Here at CTC, we try to cover anything and everything within the Twin Cities cycling scene. To be able to successfully do this, our collective group of writers needs to represent diverse riding backgrounds and interests in cycling. We also sometimes need to be able to express our personal opinions on particular topics, opinions which might not be shared by the entire group of CTC writers. It is for these reasons that we will begin posting some articles with the name of the author attached, however, the majority of posts will continue to list the author as “Cycle Twin Cities”.
Today we are welcoming a new writer here at CTC; Mike Courteau.
Mike will be a regular contributor here at CTC so we wanted to offer him the opportunity to introduce himself.
There was that first bike—kind of a quasi-BMX affair with training wheels. There were other, less memorable, bikes of course along the way to my first road bike: an orange Raleigh Grand Prix, I believe. With it, I commuted the five-mile round trip from the Diamond Lake neighborhood to 46th and Colfax four days a week for two years. Back then, I thought those little bumps on my quads were really something.
That sweet Raleigh was stolen within a few short weeks of arriving on my college campus, but I had no idea what had really been stolen from me. The Ride. Yes, with a capital R.
I stopped riding and started walking and didn’t ride a bicycle again until I bought a Bianchi mountain bike in my late twenties. That bike was stolen too. And so was the Giant Yukon that replaced it. But the one thing that was not stolen was my desire to ride a bicycle.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine inspired me to watch the Tour de France in 2001 that the seeds of the cyclist began to sprout within me. Soon, like most cycling dreamers, I began to wonder what it might be like to ride a road bike up a mountain.
The Raleigh that I once rode became the Fuji that I ride now, and I love that bike more than any car I’ve ever owned. I rode 750 miles around the Twin Cities that first season of Fuji ownership, which is a pitifully small amount by many estimates, but it was a start.
Now, heading into my third season, I am planning to ride a sixty-mile Gran Fondo event this summer. Again, it’s not a distance that will strike fear into the hearts of inveterate distance riders, but, for me, it will feel like an unimaginably long distance compared to my short routes of only three summers ago.
When I want an endurance ride I cycle from my home in the Longfellow neighborhood over to the Midtown Greenway, out to Hopkins Depot, and back. When I want to climb hills, I ride that long gradient from the foot of the Ford Bridge up Ford Parkway to the Highland Water Tower and, sometimes, I summon the courage to tackle the wall which is Ramsey Hill.
Above all else, though, I am grateful that I live in the greatest bicycling city in the United States. I am grateful for the extensive parkway system. I am grateful that so many of my fellow Twin Citians seem to love cycling as much as I do. And I am grateful for that Raleigh, that Bianchi, that Giant, and the Fuji that have all kept my cycling dreams alive for the last thirty-seven years.
Thanks Mike and welcome!