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Following in my father’s bike tracks

Following in my father’s bike tracks Following in my father’s bike tracks

For years, my dad would bike to work, starting off at our suburban home in Robbinsdale and making his way to the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, where he worked as a sheriff’s deputy. I always marveled at this feat, as the center of Minnesota’s biggest city always seemed to be light years away from my house in the burbs.

With the wonder of Google Maps, I was able to find out the approximate distance my dad would have traveled on his 1970sera bicycle. Based on the shortest route available, he would have biked about 6.4 miles each way.

I looked this up because I wanted to see how it compares to my own commute, as I consider the possibility of biking to work on a daily basis myself. Simply put, I have a cakewalk, with only two miles to go from my apartment in Colby and the TP Printing office here in Abbotsford. It’s pretty much a straight shot, too, as I only need to cross the highway once after spending most of my journey on a nice path. The intersection near the Shell gas station is a little dicey at times, but other than that, there’s really nothing that compares to the metro landscape my father traversed in his day.

So, it shouldn’t be big deal for me to switch from my four-wheeled, gas-powered automobile to a two-wheeled, selfpropelled bicycle, right? Well, yes and no.

It really depends on two things: my level of motivation and the weather. In the times I have biked into work, it’s always been after my lunch break, once I’m fully awake, caffeinated and filled with plenty of calories to burn. Most mornings, just the thought of hopping on my bike makes me ache. Like a lot of people, I wake up in stages, and my limbs are one of the last things to be fully functional.

That brings me to the other major factor: the weather. In recent weeks, the upand- down temperatures and occasional hurricane-like winds have made a few of my bike rides more than a little challenging. It all depends on which direction you’re headed in compared to where the wind is coming from. Not long ago, I found myself in a wind tunnel, trudging down CTH N east of Colby, stuck in slow-motion. I vowed that I would always check the wind speeds before venturing out into the countryside again.

All of this makes me a feel a little too delicate compared to the generations before me, many of whom did not have the luxury of choosing motorized transportation. If my dad could make it six miles each way, through heavy traffic, I should be able to pedal down a bike path for a couple miles. The weather is supposed to get warmer next week, so that will be my opportunity to up my game. Of course, it won’t be long before I’m grousing about how it’s too hot. Modern people. I tell ya.