This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

What a weekend!

I'm still sort of recovering from last weekend.  I drove more miles in my car during the trip to Minneapolis than I had driven the previous year.  It was like a long way, 600 miles each.  I was a bit humbled by the fact that I didn't remember how my cruise control worked and the radio "search" button was hard to find.  It took a couple of tries but I rediscovered driving, for what that's worth.
I got to Jim Thill's Hiawatha cycling store early and admired the Midwestern old town development/   I hadn't seen this since Burlington, Ia.  Small houses built forward on small lots with an alley behind to service a garage.  It's an old time Midwestern town and made me feel right at home.
A group of about 10 of us gathered for a Friday night cruise around the city.  It was a casual group, none of them prone to compete or ever thought of it for that matter.
The city itself is built around a network of rivers, creeks and lakes.  Green and picturesque is the best way to describe the Minneapolis region.  It is a huge geographical footprint for a city of 500K.  Like Kansas City and Omaha, there was land available so they used it.
Jim led us to some interesting neighborhoods throughout the city on our way to dinner.
The bikes were a mixture of Riv's, Surly and vintage steel, 
nobody ever mentioned a race or racer anywhere during the day.
Throughout the evening and the weekend, those of us who were strangers to Minneapolis were marveling at the bike friendliness of the town.  There were lanes, paths, boulevards and shared lanes designated everywhere and, this nifty bike track to help you up the stairs from one bridge to another.
Saturday morning we were looking at an obscene pile of rubber.  Fat bikes of all kinds were around.
Our mission and purpose was to try them all in a backwoods and trailsy setting.
Surly, who just happens to be HQ'd across town from Hiawatha, loaned out the full collection for the event.  We were able to try everything from the Karate Monkey, to the Ice Cream Truck designs.
They were all there for the trying on some very manageable trails.
I tried each one.  I like them.  Other riders, more tuned in to the sophistication of fat tire tech, argued the nuances of the geometry, tire sizes and ride quality of each design.
I enjoyed them all and simply wondered what I would do with one.  
If I was still hunting on a regular basis, one would be handy.  I can see the pleasure of riding in sand or snow.  But the Hunq works well for that also and,
 compared to these big guys, feels like a time trial racer.
After  a magnificent lunch at a local burger joint, we reconvened at Jim's shop for an afternoon ride.
There were some new faces like Marqarite with her Salsa MukLuk
sporting HUGE classic gumwall tires.

Jim led us down to the bottoms of the Minnesota river.

It's an informally designated route which was exhilarating and filled with natural beauty.  The area is under water every spring and flood markings on the trees reached over 15 ft above my head in some areas.  Only the strong survive, 
and this is  some of the strongest forests you will find.

While not particularly challenging physically, the trails were fast, natural 
and one helluva lotta fun.  The surface ranged from deep loose sand to muddy gravel. Bikes being ridden ranged again from Moonlanders to a Homer Hilsen on 35mm tires.
It was a hot weekend in Minneapolis and the best respite from the heat was the
 cathedral of coolness under the interstate highway where the shade and 
the moist concrete dropped the temps about 15 degrees.
Sunday morning we got together with another group for a city tour.
It was truly amazing to ride trails which stretch hundreds of miles through the city.
Some of the busier trails are segregated into two paths, one for pedestrians and one for cyclists.
Even herds of spandex hamsters in their Strava training trance use the MUPs. 
Late in the morning we got a unique treat.  An excellent place specializing in espresso, homemade pastries and bondage attire.  Tim and Lillian, from Cedar Rapids, Ia, took the opportunity to do a little shopping.  I was a more than a little taken aback by this, but on a certain level it makes sense to merchandise sex toys with caffeine.
Many of the side streets are designated Bike Boulevards.  There are shared lanes designed into the streets but the streets discourage through traffice by speed humps and every few blocks entrance and egress is limited to bikes by placing restrictive curbs and medians in the intersections.  
It was intoxicating weather throughout to enjoy some new friends, a couple hundred miles of cycling and be introduced to a great cycling city.


  1. Thanks for the account! Pictures are great; such a good weekend--and what a write-up for the Twin Cities as Midwest bike city! next time . . .

  2. Looks like a great time. I love the neighborhoods with houses out front and garages in the back along an alley.