I avoid downtown Minneapolis like the plague these days, but once upon a time it was a place I frequented. In fact, I had to be downtown if I wanted to go out and about, because practically all bus routes in the western Twin City metro radiate in and out of there, including those I rode from my part of town out in the western suburbs. If I wanted to take Metro Transit across town, or venture into the southern suburbs, I was going to be downtown whether I wanted to or not.
This was back when personal transport was a non-existent commodity for me but I refused to be stuck in my neck of the woods by it. Metro Transit provided the best solution, but it helped to have a bike to supplement it with because, let’s face it, you can’t get everywhere around town on the bus. As far as the Twin Cities go, there are bike trails aplenty that could get me to where I wanted to go or provided a more direct route than the bus did. Nevertheless, you could count on finding me downtown waiting to catch the bus home towards the end of such sojourns.
If it was at rush hour on a weekday, I would hop the Route 674 bus that would take me all the way to my neck of the woods via the freeway. If it was a weekend, I would inevitably be on the Route 675, a combo express/local service that used the freeway out of downtown but soon left it to provide service to local neighborhoods as well as Ridgedale Mall in the outer suburb of Minnetonka.
So there I would stand in Nicollet Mall watching the conga line of buses belonging to Metro Transit and other lines plus the occasional public safety vehicle as I waited for mine to arrive. Frequently I would check my watch and/or consult my schedule, wondering where is it? Or worse did I miss it?!
Then I finally would spot my bus lumbering down the mall towards where I stood. After it pulled up beside me I would go to swing down the front bike rack, hook up my bike to it, board, pay my fare, and take my seat.
Now scenes like that pictured above are no more for me, because I now am a happy, carefree licensed driver who, while he still loves to ride a bike, does not miss the city bus one bit.