Bicycle Burnout & Discrimination against Bicyclists

Locked to a bench!

We locked our bikes to a bench.

I love bicycling in the fall.  The sky is low and dazzlingly blue.

When you bicycle, you really look around.  You are not in a car.  You see the land, hear it, feel it all around you.

In July, however, I burned out on a 40-mile ride on the Root River Trail in Minnesota.

How does a bicyclist burn out? you may ask.

Lanesboro, Minnesota

Lanesboro, Minnesota

The Root River is an easy trail, but the farther you go, the tireder you get. We stopped for pie at World Famous Pies in Whalen. We rode a little farther, and when we turned around, we agreed to meet in Lanesboro, a lovely tourist town at the halfway point.  It is an easy trail, I told myself.  But it wasn’t.  I didn’t know how far we were biking.  I only knew it seemed long.

Then I couldn’t find my husband.  I rode past the deli where we sat on the veranda last year.  I rode past all the benches twice.  I finally found him sitting on a rock at the Visitors Center.

And it made me rethink our riding. I was exhausted. I am much slower than he is.  It seems unfair to slow him down.

Since then I have been city-biking.  There are amazing trails here, part of a 65-mile loop.

Bicycling is practical.  It is wonderful exercise, good for the environment, and an efficient means of transportation.  (In rush hour I can beat cars.)  But there is some discrimination against bicyclists.  This summer three trails are under construction and  there are no detour signs. No directions.  You turn back and guess.

And there are few bike racks.  Well, there are some downtown.

But at the mall, at Barnes and Noble, at Starbucks, at Target, there are no bike racks.

I often find a railing and lock my bike to it.

But today…

I went to the Hy-Vee to grab lunch.  There is a bike rack there.

Chrysanthemums and other fall flowers for sale blocked the bike rack (see picture above).

I couldn’t believe it.

Other bicyclists were locking bikes to the bench, so I did it, too.

Locking our bikes to the bench and Hy-Vee.

Locking our bikes to the bench at Hy-Vee.

That was like blocking the parking lot for cars.

DETOUR.  I rode to Barnes and Noble and the trail was closed.



There was a serious fence so I couldn’t go through.  Plus there were guys in hard hats.

Would they let someone with gray hair through?  I wondered.

I decided not to try.  There was a bulldozer.

So I rode on the sidewalk beside the strip malls and it was unpleasant.

On the way back I rode down a hill and tried the trail at a different point.  I didn’t expect construction for three miles. The workers might have knocked off for the day, I thought.  Then I could walk my bicycle through it.

A serious fence.

A serious fence.

I was wrong.  The trail was blocked after a quarter of a mile with another serious fence.  And no detour signs.

So I backtracked on a busy road and found a sidewalk.  Then I had to walk my bike part of the way.

Finally I found the trail.  It took an hour longer than it normally takes me.

At least I got some exercise.

4 thoughts on “Bicycle Burnout & Discrimination against Bicyclists

  1. What a day you had! I could perhaps cycle a couple of miles without collapsing……. :s It’s much the same for cyclists over here – treated like second class citizens!


  2. Yes, it was tiring. Oh, you could cycle with me. I take my time… And there are benches if you get tired! Too bad bicyclists are treated like this in the UK, too.


  3. Speaking for non-pedalphiles, I must add this. Few things are more irritating than packs of cyclists tricked out in condom getups, funny helmets, “special” shoes and gloves, etc., who take their seven a.m. ride through suburban streets on Sunday, talking in loud voices as though all the world must be awake and ready for fun.
    If you get my drift.


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