So I went to the dentist yesterday. My dentist is in downtown Minneapolis, a holdover from when I worked down there 15 years ago, but twice a year I go down and get my choppers looked at. Unbeknownst to me, yesterday whilst sitting at the desk after the appointment, I dropped my cell phone. It's not really mine; my iPhone 3G took an untimely plunge into the Des Moines River last week while I was leaning over a bridge railing taking a photo of the floodwaters (they've had a lot of rain down there). I have an iPhone 4 on order but it hasn't come yet so I have a temporary SIM in my daughter's old Pantech.
Anyway, I didn't notice this until yesterday afternoon, when I called the dentist and sure enough, they had my phone. I said I'd pop in and get it. So this morning I rolled out a little after 7:00 and, rather than the usual 4.9-mile run directly north to work, headed downtown, about an 8-mile ride.
This is kind of fun. I see a limited number of other cyclists on my simple commute and it hardly feels like an urban commute at all. Nobody is ever going to film riding through Roseville to Arden Hills and then set it to "Welcome to the Jungle". Going to downtown Minneapolis is different, lots more cyclists of all ages and bike types, much more traffic, buses, light rail, the Missisippi River. I rode through the Fairgrounds and the Saint Paul University of Minnesota campus, down Como, across the Stone Arch Bridge and to the dentist's at Fifth and Marquette, then rode back across the Stone Arch Bridge, a little ways up Como Avenue, then cut off to catch the Minneapolis Diagonal Trail. I hardly ever ride this (usually going to work from the dentist's or to Home Depot from work). It's pretty pastoral and there wasn't much traffic on in this morning. I went along County C, up Cleveland, over to and around Lake Johanna and then to work.
My Atlantis doesn't have a computer on it at the moment (I'm about to do a bunch of work on it, including reinstalling the computer) but Google Maps tells me I rode about 19 or 20 miles. I rolled in at 8:45 or so, showered and went to work.
When I ride to work, which is not all the time by any means, I usually ride directly there and directly home. Sometimes I pop into a store or go to a meeting afterwards, but I have never incorporated a longer recreational ride into the commute. I might think about it. It requires an earlier departure but it's kind of fun to get out and about in the cycling ecosystem in areas I hardly ever travel during the work week.
I'll be riding home, and then to a meeting this evening for the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition. On the off-chance somebody reads this before then, we're meeting at the Jimmy Lee/Oxford Rec Center at Lexington and Marshall in Saint Paul at 7:00 to 8:30. We are an outgrowth of the Saint Paul Bicycle Advisory Board, which is now on hiatus, but independent of the City and looking to become an advocacy organization. Come and join us if you have an interest, we're there every second Tuesday. You can check out our website which is pretty lame at the moment (I did it) but which we expect to improve quite a lot in the near future.