This week I have still been slowly recovering from a bad cold, but I managed to commute by bike at least a few days this week.
My daily commute takes me from quite residential streets of South Minneapolis to the heart of downtown. I enjoy the residential streets for their quiet tidiness, I appreciate the color and diversity of the neighborhoods and commercial nodes around Lake Street and Franklin, but I have to say that my favorite part of the ride is the mile or two in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
I find riding with traffic to be absolutely exhilarating. I truly enjoy taking the lane, using hand signals and making eye contact with the drivers. It’s tremendously empowering to signal, make eye contact, and swing into the lane in front a car or truck. Interestingly, I never get honked at downtown. Being predictable and as assertive as I need to be makes the downtown leg of the commute remarkably hassle-free.
Last year, during Bike-Walk Week, I led a caravan of employees that were new to commuting in a bike caravan to the office. They were nervous about the last mile, but each of them were surprised how easily we navigated the congested streets, and the pride of their accomplishment showed in their faces as we locked up in the parking ramp.
If you are at all uncomfortable riding in traffic, it’s really worth taking a class on cycling in traffic – you’ll learn a lot even if you are an experienced cyclist, and once you have completed the class and are comfortable in traffic, you’ll be able to experience a whole new world from your bike saddle.