Wednesday, July 6, 2011

cycling around lakes in minneapolis

Outside of one blog post last summer about our time at the NJ Shore, Full Hands has never taken its show on the road.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that with three younger fellas, we haven't been so great about getting out on the road beyond New Haven.  However, a big milestone occurred at the end of June-- P and I got on a plane sans kids to attend the wedding of a Peace Corps friend in Minneapolis.  We spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon with a couple of other RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps volunteers) from our group, making it a wonderful mini-reunion on top of a truly fun wedding celebration.

Of course, reading in advance about Minneapolis's cycling reputation, we wanted to spend some of our limited time there out on bikes.  So Saturday morning we headed off to Calhoun Bike Rental to rent bicycles for a couple of hours and went on a self-guided tour around some of the Chain of Lakes, including Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.

I, of course, had no camera with me so relied on the good will of our friend D who kindly snapped photos so I could include some on this post.

Riding on a separated bike path-- separated even from a walkers/runners path-- was quite an experience. Lots of folks were out this day enjoying the paths and it was incredibly apparent how thoughtful infrastructure moves a city beyond livable to downright incredible!  While I imagine that only the truly hardcore and hearty are out on these paths in Minnesota winters, the throngs of walkers and runners and cyclists were proof that if 'you build it, they will come.'

Looking constantly from right to left, enjoying gorgeous lake views on one side and some wildly impressive houses on the other, I found myself relax, breathing deeply. It made me wonder what it would be like to bike commute in a city that had real biking infrastructure.  Regular readers of Full Hands know that I am out on the streets every day riding with cars, but this lone Saturday, in a state far away from my own, I was on a bike, pedaling along, feeling calm and relaxed.

D and I couldn't bring ourselves to pose near this sign. Wasn't it nice of P 'to volunteer' for us?

P and I went for the Specialized Hauls that have their rear racks built right in to the frame.
I had a full step through.
Shortly into the ride, I did miss my Brooks saddle tremendously.

One lovely detail about Calhoun is that each of their rentals have names.   It was fun imagining the bike-naming process as these cycles had some sharp names.  Meet Barnaby and Ruth!

Rafferty and Adele!

And this lime green ride....

yes, Ophelia!

D rode a women's Crossroads.

P and I with his temporary steed.

City riding! Not a bad view....

Pickle-on-a-stick and CHEESE CURDS: a great snack to stop for halfway thorough our bike ride.
The cheese curds, my friends, were RI-DI-CU-LOUS!
We are talking amazingly good. Ahhhhhhhhh.

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