A Wintry Bike Social

Photo by Ben Hovland, of Freewheel Bike.

Group shot! Photo by Ben Hovland, of Freewheel Bike.

30 Days of Biking is a pledge to ride your bike every day in April. That means EVERY DAY, regardless of the weather, even when the ground is spongy with weird springtime snow and little ice daggers are stinging your face.

So it was on Day Three, when our first Thursday night Bike Social was scheduled to meet at Freewheel’s Midtown Bike Center. Amidst reports of Thunder Snow and a blizzard forthcoming, ride leader Mario Macaruso and I wondered if anyone would show up. We usually, in past years, get 30–40 cyclists at every Bike Social. Mario and I imagined that on Day Three, for the very first Bike Social of 2014, we’d be riding with just each other. Either way, that’d be cool!

Turns out, quite a few people were undaunted by the weather. My friend Marty was waiting at Freewheel when I arrived, as were my old friend Melissa and Alex, a mechanic from Re-Cycle who’d be supporting our ride. Then more people piled in, including Jess, Erik M.D., Lowell, Drew, and Jamie. I downed a double shot of espresso, got new fenders on my bike, and chatted with everybody. Then, with Mario in the lead, we rolled out.

It was an awesome ride. The snow was falling but very gently. There were a few falls along the way — e.g., Jamie slowed to pick up a fallen 30 Days of Biking spoke card and slipped on it, like a banana peel in MarioKart — but mostly we rolled onward unhindered, from Freewheel to Kenilworth to the Cedar Lake Trail. On the CLT, we stopped along the way to admire a fully snowed-in Hidden Beach.

From there, we hit downtown Minneapolis, which was especially beautiful in the middle of the blizzard. Those big buildings already look great when you’re biking between them at night, but snowfall and empty streets make them better.

Our ride ended at First Avenue’s 44th birthday party, which was (at least when we arrived) as empty as the streets we’d biked. We ruled the dancefloor for two hours, then rolled home. It was a perfect start to April.

About Patrick Stephenson

Patrick Stephenson is a copywriter at Minnesota Public Radio and the director of 30 Days of Biking. Follow him on Twitter @patiomensch, where he tweets like 5,000 times a day.