The day in bike ride: June 4, 2011: Accidental staycation

June 8, 2011

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Last Saturday, all I was planning to do was ride my bike the ten minutes to the nearby Midtown Farmers Market, eat the farm egg sandwich with asparagus pesto, greens, maple vinaigrette, and Parmesan that the Dandelion Kitchen food truck was making, and bike the ten minutes back home. No such luck. The weather, though slightly on the warm side for my personal preference, was simply wonderful and I couldn’t help but stay outside.

This was my first time visiting this particular market. I go anywhere on Saturday mornings, it has been to the Mill City Farmers Market to visit another favorite food truck, Chef Shack. But this Saturday, Dandelion Kitchen’s tweet about that egg sandwich caught my eye and I thought, why not? I’ve often enjoyed their lunch creations downtown during the work week and I was excited to try something different.

It was delicious. I bet they’d sell a lot of those egg sandwiches at lunch, too.

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There were a few other food stands at the market, so I went back for more. I decided to also try the Caprese kebab and the curry satay chicken from Kabomelette. I don’t know how I was expecting the Caprese to be prepared—I guess as a kebab I was thinking it would be hot—but it was the only thing it could have been—mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes on a skewer. I think those fresh mozzarella balls might be one of my favorite forms of cheese. The curried chicken was quite good, too.

I will try the other food stands the next time I go back.

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When I finished eating, I had a ten-second debate with myself about whether to take the long way home, aka, do the ten-mile bike ride loop. It was a debate because I hadn’t packed my bike the way I would if I planned to be out for a while; in the end, I knew that if I went home to re-prepare I probably wouldn’t go back out, so away I went south instead of north.

I was rewarded within a mile. As I approached the corner of Hiawatha Avenue and 46th Street where the bike trail jogged off into a less-concretey setting, a young deer came trotting out of the brush looking as if it had a mind to cross Hiawatha. I was able to cross 46th quickly enough that I could shoosh it back to where it had come from. A few yards on and I could still see it between the road and the nearby houses.

I went off-road and stalked it gently to see if I could get some pictures. It was obviously an urban deer because it didn’t seem too concerned by me. We had a few stare-downs and I could see that it was a young buck with about six-inch antler sprouts. He eventually waggled his tail at me and sauntered back into the undergrowth and I decided it was time to move along.


My loop took me through Minnehaha Park. After dilly-dallying at the market and communing with the deer, I found myself in need of facilities and availed myself of the some in one of the pavillions. When I came back out, I noticed that Minnehaha Creek was flowing more energetically than I’m used to seeing  it when I ride east from Hiawatha. I let myself be hypnotized by what could be considered mini-rapids and walked my bike along the bank for a ways. I came to a footbridge over the creek and went up on it. I looked over the other side and suddenly realized that I had accidentally come upon Minnehaha Falls.

No kidding, that’s the first time I’ve ever been to the falls in person in the twenty total years I’ve lived in Minneapolis which is just crazy. It’s a landmark location. For the second time in the day, I made the decision to take my time. I locked my bike up and explored, along with a hundred of my closest friends.

Doesn’t matter that there were crass people and screaming kids all around me. Doesn’t matter that to go down and then back up, I had to negotiate about three storeys’ worth of short, stone steps. Sometimes, the aesthetics still win.

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I found out that the hoard of other bikers I was seeing on the trail, most of whom had little number tags pinned to their backs, were participants in the Tour de Cure for diabetes, the finish line of which was in the park. As part of the festivities, the cover band Stitched was playing. I sat and listened their interesting range songs, which included Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” and the Ohio Players’ “Love Rollercoaster.” I liked the guy’s voice.

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I finally got going again and went my merry way north along the Mississippi River. When I got near the end I decided that I was too hot and tired to deal with the long, steep hill that I knew awaited me to get up from the river back onto the streets in my neighborhood, so I peeled off into the side streets which were a little less direct but much more flat.

As a result, I was able to ride through the Milwaukee Avenue Historical District, a charming example of urban preservation. The houses were built in the late 1800s and rehabilitated in the 1970s. The street was turned into a pedestrian mall and when you walk (or bike) along it, you totally have the feeling of being in another era.

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I got home and realized for the first time in the nearly four hours that I had been out that oh yeah, it was sunny and I hadn’t put on sun screen because I had only been planning to be out in it for twenty minutes. Fortunately, it never felt as bad as the crisp to which it looks like I’m fried here. Still, it was shocking when I first saw it.

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I showered and refreshed myself, built a fire with which to cook, and enjoyed a few Summit Gold Sovereign Ales while sitting on my steps. All in all, I consider it to have been one of the most enjoyabledays—partly because it was ninety percent spontaneous—I’ve had in the last few years (London vacation last summer notwithstanding). Hurrah!

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