Moving to Freedom, .Org(on)

Hey! Wanna Ride a Bike?!

souvenir/toy bike made out of one piece of wire

We visited Lanesboro, Minnesota recently, which is a couple of hours south of the Twin Cities. (That’s primarily how we measure distance around here, by time.)

We’d never been to that part of the state, and… it is awesome. We were, like, so totally awed. Beautiful “bluff country.” A landscape that isn’t flat, right here in Minnesota.

And: miraculously free of mosquitos. We were told this is because it is the only county in the land of 10,000 lakes that has zero lakes. Did you hear that? THERE ARE NO MOSQUITOS. You may be skeptical, but we confirmed it via several harrassment-free hours of hiking in the woods. I’m sure it’s entirely coincidental that the people down there are all happier and friendlier than in other parts of the state.

Lanesboro is “a popular tourist destination.” Not a vulgar tourist trap, but appropriately touristy. I like a certain level of touristy-ness. It makes me feel welcome, as a tourist. You can find a decent selection of logo t-shirts in a touristy town, and cool souvenirs like the bike pictured above. Look! Excepting the pedals, it’s one piece of wire! Isn’t that neat?!

Root River Trail, Lanesboro, MN

Lanesboro sits right on the Root River State Trail, and biking is big down there. Thanks to the healthy tourism ecosystem, there are several outfitters in town with bikes for rent. Only $10 for two hours. (We wanted to get a side-by-side tandem bike, but some damned tourist bus showed up right before we got there and took all of them.)

My wife and I don’t own or ride bikes, I think mostly because we’ve always had dogs and we wouldn’t want to leave them at home while we ride. They wouldn’t understand, and rightly so. (And I like walking, okay?) So I’ve ridden a bike maybe once or twice or thrice in mumble-mumble years since getting my driver’s license.

Fortunately, you never forget how to ride a bike. You just don’t: there’s that saying. However, you may forget to tie your shoelaces up short enough to keep them out of the chain and sprocket, like I did. But that little incident was early on and at low speed. Disaster averted. Not embarrassing at all.

And then we were on our way, enjoying the gorgeous day and the beautiful trail, my mind at peace and my soul in communion with nature.

Not thinking at all about…

The prospect of operator error or mechanical failure stranding us far from town, maybe with a severe case of road rash, maybe worse. And there’s no cell phone reception. Not preoccupied — not at all — with the question of how far to go. The Root River Trail is effectively infinite in length. How far out is a good distance, especially considering our non-optimized riding muscles? What unfamiliar and interesting case of chafing might present itself? And, getting to the essential question, how sore would our butts be if we went “too far?”

Ah, that’s the freedom of the open trail. Letting all your worries go…

Related: Another post about Lanesboro, and birds.