Monday, September 12, 2016

Summer Roundup

Just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been riding my bike…although most of July and August proved to be much hotter than I enjoy. I probably did more swimming and Zumba classes than biking. But June was beautiful bike weather and toward the end of the month I returned to Bemidji, Minnesota – my second year attending the Northwoods Writers Conference.

This year I felt like an old hand biking around the lake – a 17-mile loop. If Lake Bemidji was formed by Paul Bunyon’s right foot, the university (where the writing conference is held) would be at the lower part of the inner arch. Riding clockwise, there’s a long stretch along the inner arch of the “foot” that is probably the least enjoyable part of the ride. Although there is very little traffic, the route goes along the shoulder of a highway. But once you round the top of the foot and get to about the fourth toe you enter Bemidji State Park – a beautiful forested area and a chance to swim in a cool, clean lake. Leaving the park, there is a long stretch of shady bike path. Almost directly across from the university is a bridge where you can see the Mississippi River flow into the lake and watch the young people jump from the bridge into the water. After rounding the “heel” you can see where the Mississippi flows out of the lake and from there it’s a short ride back to campus.

Lake Bemidji
This summer I got to take the loop twice – once with my pal Tricia, who was my biking guide last year, and once by myself. The workshop was even better than last year, with inspiring writers, productive workshops, and new friendships.

Biking Yogini by the Mississippi
 In July I had several trips that included modest amounts of cycling. There was a short jaunt to Stone Harbor, NJ, which included a prefect day for the ferry ride to Cape May. It’s always fun to ride at the beach in the early morning before the sun heats up and my friends have plenty of well-weathered bikes to borrow.

On the ferry to Cape May, NJ
Then it was up to Philly, where I left my dogs while the Cycling Yogi and I headed back to the West Coast. At 30th Street Station I saw a waiting commuter who seemed to be a bit obsessed with the color green.

It's not easy being green...
After a long weekend of hiking in the Northern Cascades we returned to our friends’ house which is a good 10 miles north of downtown Seattle. Fortunately they not only have a beautiful set of bikes for us to borrow; Seattle has a wealth of bike paths from which to choose. We rode into town on the Interurban trail and stopped for lunch at a place called the Wayward Vegan – which seemed like a perfect fit for the two of us. I decided to sample their version of the vegan fried chicken sandwich. It was pretty good – but can’t hold a candle to NuVegan in DC.

We're definitely wayward, and mostly vegan!

Vegan fried chicken sandwich

Our Seattle rides

We returned via the Burke-Gilman trail – a slightly longer but more scenic route. It goes along Lake Washington where gorgeous homes with breathtaking views abound (and are probably only affordable by multi-millionaires).

From there, the Cycling Yogi departed for three months in Beijing, where I am soon to visit. I’m sure there will be some interesting cycling experiences in China!

Post Script – in a previous post I mentioned biking in New York and taking in the Gustav Klimt exhibit at the Neue Museum. I was subsequently contacted by someone from an organization called Artsy, which endeavors to make art widely available to the public online. Here is a link to their page on Gustav Klimt – if there are any fans out there.

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