As described in streets.mn’s Mission and Core Values, one facet of better places in Minnesota is that they’re “delight cultivating.” I’ve been contemplating what sorts of places bring me delight, and one of my biggest joys recently has come from an unexpected source: my work commute route.
[quote] Delight-cultivating: places should inspire happiness and wonder in all seasons and all times of the night and day[/quote]
After years of part-time bicycle commuting, I elected to sell my car and commit to biking full-time in early 2017. I made this choice primarily to decrease my individual carbon footprint, but expected that I’d also see other benefits such as better health and decreased financial commitments. What I didn’t expect was how much I’d enjoy these 1.5-2 hours of daily bicycling. It’s made me look forward to mornings (I’ve never been a morning person), to the changes of the seasons, and to exploring new routes.
I often ride along this part of the Mississippi River on my route, which is probably at it’s best in the winter months with it’s ever-changing ice sheets, shards, and occasionally ice pancakes.
Route-exploring in winter can sometimes be difficult, especially when there’s lots of snow (or weeks-old snow that was never removed from the bike lanes and is now ice). It’s still worth it, overall. I get to bike on a fresh coating of snow, watch some turkeys cross the road, enjoy the snow-covered tree limbs, or see the ice-cracking tracks of those who have gotten up even earlier than me.
Bicycle commuting through Minnesota’s winter might not be the most obvious source of joy, but I truly do find delight in bicycling through all of these places, year-round. Sharing these experiences here also helps, and I encourage you all to join me in writing for streets.mn.