BRICK ROAD–THE GRAND FINALE

We’ve been challenged with 80 Scavenger Hunt items and today I hunted down the last one. I went to great lengths to do it though — something like 35 miles in length.

Yup, I drove 35 miles to downtown Minneapolis where I knew there existed a brick road. Quite a long and impressive brick road too. I’m anxious to share it with you.

But first, would you like to hear the story of how I learned about MY State’s most famous brick road? No? I don’t care, here it is anyway:

Quite a few years ago there was a professional bicycle race in Minneapolis. It was a “Criterium” bike race, which means the riders had to pedal a bunch of laps around a designated circuit through the city. Part of the circuit included the brick road of Main Street, and my brother suggested that might be a fun place to watch. One of the nice things about a Criterium is that the racers pass by you every half hour or so. In a race like the Tour de France, you’ll find a place to watch, you’ll wait hours for the racers to arrive, they’ll pass by in a minute or so, and it’s all over.

My brother was right. It was fun to watch the racers come speeding down the hill and squeeze their brakes as they made the sharp turn onto the brick road. Then they bounced around and jarred their brains as they tried to maneuver for position on that crazy surface. Entertaining stuff.

I rode the length of the brick road and it was pretty cool. It’s still called Main Street, but it certainly isn’t the main street of the city anymore. The new downtown Minneapolis grew up on the other side of the Mississippi River. The old Main Street is just a quiet gentrified neighborhood now.

Of course, I didn’t drive all the way to Minneapolis just to ride the brick road. Well, yes, I guess I did. But while I was there I also figured I should ride the bike trails along the Mississippi River, head downtown, and see some of the most vibrant city in Minnesota.

Almost immediately upon leaving the brick road, I noticed my favorite bird soaring above the river. Thank goodness I am always looking up, both figuratively and literally.

Next, I turned back and headed to the iconic Stone Arch Bridge in order to cross the river. Trains once traversed that bridge, but now it’s just for walkers, joggers, cyclists, skateboarders, Segway-ers, and cross-country skiers.

The historic Stone Arch Bridge.

I made a video from the Stone Arch Bridge. Would you like to see it? No? Do you really think that’s going to stop me?

The Stone Arch Bridge is iconic, but there are a few other iconic things nearby.

The cool architecture of the iconic Guthrie Theater, which might be the most iconic theater outside of New York City. The inside is just as cool and it’s a great place to see a play. It’s also a great place to eat seafood in the restaurant inside. The Feeshko and I have done both.

The iconic Gold Medal Flour sign.

The iconic Pillsbury Flour sign. See why Minneapolis is often called “The Mill City?”

Another iconic sign related to Minnesota grains.

I rode away from the river because I had something else to do. I had to send a message to Lednar. (You know, considering the name, Lednar, he should be a natural Viking fan, not some kind of unexplainable Australian Packer fan.) Minneapolis had great bike lanes all over the city.

I rode one of them to another Minneapolis icon.

See that Lednar? Vikings fans are the BEST fans of the north . . . not the DRUNKEST fans of the north.

Plus, there are hundreds of these purple Viking bike racks all around the stadium.

Now that I’ve completed this monthly challenge, I think I should start getting ready for the next one — since I think I’m in charge of that.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

11 response to "BRICK ROAD–THE GRAND FINALE"

  1. By: BobinVT Posted: June 22, 2021

    Congratulations on getting all the items in the challenge, and documenting the last of them in a post that can only be described as iconic!
    Got to thinking about brick roads in winter climates. I imagine snow plowing must be tricky, trying to not catch and dislodge bricks that are protruding up.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 23, 2021

      Thank you Bob, for recognizing the iconic-ness of my post. I never thought about the snowplows-on-brick thing but, yeah, that has to be a real concern.

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 22, 2021

    Congratulations!!!
    Obviously went to great lengths to find that 80th item!
    Thanks for the tour of downtown Minneapolis.
    Oh Oh, Helen is tapping me on the shoulder . . . . . .
    Go Away Helen, just GO AWAY!!

    Looking forward to the July Challenge, I’m certain you have some interesting and ingenious ideas in store for us!

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 23, 2021

      I did go to great lengths for the brick road, but I was happy to do it. I do still feel a little guilty about that popcorn popper posing as my reel lawn mower. Even to this day I’ve been searching for a REAL reel lawn mower, so I guess I’ll have to stick with the Fisher Price version. Helen Waite can go to helen wait.

  3. By: Scooter Posted: June 22, 2021

    I really miss the old criteriums. There were still four or five of them running in the late 70’s when I moved to the Willamette Valley. My favorite was the Octoberfest Criterium out in Mount Angel. It ran laps through the middle of town at the height of the festival. Bales of straw were piled up at all the curves to protect riders who missed the turn. Great fun.

  4. By: Scooter Posted: June 22, 2021

    I really miss the old criteriums. There were still four or five of them running in the late 70’s when I moved to the Willamette Valley. My favorite was the Octoberfest Criterium out in Mount Angel. It ran laps through the middle of town at the height of the festival. Bales of straw were piled up at all the curves to protect riders who missed the turn, children with ears of corn in their hands were dashing across the street in front of the racers. Great fun.

    Oh, and congratulations for going 80 for 80. You even surpassed me. By my count, I think I was stuck at um, err, one.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 23, 2021

      Well, one is better than ZERO. But you’re forgiven because you have grander things going on right now.

      The Minneapolis criterium had straw bales placed at the curves too. And a couple of times *I* was the one dashing across the road to avoid the racers. Since Park Tool was one of the official sponsors of the race, and my brother is in management at Park Tool, we had passes to the VIP tent. Good food and drink is a legitimate reason to sprint across the road.

  5. By: Suzanne Posted: June 23, 2021

    Thanks for the tour of downtown Minneapolis! Yes, that was a real brick road. Extra points for your effort. I already confessed mine was more like a driveway. For real brick roads I’d have to drive to northern Germany where they use a lot of brick. Not in Bavaria though.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 23, 2021

      There might still be time for you and Janos to drive up to Hamburg with your bikes for some brick road pictures. Just a thought.

  6. By: Suzanne Posted: June 23, 2021

    It’s going to have to be more than a brick road to get me in a car for that distance.

  7. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: June 25, 2021

    Message received. alas Purple is the colour of my Football Teams greatest rival, Fremantle Dockers, so YUCK and the Green Bay colours are the same as the Australian teams so I’m just being patriotic, GOPACKGO

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