Riding in the Tundra: The Minneapolis Report

April 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

2011 ArtCrank Minneapolis

2011 ArtCrank Minneapolis

70-80 degree weather in Iowa during the first weekend in April sounds like a hallucination. It really happened. Of course, I wouldn’t know that from experience because I put my Viking britches on, strapped Ira to the Honda and headed north for the ArtCrank Minneapolis show and some good riding on the Minneapolis trail system. While extensive and amazing, my first shock was that while the weather was in the 50s and I was wearing riding shorts, there were piles of snow still accessorizing the route. I got over it pretty quickly and settled into my first Minneapolis ride. I grew up going to Minneapolis for this reason or that, yet it was all new from the view from the bike trails.

Pavement, Anne Ulku

Pavement, Anne Ulku

On Saturday, we did some riding on the trail as well as on the road. The Minneapolis trails were filled with the expected mixture of leisure riders that range from a man who looks like Santa Clause on vacation to weekend road warriors in pace lines and everyone in between. We kept a respectable pace for most of the ride, probably motivated knowing the first stop would bring all kinds of brunchy happiness. Our first destination on Saturday was Triple Rock Social Club. This is a punk bar with a stellar weekend breakfast menu. Upon arrival, I was shaking and a little faint from hunger. By this point, of course, it was dangerously close to early-bird dinner time. I ordered the Mother Trucker and possibly the hottest Bloody Mary I have ever had. I am the girl who eats raw jalepenos. I found this Bloody Mary marginally tolerable in terms of heat. I continue to feel weepy with respect. It took me  well over an hour to drink the pint-sized Bloody Mary.

We rode on toward the ArtCrank show on Broadway. I understand this is in the Noreast part of the city. Directionally challenged and without points of reference, I happily went into follow mode. As was true on the trails, the streets of Minneapolis were full of people out enjoying the sunny 55 degree day, most notable to me, on bikes. It was getting darker, and consistent with past sins, I was sure that I wouldn’t need my lights Saturday night and left them behind. Right when we thought we needed to check our directions, we ran into a hipster on a fixie wearing rolled up jeans (I now see this as the standard protocol for city riding) who led us straight to Chris Sheehan’s Shelter Studios for the opening night party. The level of support for the show and the work was inspiring. The turnout would be difficult for me to estimate accurately. At the risk of losing credibility, I would say there were a few hundred people milling about in shifts. I like seeing this many people focused on bikes and art. It was a very cool scene. Although it was an unnecessary convenience, we utilized the bike racking provided in a quasi-valet fashion. I’ve included some of my favorite posters from the show taken from my phone, but you can see them all here.

Bike Wise, Sara Lintner

Bike Wise, Sara Lintner

We took in the experience and spent some time hanging around outside. Giving freely our contribution, raising the bar on the cool/badass contingency at the scene. We also took this opportunity to consider the severity of the decision to leave the lights behind on the day’s ride. We came to the conclusion that the bikes could overnight nearby at Booda’s place while we could catch a ride back to Eden Prairie with Joe, a Connecticut transplant to Minneapolis.

Morning brought with it a gut-twisting hunger. My last meal was the Mother Trucker and I was so weak I questioned my ability to stand upright in the shower without toppling over. I took a chance. I was successful. Disaster averted. We came up with a plan to eat, retrieve the bikes and get a ride in, all before the drive back to Iowa. We headed to Mother Earth in Edina for brunch. There was a 20-30 minute wait, so we wandered over to the bookstore to drool on pictures of fancy bikes in the bike magazines. After one of the best brunch experiences I’ve ever had, I thought I’d be smart and stop into the restroom before the ride. I find my way to the back and followed a woman through the door. I stood there, slow to pick up on the situation. Finally, the woman asked me if I wanted to go first. I had followed her, awkwardly close on her heels, into a one-person bathroom. “I’ll just wait outside,” was the best I could come up with. Yeah, my dignity was non-existent at this point.

Roll Out, Bryan Dunn

Roll Out, Bryan Dunn

Despite the fact that I was consumed with shame because of the bathroom incident, we were able to name Jon’s Surly Long Haul Trucker. Xerxes. Two xes in one name. It sounds like a Norse warrior’s name and is befitting the Surly now merely days from the Trans American trip from Virginia to Oregon.

The Sunday ride was a treat because we rode through some interesting parts of the city before picking up the trail. I saw the statue of Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat up in the air. I see now that on my next visit, photographic documentation including me will be in order. I think Jon suggested I toss my bike helmet in the air next to the statue. Assuming I can manage the toss and catch, this sounds like an excellent way to pay tribute to Minneapolis for hosting me. We went by the sculpture park and I saw the branding icon for Minneapolis, a giant cherry in a giant spoon. The paths by the lakes were packed with people and we pressed on, heading south to Eden Prairie.

A few miles before the end of the ride, we stepped it up for the final stretch and dropped a dude swanked out in a race kit. It’s funny because Jon got to see the look on his face when he realized he was being dropped by a girl with braids and a guy on a racked and fendered touring bike. I felt great when we reached the car. Per usual, I was immediately ready to go again.

Two Wheels Are Better, LovelyMlps

Two Wheels Are Better, LovelyMlps

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Tia Martinson

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