March 2, 2011

Minneapolis riding

By Anna | 6 Comments »

Riding in Minneapolis was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. The snow, the ice, the unknown, the borrowed hand-made fixed…whole lotta things could go wrong with that. But hey, it didn’t! We had fun hanging out with Lowrah and her friends; the first evening we had a “pub crawl” of sorts. Our first stop was to a new a brewery – they weren’t legally allowed to be a pub, so they basically gave out tastings for free and sold gallons of the stuff. It was awesome and delicious! After that warm up we headed on and stopped by another pub and got some tasty eats along with some more locally brewed delicacies. Mmmmm beer. At critical moments during the ride I was pretty freaked and also cold, but overall I greatly enjoyed riding on some of their greenways, noted how non-aggressive their drivers were, and how pleasant it is to ride in a relatively flat town.

********* Brewer of delicious beer *********

By the end of the second round of drinks, we were offered the option of going to a dance party, but Ross and I were pretty beat so we just headed to the hotel. At one point we took a wrong turn at one point landing us on a ramp coming off the interstate that was a little dicy. Adventures!

Somehow by the end of the evening’s trip I had a flat, so the next evening we just drove over to a party at the Peacock Groove HQ for the “Cutter’s Ball”. So may bike people, so many awesome bikes, so much beer!
The following morning a snow storm broke out so I was out of commission for the rest of the trip for riding. Ross however was much more adventurous and eager to experience some snow riding, so he and Lowrah went out of a long ride. Apparently it’s like riding in sand, and some sort of eye covering is a must. Half way back to the hotel Ross broke his glasses and caught a bus back. I really didn’t mind that I missed it.

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I really enjoyed talking with people about what cycling is like in Minneapolis – including how they think it got that way. It’s hard to understand why a midwestern town with atrocious weather would become one of the country’s most bike friendly cities (no offense!). I’m a big believer in government support and infrastructure (damn commie) and tend to use that as an explanation of why bike awesomeness comes about, but there is something to be said for the people who got that representation and who supported cyclists in the first place. Even so we were still all sort of at a loss as to what the “tipping point” was so to speak, and I left that conversation and this trip with the feeling that Birmingham really does not have any excuses. Humph!

Thanks for an awesome time Minneapolis – I look forward to my next visit, in the summer.

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Comments

6
  1. On March 2nd, 2011 wle said:

    people are always shocked that southern cities, bham, atl, huntsville, knoxville, chattanooga – have actual hills

    chicago is flat as a plate too
    with weather just as bad

    wle

  2. On March 2nd, 2011 spiderleggreen said:

    Your beau went out in that storm? Wow, that is hardcore! Me, I stayed inside and snuggled up with my cat. But I did go out in similar storm earlier in the season. It’s the type where you wonder if you’re going to make it back, as the snow piles up past your crank. I did make it home and that’s when you really appreciate it. There’s a sense of accomplishment. And then you can tell everybody about it!

    You do have to love up here… or you’ll really hate it!

    Why so much cycling up here in da tundra? Well, I think it’s the pioneers. Those people who were riding when it really wasn’t cool. Sounds like you all are the pioneers down in Birmingham, so Cheers!

  3. On March 3rd, 2011 lowrah said:

    You were freaked out on our ride?! You looked cool as a cucumber. That’s also why I loaned you the mittens. =]

    Infrastructure is a big part of why MSP is so rideable. Recreational bike trails around the lakes have been around since the bicycle was invented, so there is a cultural history there. The combination of non-aggressive drivers and a (fairly recent) inclusion of bike lanes and greenways and bike boulevards definitely make it a more desirable place to ride. The biggest reason why so many people bike is because so many people bike. The more people on the road biking, the more people are encouraged to try it out, or to incorporate it into their lives! In that way, you are pioneers down there! Someday, I dream of a world where biking will be ordinary and normal…

    As for the weather… like spiderleggreen says, you have to love it. If you’re here in the winter you can either be miserable (in that case, I would strongly recommend that you leave…) or you can embrace it. Ride, snow shoe, skijoring… whatever gets you outside. There are nice days in the winter, like the first night we went riding, and there are brutal days like Sunday night.

    You were both champs!

    Oh, and I’m really sorry about Ross’s glasses. Casualty to the arctic clime. Happens, I guess.

    xox,
    Low

  4. On March 3rd, 2011 spiderleggreen said:

    Gotta add on to what I said about the weather up here. In Minnesota you get the real Winter-experience. Go one state down(Iowa) and you get a lot more sleet, rain, ice, melt/freeze. Their weather can’t make up it’s mind. It’s ugly and a pain in the ass. Once the snow arrives here, it usually stays until it’s time to go, which is Springtime. I just keep loving our Winter wonderland! But I was born here and may not know any better. But what’s transplant Lowrah’s excuse? ;^)

  5. On March 3rd, 2011 Anna C said:

    All I’m sayin is you all should come visit us in Birmingham and then we’ll talk ;-)

  6. On March 27th, 2011 Sigrid said:

    Minneapolis sucks in the winter~true. But it is great in the summer. Would I rather be in SF? Yes, but I live here now and I no longer pay rent.:) It is more than just about bicycles here, it is about the quality of the people, their strong convictions for what they support, and a belief in a quality of life – which for many of us is cycling. Glad you gave it a go. I was just in Austin and the weather was great, but cycling ~ not so much. America has its challenges.

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