Minneapolis Uptown week of March 19th 2012
Incredibly, in the span of one week, each afternoon the swarms of bike riders who ventured our to get a taste of Springtime in Minneapolis had as little on as a shirt and shorts. As I was snapping this picture the fragrant Magnolia perfumed the air and captured for a moment in time the promise of new beginnings.
I am not good at new beginnings myself and I question people who aspire to some new program or marketing to remake their lifestyle. I’m a pessimist when it comes to paying out a bunch of money on equipment and gear or setting aside extra time during the day for exercise, when my bike ride is all that is required to make me feel alive. Speaking from experience as a runner who now is a weekend warrior when my daughter visits, I enjoy running more now that I don’t have a routine. But, this is about bike riding. Nowadays we bike bloggers have to distinguish between recreation and transportation when we are writing. Lost in translation a long time ago when bike riding was both we didn’t have time to think much about what we called bike riding. Those days of the 70’s and early 80’s people rode bikes so often in regular cloths that inventions like cuff bands were popular to keep our bell bottom pants from snagging in the chain. Then by the mid 80’s a uniform of sorts morphed and if you were hip enough you wore a jersey and a helmet on your head. A degree of self conciousness kept some people from bike riding while the transformation to full-blown recreation calcified American bike riding into Moutain bike riding by the early 90’s. This led towards a meltdown with the loss of one quarter of the bike shops in America by the year 2000. The loss primarily to saturated markets and falling ridership was due to societal distractions, one being the internet and the other cheap gasoline. The American city also increased the footprint of its suburbs and contracted core areas adding to lower bike rider numbers. No one it seemed wanted to commit to bike riding on a daily basis. Behavior had changed so that exercise was looked on as a luxury that yuppies did. Or that weird guy down the block. Or those people who think they are better than the rest of us. Or for people with like minds and values who knew products and therories and schedules and disposable incomes.
The few, the proud, the bike rider who everyday doesn’t think about taking a bike ride to work is like my favorite chocolate chip cookie. I have a friend who makes the best chocolate chip cookie and know that what makes it my favorite is he makes it with a special ingredient. As a bike rider using a bike daily for “transportation” there is a special ingredient that makes this my favorite transportation mode. But, like my favorite chocolate chip cookie that special ingredient is something I may know but, for it to be special I have to taste it for myself. I moderate my intake of chocolate chip cookies but my daily bike ride is better if I exhaust my options each day, everyday. So, whatayawaiting for? Ride your bike more and drive your car less!
A bicycle industry article in Bicycle Retailer stated obesity could be the industries calling card. I should preface that the article makes some insensitive statements that may offend. The bike industry like the health industry has a big money stake to increase profits. Where was BCBS while obesity in America ramped up over the past twenty years? While in no small part it is the failure of the bike industry as well. This is an industry that supports shoddy imports of mass market bicycles that are merely grownup toys. It is too late for the bike industry to latch onto the health industry when both have little credibility with the American public to now start preaching health benefits. Some would argue that biking isn’t healthy at all. Notably 95 percent of American consumers have many excuses for not riding. It seems to me the answer lies within. Prevention is only something we are capable of. When we stop for a moment and realize the health of our engine, our body, is all about biofuel, the choice is ours, either we idle, overeat and rust away or we engage the gears, get up and go and stay in tune. And along the road to maintain or regain our health we got to make room for everyone big and small or get out of the way.
The rusted headlamp has a certain appeal. It sort of has hope. Is that like you? It could possibly be used again. Never say never. Location 36 st and Nicollet Ave S Mpls MN
The all white bike is known traditionally as the ghost bike to honor the dead. The ghost bike is Metalife. Not to be ridden, but a solemn reminder for the living. Presumably, the latent tricycle child and adult rider have moved on, not passed on. I couldn’t resist the opportunity of this picture. I find it ironic that millions of bikes hang inside garages in America, lifeless and soulless, when a bit of imagination has defined for all of us passerby’s a simple curiosity. Art! What is it good for? Let me put it this way. I enjoy this image for being one moment in time. In a few months the image will be transformed by leafy vines. What then new art? But, I digress, as HR would say I’m about ready to “stick it to the man.” I mentioned millions of bikes hang in garages in America. Did you know there is approximately 1 bike for every man, woman and child in this country? In a previous post called 88 percent Nation bicycles ridden over 100 days a year are only 1 percent of the adult population. 88 percent of the bikes in America are hanging in garages or rusting somewhere. So, let’s challenge ourselves this year. Three things you can do with a bike. First, paint it white and hang it outside. Second, if you feel generous, give it away to someone who will use it. Third, get on it and start using it. Whatever you do don’t just let it hang in the dark for another year. One last thing. This Saturday, March 26th marks the fifth anniversary of Earth Hour. People and communities around the globe will turn off their lights at 8:30pm. The challenge is to go beyond this hour cause we all know one hour is only symbolic. Challenge yourself now. Drive you car less and ride your bike more.
The dogs in the cart attached to the bike are waiting outside the St. Louis Park Trader Joe’s. Met the interesting Terry bike owner after admiring doggies. She may or may not send me details about her ride around Lake Superior so I have sketchy story about an 1100 mile ride and some time spent in Thunder Bay. So if I hear back from her I’ll make detailed post. But, why I write is to rave about better feed, food, grub, dinner, nutrition, and whatever since Trader Joe’s has become my go to store. Fergetabout my Costco rebates and Rainbow gas miles and the carpeted isles at Byerly’s. TJ’s is a grocery bag or less 3 or 4 times a week. I posted pictures of the contents from one such trip. Now with a full house for the past week, we have shopped exclusively for fruits, vegetables, cereals, dried fruit and nuts, chips and salsa, crackers and bruschetta, milk and eggs, Italian bread and red sauce. These staples are high quality, very tasty and a better price than sale items at these other stores. Banana’s 5 for a dollar! Like when you go into Joe’s you don’t get into a buying frenzy like Costco. Nor do you over consume because Joe’s packages are never “family” size. I still go to the chains in town once or so a week to buy our meats, always on sale, and ice cream, can’t live without. Let’s face it to keep the house well stocked and not break the bank we are shopping around 4 days a week as we did this week. Why buy more? It’s great to live in this city were at times much is taken for granted. Then we realize how fortunate to be wherever we are as we are already there.
Oh, about the dogs in front of Trader Joe’s and what was it? Yeah, you meet more people when on a bike and especially at Joe’s. Sometimes too, friendly dogs and a story. Did you know in Liberia in the Mandinga tribe that Donzo means Hunter? So don’t let the broken English persuade you that it means all done or finished. That bit of lore coming straight from Donzo the Liberian clerk at Joe’s
The Bull Horn sees the light of day during late Winter in Minneapolis. Although a body has to stretch and very few of us are limber enough to ride this style, the Uptown Downtown messenger biz/look has a devout following of lanky riders. Are we not what we ride?
It’s springtime, with that a fresh start on the biking season. Are you ready for a change or upgrade on your LOOK. Has the winter added a little more spread and not as lanky as last year? Check out your ride ASAP. Air up and get out today. Enough now. Stick it to the man as HR would say.
Yeah, baseball opener is coming, but how we all get to the game downtown now has a few options besides driving our pickups and Suvs. The NorthStar line from Big Lake to Target Field is scheduled for home games. The Hiawatha line is again cramming fans into trains. Mix up the night on the town and game with fellow fans to the park and ride. With the new season bicyclist will want to ride out to the Field using the 50 plus miles of trail system. There is a new stretch of trail opening soon that goes right into Target Field. From the West side at the terminus of the Cedar Lake super highway trail. (take a right and you end up at Lee’s Liquor Lounge) Go straight ahead toward Target Field. When I was on this section St. Patty’s Day the trail was open to the parking lot before Washington Ave. The trail will eventually connect with the River Road and is expected to open this Spring. From the River Road there will be signs pointing to Target Field.
With this new trail to the River the opportunity to bypass downtown all together has finally been created. It seems that now the population from North and Northeast can move freely towards Southwest Minneapolis and the inner ring suburbs of Edina and St Louis Park. And as more Southwester’s become familiar with the trail, access to the West Bank and the University has just become easier. From a recreational point of view, this link eliminates being relegated to the messy bike lanes that the city created on first avenue last year. So take some time and find new routes this year, get off the beaten path and discover the city again.