Pictured: Ford Center, Olson’s new North Loop digs, beginning January 30, 2012. Photo courtesy of the bowels of the Internet.
M–F, January 2012′s last week, was busy in my corner of Groucho-polis.
30 Days of Biking, my pet project, my magnum opus, my social media-centric, April-set bicycling challenge, is progressing like crazy; we’re planning big things for spring. And Olson, my employer, is moving from its decade-plus-long locale in Loring Park to a former Ford manufacturing plant—recently renovated for $42 million—in the North Loop. Our new building is Ford Center, beside Target Field. This means my much-loved routines must change: In the past week, e.g., I have switched from the YWCA, on Nicollet Mall, to Life Time Fitness, on 1st Ave. And most important, I’ve figured out my new bike route.
Now, because I live in Harmony Lofts, another North Loop fixture, my commute has been chopped. When I lived in St. Paul, I rode about 20 miles a day. Moving to Minneapolis cut that to 4 miles minimum. Ford Center, meanwhile, is a walk across a bridge from Harmony. I can if I wish get to work without any traffic interaction whatsoever. Roll outta bed, trudge work-ward on foot, no pedaling required. My rush hour is a pedestrians’ rush. A downtown man’s dream, true? No, it’s a NIGHTMARE! I need to get some bicycling done. Making that steel frame move is my morning meditation.
How, then, to solve this? My solution is to lengthen the commute, to go beyond the minimum and experience more of my neighborhood, before I park my bike beneath Ford Center, ascend to Floor 8, and deposit myself into a chair for nine hours. I will bike more than I need to. So, once settled onto saddle, I’ll meet up with rush-hour traffic on Washington (after coffee at Dunn Bros) and ride that thoroughfare to 10th Ave. At Club Jäger’s Germanic facade, I’ll U-ey onto 4th St., which—with its young-urban-professional condos—is quiet every morning. I’ll race down 4th and sidle up to Ford Center, my architectural intimate. My new second home.
That lil route (it amounts to 1.5 miles—pathetic, I know) will begin & end my day—with a few variations; I might head to the river on some days, then turn around at Plymouth. I’ll miss Loring Park, but I’m pleased that everything I need (my work, my gym) will be within a half-mile of my home. That’s the dream, right? I’m livin’ it.