I thought today I’d experience my first ride in heavy rains but I got lucky. The morning storms had cleared by the time I pulled out my bike and buckled Keegan and Wyatt into the Burley. It was the perfect moment to be a bike commuter. The air was crisp and cool and the humidity was still hours away from settling in. The boys, who are done with camp and staying home with their dad all week, needed to be dropped off on my way to work. He lives in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. It’s about a 7 mile ride from my house and most of the route winds along Minnehaha Creek. I haven’t spent much time on the creek since high school when we used to explore the woods and canoe the waters. But this summer I’ve rediscovered my love for it. I think I may love it more than the lakes. It’s quiet, mostly shaded and the journey between the Mississippi River and Lake Harriet never gets dull. I think it’s highly underrated.
I packed a breakfast for the boys last night knowing the morning ride would eat into our time. The ride to dad’s took just under an hour. They munched on PB & Js, squealed as we zipped down the slopes and poked fun at me as I slowly pumped up the hills along the way. For some reason my 6-year-old doesn’t have sympathy for the fact that I’m dragging 80 pounds (them!) behind me. The mom teasing aside, it was a pleasant way to spend a morning with my children and much more enjoyable than any hour-long commute we’ve taken in a car. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much more patient and obedient my boys are when packed into a bike trailer as opposed to riding comfortably in a car. They are literally smushed together and there are some “stop touching me” moments but for the most part they love it.
After the drop I was off to work via my first ride on the Midtown Greenway. I can’t believe I moved back to Minnesota from Boston eight years ago and I’ve never used the greenway. It is a beautiful thing. For those of you who don’t live here or haven’t seen it, the greenway can best be described as a bike highway. And it is true evidence that if you build it, they will ride. That puppy is busy. As a girl who grew up in Uptown I vividly remember when the greenway was nothing more than shady train tracks where the homeless and punks got drunk. It was no place for a decent girl, or in my case semi-decent. What a cool transformation. I look forward to checking it out for a longer weekend ride soon. In the meantime, I’ve logged some serious commuter miles today. 13 so far and I still need to ride to meet a friend for dinner tonight at Wise Acre in the Tangletown neighborhood. She’s going to meet me on her bike. It’s turned nearly 90 degrees right now and steamy. I’m sure we’ll be the hottest girls in the joint.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.