Minneapolis

We’re really only in Minneapolis for a day, so though I’d like to say more, this part of our trip is more rushed than we had originally planned. More on that later.

I finally had fried cheese curds last night. They were pretty good, but not as good as I’d built them up to be in my head. The curds themselves didn’t have as much taste as I’d hoped, and were mostly just salty. It’s possible I’m getting too old for fried cheese. The rest of the food we had, though, was delicious, and I’d like to particularly plug Gigi’s cafe, where we got brunch. They bus your tables for you there.

My friend Anna, whom we’re visiting, uses Nice Ride bikeshare to bike to work, so we used that to get around a little bit. Minneapolis has this thing I wasn’t aware of called the Greenway, which is a limited access bike road that goes below street level. In addition to making me feel like an elf every time someone said it, the Greenway eliminates most of what I find terrifying about the idea of city biking: though it’s fairly well-trafficked, you’re not competing with cars or pedestrians. Add to that the actual greenness of the slopes between the Greenway and the buildings it’s behind, and it’s much calmer (at least at the non-peak times we were on it) than I expect from city transportation.

According to Anna, biking for transportation is really popular there. I’m impressed with the intentionality of design of the biking infrastructure, because it means that even relatively casual bikes (me, definitely) can comfortably ride, unlike in a denser city like New York where it at least seems to be a fairly extreme sport, best left to the professionals. I’m sure the geography helps–there were more bike lanes than I’m used to in Madison as well, and I imagine there’s a bigger bike lobby in places with fewer hills generally, but actively creating limited-access bike roads is something I’d like to see in more places in the US.

Minneapolis was the first place we’ve been on this trip that I’ve really never  been to, or been anywhere around, and it was definitely different from other cities I’ve spent more time in, but South Dakota, where we are now, is definitely another order of magnitude different. Stay tuned for that entry later this week!

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