Lock your bike twice

Bike trail
Bike trail – Pickeral lake – late summer 2018

I just got my bike back from Lowertown Bike Shop. It needed a tune-up but more importantly it needed a new chain. We have already had a few days that have been warm enough for biking and are likely to get a few more. I am not into winter biking; I bike when temperatures hit 45 degrees or better.

Bikes are a high theft item. They disappear quickly and we never see them again.

The best practice for securing your bike is to lock it in a garage or shed or enclosed area and also lock the the bike. Mine is locked in a shed and I use a U lock to lock it to a beam. I have had the same bike for six years and would like to hang onto it for a few more years. St. Paul is a wonderful place to bike with plenty of trails.

Sure, I have the serial number and could file a police report if the bike is stolen but that isn’t the same as getting the bike back.

Please keep your bike locked up when not in use. Keep it locked up and behind locked doors and if possible, away from any windows and out of sight.

Don’t forget about the library

Saint Paul Public Libary
Saint Paul Central Library – George Latimer

The central library is beautiful inside and out and a fantastic resource. It also makes a nice backdrop for the holiday decorations in Rice Park.  Most of the books I read these days are electronic books that I  borrow from the library. They have a large selection of Kindle books and audiobooks that are easy to check out without even going to the library, but I love to go to the library.

In the summer one of the things I love to do is actually go to the library and check and pick up some old-school hardcover books. Since childhood, I have associated summertime with reading. I keep a stash of books for reading on the front porch.

The library is also cool and quiet and they offer many services and types of media. It is a go-to place for research and learning. Did you know that there is a “maker” space? It is a hands-on workspace with a 3D printer, a laser engraver, a sewing machine, a recording studio, and more.

There is a large children’s room filled with books, the puppet stage, and places to read.  There is a room with books for teenagers and young adults.  There are magazines, newspapers, and movies.  The librarians are always helpful and best of all it is all free. Well, it isn’t really free we all pay for it with our tax dollars.

I recommend living within walking distance of a library or two.

Thanksgiving 2023

I wrote this for Thanksgiving 2020. I am posting it today because one of the many things I am thankful for is that it isn’t 2020.

Happy Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving will be very different for many of us who are used to hosting family and friends.

Since it is just two of us this year there may be enough pie for three meals.  There is plenty of wine too and I may need to drink a little extra so that I am not tempted to whine. I buy wine throughout the year and store it in my wine cellar (basement) for the holidays.

There is always something to be thankful for.   Please stay safe and remember that your actions today will have an impact on those around you and on the community.

Alexander Ramsey House

Alexander Ramsey House – St. Paul Minnesota


New Zoning ordinance in St. Paul

multi-family housingLast week the Saint Paul City Council voted to allow multi-family housing units to be built on lots previously limited to single-family homes.  Those multi-family homes can be duplexes, triplexes, or fourplexes, and maybe even a six or an eight depending upon the size of the lot.

Increasing density will increase the number of housing units. We need more housing in St. Paul. More housing means that housing will be more affordable.


  • Create new residential zoning districts H1 and H2: to replace the existing, single-family-only R1, R2, R3, R4 districts, other low-density RT1-RT2 districts, and some lower-density Planned Development (PD) districts. The standards for these districts and the semirural single-family only RL district are also revised.  Both districts allow for a variety of neighborhood-scale housing options including but not limited to duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), townhomes.
  • Update regulations for accessory dwelling units: to increase the allowable size and number allowed per lot (up to two ADUs per single-family home).
  • Add density bonus options: for ownership housing affordable to households earning 80% of area median income (AMI) or rental housing at 60% AMI; or for retaining an existing home; or for family-sized (three or more bedroom) units.
  • Incentivize keeping existing homes: with the above density bonus options as well as greater flexibility to add two attached ADUs if the single-family home is existing.
  • Update the cluster development ordinance: for greater flexibility in 1-4 unit housing development and lot layouts in exchange for an open space requirement.
  • Create more and updated design standards: including some that are tweaked from the popular traditional neighborhood (T) zoning district design standards.
  • Create new options for lot splits: including revisions to flag-shaped lots and the introduction of “back lots” and “reverse-flag lots” for more housing options.

For more information go to Stpaul.gov

October 2023 heat wave

It got up to 90 here in the Twin Cities yesterday.  Temperatures in the 60s would be closer to normal. For the first time, the Twin Cities Marathon which was supposed to take place yesterday was canceled due to extreme heat.

The weather in Minnesota in the Fall is unpredictable. It will be hot today too. We may even see 90 again. Later this week the weather will be more October-like.

I took this picture during the 2009 Twin Cities Marathon. It was cool that day and rainy too. People in the picture are wearing hoodies and jackets. It was a typical early October morning.

TC Marathon 2009
Twin Cities Marathon October 4, 2009

In the last few years, several events have been canceled due to weather or because of the pandemic. We can look forward to more canceled, postponed, or changed events due to the weather.

Throwback Thursday – Fire station 3

I am a fan of historic preservation. This old fire station is the home of Hope Breakfast Bar. The food is wonderful and so is the restaurant. The old fire station, built in 1872,  sat empty for years and was used for storage and almost demolished.

It sits on the corner of Grand Avenue and Leech Street and is surrounded by a newish hotel and luxury apartments. There are some coffee shops and a clothing store across the street.

The area has become a destination on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The street in front of the restaurant has been turned into an outdoor dining area.

before and after fire station
Fire Station becomes a restaurant

Hope breakfast bar