Land of 10,000 Puddles

Massive ice ruts in my back alley

Massive ice ruts in my back alley

Temps in the mid forties have been transforming Minneapolis into the land of 10,000 puddles.  Aside from some minor allergy flare-ups caused by thawing dog poop, the change is most welcome.  While the alleys have turned into a maze of unnavigable ice trenches and dirt clods, the bike lanes are visible again.  Spirits are definitely up in the bike room at work where we’re back up to our full winter riding compliment of four saddles.  The Opa is much more responsive without mittens on.

My dry cleaning bill is going to be through the roof as I’ve been showing up to work drenched in sweat. It’s taking some time to figure out exactly how many layers to shed.

I’ve enjoyed this week’s riding more than I could have anticipated and almost pity the poor sods battling downtown traffic in their cars.  The wind and sounds of the city are best experienced on slow moving wheels.  Cruising down Hennepin Avenue is becoming my favorite part of the daily commute.  The bus stops are packed with souls just waiting to be shown the light of the great bicycle. Maybe one odd person on a Dutch bike can expose a practical alternative to the gear-laden sport bikers one normally encounters?

Bike lane on Hennepin Ave

Bike lane on Hennepin Ave

Of course, it’s still February and more snow and freezing temps will surely come, but these brief moments of warmth are to be cherished.  The riders amongst us are able to savor it a bit more than the average man.

5 responses to “Land of 10,000 Puddles

  1. Is that a bike lane in the middle of the traffic lanes? I’ve read about those but wonder how well they work in practice. None that I know of in Chicago.

    I enjoyed last week’s weather very much, too, despite the flooding from the melting piles of snow and ice. You’re definitely representing an alternative between the car and the racer. If more people would just give riding a bike a try, they’d probably find that they love it!

  2. That is indeed a bike lane in the middle of traffic. The cars go one way and the other lane is exclusively for buses and taxis. It’s less than ideal for sure. Still, I guess it’s better than nothing.

  3. The people over at http://www.bikeverywhere.com believe that those bike lanes were put in the middle of the street because at the time they were planned, public transit officials were overwhelmingly represented on the commission. The idea was that this middle lane would keep bikes from the bus stop side of the street and allow for smoother bus operation. I think that this bike lane might have accomplished that but is, in turn, incredibly dangerous (the same bikeverywhere post discusses how Madison WI has dealt with buses and bike lanes in a much a more sane way for years).

  4. Hi, Jolly. Love your blog! I just added it to my links section. The lane on Hennepin is fine until you have to take a left or right, then things get hairy. That’s the issue with painted lanes in general…you’re on your own in intersections.

  5. Why thankee, mighty kind of you.

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