Archived Story

Lessons of a new bike rider [UPDATED]

Published 7:14am Monday, August 6, 2012 Updated 12:17pm Monday, August 6, 2012

After a less-than-stellar bike ride during the Hoot Lake Triathlon Sunday, and having the good fortune of winning the bicycle donated by Central Lakes Cycle (how could I not put a plug in?) I decided Thursday it was time to give the new  wheels a try.

As it turned out, it was a lot more interesting than the glorious feeling of a smooth new ride (which, while nice, is still a bike, which means fighting hills, wind, pebbles and traffic).

Heading up the County Road 1 bike trail on the northeast side, I ran into a guy on a recumbent bike (the kind where you sit down) packed with gear.

I assumed he was going to ride slowly, so I rode past him early on. Of course, he caught up to me, which now makes sense after I heard his story, and because the fact that, well, I’m a novice biker.

It turned out he was from California, riding across the country from New York to Oregon. He had ridden the Central Lakes Trail, was on his way up to Pelican Rapids via County Road 3 (was told it was pretty riding around Maplewood State Park, but wasn’t told the hills are kind of nasty on that road), and would eventually get to Fargo, where he would pack his bike up and take a bus through North Dakota to Montana.

We took photos of each other with our iPhones (his is next to this column). I have to say, taking a photo while riding a road bike isn’t the easiest thing in the world. He told me his name — though clearly I didn’t remember it well enough — and said I could look up “” or something like that.

I was skeptical when he thought it would be easy to find his blog online, and I was right. There are thousands of “crazy guys on a bike” and the few minutes I afforded myself to look for his particular “crazy guy’s” blog weren’t enough to find him.

So unless the crazy guy on the bike sees his picture online, my association with him will be that 15 minutes or so biking and idylly conversing side-by-side.

I guess relationships come in all forms.

By the way, my other lesson is that if I want to become a faster biker, I’ll have to bike more.


• • •


I’m kind of baffled by those people who are “spoiled” when they hear the results of an Olympic event before they watch it. Maybe (OK, probably) I have a different attitude, but I kind of like to watch sports when I know the outcome, especially if it’s a positive one. I knew, for example, that the U.S. swim team would win the 4×200 relay Thursday, but I still had fun watching Michael Phelps cruise to victory.

Come to think of it, I think I’m going to use the same methodology to watch the Vikings this fall. I’ll DVR the game, and if they win, I’ll watch it. If they lose, I’ll erase it.

Sounds like a great way to save a Sunday afternoon of heartache.

Joel Myhre is The Journal’s publisher. E-mail him at

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