Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday Rides Are Firkin Awesome

Last Saturday I had the good fortune to combine wonderful weather (see photo above for proof) + hanging out on a bike with a good friend + great beer. Truly a remarkable day and a warm memory as we struggle through another bout of freezing weather.

I set out from my place in the northernmost reaches of Minneapolis to Jake's house in East St. Paul to meet up with him for a ride. It's a good distance and pretty hilly. My route took me on the East River Road and then to downtown St. Paul and them up, up, up Robert to Jake's. Nice workout and good training for an anticipated hilly ride later this spring. 

I arrived at his house just in time to snag the last of Annabelle's mac and cheese (thanks, Annabelle!) and Jake and I went straight back down the hill to the river and rode along Lilydale road, a section of bike-friendliness that I only recently discovered on a ride with Jim. It was warm, a little messy and beautiful. Jake is an enthusiastic and willing cycling companion and even though he had not ridden all winter, was more than up to the task. I look forward to many more rides with him this summer.

We stopped in at Hiawatha to part ways with a few of our disposable dollars and chew over the topics of the day, but they were very busy so our discourse was limited to the usual pleasantries and not the normal deep philosophical dialog to which I am accustomed when I darken their door. I should hope that "business" does not get in the way of our future mental meanderings.

Jake set a blistering pace up the River Road and threw the Devil Horns of Thirst as he passed by. You see, we were Happy Gnome Firkin Fest bound and the both of us were feeling the throat-itch that only good beer can scratch.
Moments later I was able to outpace the thirsty, motivated Jake, but this guy started sneaking up on me having passed Jake. He tried to shield his face from the seeking lens of my camera, but to no avail. As you can see, Summit Avenue was filled with cyclists that day and Jake and I had to weave our way around all of them in our quest for malty goodness. 

Finally we made the scene at the Gnome, had many good beers and much lively conversation with a plentitude of good beer folk. I have to commend Nick and his minions for putting on the premiere beer event in Minnesota. I wish I had beer to sell them but since I don't have any cask beers in my book I was relegated to the role of enthusiastic consumer. For me the standouts were the Ola Dubh, Surly 16 Grit and Dark Horse Crooked Tree. Lovely beers, all.
Thanks to Jake for being such a good companion for a wonderful day of biking and beer.

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