Minneapolis exploring

Five weeks ago I moved to Minneapolis and promptly quit riding. Asides from a six-mile roundtrip commute to school, I’ve been on a bike maybe half a dozen times since leaving Northfield. I mostly blame this on an increasingly overwhelming workload, but in reality I know that classes and homework don’t add up to that much more than forty hours a week. A lot of my inactivity is due to just not being that excited about riding in the city.

Minneapolis is likely one of the best cities in the country to be a cyclist, but its still a crowded urban area. The twenty to thirty mile rides that I have been able to go on since moving here have been confined to flat, congested bike paths. Its tough to get excited about a two hour long, pancake flat out-and-back where the only obstacles to negotiate are grown men on Seqways.

Admittedly, I’ve been spoiled by the idyllic, underused gravel roads I’ve been able to ride on for the past few years. I’m unlikely to find any good substitute for Farmer’s Trail or Shady Lane in the metro, but I’m going to do my best to quit bitching and seek out the next best thing.

Despite the lack of gravel, Minneapolis does have one big advantage over Northfield: single track! Theodore Wirth Park is an eight mile ride from my house and has a fun, if short, loop of MORC maintained trail.  This trail pretty much ensures that my Fargo will continue to see regular use within the city.

Theodore Wirth Singletrack

Crosby Farm and Hidden Falls Parks are near the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Until today I’d just puttered around the paved bike paths that run through them, but this afternoon I detoured onto an overgrown stretch of trail that juts off of the pavement. An abundance of itch weed had me turning around within a few minutes, but I could see this area being fun to explore later in the fall.
Next weekend I’m heading up to Duluth for the Heck of the North. I’m out of shape the point where I don’t even need to think about the possibility of riding well, but hopefully I’m still at a point where the distance is manageable. I plan on taking it slow, carrying a camera, and enjoying a ride on some new-to-me gravel
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