Sunday, July 10, 2011

Throw your hands up at me.

I wrote about half of a great post about my 4th of July bike ride before blogger did some f-ed up shit and I lost the whole thing. Obviously I was irritated and I gave up, so now it's been many days and the immediate afterglow of the ride has subsided and I am in fact overdue for another long ride now. Here's a hot tip: if you have aspirations of doing anything on a Saturday, maybe don't go for brunch and bloody marys. You'll have to go home and nap, and next thing you know it will be time to go see your nephew be a flying monkey in The Wizard of Oz (true story).

The 4th of July was clear and blazing hot, but tons of people were out riding (as they are most days in the Twin Cities). Minneapolis has many lakes, as you may know, and most of the major ones are part of a chain of lakes connected by trails (and other waterways). From where I live, it's a few blocks to the nearest lake--it's not technically part of the chain but it's connected to the other lakes by a creek that runs through the entire city. The creek is so high right now that people are tubing down it--I saw a lot of that on the 4th.

This is what the lake and surrounding park near my house looks like:

Luscious grass:

Once I'm on my lake trail I can take the creek all the way to the Mississippi and then ride that trail along the river--which is how I get to work--or I can take the creek trail the other way and connect to the chain of lakes. A lot of that trail looks like this:


I also threw caution to the wind and made a barf-inducing handlebar video of the creek trail. Pardon my not-quite-accurate use of "in spate":

And here's how a lot of the lake trails in Minneapolis look. This one is at Lake Harriet:


This one shows the street, the bike trail, and the pedestrian trail. Sometimes the pedestrian and bike trails combine, but mostly there are dedicated areas for wheel traffic and foot traffic.


On the chain of lakes riders can snake north to pick up a few long trails that provide a straight shot out to the suburbs. These were built either on existing railroad lines or on proposed light rail routes and are less picturesque, generally--they go through neighborhoods, yes, but also through the backs of industrial parks. One of the trails I rode on the 4th is billed as "America's first bicycle freeway," which might be overstating the case, but it is pretty cool nonetheless.

A lot of this was ground I hadn't covered before. I don't think I'd ever even been around Cedar Lake in my life, for one thing, and certainly hadn't been on that bike trail. I've never biked to the western suburbs, either, but it was fun. At some points along the northern spur of the "bike freeway," people's backyards basically open out onto the trail, and one neighborhood association has made sure that all the plantings look beautiful. Adorably, one homeowner had run the garden hose out to the trail with a sign staked into the ground that says "WATER IS ON," so people can fill up their water bottles. Not too long after I passed that sign, there was a little boy selling lemonade for 50 cents a cup. Obviously I stopped for a drink, and obviously I told him to keep the change. About 6 other cyclists rolled up right after me and told him the same thing, so I think he was doing booming business out there.

It was a good day for fellow-feeling. Every time you stop on a bike, people make conversation. There were all kinds of people and all kinds of bikes out on the trail--one excellent specimen was an older shirtless dude in jorts and a trucker hat riding a beautiful old black Schwinn with chopper-style handlebars on it. That's as it should be. These trails are a gift and they are there for everyone to use, just like the lakes and parks are.

Also, once you get out to Hopkins, Pizza Luce rises up like an oasis right on the trail, and it has this genius configuration where you can be sitting outside on the patio, yet at the bar. You're in the shade, getting blasts of A/C every once in awhile, being served by bartenders inside the restaurant, and able to engage in excellent trail-watching (that's where I saw the jorts guy). I sat there and had pizza and beer in the middle of the afternoon after 20 miles of my ride, watching some bullshit on ESPN, knowing that my own power would get me home on my own schedule.


I was hoping to do another long ride this weekend but was thwarted by a late night Friday (excellent wedding/reception with a karaoke band; I sang "I Will Survive"), the aforementioned brunch Saturday morning, and then general plans with family because my brother and his wife are in town for a week. There was never any time for a long ride if I wanted to eat and sleep. What I did do instead was attempt my second "run 25 minutes without stopping" workout in 90 degree heat today, after biking around the lake as a warmup. Y'all, I dieeeed. I had to take two breaks, each less than a minute, but each deeply necessary so as not to get heat stroke. I think I just panted in the shade when I paused ("I totally paused!"). The run wrecked me, energy-wise, for the rest of the day. Also, I have a blood blister on the ball of my foot, which is gross (so obviously I had to share it with the internet). I hope the next 25 minute outing is better.


  1. Ahhhhhh so good. That is a real nice set-up you Twin Citiers have there.

  2. Beautiful post! I love the idea of a bicycle freeway; that's a big part of my utopian society. And dude, I tried to run yesterday at noon in Ten-I-see and promptly died. There wasn't much shade. Even walking back home, walking, about gave me heatstroke. Later I took myself to hot yoga, first time ever in hot weather, and I struggled mightily. This morning I have to mow my grass but it's already just deadly out there. Stay cool. Stay sweet. Survive.

  3. I can't believe you went to hot yoga in hot weather. It seems all wrong. I'm still dragging ass today, but I hope I can muster the gumption to go for a ride after work when the sun's lower. That means I need a finite window for cooling out on the couch and watching netflix.

  4. I love those bicycle trails! And also Pizza Luce. Mmmmminneapolis, I miss you.

  5. Pretty nice looking place you call home!

  6. You gave me PANGS of homesickness with this one yo. Isn't it weird that I lived in the Minnecrapple fewer years than anywhere else at this point, and I still love it best? Those pics of the Lake Harriet trail brought tears. How dumb-derful. Thanks hooka.