My old riding route.

I was able to get in a ride or two on a recent trip back to my home state of IL. These are from a ride up Sheridan Road, just miles from my parents, siblings, high school, etc. These are from the coastline of Lake Michigan, along some of the beaches that these highend suburban cities tuck in along their normal streets. Getting down and up from them also provides a little bit of "hill-climbing".


Phenom, MPLS.

Yes, I like shoes. Yes, I like unique retail design. How about both in the same store? Check out Phenom here in Minneapolis' Uptown 'hood...

[look like a dry cleaners from the front... sort of (you can tell this is waaaay nicer than a dry cleaners]

[one of the "machines" is actually a doorway to the back - cool detail]

[it also looks like they have a print press in the back for tshirts - how cstm]
[and I should have asked more questions, but it looks like this back room also hosts someone that sews really realy nice denim, with their own label - I was not expecting that]
You can also see from their website that they have an original St. Paul location.


One of the 10,000 lakes.

I believe this is Christmas Lake and it sure is a nice present when you're riding in the hot sun (on this little gem) for a couple of hours. Seemed pretty private and quiet - perfect.


Theft @ Target Field.

What to do in MN with a beautiful night, beautiful new ballpark I'd never been to and some free time? I decided to try and see the Twins game. I would need a ticket, but I've been to Wrigley and Fenway without much trouble and no ticket ahead of time (though Fenway's was about $75... which was totally worth it).

So, I rode my lil bike down after work, parked, and decided to make a "round" of the field, to see if I could sus out some tickets. First stop was the ticket window - no single seats left at that time, but maybe check back later. Ok.

Next was some more walking, around to the "busy" side of the outer park (where most folks come from the parking lots or bars). I began by asking a guy (scalper) across the street if he had any tickets. He said he had his ticket left and held it up for me. Said it was a good seat and I saw it was a face value of $13 - that's a price I like. I said I'd pay that and he held back a laugh. He wouldn't tell me how much he wanted and told me to go ask some other "sellers" how much there tickets were. Ok.

Digression - there are at least a dozen scalpers standing on the Target Field AND the other side of the street here with signs about "Tickets to Sell?", which means they want to buy your extras so they can scalp them to people like me - note, I now know MN allows the scalping of tickets, but it is not allowed for a scalper to be on Target Field grounds to do so. I also saw more than one scalper on the Target Field side asking every group of fans coming across with each "Walk" signal if they had tickets to sell (or needed tickets). I also walked by at least a dozen cops and traffic control people outside the game before the start. They were everywhere. Ok?

After wading through this mess for some time, and being turned off b ya throng of scalpers looking to make a killing off normal baseball fans, I decided to check back at the ticket window one more time. Would it have killed me to pay $60-70 to a scalper, yes (well, maybe not death). But the only ticket the Twins had for me was priced at $59. I paid it. And I have to say, it was a great seat (Sec 115, Row 21, Seat 13).
In fact, it was really nice! (see below).

Once inside I calmed down a bit, took some pics and decided to spend some more money for food. I dropped just under $20 for a sandwich, soda, beer, and chips. I was alright with it. The team puts out a good product, the new field is beautiful, the fans were knowledgeable, the game was entertaining, and even though they lost, I was feeling the price was worth it. Ok!

However, the game got even more expensive when I came back out to get my bike and ride home.
Can you guess what happened? No? Ok, I'll tell you. I came out to the bike rack only to find both my front and rear wheels had been stolen. Have you had the chance to remove a front or rear wheel from a bike lately? I suspect most people have not. If you have a quick-release wheel, it's actually not too bad. Thing of it is, these are, nay, were not quick-release wheels. That's right, Nancy, the thief needed at least two kinds of wrenches to remove them. They also needed some time standing at my bike to do this. Where did the cops go, ok?

So, I walked my bike's frame and ancillary parts to a cab and spent $7 more to get home (at around 11PM). I then filled out a police report online the next day and wrote the Twins an email. Ok...

I actually got a reply - a man from their Guest Services department wrote me back. He expressed his regret for my experiences (I wrote about the scalpers & theft) and basically said they could not do more to prevent either. The scalpers (he called them "ticket brokers", very smooth... only the fans go broke) are a sneaky bunch and the cops are busy during the games inside the park watching over 40,000 fans. Ok.

Am I being to harsh here? Maybe, I took it all very personally. Do I need to lock my entire bike even with bolt-on wheels? Clearly yes. Did I have a reasonable expectation of safety and security at a public event? I thought I did. Is it fair to let "brokers" sell? Probably. Is there a better way to handle both issues? I think so. Would I go to another game? Sure. Will I lock a bike? Yes! (it was such an easy way to get the game).


Take a bicycle ride...

... you never know what you'll encounter when you're not going 74mph (and sticking your phone out the window). If you get out on a bike (or walk), you can take your time and "stop to smell the roses". Who knows what you'll see.

[ you may have to get of the normal path - but in hindsight, I wouldn't do it on skinny, 23c road tires + gravel]

[this was just sitting there in the middle of a hilly part]

[and who doesn't like horsies!?!]

[this "pinto" was actually the first picture of the gang, he/she seemed to mug it up for the camera - the bigger brown horse above came in to check out what was going on after these shots. And I couldn't get a good shot, but there were to little foals just to the left of this pen... next time]

These are just a few of the things on found on a medium-length ride in Omaha, NE. Yeah, I know, I didn't expect this quality of finds or riding in Omaha either, but I had my suspicions/hopes.

Lanterne Rouge.

I still can't get enough of the bike pics on CycleChic. The one above is in a quick post about the jerseys and highlights of the Tour de France (going on right now). The post shows city shots of common jerseys in the tour (people riding in the city in yellow, green, white, etc).

There is an "honor" bestowed during the race to the last rider in the standings, known as the "Lanterne Rouge". This is due to the fact that way back when, the end of the race used to be marked by a vehicle with a large red lantern on it. They don't need to signify this occurrence now, so they give the honor to the last rider. It can change during the race (as many riders in this spot need to drop out (not feeling good))... but one rider always gets this honor as they make their way to Paris on the last day. Not exactly a career springboard, but fun for the fans.



What to do on the 6 hour drive from Omaha to Minneapolis? Well, if you're like me you start taking pics of the amazing cloud formations. Of course, to do this I have to stick my cellphone out the window and click 'em while driving (be careful!). But, you tend to get some pretty sweet shots once you have practice with the process. Take a look and let me know what you think, won't you?


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