Active Living Blog

Two wheels and a tailwind

Posted: Mar 14, 11:04 AM

BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA (March 14, 2012) – It’s been beautiful weather this past week in Bemidji and I took it all in on two wheels last night, riding my bike on the trail along Lake Bemidji and over the Mississippi River past Bemidji State University (BSU) to Diamond Point Park. The park was pretty full of puddles and some snow, but the trails were clear along the south and west sides of Lake Bemidji.

I’m not always as good at bike maintenance as I should be, but last night on my first bike ride of 2012 filled with a mix of curiosity and dread, I felt like it was important to find out how my bike faired over the winter before taking it for a spin. I gave my bike the inquisitive stare, noticing the rip in my bike seat was still not repaired, and then rolled it out of the garage to take a closer look. Squeezed the tires, which needed a little air; clasped the brake levers one at a time, brakes along the tires moved as I expected them to (hoped at least!); and I was off. This was definitely a quick check, since I took all of 45 seconds or so to complete; however, since I identified the need for air in my tires, I promptly made a maintenance stop at Holiday down the street. (In Bemidji, Minnesota, at the Holiday, it’s free to use their air compressor to fill your tires.)

It was smooth sailing, as I rolled clockwise along the bike trail from the Sanford Center to Diamond Point Park, passing many walkers and a few other cyclists along the way. The lake still appeared frozen; however, signs of melting were apparent along the Mississippi inlet and as I glanced across the lake, large puddles have begun to form in the unseasonably warm sunshine.

Diamond Point Park was hopping with kids on the playground and a few others biking and walking along the paths. In the spirit of being adventurous, I zipped through piles of snow and ice, pedaling like I was competing to qualify for an Ironman – at a safe speed of course. There were quite a few stretches of the path submerged in water from the melting snow; however, nothing too treacherous or very difficult to navigate.

Nature provided me with some resistance training on the way back into town, blowing favorable gusts for the cyclists going in the opposite direction as I. This didn’t bother me one bit, since it had been last fall when I last rolled on two wheels. I was in the moment, enjoying the sunshine, warmer temperatures and being part of an active community here in Bemidji, Minnesota.

See you on the trails. Roll on!

Natalie Gille, Bemidji resident and outdoor enthusiast