Sometimes the best memories come from those times when you decide to give up making plans and just let the day happen.
With the husband out of town and the bigger kid not around, E and I had Memorial Day to ourselves. The weather was scheduled to be rain-free for most of the day, so I decided that a bike ride was in order. Our hand-me-down bike trailer was already hooked up and ready to roll, so I consulted the Trail map and decided a simple out-and-back bike ride on the Cedar Lake Trail would be a good morning activity.
The bike trails of the Twin Cities are legendary for their ease, proximity and extensiveness across the metro area. The Cedar Lake Trail has the added draw of the lovely Depot Coffee House, where bikers and neighborhood folks gather before, during or after their ride.
So on my ancient, broke-ass Schwinn and hauling 50 pounds behind me, we set off. I didn’t realize how much that extra weight and limited gears would slow me down, but we weren’t trying for time. And the more deliberate place forced me to slow down and really have a chance to observe where I was.
As we entered the trail near the NordicWare factory, a pair of geese and their goslings greeted us. It looked like they had set up a nest somewhere next to the factory. (Maybe they get free bundt cake?)
One of the parts of urban trail bike riding that I like best is the chance to see a familiar place in a whole new way. We biked over Minnehaha creek, next to St. Louis Park’s beehive monuments (which I’ve always wondered about when I pass them on the highway) and through wooded areas I never knew existed. The trail was full of other bikers, runners and Rollerbladers, but never felt crowded.
Returning from our half-way point, I noticed that all the bikers were smiling at me. “Isn’t it nice that bike riding puts everyone in a good mood,” I thought. Nope, they were bemused by E in the trailer. The fresh air and gentle movement had put him to sleep and he was curled around the harness and slumped over, snoring.
He woke up as we entered Wolfe Park. We pulled in to the playground—they have equipment for both big kids and pint-size versions for toddlers. He played for a bit, but then heard music….We had stumbled upon the Memorial Day concert. E and I sat on the grassy steps and listened to the St. Louis Park community band play a variety of patriotic songs and a medley of Lerner and Lowe. E loved it and sat still, just watching the band and listening for about 20 minutes.
Note to self: More community concerts. I’m sure if I had tried to plan it as a specific outing it wouldn’t have been nearly so special. But because it was pure happenstance that brought us there, we could enjoy it for as long as E’s attention allowed and then move on to the next thing with no pressure.
All in all, a great way to kick-off summer.
All photos by egkralick