We are the number 20 happiest city in the USA. Pretty good, actually. Especially considering our winters.

On Saturday morning I woke up at four-forty AM.  I was supposed to go for a ride with some buddies, but there was no way I was going to go.  As I was laying in bed with my eyes still closed, I listed the reasons in my mind.

1. It was supposed to be raining.  by concentrating, I could hear that it was not raining outside.  Yet.  But it was supposed to start raining anytime, and I was just getting over a cold so going for a bike ride in the rain – not a smart idea.

2. I still had a headache and a cough.  In bed I experimented with breathing deeply to see if I could trigger a cough.  No luck.  The ‘ol lungs worked just fine.  “But”, I reasoned, “When I am riding my bicycle, I will be breathing much harder than when I am in bed, and so I will probably be coughing a lot on my bike.”

3. I had gone to bed at 11 PM last night, only five hours and forty minutes or so earlier.  My eyeballs were tired.  People are not supposed to go on rides on such little sleep.  Unsafe.

4. It was supposed to be a hard ride, and that is a little scary anyway in the dark.  Trying to draft off of somebody, and the only thing you can really see is this blinking little red taillight.

“I will just text my buddies and tell them I am not going to make it” I thought.  But the phone was downstairs – Blast!

My phone was laying on my bike kit in the office downstairs.  My kit was folded on top of by bike shoes.  Double Blast!  My past self had outsmarted me.  I got dressed in my kit and peered out the window, trying to see if it was raining.  The ground was bone dry, but sometimes the rain comes down really gently.  Not this time though.  The sky was dry too.

When I got outside Matt was waiting for me.  Randy was down the street.  The three of us tucked into a paceline easily, like we had practiced it.

I tried out all of my excuses from the back of the paceline.  “Y’all are going to have to lead.” I said, “I am too sick.  Pneumonia – self diagnosed.”  I forced out a cough to demonstrate.  It came out weak and creaky, like a shaking a paper bag full of dry leaves.  I didn’t try it again.  Besides, I didn’t need to – the air was cool on my forehead, and I couldn’t feel my headache anymore.  My legs felt light and quick.

From the front of the paceline, Randy turned around.  “I have new, faster bike shoes.” Randy said, “Y’all are going to have to try to keep up.”  And then we took off, winding down Minnahaha under the 35W bridge toward the Falls and the Mississippi.

National Geographic recently came out with a list of the 25 happiest cities in the United States.  Minneapolis made the list, cruising in at a respectable 20.  But the guy who put the list together, Dan Buettner, called out an interesting thing about happiness:  ” There is a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city” Dan said.

Right on, Dan, Right on.


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