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The Greens of Summers

This morning when I set out for my bike ride at 8 a.m. I had already made a deal with myself. Just get on the bike, just go 14 miles (it’s my shortest route); just get through it. It was already 77 degrees F. with 70 % humidity. This is not the Minnesota I love, green or not. This is the Minnesota my parents smugly dismiss on phone calls from Arizona where they have “dry heat.”

It was one of those mornings when drivers of mommy vans, already dehydrated from their morning coffee and giddy from the car air conditioning hug too closely to the bike lane. You can either hop the curb to avoid them or use your finger—to leave them notes in the dust on their car. That’s how close they are.

What makes cycling in these stifling conditions doable is the shade on River Road (and Mississippi Blvd.)—green, green, green, dappling the road with oasis after oasis of shade. My body sends signals of relief the moment I enter the zone, and flags in despair when I leave one. But I keep peddling. There is no sound except the rush of air in my ears and the silence of the gears moving, moving, moving.

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