Sunday, April 30, 2006


Hi! This is Nancy posting for Pete...He just called, he is indeed doing the century, and he has about 15 miles left to go. He says he is cold, wet, tired, and wet. Did I mention wet?

I'll be taking the boy out for a big ol' steak dinner tonight. And beer!

Date: Today
Mileage: 100
Ride type: Icky
April mileage: A lot
Year to date mileage: A very big number

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The forecast calls for pain

According to, the Sunday forecast is now calling for 100% rain. 100%? You've got to be kidding me. The folks at the weather bureau almost never commit themselves to 100%. So, even though I got my new clipless pedals installed on the Jamis this afternoon, I loaded the Schwinn onto the Mitsubishi's bike rack so I'm ready to go tomorrow morning. It's gonna be a wet one. The official forecast is:

Periods of showers. High around 56. East southeast wind between 14 and 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%.

Oh well. They don't call it the Ironman for nothing. So if you see me, wet and cold, riding my multicolored Schwinn, introduce yourself. Misery loves company.

Coffee for my breakfast
Shot of whiskey on the side
It's a dark and dreary morning
With the clouds covering up the sky
And the forecast calls for pain

Friday, April 28, 2006

Self Help

Last weekend when I was tweaking the shifting on the Jamis, I needed to get some expert advice. So I went to my trusty bike repair book. As I was browsing through the section on gearing I noticed that my book is just a tad out of date. If memory serves, this manual was purchased by my brother when he was in high school and then abandoned at Mom and Dad's house where I liberated it. Most of the shifting adjustments were for friction shifters, and there was a special new section at the back of the chapter for this new-fangled thing called indexed shifting. Whoa.

The sad part is that the actual nuts and bolts of front and rear derailleurs hasn't changed. Everything in those adjustments was still right on. So I got done what I needed to get done, the book served it's purpose and all is right with the world and my bike.

But, I've got nearly $100 worth of Barnes and Noble gift cards from christmas that I need to use, so I'm thinking about picking up a new manual. I stopped at the Eagan B&N one night and saw Bicycling Magazine's Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair: For Road and Mountain Bikes. It seemed like a good choice, but I didn't have my gift cards with me. So last Friday I stopped at the downtown B&N, gift card in hand, to buy it. But of course you know what comes next. They didn't have that one. They had the DK Bicycle Repair Manual. Which also seemed OK.

But now I'm at a loss. Which one? Does anybody have a favorite repair manual they would recommend?

Thursday, April 27, 2006


It's official. As of today, no riding until the Ironman. I drove to the LRT today and will do the same tomorrow. The weatherfolk are saying there's a 40% chance of rain on Sunday, so I'm all up in the air about what to do for the ride, bikewise. There's a whole list of reasons why I shouldn't ride the Jamis:

New Brooks.
Ride's not completely dialed in.
Rain. (see New Brooks, above)
No rack to carry rain jacket/everything else on.

But, unless it's really looking like rain on Sunday I might ride it anyway. Now that I got the awkward shifting sorted out it's a whole lotta fun to ride.

Because I'm not riding I thought tonight would be a good time to tear down the Schwinn and see if I can figure out where this weird grinding was coming from. So first I took the rear wheel off. And after a lot of grunting and groaning and getting out my big orange pipe wrench, I got the freewheel off the hub. My intention was to repack the bearings. But, when I took the QR skewer out, whoops! My axle! It was broken. I guess I need a new one of those. That might explain that grinding noise.

I took it as a sign and threaded the freewheel onto the Campy rims and Panaracer tires that I picked up at the bike swap in February. The Campy rims are black and the Panaracers are blackwalls. It's a nicer look than the silver Weinmann rims and the brownwalled Continentals I had been running. I also pulled apart the bottom bracket and relubed and repacked everything down there as well. My ultra-cheap moustache bars ($20 including shipping!) showed up from Nashbar today too. I'm still debating on whether I should swap those out before the ride Sunday or after. Either way, I'm going to have to stop and get some bar tape from Jim this weekend.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Sure, unleaded is through the roof at 2.82. But Unleaded Plus? If you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.

Date: April 26
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 382
Year to date mileage: 1086

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Slide, DiMaggio, Slide!

like the moment when the brakes lock
and you slide towards the big truck
you stretch the frozen moments with your fear
and you'll never hear their voices
and you'll never see their faces
you have no recourse to the law anymore

It's bound to happen, sooner or later. A close call. Somebody doesn't see you, or thinks you're going slower than you really are and they're sure they can just zip out in front no problemo. Yeah. Not so much.

Because werk has just been crazy busy these last few weeks, I ended up staying a little late tonight to catch up on a few things that were overdue. Don't worry, I've still got plenty more stuff to keep me busy. It turned out to be a beautiful afternoon that would have been perfect for taking the River Road, but since I was already late I decided to take the more direct Minnehaha Ave route. I had the Jamis out and was giving the Brooks a try. After 23 miles on the Brooks all I can say is, "You mean it gets better?" It's already as comfy as my Specialized Body Geometry saddle on the Schwinn.

Anyway. I was trucking down Minnehaha in the bike lane and had the Jamis cranked up into the big ring. There was a weird cross wind that felt like it was really a tailwind even though it was pushing me to the side. I started clicking up through the rear cogs and soon was maxxed out on gearing. There's no computer on this bike, so I don't know how fast I was going. I'll go with fast.

That's when I saw her. A woman sitting in a blue SUV. She was waiting to cross Minnehaha, coming toward me. There were two other cars behind her, so I figured she had been waiting for a bit. As I approached the intersection she made her move. Pulled out right in front of me. I was half expecting it, so my reaction time was phenomenal. I hit the brakes, hard. The rear tire locked up and went into a skid. Even though I was skidding, I weirdly felt in total control. It was like one of those moments of great focus when I instinctively knew everything was going to be OK. I let up on the rear brake and leaned harder on the front. The bike snapped back in line and stopped. At about the same time she noticed me and hit her brakes. So even if I hadn't been able to stop in time she wouldn't have hit me. But it was close, on both our parts. I gave her a hearty "Why don't you watch where the f^&* you're going?" and she glared at me through the windshield. Like it was my problem for slowing her down. She looked just like a Bratz doll. With a pierced eyebrow. I don't know, maybe they make a Bratz doll with a piercing. After seeing the baby Bratz with leather and lingerie (twins Phoebe (Sugar) and Roxxie (Spice)) I wouldn't put anything past the soulless bastards at MGA Entertainment.

Since I'd come to a complete stop and she was obviously more Important than me, she continued through the intersection leaving me in the middle of the street until she passed. Once the truck was gone I noticed there was a woman standing on the corner. We talked for a moment.

She: I'm glad that ended the way it did.

Me: Me too.

She: You had good reflexes.

Me: Thanks. I guess it pays to keep the brakes tuned up.

She: Be careful out there.

Me: Thanks, I will.

I rode off.

Had I not been going so fast, it probably wouldn't have even been close. So, note to self: Keep the speed demon routine on the River Road.

Date: April 24
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 334
Year to date mileage: 1038

Date: April 25
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 357
Year to date mileage: 1061

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hell bent for Leather

After their long day Saturday, I was able to reward my hindquarters with the purchase of a snappy new Brooks B17 saddle for the Jamis. I found it on craigslist for about a little over half of what it would have been retail. We're talking brand, spanking new. The guy I bought it from said he'd had an older B17 that he modified to look more like the Brooks Swallow and theorizes that some uninformed person decided it was the real $300+ McCoy and swiped it. But, as the story goes he installed the new one (unmodifed) and rode it for about two hours before deciding that his ass couldn't take breaking another one in. I decided mine was up to the challenge.

There was nothing wrong with the Selle Royale Sport that came on the Jamis. Especially after I adjusted it's position on Saturday so I didn't feel like I was always sliding off the back end of the bike. I also flipped the stem which raised the handlebars on the Jamis about an inch and spent some time fine-tuning the front derailleur, both of which make a world of difference, but we're talking saddles here. The Selle has RoyalGel and is supposed to lower the pressure peaks on the prostate/pubis and sit bones by up to 40%. But who am I to argue with over 140 years of experience?

I mounted the B17 as soon as I got home and took the bike for a quick, and surprisingly dark, jaunt around the 'hood. While it was only 2 minutes or so, I was surprised by how comfortable I found it. This can only be a good sign. I've put over 100 miles on the Royale and I was still unsure about it. Though this means that I probably shouldn't ride the Jamis in the Ironman next week. Riding a century on a bike that I've got barely 100 miles (three rides so far) on and still dialing in the comfort and fit, along with a brand new Brooks is just asking for trouble.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My innards is killing me

Another software push, another Saturday morning Pete's at work at 8am doing checkout. Take heart, fair reader, all is not lost. I got a nice ride in to and from work. I'm doing some of the Bike to Work coordination for my company, and got a question the other day about the best route to use coming in from Uptown. I've never ridden from uptown, but it looked like taking the Greenway to the Kenilworth trail was the most car-free route. The woman who asked was looking for something like that so I recommended it with the caveat that I'd never ridden it myself. I decided to change that this morning.

I rolled up Minnehaha Ave and then cut across to the Greenway. The ride on the Greenway was pretty uneventful, not too much activity prior to 8am. I turned onto the Kenilworth and was amazed at how nice it was. The trail is lined with wooded ares and/or backyards and doesn't feel like it's in the city at all. At least for the first few miles. As you get closer to downtown it starts to look more like, well, downtown. And though it's not too scenic, it was interesting to ride by the Minneapolis recycling center. I recognized some of the blue metal benches that used to be on Nicollet Mall, along with those ugly signs that gave directions to various landmarks. In all, the detour added about 5 miles to my ride. The Kenilworth unceremoniously spit me out on the edge of downtown with no bike lanes heading into downtown (good job, city planners!) so I rode in to Hennepin going the wrong way in the bike lane. Downtown was even quieter than the Greenway, so I figured it was no biggie.

You may just want to move on to the next blog now. Trust me. No? OK. Don't say I didn't warn you. Got to work, did some checkout and then I started to feel weird. To put it as nicely as I can, something I ate decided it wanted out and in a hurry. Lather, rinse, repeat. Let's just say the rest of today has involved me drinking the pink stuff and going through a lot of reading materiel. Ooog.

Date: April 21
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 311
Year to date mileage: 1015

Date: April 22
Mileage: 30
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 341
Year to date mileage: 1045

Thursday, April 20, 2006


No ride today. But I had a good excuse. Probably the best excuse ever. Free beer. My brother got invited to the Summit Brewing release party for their new beer, Scandia Ale. Belgian beers are not my favorite. They're different and interesting, and I enjoy trying them, but it's rare that I would drink more than one. Summit's version is blander than most I've tried, but I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. It fits with their stated style of a Scandinavian interpretation of a Belgian ale. Scandinavians are known for their bland cooking. The standard joke is that all Scandinavian food is white (lefse, lutefisk, potatoes). I come from a long line of Norwegians and have eaten my fair share of bland, white food.

The beer was definitely drinkable. I had my allotted three mini glasses and wasn't sick of it by the time I finished my third. But at the same time, I wasn't lining up to use my extra token that was given to me by a friendly stranger. I decided I'd rather keep the token as a souvenir than have another. I think my brother's fiance-in-law summed it up best when he said, "It tastes like Blue Moon."

The event itself was strange. It was a lot of people standing around in the great hall at the brewery drinking beer. Not that that's bad, but I wasn't sure what I expected. The even was publicized as being between 6-8pm, but when I got there at 5:40 it was packed. By the time the rest of the guys showed up at 6 and we got our first beer, the buffet table was picked over and never replenished. There was a drawing for doorprizes at 5:45 when I first got there too, but after 6 there was never any official talk or anything. It was like being at a bar. A really great bar with free beer, but not quite what I had envisioned. Don't get me wrong, if I had it to do over again I would do it again. But all in all, the beer, the evening, the everything? Meh.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Gas Buddy is a weird little site where people go and post the price of gas they see. It's kind of interesting, but some people get really into it. But they've got a new feature called the Gas Buddy, seen here:

It's fun because it shows the highest and lowest reported gas prices in the twin cities metro. I put it in the sidebar so I can see how much I'm not paying for gas these days.

Minneapolis Bike To Work Day

One month from today, Friday May 19th, is the Official Bike to Work Day! So mark your calendar now and plan to join up! The 2006 Bike-to-Work event will be bigger than ever! The event is being sponsored by Ameriprise Financial, Birchwood Cafe, Caribou Coffee, Peace Coffee, Penn Cycle,Trailhead Bike and Fitness, and a number of others......

Recruit your friends & co-workers, your boss & your boss's boss!

Win Prizes! Get free stuff!

The 6 official Minneapolis routes and their starting points are listed below:

Bike Routes

1 North Minneapolis
Starts at Webber Park

2 NorthEast Minneapolis
Starts at The Quarry Mall

3 Midtown/Cedar Lake
Starts at the Midtown Greenway Trailhead

4 South Minneapolis
Starts at Bryant Ave S & Minnehaha Pkwy

5 Southeast Minneapolis
Starts at the Minnehaha Park pavilion

6 Park Ave Bike Route
Starts at Park Ave S & Minnehaha Pkwy

7 Make your own route!
Starts wherever you want!

If these routes do not run near you, you can still participate. Just bike into downtown taking whichever route you choose and make your way to the Government Center Plaza. Once there you can mingle with other cyclists, enjoy complimentary coffee and snacks and maybe even get some free schwag.

The routes will leave their designated starting points at 7:00am and should converge at the Government Center Plaza (6th Street South between 3rd and 4th Avenues) around 7:30am. The celebration at the Government Center Plaza will be from 7:00-8:30 and include freebies and prizes from the sponsors.

Each ride will meet at the designated starting point at 6:45am. The rides should all leave their starting point by 7:00am and be at the Government Plaza at approximately 7:30. Stay for the entire program, or just as long as you wish (you may want to let your boss know you're going to be a bike slacker in advance).

There will be several prize giveaways at the Government Center between 7:30 and 8:30am, so if you can plan some time to hang out and catch the drawings. I know that there are several nice gift certificates from the sponsors available, in addition to various other items. Many of the sponsors will have tents set up. Expect complimentary coffee, snacks, water and sports drinks. In addition, last year I ended up with a water bottle, t-shirt, and a really cool Park Tools multi-tool. Expect similar goodies again this year.

And, if all that wasn't enough, this won't help. I'll be leading the Southeast Minneapolis route for the second year in a row. Consider riding in with us. I promise we won't ride like this guy:

If you have questions about any ride specifics, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.

Date: April 19
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 288
Year to date mileage: 992

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Verve of some people

I was cruising the blogroll tonight and found a nice article on The Minus Car Project from the great state of South Dakota. Kerry Hacecky (, assistant Editor of ("The Official Voice of the University of South Dakota since 1887") wrote a lovely article about sharing the planet with her fellow human beings. Here's an excerpt:

I may be wrong, but I don't think I'm the only one who wants to run over the fellow on the bike riding in front of my car down Clark Street. See that sidewalk to your right buddy? Yeah, that's where you belong.

On my way to class the other day I got stuck behind one biker peddling away, hand signals and all. It got ugly. That biker who was too fast to bike on the sidewalk rolls right through the stop sign. It was then that I had had it. Buddy, if you're going to ride in the street (which you shouldn't) you have to stop at that sign too. Red means stop. Wait, maybe you didn't take driver's ed either.

Next time I see one of those guys go through a stop sign, I'm going to follow them and run them over. I'll even give them a hand signal. You know which one I mean.

The Complete "story" can be found here.

Wow. I have so many things to say. But the one that comes to mind immediately is that she might want to consider not relying on spell check quite so much. While spell check accepts peddling as a perfectly valid word, it makes no sense in this context. Peddling is to sell wares, as in something a travelling salesman would do. I believe the word she was looking for is pedaling. An assistant editor should know better. Or perhaps I'm wrong. The cyclist may have been peddling wares as they were pedaling down the street. It is South Dakota, after all.

Date: April 18
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 265
Year to date mileage: 969

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's a Sunshine Day

A week of beautiful days has improved everybody's attitude. When I left work today, somebody held the elevator for me. Then a different person held the door for the restroom. After I changed into my bike clothes, a third person held the elevator to the parking garage. And a fourth person (a fellow bike commuter) held open the door and allowed me to go into the garage first. Common courtesy was bustin' out all over.

The ride home was beautiful. I think I saw more bikes today than I did the entire month of January and February combined. Everybody had to get out and get some of those rays. I hope y'all did too.

Date: April 14
Mileage: 26
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 240
Year to date mileage: 946

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Blow, wind, blow

The Wind is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
She maketh me to ride fast;
She bloweth me across the waters.
She restoreth my soul:
She pusheth me with tailwinds for Her name' sake.

Yea, though I ride through the valley,
I will fear no headwind: For thou art with me;
Thy bluster and thy breeze, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my chain with oil; My waterbottle runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Wind forever.

Date: April 13
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 214
Year to date mileage: 920

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Just when I think the whole biking thing is smooth as butter, I get kicked in the shin by the Universe. Quite literally, in this instance. On the ride in to work this morning I rolled past a truck with a for sale sign in the back window. It was a 94 Dodge Dakota for $1100. Now, I'm not really in the market for a new vehicle. The one I've got doesn't get driven enough to make it worthwhile. But this seemed like a fair swap. Probably gets about the same mileage as my Mitsubishi, a little newer, and only $200 more than I paid for the Montero. So I decided to cruise back around and have a closer look.

The initial reverse was fine. I checked for traffic over my shoulder and turned a 180 into the southbound bike lane on Minnehaha. But a car had turned onto Minnehaha a block away and it prevented me from completing the 360. So I stopped. And I waited. And the cars went by. And I waited. I saw my break in traffic and started across. But, I didn't have the pedals lined up just right and somehow got all discombobulated. I nearly made the rookie mistake of crashing from a standstill because I couldn't get going and I couldn't unclip.

Just as I felt the bike start to lean left and I knew that I was for sure going down, my right foot unclipped. There must have been a part of my brain still frantically trying to send the Unclip! signal to my foot after the rational part of my brain had given up on staying upright. Once I realized I was free I made an awkward lunge to keep from going over. I stayed up, but managed to put a decent scrape on my shin in the process. I've been riding clipless for over 2 years now. I kinda thought I'd put this behind me. Oh yeah. The truck, upon closer inspection, was a piece of crap.

Date: April 11
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 166
Year to date mileage: 872

Date: April 12
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 191
Year to date mileage: 897

Saturday, April 08, 2006

An American Revolution

Chevy has a new contest called Chevy Tahoe: The Apprentice (The Apprentice. Original, no?) in which you, humble internet user, can create your own Chevy Tahoe commercial from stock footage. But somehow, I don't think this is quite what they had in mind. Or this, or this one with the curse word at the end.

Mmmmm, donuts...

Date: April 8
Mileage: 44
Ride type: Social/Solo
April mileage: 141
Year to date mileage: 847

A beautiful Saturday and a beautiful ride with the crew from Hiawatha. And this time, since it wasn't raining we actually rode longer than we drank coffee! Don't get into a panic, there was still coffee involved. And donuts. And croissants. After a looping 20 mile ride from the shop to downtown Saint Paul and back we stopped by Minnehaha Coffee and enjoyed the day as it was (finally) warming up. Sidewalk seating in the sun, even.

After my turtle mocha and donut, whose combined caloric content I don't even want to think about, I decided it would be best for my waistline to ride more. I headed north into Minneapolis along the West River Road and crossed over at Franklin to the East River Road. I followed that down to Lilydale and then headed home. By my gmaps pedometer reckoning I logged just over 44 miles for the day. I got home, showered and ran a few errands and now I'm trying not to eat everything in the house before dinner time. One of my errands included a stop at Byerly's for 2 pounds of dry aged sirloin, so I want to have an appetite. The way my stomach is growling I don't think it will be an issue. 44 miles will do that to a guy.

Friday, April 07, 2006

My plans took a skid

Date: April 5
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 72
Year to date mileage: 778

Date: April 7
Mileage: 25
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 97
Year to date mileage: 803

The plan for today:
Jump out of bed right when the alarm goes off at 6:00am, excited about the ride. Quickly dress in bike clothes, eat breakfast and be on the road by 6:30am. Get to the downtown Y by 7:30, shower and be to work by 8.

The reality:
Crawl out of bed close to 6:30am after the third snooze. Slowly got dressed, ate breakfast and went to the garage to get the bike. Flat tire on the Schwinn. I ran over something Wednesday and I heard it make a crunching sound, but never saw what it was. Apparantly it was sharp. Looked at the bike with the flat, looked at the truck. Thought about how it would be a pain in the ass to go back inside, shower, change clothes and drive. Called an audible. I took just the essentials out of my pannier and put them in my messenger bag. Grabbed the Jamis and headed in. Battled a fierce headwind (23mph according to Paul Douglas) and got to the downtown Y a little after 8. Showered. Realized that my half awake transfer of essentials to the messenger bag failed to include socks or underwear. Freeballed it over to Target. Bought socks (merino wool blend on sale for $2.49, so I bought 5 pair), underwear (Fruit of the Loom boxer brief 4-pack, on sale for $8.49) and an exercise shirt (something high-tech from Champion, a steal at $10) and headed to work. Got there at 8:45, 15 minutes earlier than "normal." Decided to keep one new pair of undies and one new pair of socks in the desk drawer to head of any future forgetfulness.

Loved the ride on the Jamis. I think I'm going to like this bike.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's sprung

Date: April 4
Mileage: 23
Ride type: Commute
April mileage: 47
Year to date mileage: 753

I rode all the way in this morning in street clothes, and was it cold. I was only planning on going to the Minnehaha LRT station so I was wearing a vest with a short sleeved shirt underneath. Bare arms, brrrr. But when I got there, the train was just pulling away. I didn't have the patience to sit and wait for the next one so in I went. I'm not normally a type A impatient person like that. Honest.

This afternoon was a big change. It was beautiful. It's really spring. There were several signs today.
Most welcome sign of spring - the handle is back on the pump I stopped and emptied my water bottle and refilled it with this magic elixer drawn from the ground. Mmmm, minerally goodness.

Least welcome sign of spring - Rollerbladers! I saw two of them, teenaged girls, skating along in some state of semi-control. It seems there's two types of rollerbladers. The first and more numerous are the ones who look like they're about to fall down every second. These folks are so concerned with staying upright and not breaking open their kneecap that they loose all track of where they are and who is riding or walking around them. The second type is the type that looks like they were born with rollerblades on their feet. They roll down the path effortlessly, pushing with incredibly long strides. The problem for cyclists is that these incredibly long strides are also incredibly wide. It's like their legs go out three feet to the side in both directions. I always get nervous passing either type of 'blader because I know I'm just a moment away from a violent collision.

Other signs of spring I'm too lazy to categorize -

Shorts. I wish I would have worn them like most of the runners and other bikers. I regretted putting on my tights.
Tuffy - Apparantly I was spotted by Tuffy while riding down the river road this afternoon. From what I've seen, Tuffy's not a winter riding kind of guy. Must be spring.
Sunshine! Today was my first post-DST change commute. The sun was wonderful.

The weather tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same, so if you're riding on the river road around 5-5:30, expect to see me on my multicolored Schwinn. Though you may be distracted by the glaring whiteness of my uncovered legs. Don't be afraid. At least they're not shaved.

Bike Commuter Knowledge needed

Calling all commuters! There is a semi-impromptu lunch meeting tomorrow in downtown Minneapolis to discuss/brainstorm how businesses can make themselves more bike and pedestrian friendly for their employees and customers.

Here is the task: In the effort to offer businesses and new developments information on how to make their operations bike and ped friendly and oriented to customer service: 1) build a list of "need to have" accommodations and facilities needed at a commercial/retail establishment to serve their biking and walking customers and/or employees (and if time allows, a list of "nice to have"). 2) And then generate a list of examples in the Twin Cities and elsewhere of businesses that you feel have successfully implemented some level of bike/ped accommodations into their transportation plans and building design.

The details are kind of sketchy (from what I know today, it's 11:30 at Eddington's in the Pillsbury center, subject to verification). I'm planning to attend, and I would be interested in hearing good or bad from any readers that I can share with the group. I know what my employer offers, but I'd especially like to know if anybody local has an employer or business who is doing "all the right things" for bikers and walkers. Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail (frosti AT gmail DOT com). If you're interested in attending the lunch (pay your own way) let me know and I'll make sure to update you on the final time/location.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

And the rain rain rain came down down down

Date: March 31
Mileage: 22
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 257
Year to date mileage: 706

Date: April 2
Mileage: 24
Ride type: Social
April mileage: 24
Year to date mileage: 730

This morning when I woke up it was raining. Not too hard, but quite steadily. I checked the online radar and it looked like the rain was just about to move out of the area. So I decided to make the best of it and go to the inaugural Hiawatha Cyclery group ride. I'm glad I did. I think there were 7 riders all told, but I might have missed somebody. Pretty good turnout for a cold and rainy Sunday morning in early April.

I'm not sure how far we rode, but it was an abbreviated route. We went from the shop down to Lake Nokomis and then to Nokomis Beach Coffee (I think) for a quick warm up. Coffee was drank, muffins eaten and the shit was shot. It was nice to put some faces with a few local bloggers and it was nice to meet everybody. By getting 90 percent of my riding mileage in by commuting I'm pretty isolated on the bike. Which is probably why I started the blog in the first place. But there's no substitute for getting out and riding with your fellow bike minded human beings. I'd been missing that, but I hadn't realized how much until today. I might have to make this a regular gig. You should too. We averaged about 10 miles an hour and rode two abreast so people could talk. Very low key and very friendly.

After coffee we headed back to the shop so Jim and Kevin could open the place up and do some business. A few folks hung around for while, but I think most everybody wanted to get home and into dry clothes. I did too. But I also wanted to get a few more miles in so I took the long way home. I rode north into Minnehaha Park and crossed the river on Ford Parkway. Then I followed East River Road to Shepard to 35E. While heading east on Shepard the wind was blowing straight at me and I was sort of regretting the decision to tack on the extra miles. Pedaling harder helped, but I was soaked. In Lilydale I met up with the Big River Regional Trail and then it was straight home.

When I got into the garage I had a hard time untying my shoes because my fingers were starting to go numb. I took a nice long, hot shower and put on some warm fuzzy clothes and ate. I think it will be an early bedtime tonight. I don't even want to talk about the fact that it stopped raining almost immediately after I got home.