A convert to cycling in the suburbs of Minneapolis
- This article appeared in the West Metro section of the Minneapolis
Star-Tribune. I wish it could have been carried in all the sections.
A couple of weeks ago our second vehicle died. We had gotten a lot out
of our 1991 Honda Civic, and we were probably on borrowed time.
It was a great opportunity for me and my wife to practice moving
gracefully with this unexpected turn, rather than focusing on
frustration or helplessness. We are working hard to pay off some old
debt, and we just created a pretty aggressive 13-month plan to erase
our credit card debt -- so it was tempting to move into a negative
reaction. I reminded myself that something positive will be found by
this experience, if I just pay attention.
A couple of days before the car stopped running, I rode my bike to
work for the first time. It's an 8-mile stretch from Minneapolis to
Minnetonka, and it's mostly on a beautiful bike path well off the
road. Still, I had made many excuses as to why I wouldn't commit to
this means of transportation consistently: How will I carry my lunch
to and from work? What if I sweat too much? What if it rains? And on
and on. Plus there is a stretch on Shady Oak Road with no path and a
tiny shoulder which is quite dangerous.
Well, being with only one car, I decided to figure out the bike
routine, at least temporarily. Carrying my lunch was a minor detail.
It's not that hot in the morning, plus I figured out our office
building has a shower that I can use if need be. It rarely rains
during the actual commute (but I did use the gas money I've saved over
the last two weeks to invest in a nice rain jacket for such occasions).
And, once I committed to biking, I found alternate routes to get to
work, and I now have less than 1 mile on the actual road; the rest is
bike paths, including a path that leads right up to my office. I
connect with it in Hopkins, and it's a beautiful stretch in the woods,
way away from traffic.