I had been biking around Minneapolis for several days before I realized what was missing. It was a pleasant city, even though I was lost a lot, because most of the bike routes have very tiny signs that are hard to read, if they have signs at all. At night the bike paths were so dark that I worried I might not see an obstacle in the road, even with my headlight on, and I got even more lost, until I just gave up and biked very slowly with my phone in one hand, watching the blue dot that was myself on the map to make sure that I didn’t drift off the path, fall off my bike, and get eaten by bears. Not that there are any bears in Minneapolis.

But none of that mattered, really. Here was the thing that was missing for the first time since I became a bicycle commuter: fear.

I wasn’t listening for cars behind me. I wasn’t listening for the sound of a car-door latch, which might mean that I was about to get doored. I wasn’t watching cars up ahead for signs that they weren’t paying attention to what they were doing. One of my closest calls as a cyclist happened when a Snap On Tools truck drifted into the bike lane early in the morning. “Oh sorry!” yelled the driver out his window, when he realized he had almost run me over. “I didn’t see you!”