Halloween and Almost Horror-Free Riding

headless biker

Nordeast bike art, at it's best on Halloween!

I must say, it was a good day, this Halloween afternoon, for riding…

I bounced over Nordeast from my place in Uptown to see Brent at Recovery Bike Shop. Made a quick stop Downtown, on the way, to visit with Mom at her work. I ended up cruising down Hennepin without any trouble. I have always tried to avoid Hennepin, especially at rush hour, but I was pleasantly surprised at how drama-free the commute throughout DT was, even at 3:30PM. Must have a lot to do with moving the bike lane out of the center of the road. I still don’t understand how that even happened. I know this is old news, but understand, I have only just returned to Minneapolis a month ago. I miss L.A., but I’m determined to stick out the winter here.

Brent and I chatted about business at Recovery. Things are going well for him and the whole crew, despite winter setting in. It would seem that many bikers are riding into the fall and winter with mucho cajones. Perhaps me, also? We chatted about some ideas I had for his blog and we bantered about this ‘n that. It’s always so cool to just go hang out at the shop and shoot the shit with everyone.

The ride home was a good, too, except for the mail truck who was obviously anxious to get to the airport. He was pissing everyone off, just after blowing past me, a little too fast and close. I can’t imagine a government contracted driver, driving a semi-tractor trailer no less, has the balls to drive like a mad man, downtown, during rush hour. Let’s just suffice to say that he was having a bad day. I let it go at that and I pedaled on. I wasn’t going to let this gomer ruin my day or my ride.

I’ve been having a little trouble adjusting to the cooler weather and dressing appropriately. Today I started out wearing this poly-something-or-other shirt that made me sweat like a boxer in-training, trying to lose his last five pounds the day before getting to his fighting weight. At least I know how to layer. It’s also been hard to dress myself because most of my cold weather clothes have been in storage for years. I kinda forgot what to wear and what not to wear when I’m traveling through the day and dealing with a night-time ride later on. When in doubt, pack light layers of breathable clothing. After today, though, I think I will be better prepared for the future. Anyway, it was pretty nice this afternoon, and I found a cotton t-shirt was fine, under my jacket, for the ride home. We’ll see if I can manage as well in December.

Riding home through Uptown was awesome. The sun was fading. The air was crisp. Kids were running around in their yards, hooting and hollering, trying to sneak up on their friends… one boy’s vampire cape swirling behind him as he madly pedaled his bike down the sidewalk, anxious to go trick-or-treating, but obviously having to wait for mom and dad to get their priorities in order. Many houses were decorated quite elaborately. One yard was “Colfax Cemetery” and about fifteen very large cardboard headstones marked the “unlucky” ones who didn’t make it out. The creativity of the artisan headstone carvers was creepily amazing. It made me feel so young, even though I have not donned a costume in years. Living vicariously through the youthful ghouls on Colfax Avenue! So sweet!

Later, after dark, I ventured out again to ride down to one of my favorite local caffeine bars. Went down Dupont and saw many houses lit up and decorated for all the candy-holics. Some houses had the neighbors over and there was perhaps a co-op effort in the decorations department, as well as the tricks-and-treats. Quite a festive atmosphere as I scooted down the road. Again, lots of fun and a great community vibe. Made me want to stop and get some photos, but I needed to get some work done at the coffee shop. But, guess what? I get to the coffee shop and realize I’ve forgotten my lock key! Pedaled home and found the key… what a Franken-heimer I am!. Turned around and whizzed past a few  cinderella’s and grim-reaper’s as my blinky-headlight flashed their movements like a cheap, home-made disco strobe.

So now I’m sharing all this with you, as I neatly evade the work I came here to do. But, I just had to write this and share it with you. Why? I dunno. Why not?

Hope your Halloween was safe and scary!

Fall Sights and Sounds from Two Wheels

Fall in Uptown, Minneapolis

I love biking in the fall in Minnesota. It’s a time of year that is crisp with life, despite the decay that is turning all around us. The air is sharp, the lines are edgy. The Greenway is busy with weekend warriors and family caravans. The sun is smiling on my back. Sabo’s Bridge greets me with a high-five from Fancy Ray on his modern-day high-wheeler! The East Bank leaks through the sparse trees on West River Road – topography and terrain not normally seen. I forgot my water bottle and my lips are cracked and my throat is sticky. The Falls are sparse, the creek deadened with spongy leaves. Hoodie is damp with sweat. The Parkway is calm and serene as shadows fall and the air cools even more. The trampled leaves smooth the pavement to a slick, earthy path. Luckily, there is a well still pumping. My lungs sting and my calves cramp ever so slightly as I crest the hill. The Harriet Troll is fairing well with many visitors today. The lake cold and blue with friendly fowl. I am welcomed home with a warm shower.