|Hennepin Avenue bridge in Minneapolis|
Ninety percent of the time, if you ask me whether I prefer country road or city riding, I would reply country. I believe, however, it's good to mix things up once in awhile. It awakens the senses and brings out the inner child.
This past weekend was conjured up a few weeks ago, with it's backbone being my twenty year high school reunion. I had hemmed and hawed about going. Was taking off work and leaving a weekend of excellent road riding behind worth the schlep to Minneapolis? After deciding yes, my husband and I had to ensure the trip was worthwhile and we made the decision to take a pit stop in Eau Claire to visit with friends and see my husband's alma mater. Then, we'd take a couple days to reacquaint ourselves with my home city by bike and follow it with a mad dash back to Madison for the WAAM social ride around Monona.
After staying up far too late the night before, we pried our eyes open and I doused myself with strong coffee before heading out to explore Eau Claire by bike. The last time we had ridden there was during our tenth wedding anniversary tour--over three years ago. Since that visit consisted of showering, gorging ourselves and visiting friends, we never really saw Eau Claire the way it was meant to be seen.
Urban riding is a different beast. The gap between it and rural road riding is made that much bigger when straddling a single speed or fixed gear. You have to stay on. There is no drifting or thinking about what to make for dinner. It becomes meditative in it's own way since to stay alive, you must be present. For me, people and cars tend to move to imaginary music in my head. It all becomes one giant dance that I'm trying to choreograph on the fly. There are, however, times when urban riding begins to wear me down. If I'm not in the correct mindset, or am on sensory overload, I get cranky and begin to take my frustrations out on runners on the bike paths or dog walkers with retractable leashes. It's not a pretty sight...just ask my husband. Thankfully, there is usually a coffee shop or pub near by to refuel and decompress.
|Carson Park in Eau Claire|
|Riding the Greenway through Minneapolis|
|Crossing the stone arch bridge|
|Sharrows on Bryant Avenue in Minneapolis|
|One of my favorite spots...the sculpture garden|
Leaving Minneapolis is always a bit bittersweet. There are times when I think I could move back there... and then I remember how much I detest the road riding. Madison is now my home and has one hell of a magnetic pull. No, it doesn't have the glorious restaurants, the plethora of music or the kick ass coffee shops but it holds my new family (non blood) and a lot of other really cool things--this is where my husband yells out "SAILING!" When we arrived back home, we quickly unpacked and once again, straddled our bikes for a weekly social ride around lake Monona with great friends. We put on about 140 miles in four days of solid city riding and I wouldn't have changed a thing.
|WAAM (We Are All Mechanics) ride|