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  • Bill Chastain

Biking Bliss, Fittest City, and Top 60

According to several sources, Minneapolis and Portland go back and forth for the top spot as the best biking city in the United States.

Minihaha The waterfall at Minnehaha Park

I haven’t been to Portland, but I can report on the experience of biking in Minneapolis. For those traveling without a bike, there are plenty of rental bike locations, awesome trails, and all in 55 degree weather.

One ride took me to Minnehaha Park, where I witnessed a splendid waterfall. Others have taken me along paths with views of the Mississippi River. Not a bad way to get in your exercise for the day, huh?

Local politicians promoted safe bicycle lanes to where those riding are taken seriously and aren’t an annoyance. From personal experience, I can tell you those driving cars in Minneapolis are more agreeable toward those riding bikes than some I’ve encountered in Tampa.

I’m still stewing about the woman who sped toward me — in my lane — while talking on the phone. A quick turn saved me from becoming a cartoon pancake. I doubt the woman would have noticed anything was amiss until she took her SUV to the car wash and they found chunks of me tangled in the bumper. I’m sure she would have stopped talking long enough to motion for the full detail package.

And…

While we’re talking about fitness — sort of — I just read that Washington, D.C. is ranked as the fittest city in the United States according to the eighth annual American Fitness Index from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Anthem Foundation.

Criteria for the rankings were strength of schedule…

No, make that rates of smoking, diabetes, and obesity in addition to the variety of outdoor activities available in the city.

Portland came in at No. 7 with Minneapolis at No. 2. I did not see a list of the least fit cities.

Finally…

Some compelling sports stories could be written in the coming weeks in advance of this year’s U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington.

Players playing at the Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, on the PGA Tour or the prestigious European PGA Championship in England will have the opportunity to slingshot themselves into the Open. Others might just play their way out.

Being in the top 60 world rankings means an invite to the Open. So players currently ranked in the 30s, 40s and even low 50s, no big deal. But if you’re ranked in the mid 50s to 60, it’s not a good time to be you. You are dancing on the edge of the volcano. That’s why most professional golfers stay busy this time of year. Not a good time for a vacation.

Last year Kevin Na slipped into the top 60 at the last minute and finished tied for 12th at Pinehurst No. 2.

Of note, the even more compelling part of the equation comes when those who don’t earn their spot via a top 60 ranking head to the qualifiers to try and execute the golf equivalent of being a college football walk-on hoping to earn playing time.

So be on the lookout for coverage of the coming scramble. Good stuff.

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©2020 by Bill Chastain. Photo credits: Jill Doty Photography