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July 6, 2005

Tour de Minneapolis

Wednesday for my training ride I rode 41 miles. I was on an adventure, checking out new things for me. Here are the highlights:
I stopped at 3 bike shops along the way - Carlson Cyclery on Minnehaha, The Hubb further up the road and Sunrise Cyclery by the Greenway. I was happy to see that all three of these bike shops sell used bikes! Why is this such a big deal for me? Because of our disposable society and because there is a place for low-cost bikes - not everyone can afford $1000+ bikes and it makes the mobility and freedom that bikes offer more attainable for everyone.

I loved the staff at the Hubb who answered our questions about bikes with honesty and straight talk. They also had a very nice selection of bikes from $40 classics to new $1500 racing bikes.

Minnehaha. I had never ridden this road past the Minnehaha Falls park, but on this ride I felt the impact of what it means. I saw maybe a couple dozen bicyclists using it going both ways. It's a bicycle commuter's road with bike lanes on both sides. This combined with my ride on the Midtown Greenway and the Kenilworth trail all the way into downtown Minneapolis, proves that Minneapolis is WAY ahead of St. Paul in being a bicycle-friendly city. We'll just have to work on that won't we?!

Question: Why are so many of the street name signs along these trails (Greenway and Kenilworth) vandalized- painted over? Ignorance? In our society which is supposed to be so advanced and so enlightened, why does ignorance persist?

After my Tour de Minneapolis, I came back to St. Paul along the East River Road, across Summit. I stopped by the bike shop and all the volunteers were fixing bikes, grilling and eating hotdogs. We fixed up and gave away two bikes to a couple of neighborhood kids who were attracted to the excitment around the shop. They helped out loading up the trailer and cleaning as payment for their bikes. My respect and admiration go to their mom though. A little while after the kids left with their bikes, they showed up with their mom. She couldn't believe that people were giving away bikes and wanted to make sure her kids didn't steal the bikes. She called her kids on it and brought them back down to the shop to verify their story. The mom was thankful and appreciative and the kids got their bikes and a chance to prove their honesty to their mom. The mom, I thought, was being very responsible when it came to her kids. Even though she didn't believe her kids when they told her they got the bikes for free, it does show that she is genuinely involved in raising her kids. She took the time to verify what they said. And when they showed up with their mom, Dave did nothing but praise the kids for the work they did. I think the mom was satisfied and proud of her kids then. This is part of community building.

I got a great workout in and look forward to riding through Minneapolis again soon.

Posted by carl1236 at July 6, 2005 11:59 PM | Cycle Racing

Comments

Great story about the kids. Seems like something that would make a good news story. I know I hear - and witness - too much bad news. From stupid, little stuff like the street signs you mention to people being assaulted on their bikes even here in the Twin Cities. Makes me sick. Literally, in the head.

Peace!

Posted by: nathan at July 7, 2005 12:03 PM

My wife and I both bought used bikes at Sunrise Cyclery to use for daily commuting. It's a great alternative to buying cheap "disposable" new bikes. When we talk with people who don't ride bikes they frequently express interest in trying out a bike, but are afraid of spending a lot on something that they might not end up using for very long or very often. We try to steer them to places like Sunrise over Target or Walmart.


I agree with you about St. Paul being behind Minneapolis in terms of bike-friendliness. I moved to St. Paul (near Como Park) last year from near Lake Nokomis. I'm disappointed there aren't more trails around St. Paul. The route that my area could most use is some way other than Snelling (southbound) for getting over the railroad tracks. I'd really like to see a bike and pedestrian bridge built over the railroad at Hamline Ave.

Posted by: Tyson at July 8, 2005 11:29 AM

N/S over the tracks is definitely a sticky point in St Paul. Matt recommends Chatsworth if that's not too far out of the way...

Posted by: nathan at July 8, 2005 1:57 PM