Minneapplesauce – Part One

Greetings from sunny (but cold) Minneapplesauce!

Having a lovely time with the hubby and offspring, who indulged me yesterday to do some bike-related activities, including going to a spin class and a local bike shop. I think after the amusement park at the Mall of America they felt sorry for me. I do not do well in amusement parks. The noise, abundance of children, junk food and pushy grownups from the suburbs is generally the perfect cocktail (did someone say cocktail?) to make me completely homicidal.

I had scoped out The Firm in my quest to find a downtown gym that offered spin classes. The website was colourful and looked well put together. So I signed up for the 8:30am class. After getting ridiculously lost in the spaghetti that is Minneapplesauce’s freeway system, I made it to the gym, which was modern, well-designed and conspicuously hip.

I went to the front desk and was greeted by a very friendly man who gave me the rundown of where everything was. As he did, I started to notice the staff and clientele milling around were mostly male. And exceptionally good-looking. Crazy good-looking, kind of like this:

Then I noticed they were also quite friendly with each other. In fact, there was more hugging and air kisses than at a French wedding. hmmm…. If something looks too good to be true…

The muscular, gorgeous (and most certainly gay) instructor Cory bounded energetically into the spin studio, then proceeded to kick my ass for a solid hour. He seemed to spin at about 250 rpm, even when standing on the pedals for 5 minutes at a time, happily bopping to the thumping beat of the music. I thought I might die – either from the effort, or from listening to Cher that early in the morning.

I had planned on purchasing 5 passes and doing classes there all week, but when I was told Cory was one of the easier instructors, I decided against it. This is supposed to be my easy week, so today I’ve booked a massage instead – likely with a large-handed lesbian named Gretchen.

Joking aside, the people at The Firm were friendly, helpful and extremely proud of their gym. The fact that this is an openly gay gym (more diligent research would have confirmed that) is totally awesome in my books. Everyone there (straight and gay) was comfortable with each other and in their own skin. I wish more gyms were like that.

Later, it was time to drag the reluctant family to One on One Bicycle Studio and Café, which I’m told is the epicentre of all things bike related in this city. In addition to a welcoming cafe at the entrance, there is a bright showroom full of sparkly new (and some old) bikes carefully guarded by the dead animals mounted on the wall above them.

But the real goods are at the back, where the shop is. The workshop is filled with all sorts of goodies, from bar tape to bobbleheads. Oh, and a bar.

Beyond the shop is a staircase to the basement, where I have never seen so much bike junk in my life. I’m told people go down there looking for something specific – some return triumphantly moments later, some emerge days later.

Gene, the owner, had greeted us warmly when we arrived but was sadly (for us) occupied by a couple buying a bike for most of the time we were there. We couldn’t help but notice the care and attention he took to lead them through their purchase. He was informative without being pompous or condescending, and genuinely inquisitive about their specific needs and wants.

When we went to leave, he stopped to chat and was disappointed to hear we would be missing the opening party of the Artcrank poster show on Saturday. Almost as disappointed as we were. A party celebrating bikes and design? Are you kidding me? The only thing that could possibly be better would be free Prada shoes at the door. He suggested we tell people the car broke down and stay the extra day. I am tempted.

This shop prides itself on being all about the local cycling community, and puts its money where its mouth is. Chapeau to you!

Time to get ready for my 5pm massage. Don’t want to keep Gretchen waiting.