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.
Deconstructing bicycle shop showroom floors from visits I made yesterday to the Angry Catfish, the Hub off of Lake St. and Calhoun Cycle in Minneapolis. On my visit to the Catfish I encountered a modern coffee shop atmosphere upon entering. The laid back scene is spacious and comfortable but divorced from the showroom. That is a good thing for the customer who comes in to get a cup and is busy doing busy stuff that you do in a coffee shop. I busied myself with the latest issue of Urban Velo and coffee then I wandered back to check out the bikes. This was third visit to in the past eight months. I was surprised to see quite a few of the same bicycles I saw on those earlier visits. The three dozen bikes on display had the sort of sameness or tiredness you would associate with wallflowers. I don’t know why a shop person didn’t come over and ask me if they could answer any questions. Maybe they sense tire kickers and know when someone has brought their wallet with them. Many nice bikes that I would use if I needed a replacement bike which I don’t. I lean towards steel frames that are fast and flexible. On display were Surly and Raleigh standards that appeal to males who want a sturdy commuting experience. Prices were not on all the merchandise though. There was a Colnolgo frame set hanging off a display with a Speedhound frame set. Both orange. Eye catching. Money I don’t have. But who does anymore? I wandered over to the Electra bikes. I want to try one in the Spring. What will the feel be when I straddle an Electra with those wide bars and geometry? I haven’t seen anyone riding one yet. Are these selling? Well, after a long as heck winter, the Angry Catfish is like every shop. They are ready for people to start thinking bikes again to get the cash flow flowing. So on my way and out the door for a snap ride to the Hub.
The streets were mostly dry today. The Masi is my ride and I can tell you I am loving it. The bike is light, it weighs about 21 pounds. Reynolds 853 and Reynolds Carbon Fork. The REV 2 handlebar cuts every hill in half. The Campy shifter is taking some getting used to hand positioning but is so smooth. Thanks to the great deal I got at Re-Cycle, $20.00 for a vintage component is a steal. After a headwind I arrive at the Hub. There is a mural that is going up in sections. It has that Russian worker look to it. Photo op next time I’ve over that way.
Enter the Hub. On my left is the cashier check out. A guy and a chick. The chick says hi and before she can say anything else I tell them I’m just looking. There is a sale going on. Nice three speed Jamis for $269. Lots going on with this bike as a sturdy first bike if that is fun and dependable. Everything is on sale. It looks like the Hub wants to move some inventory. Hard to tell if these are bikes from last year. Good variety of bikes for racing, MTB and transportation. Prices were visible on all bikes and the bikes overhead are spaced far enough apart to identify type of bike.
I was treated equally well at both shops by sales methods that are hands off. If this works for a shop I am afraid to ask. When I go into a shop and see employees engaging customers with a sort of buzz then I feel compelled to dig deeper into products on display or items that I don’t see. How many times have you walked into a place and you are treated like you are invisible? Bundling back up for the ride home I decided to drop in at Calhoun Cycle in Uptown. Calhoun might be the most focused shop in my area. They have their niche. A mix of recumbents, folders and commuter style bikes with swept bars or drops. Displays are easy to access and the three employees were busy with customers inside and outside the store. I looked around and saw they did not have a single track trailer but other styles. I asked about the item and was told they could order one for me. My previous experience with Calhoun is they are low pressure but get to the point readily to see how they can help. Engaging a customer even when they are just looking might make your place of business inviting for those people like myself that have a back story to biking.
Each one of these shops has appeal for bikers, the deals right now are at the Hub. The Catfish is great for gathering and getting that special bike, and Calhoun can’t be beat for personalized service and gear that is hard to get.
We have to brighten up the day somehow in March now that winter has lost it’s traction. Those long days are coming fast as daylight savings is 9 days from now. So looking at the super snow and ice melt reality to come; I want to switch into high gear and soak up the longer evenings. What does this picture have to do with any of this, it’s not Minneapolis, but New Orleans. I think capturing the moment of our passage through a place, a season is closets to our human nature if that time spent is at a human pace unencumbered. Walking or riding time exercises our 5 senses, but also may increase our sixth sense, or intuition, by moving and doing, so that later in life we won’t have disappointed ourselves in these formative years, What better location than where you live to start biking. Your life is the beginning of a Charming and Great Location.
Last week -10 below F This week 40’s F. The challenge we are facing regardless of the weather are road conditions. Frankly, Minneapolis has the worse street conditions of anyplace I’ve lived. Literally cars are breaking from foot deep pot holes. I replaced a set of broken springs last month. Now I play whack the pot hole as I dream about breaking something else. Leaving the car behind just got a whole lot easier.
I want to thank the Mayor for not addressing this problem. I’ll thank him next time at the polls on election day.
Hey, how about the Non-violent middle east. All these years we’ve been told this is a cauldron ready to explode and bringing on WWIII. Did we get our information wrong? Where was WikiLeaks on this?
So much for trusting those in the know. Do just the opposite of what you know. It worked for George Kastanza.
Upside down and backwards is looking better the more we look at it. If you haven’t given the Rev 2 handlebar a shot on one of your loaner bikes then you’re missing out on a new pleasure in biking. May be the only pleasure when Spring comes.
The roads will be barely passable and drivers are thinking, get out of my way, bumping from one pot hole to the next. Maybe we should protest for medical pot hole relief in solidarity with our middle east brothers and Wisconsin state employees. Or get real about how fast the headlines fade in our mind. Can we protest our own behavior and not call it guilt?
These are four repurposed bikes we ride in Minneapolis MN. See flickr for more photo’s and Rev 2 link on blogroll. Also a video on flickr.