Ride Ride Ride Your Bike, Safely Down the Greenway! Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily It’s A Biker’s Dream, Yay!

Midtown Greenway @ Lyndale

I do my fair share of pedaling about town, even through the bracing winter months; still I hesitate to call myself a bike enthusiast.  I’m too level-headed when it comes to bikes.  To me, they are a sensible way to get around.  Bikes are cheaper to run, park, and maintenance than a car, and less polluting; plus the exercise you get en route is a multi-tasker’s dream.

But spending September’s first Sunday cycling amid autumn’s earliest awakening, the charms of my trusty blue 1980 Fuji fully emerge.  The Minneapolis Greenway is the perfect setting for letting your bike to carry you away.  If you live in Minneapolis and aren’t already taking advantage of this network of scenic and convenient car-free bike paths, you’re missing out.

View from the Greenway’s Kenilworth Trail

When you combine the Greenway with the bike trails around the lakes you can bike a whole lot of places with minimal intrusion from cars.  Check out this handy zoom and click map which details all the bike lanes, off street bike paths, and recommended routes for cyclists in Minneapolis:

http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/bikemap/

The first leg of my Sunday Sept 4 trip with my husband is from Bryant to Chicago exit of the Midtown Greenway, where my sister and her family are waiting for us. Together we ride two blocks off trail to the Modern Times Cafe for breakfast.

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the Greenway at 3200 Chicago Ave S

My friend Vanessa Messersmith has been raving about this place so I’m excited to indulge.  In a nutshell: great service, family-friendly, bright cheerful decor, affordable artwork for sale, best cup of English Breakfast tea I’ve had at any restaurant in town, and so many vegetarian options!  Though we finish all of our food, the stacks of 100% recycled paper to go boxes do not escape my appreciative glance.

Southwestern Hash with Vegetarian Chorizo. Yum!

Next, my niece lobbies for more biking; so we return to the Greenway; continuing east across the bike/pedestrian suspension bridge over Hiawatha.

About the bridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Olav_Sabo_Bridge

Engineering Buffs: The First Cable-Stayed Suspension Bridge in MN

Street Art Near Bracket Park Exit of the Greenway

Under 16th Avenue

We follow the Midtown Greenway all the way to the Mississippi River before turning back toward Uptown.  On the way back, we spin off for a few cycling goodies at the Freewheel Midtown Bike Center, which the Greenway literally rolls right past.

The Greenway through Uptown

After a few hours break at our apartment in Uptown, Brian and I meet our friends David and Janel and bike together along the south side of Cedar Lake, towards Theodore Wirth Park for a stroll at Eloise Butler Wildflower Flower Garden. This secluded little woodland garden and meadowland is such a hidden Minneapolis gem that I almost don’t want to let the word out about it!

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Having skipped lunch, we are ready for Pizza at Punch, and pedal off to Calhoun Village.  The Midtown Greenway delivers us practically to the doorstep.  While riding along I notice this notice:

Are you riding the Greenway Challenge fundraiser? I’ll sponsor you!*

*while supplies last

I don’t want to ride in this myself but since I love the Greenway, I will sponsor someone who does.  Happy trails, pardners!

Midtown Greenway Challenge, a fundraiser for the Greenway:   http://www.midtowngreenway.org/2011GreenwayChallenge.html

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