Exploring the bike paths of Minneapolis and St. Paul is one of my goals for 30 Days of Biking Part 2. Why? Well, I was up in Minneapolis with my kids a few days ago visiting the Mill City Museum (fabulous place!) and realized that even though I grew up in the first ring suburb of Richfield and live only 40 minutes south, I don't know Minneapolis very well. Plus, I've heard that Minneapolis has a fabulous trail system and know that Bicycling magazine named Minneapolis the #1 Bike Friendly City this year. So, since I committed to riding my bike every single day of September, I figured I might as well get out and explore the Twin Cities!
I suppose the best way to explore the trails is to get up to the city and ride them. Trouble is, I don't know either city very well and though I have a map of the trails I'm kind of anxious about just heading out on my own. What to do? I found a "C" group ride through the Twin Cities Bicycling Club that promised a 10 mph pace around Minneapolis and decided to join in.
The ride started at the Lake Harriet Bandshell and was very well run. Joan, our group leader, gave us all a briefing before we headed out. We had a dozen riders, all on hybrids except one woman who had a Trek Madone (sigh - lovely bike). Our co-leader, Jack, brought up the rear of the group and we set out at a nice pace north towards Lake Calhoun.
I'm not sure where all we went but I know we followed the trail system around Lake Calhoun and Cedar Lake. We also followed Wirth, Victory Memorial and Webber Parkways, ended up at Camden Falls and then wound our way back to Lake Harriet.
Our group, sans Joan who took this picture, at Camden Falls
The weather was kind of tough this morning. It was only about 60 degrees, the wind was really strong at times and we had some drizzly rain. But the pace was decent and the riders all very friendly. I rode quite a bit with a gentleman named John. He's been a group leader in the past and told me about the Club, about the history of the parkways we were riding on and about some fun rides he's been on. He was great company and I'd love to ride with him again.
Our group again, this time with Joan (second from the left, front row), but not with me because I was taking the picture.
Actually, everyone I rode with was so nice and fun to talk to. We had a pleasant and social group! It's not quite accurate to say that we talked so much that I never felt tired, that the miles just flew on by - but it's pretty close to the truth. We covered 25 miles in just less than three hours. I got to see parts of Minneapolis that I've never seen before. I had a fabulous time.