20 June 2007

My First Ride

The first trip I took was from the Lake Harriet bandshell to the Midtown Exchange at Chicago and Lake in south Minneapolis. I wasn't sure which route to take, but decided upon the parkway trail that was headed north. My instincts were telling me that I would hit Lake Calhoun eventually, and sure enough, I did. From there I traveled along the parkway lane that moves around Calhoun up to 36th.

36th is a busy street. Wow. It does hook up with 35W, so the traffic volume is understandable, but it's a lot different on a bicycle. For whatever reason, I had a feeling (hoped for my sweet little life) that most people would notice a girl on a bike in a BRIGHT red shirtdress. Anecdotally, it's been found that drivers often slow and give enough space to bicyclist whom wear their helmets, and even moreso, females. I don't write the rules of behavior, but that observation suits me just fine. Thank you. I rode along 36th from Lake Calhoun, east to Park Avenue, north to Lake St, and east to Chicago Ave.

Total mileage of my first spin out with Lucky: 3.57 miles
Traffic: Moderate

19 June 2007

Gettin' Lucky with BikeTown!

Long story short. I wrote an essay of 50 words or less about how a new bike would set me free. This essay contest was open to residents of Minneapolis. Over 300 essays were submitted, with the 50 best essays, as determined by editors of Bicycling Magazine, selected as the winners for 50 bikes to be given away on Saturday, June 16th.

I came in 51st. Yep, that's right, just missed the cut-off. However, I was notified that I was at the top of the alternates list. (whew) That meant that I would be notified on Thursday, June 14th, after 7 pm as to whether or not there was a bike for me. I got the call. Two days later, I headed down to the Lake Harriet bandshell to the BikeTown giveaway event, where I picked up my brand new, shiny, mint green, Raleigh Coasting! Which I immediately so aptly named "Lucky". (as per a suggestion from my friend Karen)

Meet Lucky. I will post a real picture soon, but this picture works well for now. I didn't just win a bike, I won a bike that knows me better than I know myself!

POP QUIZ: Which feature was I most excited about?
A) Sweep Back Alloy Handlebars
B) Saddle w/ Classic Rear Coil Springs and a Front Loop
C) Shimano Coasting Dynamo and Shimano Coasting Internal 3SPD
D) Six-Pack Rack with Built in Bottle Opener

The correct answer: D) Six-Pack Rack with Built in Bottle Opener
(As if there were any debate...)

Part of the BikeTown program is that the participants are asked to keep a journal, noting how they use the bicycle, how it changes their life, and subsequently if the bicycle leads to weight loss and a happier outlook on life. You can find more information on BikeTown here. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky too?

Here we go!