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Night Rider

ON FRIDAY JULY 3, I WENT FOR A NIGHT BIKE RIDE through the city. I’ve been wanting to do this for a year, ever since I saw some guys tearing through

the city at night on their bikes. I wondered how exhilarating it would feel

to ride haphazardly through the city at night.

So I did it. And it was amazing.

The city is a different place at night. It’s quiet, sleepy, and peaceful. But

there’s an edge to it. It’s the resting heartbeat of an animal. An uncertainty

that isn’t dangerous, but it makes you a little uncomfortable.

The night I went, the moon was blood red. Quite the sight. I could smell

it. Hear it. Feel it. Since it was the eve of the Fourth, fireworks were being

shot off throughout city neighborhoods. I paused for a moment to look at

a fireworks show on the east side of the city. I saw other night riders and

there was a weird solidarity. Or maybe it was just in my head.

Riding at night slows everything down, including yourself. I could feel

the noise and clutter in my mind being stilled by the night. Calming. Clearing.

It was just me on my bike, in the middle of the city, in the dark. And I

wasn’t scared . . . only curious.

What’s over there?

What’s that sound?

What’s that smell?

I saw a young brotha skateboarding down Kellogg. Homeless people at

the Depot. The cologne and perfume of a couple walking downtown. Mears

Park, and people having a late dinner outside on a patio. A crowded gas

station on Seventh Street. A packed church on the east side. I rode to the

top of the city to Indian Mounds Park and paused to watch the city sparkle.

There was a lot going on at night, but yet the city felt still. I rode twenty

miles across the city that night. It’s funny how you can feel so alive while

everyone else is sleeping.

Story: DAVID LYNDALE grew up in Michigan, where at a young age he began writing about the world around him. He eventually left snowy Michigan for the warmer sunny climate of Minneapolis. He is the author of the novel Watertown Fires.


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