January 30, 2015
The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis is only 2100 feet long. Yet it took me over an hour to pedal my way from one end to the other. The bridge used to carry trains over this span of the Mississippi. Today (especially when the sun is out) it carries throngs of locals and visitors.
At one point, my forward progress had come to a complete stop, and I gave in to the urge to sit down and watch the parade of humanity (and pets). You really can't comprehend just how much traffic noise drowns out the rest of life until you have the privelage of soaking in the sounds of the city without it.
This is how I described it in my feature Minneapolis Forecast: Warm Showers in the Oct/Nov issue of Adventure Cyclist:
It is a constant stream of walkers and cyclists: a woman on a mountain bike with a big red milk crate strapped to her back rack; a guy in his 20s with a black T-shirt and skinny maroon pants pedaling a lime green “Nice Ride” bike; a young man in a long-sleeved shirt and sunglasses walking his perpetually happy lab, complete with neon orange ball in mouth; a mom in a wheel chair with her young daughter, a symphony in pink, riding in her lap; a young woman in blue denim pedaling on a singlespeed upright is passed by an older couple on a bright red tandem decked out in perfectly matched red shirts and helmets; a guy in a green army hat and black backpack balancing a blue Cannondale with no hands; two young women (probably headed for the nearby Guthrie Theatre), dressed in stylish black skirts and black boots. The stream of humanity continues to roll on by: white, Hispanic, Asian, black, young, old, athletic, soft-in-the-middle America. It is a sunny Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, and we all have one thing in common — smiles on our faces.
I get almost as much pleasure watching people ride bikes, as I do riding them. Almost.
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.
One of my favorite bridges - Thank you for the post. To the south is the new 35W Bridge. Imagine the horror of the bridge collapse - a memory still fresh in our minds. To the west is the Guthrie Theater, one of the top theaters in the US. The view from the "Endless Bridge" at the Guthrie is wonderful, in the evening or day. And to the north, St Anthony Falls - deafening and violent in the late spring. And next to the falls is an engineering marvel - the northernmost lock and dam on the Mississippi. It's a beautiful bridge.
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I do love that bridge! A favorite memory is riding across it with my then middle school aged daughter and stopping to watch a crane whap a fish repeatedly on one of the supports prior to devouring it.