Susan asked me to accompany her to an event she wanted to attend in the cities this weekend. It was a huge statewide knitting conference at Hopkins High School. Hopkins is a near west suburb of Minneapolis. My plan was to tag along. While she was attending the conference I had about 3 hours to kill on my own. At first, I considered running a few errands in her car. Then I thought better and decided to bring a bike along. I wanted to pick up some parts I had ordered from Jim at Hiawatha Cyclery . A quick google maps search for bicycling directions from Hopkins to Hiawatha Cyclery convinced me it would be about the perfect distance for the time I had available. I am pretty familiar with the areas around the city lakes and south Minneapolis where the shop is. But the area the High School was located in was totally new to me. The google maps made it very easy for me to find a route. Some incredibly nice mid-April weather also made the decision to bring a bike the perfect idea. Here's where I started out at the high school.
In less than two miles I was on the Cedar Lake Trail heading east towards downtown Minneapolis. I would take trails the rest of the way. I would only need to ride another one mile on roadways to get to the shop. Sixteen out of 19 miles was entirely on trails separated from traffic. This is through a densely populated, inner city area. I would end up coming back a different way. In total I would ride 30 of 36 miles on bike trails separated from traffic. Amazing....and fun. Although, I'm not sure I'd want to do it all the time.
The Minneapolis skyline begins to appear through the train trestle.
More Minneapolis skyline up ahead.
I took a short side trail along Cedar Lake that was not part of the google directions.
Above is Cedar Lake alongside the bike trail.
I then turned on to the Kenilworth Trail. I ended up going almost two miles in the wrong direction before realizing my mistake.
The Kenilworth Trail connected up with the Greenway.
The Greenway is like a bicycle expressway with exits.
It eventually crosses a very busy main artery on the Sabo Bridge.
Another mile or two and the Greenway ends at the Mississippi River. There I picked up the West River Parkway Trail.
I stopped to look at the river.
Sometimes I feel that with all the lakes in the area, the locals forget about this great river running between the two cities.
This trail took me to Minnehaha Park which put me within a mile or so of Hiawatha Cyclery. Mark was working the shop alone. Jim had all my parts ready and waiting. Mark seemed to have a steady stream of customers while I was there. So I wasn't able to hang very long. Plus, the ride down took me a bit longer than I had planned and I needed to get back to Hopkins.
I decided to take a different route back. I took the trail along Minnehaha Creek back to the Lakes where I could navigate the lakes trails back to the Greenway. The Creek trail is simply one of the most beautiful urban trails I've ever ridden. The above picture along Minnehaha Creek was the last one I took. The closer I got to Lake Harriet, the busier it got. I learned 20 years ago that the first few spring days was not the time to visit the Minneapolis lakes. By the time I got to Lake Calhoun, the crowds were reaching insane proportions. It was a beautiful day, but I had to get out of there. Living in Duluth, I've lost my tolerance for large masses of people.
Our plan after I got back to Hopkins was to run down together to the Bloomington REI. We both had member dividends to spend and a member 20% off coupon. I had hoped to get back on the road to Duluth by 3 or 4. We didn't get out of REI until 5.
I had packed for an overnight camping adventure. I was going to have Susan drop me off half way back in Hinckley. That's 70 miles from Duluth. I was going to ride about 12 miles to Banning State Park. Camp for the night and then ride back to Duluth today.
Turns out I was very tired after the day of riding and shopping. Added to it, my legs have not been recovering well. I've been increasing my mileage the past few weeks. I have always been lousy at the recovery side of riding. That's one reason I choose not to race. I can't commute, train and race....and work a full time job. It's too much for someone like me who doesn't recover well. I've been like this all my life.
In the car leaving the cities I was feeling those familiar signs that I have been over doing it lately. As badly as I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to camp with this awesome weather we're having, I realized I'd pushed myself a little to far. I told Susan I needed to skip the camping and go home.
It was the right decision. I slept 10 solid hours last night in my own bed. I had a great day yesterday doing an errand by bicycle in another city. I'm very happy with that.