Anna from Bike Skirt and her boyfriend, Ross, were in Minneapolis this past weekend. Anna and Ross are from Birmingham, Alabama. They were here during our third (? I've lost count now.) snow storm of this winter, and were total troopers and weren't too traumatized by our weather event- they said they are coming back at some point! (...in the SUMMER.) Even if they are coming back because of Anna's job... it totally counts. They love us. ;]
I put out a Facebook message and a mplsbikelove post that I needed to borrow some bikes/ lights/ locks/ studded tires for our Southern guests and you know what? I got so many responses I had to turn down at least 4 bikes. This is why I love you, bike people. Not only that you have this stuff kickin' around your basements and garages, but because you are generous, awesome, BIKE people. Gratitude from the bottom of my little heart. (Shout out to Dave, Jen, Nathan, John, Noren, Joe, Sunrise Cyclery and others that offered and provided.)
Anna totally flatters me and I honestly am not that great of a guide, considering I took them to Townhall II, which was an experience I will not be repeating, not having their bikes ready and tuned up when they arrived, and not supplying them with tools/ tubes/ stuff... but let's focus on the positives!
We spent a ton of time with Noren/ Peacock Groove. We hung out at his new space for the Fruit Stripe transfer and the Cutters Ball, and also as shelter from the Sunday storm. (Thanks, Noren. I owe you!)
We went to the new Harriet Brewery, and brought our bikes inside! (Thanks Jason, Ginny, Dave + crew!) I schlepped a growler of HB's delicious West Side around for the rest of the evening. Totally worth it!
We did a group ride (Kat, Jen, Will, Dave!) in 20 degree weather. HARDCORE. Anna and Ross were total champs about our potholes, glare ice and windchill. Props. Look at this bad ass photo of Anna riding fixed on Fruit Stripe down Chicago Ave. in the middle of the night with a smile on her face. Heck yeah.
We did the Triple Rock bruncheon. That Big Ass Burrito got me through a snow storm. Just sayin'.
We went to a bike party. Cutters Ball was chock full of bike people, out of town people, and out of town bike people. And all of the Moosehead Lime you could drink. =]
We went on a snow ride. Sunday, Ross and I went on a ride, before the storm turned completely nasty. We skidded around on the trails a little and got some snow whipped into our eyes and faces, but it didn't matter because getting first tracks in snow with an Alabamian pretty much made my weekend.
We talked about bikes, WTF spaces, co-op organization and building strong communities. It is really nice to hear about how other people are organizing, and what their "bike culture" is like. I got some solid advice and good ideas from Anna and I really appreciate what we have here in Minneapolis after hearing that Birmingham has a less-developed bike culture. Anna and her Bike Skirt partner Elisa are involved with a bicycle co-op called Bici Coop in Birmingham and are trying to get a women/ trans night going. Best of luck to you! You can do it!
I can't wait until they come back during more hospitable weather. We will rock this town without freezing our noses off.