Yesterday I decided to head over and check out the Minneapolis Police bike auction. I'd never been and had heard you can find some great deals. But first, how to get there? I'd ridden my bike in to work so I had to figure out a bike-friendly route to south Minneapolis, a part of the cities that I'm not very familiar with.
I probably spent 1/2 an hour searching online for bike maps of Minneapolis. There's just not much out there. I have several good maps at home, but they weren't doing me a bit of good. Dave Dash is in the process of building what could be a great resource, a website called citybikemap.com which allows users to plot their own routes. But he's just barely launched it so there's not much out there yet.
After looking at what was available, I took the following route. I headed out of downtown and rode south on Portland Ave. There's a marked bike lane all the way down to right around 46th St. Once you're past the bike lane it's a little hairy for a block or two, but if you're not riding during rush hour (like I was) it's fine. Then I headed west on Minnehaha Parkway and followed that almost all the way to the auction. There were plenty of times when I had to stop, back up and turn around before I eventually found what I was looking for.
The way back home was much smoother. I was able to get right on the parkway, this time eastbound, and I felt a lot more confident about where I was headed. A mile or so in I passed an older couple on hybrid bikes. We met up again at the next light and they commented on my "lizard love" shirt (it has little cartoon lizards in every conceivable sexual position). They jumped the light change faster than I did and they were ahead again. Instead of seesawing back and forth with them I just tucked in and rode along. They were moving at a pretty decent pace, around 24 k/hr. I really enjoyed the bike path in the Minnehaha Parkway. It's decently paved, and most of it isn't a shared path with walkers/runners. It is very scenic and nicely shaded. It was a beautiful afternoon and I couldn't think of anyplace else I wanted to be. The older couple split off when we reached Hiawatha, and I joined up with my regular commuter route in Minnehaha Park. I ended up with 47 kilometers on the day, learned a new route and got to see a new part of the city. All in all a great day.
The auction? Pretty much a bust. There were some decent looking mountain bikes, but they were all too small for me. There were a couple of old school beauties that I would have been tempted to bid on too. One was an old Schwinn that still had what looked to be the original speedometer. The old analog style with a dial and mechanical odometer, similar to this. The odometer read over 9,000 miles. Not too bad for an old Schwinn. But, I'd promised my wife that I wouldn't buy anything, and there wasn't anything there that I wanted bad enough to break my promise.
This morning I rode in to work wearing a tie. And for the twentieth time today, I don't have a job interview. I just felt like it. I was biker at the ends (shoes and helmet) but business in the middle. On Highway 13 I caught up to a guy who was decked out in full bike trim. Shorts, jersey, gloves, the works. I passed him handily wearing my slacks, shirt and tie. Didn't seem to bother him, being passed by a foppish dandy as he sped up and caught me. I dropped my pace and we rode together for a few miles. He seemed like a nice guy. That's what I like about biking. I'm an introvert by nature, and don't do well at small talk. But put me in the saddle and I'll chit-chat with anyone.