Paul Bunyan's Rolling Bike Party brings chill riders, beards

Paul Bunyan's Rolling Bike Party brings chill riders, beards
Photo by Eric Shoultz

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As Paul Bunyan's Rolling Bike Party threaded the Loring Greenway Saturday evening, I felt fall nearing.

Co-organized by and Tomahawk Tassels, riders met beneath a grove of trees with just-turning leaves in Loring Park's picnic zone. Thirty to forty participants, costumed in get-ups inspired by Minnesota folklore, roasted marshmallows and whipped up flapjacks on Thinkjar head honcho Mason Meisch's MOAB wünder-bikes. The sky had poured rain much of Saturday, but the storms subsided before the ride. Paul Bunyan and the Jolly Green Giant must have been looking down on us approvingly.

The ride departed at 7:30 p.m., with Young MC's "Bust a Move" pumping. We busted brilliant moves, and headed for the heart of Minneapolis on bikes, not blue oxen.

The MOAB does some grilling
The MOAB does some grilling
Photo by Patrick Stephenson

The bike party was a slow, dance-ample tour of signature Minneapolis sights, the first stop being the Walker Art Center's Spoonbridge and Cherry. We dismounted on the garden's rain-soaked grasses for a group photo. Local photographer Eric Shoultz, a.k.a. Mashed Patatoes, nabbed the shot, then we set off again.

We then traveled through Bryn Mawr to the Cedar Lake Trail. Once a group ride hits the CLT headed southwest, you know it's bound for Hidden Beach. We rolled onto the sands of the not-so-hidden lake shore in time for a gorgeous Minneapolis sunset. Orange light tinted Cedar Lake as dance music played from the MOAB (there were lots of Madonna tunes that night).

Our penultimate stop was the newly maintenanced Martin Olav Sabo Bridge. Tomahawk Tassels -- radiant in sparkly pants, a deep-V red flannel, and a faux beard -- MCed a costume contest that lined up Paul Bunyans, Green Giants, and blue oxen on the Sabo. The group cheered for their favorites, then hung out awhile. Downtown Minneapolis looks heavenly from high up on the Hiawatha-spanning arch, and it's a view meant for cyclists.

Paul Bunyan's Rolling Bike Party brings chill riders, beards
Photo by Patrick Stephenson

Participants began to disappear once that spot was reached, though some of the crowd continued on to Palmer's Bar in Cedar-Riverside.

My Saturday-night steed was a Nice Ride from the Loring Park station. During the 150 minutes I kept it out, my green beast matched the crowd easily. It danced with me on the Greenway, felt Cedar Lake intimately, then finished the adventure off with a panicked trip to the Lake Street station where a new Nice Ride took me home.

Minneapolis summers can sometimes bring on event fatigue. However, Paul Bunyan's Rolling Bike Party was a perfect end-of-summer event. It was a chill-happening, as opposed to the stimuli overload that some other epic summer rides have provided. The event was entertaining enough to carry a Saturday night without being too overwhelming. We danced, we rode, we pretended to be lumberjacks on two wheels.

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