I #lovemnwinter! Today, this big-city kid loves small-town MN!
By Tina Cho
I’m a big-city kid at heart. I love the concrete jungle. I love being close to everything: friends, work, food, entertainment, even nature! I even love that we have (almost) immediate plowing after snow here, so I can zip around the frozen city on my skinny studded tires.
That being said, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?
As someone who’s always lived within city limits, I’ve always wondered what life was like on the other side. What’s it like to live in a place where you know all your neighbors, you don’t worry about locking your doors, and (the biggest shocker) don’t think twice about leaving your bike unlocked in the back of your truck...
When I first moved to Minneapolis from Chicago, it was almost like moving to a small town. There was so much green everywhere, and barely an hour’s drive outside of town put me in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and cows. In fact, when my mom first visited me, she more or less called the Twin Cities “cute.”
Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany my partner Anna (who’s a photographer) to the towns of Little Falls and Northfield, for a winter biking photo shoot. It wasn’t my first time in rural Minnesota, but it was the first time I actually had a chance to interact with the locals. Let me tell you, it was like a cup of hot chocolate for the soul, the kind with the cute little animal marshmallows floating on top for extra #squee!
In Northfield, we met up with a group of folks from CROCT (Cannon River Off-Road Cycling & Trails) to have us some fat-biking fun! They not only met us with warm enthusiasm; they also brought everybody, and I mean everybody: friends, spouses, kids, dogs, and even tiny kid-sized fatbikes! After the shoot, we were invited over for dinner at the home of one of the local riders without a second thought, where we were plied with good beer, amazing conversation, and make-your-own roti pizzas. Anna and I spent twice as much time down in Northfield than we originally planned for, and don’t regret a single second of it.
Often, as city-dwellers, we tend to get wrapped up in what we do here, and our world shrinks down to the borders of what we can immediately see. This weekend, the universe conspired to break us out of that loop, a chance to experience and appreciate the warmth and wonder of rural Minnesota. There is so much bikey stuff going on in the rest of MN outside of the metro area: bike and trail advocacy, youth biking efforts, and just plain good people who love bikes… It makes me proud to be a resident of not just Minneapolis, but of MN as a state.
Photo above from CROCT photo shoot by Laura Chihara
Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.