I'm fairly new to the scoot scene - and am a brand new owner of a Pink Stella. I know that the majority of my rides will be side streets and not so direct through traffic routes - but just how harrowing is riding across downtown Minneapolis? Say from Uptown - Hennepin Ave to Downtown to the new Guthrie?
Any suggestions on alternate routes?
My apologies if this should have gone in Rides and Routes - but that seems to be planned rides and planned routes.
i live a block from calhoun square and commute thru downtown all of the time, at night as well as during the rushes. To avoid traffic i usually take Franklin Ave to 11th Ave. up to the metrodome/west bank areas. Just taking hennepin can be faster or slower dependant upon the stoplights...
Just wear a helmet and watch out for cabbies!!
p.s.-sidestreets in the uptown area are THE MOST DANGEROUS place to be because of all of the suburban kids barreling thru stopsigns at 45mph while smoking pot...I would stick to the major arteries to be the safest. Bryant is pretty good but be CAREFUL when you get into the nighboorhood-y parts. Always be ready to dodge something!
Joined: 03 May 2005
Location: N.W. corner pocket of Mpls.
Thanks for any tips in advance!!!
Stay off the roads and you'll be fine.
Seriously, one-way streets tend to be safer, as do median divided streets. If you're not comfortable, take Dean Parkway/Isles Parkway/Kenwood Parkway rather than ride Hennepin. FWIW, the most common motorcycle/automobile accident is where a car turns left in front of the bike. Watch your surroundings. Cover your brake and clutch levers. Wear your protective gear.
Joined: 28 Jun 2005
Location: St. Paul MN USA
I thought I would throw in my 2 stokes worth.... Downtown Minnepolis is not so bad. Watch for the cabbies and you'll be fine. Uptown isn't so bad, but Lake can be a little rough sometimes until you get the hang of riding.
Don't be afraid of scoot'n too fast. If your holding up traffic, your liable to get hit from behind.....
Never had a ticket yet and I scoot at 40-45mph....
Joined: 05 May 2005
To me, it's all about being a defensive driver. Expect everyone to be aiming for you, ride like you're invisible, and be sure someone is about to dart out/open their door/walk in front of you, etc. And don't be a weasel. Every time you do something on a scooter that's "marginally legal" and gets past everyone else (lane splitting, etc.) you piss people off, and they tend to be less polite the next time they see a scoot. Just my opinion there.
And as you ride I think you'll start to think the same way some of us do -- that there is an invisible network of "scooter thoroughfares" in the 'cities. Like we all take Summit regularly, but not Grand. I prefer Blaisdell or even Hennepin to Lyndale because it gets so fast and crazy sometimes. And it's amazing how often my route takes me past/around the lakes. Like did you know getting from downtown Mpls to the U involves Lakes Calhoun and Harriet, as well as the river road a couple times? Odd.
Actually, the thing downtown that gets me most are the peds. They're very used to getting within inches of a car as it goes by, and for some reason the scooter seems smaller. As a result, I've smelled perfume as I've passed people. Very unnerviing. I just aim for the outskirts of downtown and work my way home from there.
Joined: 18 Jun 2005
Location: Longfellow, Minneapolis
I didn't really read anybody's responses, so I hope I'm reiterating somebody else's point. Last year's TNR route included exactly the segment you're including - we all ride that route all the time! Just take plenty of time learning to ride first, and you'll be fine.
Joined: 28 Jun 2005
Location: St. Paul MN USA
Take it easy for the first couple of weeks. You and the scooter really need to bond well. :-) Get a good helmet, full face if you can and a good jacket. I crashed the first month or so and I was really pretty lucky. I bounce about 3 times in from of regions hospital. Nary a scratch or bruise.
It took me a while to figure this out but then it became Duh obvious. You get clobbered on a bike mostly because people can't or don't see you. I'd come from the HD motorcycle world into scootering so everything I had was BLACK LEATHER (black bike too). I didn't realize how invisible black can be on the road (true day or night). Even my helmets were black.
Then I noticed during group riding what I could see were the RED,WHITE or YELLOW HELMETS and bright colorful clothing and bikes. I'm not quite ready for a YELLOW BIKE or the HI-VIZ GREEN Aerostitch suit (my friend has one!) but I'm swapping out my riding wardrobe quickly towards color.
At night you can see the 3-M REFLECTOR STICKERS 10X BRIGHTER than a tailllight. I've added about a square foot of it to my ass view.
Incidentally, I ride in Uptown-Downtown almost every day in the summer. I survive by ASSUMING they will turn left in front of me or cut me off. Half the time they do. It's true, CABBIES will kill you. I avoid night riding in town like the plague.
Joined: 18 Oct 2005
I don't know how much just plain scooter driving experience you may have, but don't underestimate the harrow/panic factor induced by heavy traffic. I am new to the realm of a manual transmission (I had only the limited experience of the MSF course). Even though it was easy to learn stop and go like butter in my local elementary school parking lot, and I had smooth go of things in my quiet residential neighborhood, in my experience downtown traffic, and trying to keep up with more experienced riders, are a different story. For example, one of my panic reactions is that my clutch control goes right out the window so I sometimes end up popping wheelies when trying to start from a stop. You might try practicing on the parkways around the lakes on weekends to boost your confidence--you get good traffic practice, but (for me anyway), it feels a bit less hectic, and therefore less stressful/pressured, than trying to fend off folks coming to and from work (though you do run the risk of having a teenage Eminem wannabe wearing an undershirt in a teal Pontiac with WI plates listening to KDWB trying to run you off the road because he's impatient that the minivan in front of you is going 20 mph). That said, the learning process has been fun and good luck!
A friend who rides a Ducati told me that not only should I assume that other drivers can't see me, but that they are actively trying to kill me.
_________________ Busola A.
I sold my soul and all I got was this lousy PX 150 in vintage green.
Yes! When riding a two wheeled vehicle, every single person on the road is trying to kill you, whether they know it or not. As long as you are aware of that, there is hope. Don't ride parallel with cars or in their blind spot and never assume any driver has seen you, even if they are looking right at you. I don't think uptown/downtown is that bad, just be extra careful to avoid being right next to someone where they will merge into you (happens to me frequently).
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