Sunday, September 18, 2011

Which way now?

I am probably postponing my GDMBR ride until 2013, but it's not too early to work on some skills for that ride. Dwight and I joined a beginning orienteering session at nearby Chestnut Ridge Park, sponsored by Buffalo Orienteering.
I didn't realize orienteering is a sport; turns out it is a pretty cool one. They showed us how to use landmarks and a compass to find flags in the woods. The flags were marked on the map.

for the Great Divide Route this could be very helpful, since most guides suggest you bring topo maps.
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Checking out IPhone apps for cycling

Leyla has a much newer and NOT jailbroken iPhone, so she scopes out the app store.
Her newest find is called Route Loops. Supposedly you can tell it how far you want to go and it will calculate a route for you from your current location. Highly skeptical, we started out. This app gets a silver star rating for our one trip so far. It kept us on manageable roads and was not outrageously zig zaggy, but regardless of which direction we had travelled the loop we would have gone the wrong way down a one way street at least once.

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Cruising in Canada

Went out for a 40 miler with locals. Canadian customs is getting a little weirder. Not only do they change the rules, but the questions are getting stranger. Meanwhile, US customs are normalizing relations with their citizens. Odd twist.

Four of us traveled on the Friendship trail to Port Colburn, diverged onto the roads, then looped back to the trail. Blair showed me a new and improved way to get back on the Peace Bridge.

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Saturday, September 03, 2011

Impromptu Minneapolis

6:45pm Minneapolis airport: Delta airlines asks for volunteers to lay over 24 hours, hotel and meals included, $400 travel voucher.
7:15- I'm all set and rescheduled for tomorrow, same bat time, same bat place.
24 hours in Bicycling Magazine's #1 ranked bike friendly city, and the whole day sponsored by Delta.
At the Mall of America Ramada hotel (which treated me just as well as if I had paid for the room), I used their public, very fast computer to look for cycling info and print 3 pages (no charge).
Results: a whole listing of shops renting bikes, info on obtaining path maps and countless links to further info.
Picked one close to the Hiawatha light rail.
9/3 6:00am woke, showered, packed, checked out, asked to leave my duffle, used the Delta meal vouchers for breakfast and lunch (Ramada packed me a box lunch) and walked the short distance to Mall of America.

7:30 jumped off at Lake to walk a quick 1 mile to Freewheel Bike Shop.

Amazing. They rent really nice carbon Treks- $50.
Problem- they have to put a hold on your credit card for the value of the bike. $1,400. Several years ago I asked my CC company to reduce my credit limit to avoid cc fraud. I am at that limit (set it pretty low, didn't I- thought I was sooooo smart). Called CC company- could they please up my limit? BUT OF COURSE! What a stupid question.
Crash couse on using a CO2 cartridge to inflate presta tubes. All new to me. No toe clips. At least I had a helmet and mirror. How embarrassing, I had to go back to the shop to ask how to shift.  Such an old school girl, with her bar end shifters, toe clips and steel framed bike.

Followed the Greenway Trail until I saw a likely candidate for a riding partner. Out for several hours, avg 17- 22 mph. Sounded plausible. Then he was joined by 3 others. Really lean guys. It should have flashed a warning. Didn't. First half, about 15 miles, well within my speed limits. Second half, not so much. On two occasions at least, they waited for me. No computer, so I have no idea how fast, but I would guess well over 20 on the flat. After about 5 miles they slowed down again, but a little off, I had to draft to keep up then. This group... maybe part of a triathlon team out of Urban Tri shop. They could have and probably should have kicked my Buffalo butt and dropped me. But kindness ruled. So sweet. I know, I know. But I really enjoyed myself.

After they finished, I kept going to cross the Mississippi into St. Paul, then back into Minneapolis, around "The Lakes" and back to the bike shop. I joined forces with a rider going the same way who knew the route. Such a pleasure. He went a more manageable pace. Kudos to the cycling community of Minneapolis. Very welcoming. I think I did 45-50 miles, but am guessing.
Compare Portland to Minneapolis: apples to oranges. One is more fabulous for recreational, the other maybe for all around commuting. Maybe. Both nice. What says you? 6 months in Portland, 6 months in Minneapolis. Would you like to guess which 6 months would belong to Minneapolis?
Full light rail train cars. On a Saturday.  And the trains had bike hooks. The amazement never ends.

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