The way to the world is down along the river, through the tunnel and out to Logan Airport, where a jet will take you almost anywhere. It had been a little while since we’d visited the Twin Cities, but our friends at Omnium invited us to their annual Sonderkrossen party, an event to mark the switchover from track season to cyclocross, so we booked our passage and packed our bags. We even shipped a bike ahead, so we could see Minneapolis and St. Paul in the manner most befitting a cyclist. We had no idea what was in store.
Omnium sits between a breakfast cafe and a bakery, across from a deli. As places to meet go, it’s a cyclist’s dream. It’s also the kind of shop where everyone who walks through the door is a friend. “Bill!!” They yell from behind the service counter. “Hi, Nancy!” Our East Coast frostiness melted in the honest mid-western warmth. We bought a round of coffees, and helped set up for the party.
The party looked like this>>> There were a few Seven owners who were kind enough to share their Seven experiences with us, and the crowd was kind enough to listen while we talked about bike building as something of a religion and our factory as a sort of cathedral. This made more sense in context than it does here, or maybe it didn’t, but everyone smiled and clapped politely, and we got down off our soap box (actually a step ladder) quick, before anyone’s beer got warm.
We got to bed late, and set our alarms for the pre-dawn Fleche ride, that leaves from yet another coffee shop, just across a bridge over the Missisippi, on the Minneapolis side. <<<<<Aaron, Omnium’s GM, organizes the Fleche, a soft roll around the cities, a chatting ride, a beautiful way to greet a Saturday morning, even when you’re dog tired from not partying on the roof.
One of our fellow Fleche-ers was big Russ H, from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He got this bike >>>>>>> from Aaron at Omnium and came out for the Fleche in part so he could ride with us, which was, naturally, very touching. Russ turned out to be a fantastic riding companion, even if he did turn up on a more attractive bike than even we were able to muster for ourselves. That’s how you know he’s a winner.
The party, the ride, the company, it all made getting out on the road that much more fun. Meeting people, riding bikes, that’s what it’s all about. We are lucky to do what we do. It’s funny that we sometimes have to get on an airplane to be reminded.