead Rd., midway between Ely and Tower. My daily ride often takes me to Bearhead State Park just down the road a few miles and has to be one of the most beautiful rides in the area, with great roads and almost zero traffic. We have one forum member over in Brainard and another at Two Harbors, one up at Thunder Bay, a good many down toward the Twin Cities. I'm hoping to get a few more up my way onto motored bikes to have people to ride with. If you do ever get up this way, let's get together for a bike ride. Someday a north country rally in the forest would be awesome, camping on Bearhead Lake, sandy beach, clear water, good fishing...
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...