Saturday, May 22, 2010

Biking the Grand Round, A delighful day on Minneapolis's Bike Trails

Still excited from yesterdays close encounter with the Lake Calhoun Monster, we arrived at our daughters house intent on a bike ride. She asked us how far we thought we could ride, suggesting several routes, and we decided to try to ride to East Cedar Lake Beach and back on the Grand Round. It's a trail that is about 20 miles, which would be a personal record for us.
Leaving her house we rode down the bumpy streets of east Minneapolis and connected with a bike trail that crossed Minnehaha Creek and headed upstream. The bike trails here are by far the best we have seen and it was an easy pedal, compared to the ride around hilly Lebanon Hills Park.
We rode steadily and didn't stop for a break until we reached the southern edge of Lake Harriet. There we connected with the Grand Round and Jenny pointed out the location of the band shell at which we had attended a free concert several years past.
She also pointed out that there was a bike trail and a walking trail and to be sure to avoid the pedestrians. A good warning for us as we are not use to the numbers of people. Everywhere we looked people were riding and walking and jogging! There were also fishermen and lots and lots of sunbathers.
We started our ride along the west shore of the lake but soon stopped to visit the home of the Gnome. Unfortunately a sign on the door said he had moved and that people should stop leaving him gifts. Don't know if it was a winter move to Texas, but it did seem like there were lots of Minnesotans there with us.
Passing the band shell we continued on the trail, crossed Lake Street at the light, and rejoined the trail along Lake Calhoun. I pointed out the location of the monsters lair, and shook my head at all the swimmers, some mothers with small children.
We continued on our ride reaching East Cedar Beach, to see two police cars at the trail entrance. Hoping for some excitement, the beach had been a nude beach several years previously, or at least getting to watch a drug bust, we were somewhat disappointed as a park policeman had actually driven onto the beach and remained there for over an hour.
As we ate our lunch several young women came rushing from the water and told everyone of seeing a huge fish! Of course I jumped up and forced my way through the throng of bikini clad women, as its rare to see a huge fish. Renita even commented on my bravery to help others in need, oh and I got the look from her.
Seeing no fish I waded back to shore and we finished our lunch. Taking our bikes up the beach Jenny asked us if we felt ok as we could take a shorter path home, but we demurred and chose the scenic route. We were soon at it, riding past the monsters lair and heading south towards Lake Harriet. We rode the east shore this time, so we got to see the other side, and again the trails were really busy!
A detour prevented us from seeing one of Jenny's favorite parts of the ride, where the trail rode under a railroad bridge, but it was still a beautiful ride along the creek. It amazes us here in that cars stop for you as you cross a street. Not so in Texas where the car drivers delight in running over bikers and pedestrians.
Arriving at Jenny and Vitos house the gps said that we had rode for 19.63 miles, a personal best for both of us. We were both a little sore but not bad. It was a great day in Minnesota! We both agreed that Minneapolis was our favorite city, in three years of travel, and that it would be a nice city to live in if you had to live in a city. Clear skies.

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