Archive for June, 2011
Monday, June 27th, 2011
The following post is from Megan Ryan, a young professional from Cincinnati, Ohio, who visited the Minneapolis area and decided to use the Nice Ride system as her main mode of transport. Read on for more about her experience.
I visited Minneapolis for a friend’s wedding last weekend and had a BLAST with the Nice Ride bikes. My boyfriend and I stayed at Hotel Minneapolis – and took our bikes all over. For $5 each, we were able to ride back and forth to the wedding (suits and all, what a hoot!), ride to lunch, Uptown for a brunch, and to a lake.
I was shocked at just how bike-friendly Minneapolis really is – the number of people out on their bikes at 2AM was truly surprising – and we saw a ton more of the city than we would have otherwise.
On business trips we usually just rent cars… next time I’ll stick to my “private trip” approach – taking the light rail and Nice Ride bikes! Thanks for the great program. It was truly inspirational and has been added to my list of things I’d like to have (or bring) to my hometown!
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Last Saturday, the Major Taylor Bicycling Club (a non-profit social/recreational bicycling club geared toward the African-American communities in Minneapolis and St. Paul) hosted a “family ride” for all ages along the Mississippi River. More than 50 bicyclists rode along the river and into north Minneapolis, enjoying a wonderful morning (before the rain arrived later that day).
Below are a few photos from the event.
Friday, June 17th, 2011
Imagine the sports world in 1902, long before there was an NFL, NBA or NHL – and decades before there were many non-white professional or amateur athletes. In the first Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Michigan defeated Stanford 49-0, and a fledgling Major League Baseball featured such teams as the Boston Beaneaters and Brooklyn Superbas.
It was in this era that one of the world’s most successful and famous athletes was an African-American bicyclist, Marshall “Major” Taylor. According to Jim Fitzpatrick, author of the new book, “Major Taylor in Australia,” Taylor was a bona-fide, award-winning international sports figure at the turn of the 20th century.
As part of a national book tour, Fitzpatrick discussed Taylor at a Twin Cities Juneteenth event at the Center for Families in Minneapolis on June 16. Fitzpatrick’s appearance was sponsored by the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota and the Cultural Wellness Center, through the support of the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support and Bike Walk Twin Cities.
As Fitzpatrick detailed, Taylor was like the Lance Armstrong of his day – so famous and highly regarded by sports fans that he would literally draw thousands to his practices and tens of thousands to his races. However, Taylor faced significant barriers because of his ethnicity, particularly in the United States. He was not permitted to compete in races in southern U.S. states, had objects thrown at him during races, nails scattered in front of his wheels and was often purposely boxed in by other riders who collaborated to deny him the chance to win.
Due to racial issues such as these, and the appeal of substantial appearance fees and race purses abroad, Taylor embarked in 1902 on a two-year tour of bicycle-crazed Australia, as Fitzpatrick chronicles. Along the way, Taylor experienced substantial racing successes and setbacks that took him to the peak of his career, but also ultimately presaged his downfall.
Taylor would eventually return to America and to bicycle racing, but would never again enjoy the successes he experienced living in Australia. His legacy, however, lives on in the form of multiple Major Taylor Bicycling Clubs worldwide, and the inspiration he provides to thousands of bicyclists, particularly those who are African-American.
If there’s a lesson that modern-day bicyclists might learn from the life of Major Taylor, it is this: that despite the profound racial barriers he experienced in his lifetime, Taylor persevered to become a world champion. Considering the comparative safety and appeal of today’s bicycling equipment and bikeways, consider yourself fortunate if your greatest barrier to bicycling is simply getting started.
2011 Twin Cities Juneteenth events continue with a Family Bicycle Walk and Ride, led by the Major Taylor Bicycling Club, on Saturday, June 18, starting at 9:30 a.m. at North Mississippi Regional Park, 5114 North Mississippi Drive, Minneapolis.
Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
The following post is from Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities.
On Saturday, June 11, south Minneapolis celebrated the opening of the Riverlake Greenway–a celebration nearly 15 years in the making.
You see, the Riverlake Greenway has been in the works since 1997. It was an idea proposed by Minneapolis residents who wanted a safer and more efficient way to ride between the Mississippi River and Lake Harriet. On Saturday, that vision became a reality.
The Riverlake Greenway spans five miles and includes a number of unique bicycle infrastructure improvements designed to aid safety and accessability for bicyclists and pedestrians, including the region’s first bicycle boulevard.
There’s so much more about this event I could share with you, but instead of writing more, I thought I’d share the photos we captured that tell the story much better than words. Enjoy.
The Sabathanites Drum Corps kicked off the Riverlake Greenway grand opening event on the Minnehaha Academy south campus.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar was among a number of dignitaries and community leaders who spoke at the grand opening event.
New “Bike Walk Move” t-shirts were prevalent at the grand opening–Bike Walk Move is a campaign supported by Bike Walk Twin Cities (my employer) to increase “mode shift” (getting more people riding bicycles and walking) across the metro area.
Again, community and political leaders joined on Saturday to support the Riverlake Greenway and the residents who will be using it for years to come.
A bicycle parade started at the east end of the Greenway at Minnehaha Academy (South Campus) and ran all the way to Lake Harriet later in the afternoon.
Local media outlet, KARE-11 was on hand to interview residents and supporters about the opening of the Riverlake Greenway. The segment ran later that afternoon.
The Riverlake Greenway is dotted with signage that highlights the route, including “BLVD” chalking you see above showcasing the first “bicycle boulevard” in the region.
This media at the intersection of Cedar and 40th in south Minneapolis prohibits cars from turning west-bound on 40th, making bicycling between Cedar and 35W on 40th much easier for bicyclists.
This “island refuge” on 40th near Chicago Ave. again forces cars to turn and frees up 40th, making it safer for bicyclists to make the journey from the Mississippi to Lake Harriet.
This “Yarn Bridge” over 35W on the Riverlake Greenway was the handiwork of Minneapolis street art duo, HOTTEA.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
The last time I rode a bike was in the ‘70’s. I had a tricked out bike for sure. Banana seat, handle bar tassles – training wheels. When the training wheels came off, the bicycle went to the garage and never came out again. In fact, I never touched a bike again. Until last year.
As an employee of The City of Minneapolis, I was eligible for a subsidized Nice Ride 1-Year Subscription. Devoted to employee’s wellness and well being, The City of Minneapolis has partnered with Nice Ride Minnesota to offer this benefit to all their employees. I was intrigued. What if I could figure out how to ride a bike without falling off within 11 feet? Could I conceivably use Nice Ride as a commuting option? I was excited about this and decided to find out. My partner rode a bike regularly, maybe I could too! I signed up and became one of Nice Ride’s inaugural subscribers in September 2010.
I wasn’t nervous. The City of Minneapolis had provided a ton of information about Nice Ride and how the system works. Bike maps, system information, subscription information. It was all there. And no parking hassles or gas worries? I just had to get on the bike and ride.
I gave up my car seven years ago, so I was used to walking from my Elliot Park apartment to the City of Minneapolis offices at City Hall, but now I had a faster and more convenient way to commute. I pulled out my Nice Ride key, unlocked a bike, adjusted the seat, and hopped on. Was I really riding? Yes, I was! Comfortably positioned on the oh-so-comfortable seat, smoothly pedaling and squeezing the sophisticated braking levers, I briefly thought about those handlebar tassles from long ago, and said, “no, this is absolutely better.” From that day forward, I’ve considered the bike to be my number one commuting option. I learned to ride a bike again and 100 percent of my success belongs to Nice Ride. I can now ride anywhere for miles and miles (to which I am still slightly in shock about) both on a Nice Ride and on my own bike.
And I don’t just use the bike to commute. Sometimes I take the long way home just for fun. I ride for both leisure and to run errands in Uptown, Midtown, Northeast, and around the lakes. I might even try a ride to St. Paul in the next few months.
Even though this year I purchased my own bike, I’m still a Nice Ride 1-Year Subscriber. It comes in handy when I need a one-way ride. Like when it rains—I hate riding in the rain. (It’s true, we’re not all hard core cyclists). Plus, I don’t have to worry about a bike lock or maintenance.
I also like the more active lifestyle Nice Ride offers and I’m happy I finally caught up to my partner’s passion for biking. Nice Ride definitely can create healthier people and give them a chance at a longer life. You just got to get moving! It’s so easy to hop from here to there with Nice Ride. Just get away from your desk and on to the bike!
What would I change about Nice Ride? Not a thing! I’m pretty much a SuperFan. Well, maybe add some handlebar tassles.
Monday, June 6th, 2011
Elena and Eric Schaust, of Kingfield neighborhood in South Minneapolis, are in their late 30s with two young boys, ages 6 and 9. So, you might guess that they’re a very busy family. (And who isn’t these days?) They’re also a bicycling family. Here, we knew we could learn some things from their experience, so we recently sat down with the Schausts to hear about their journey, and caught a little bit of their bicycling philosophy: take it one ride at a time! We’ll let them tell the rest…
Why have you started to bike more as a family? What’s been the primary motivator?
We have begun to bike more as a family for a few reasons. We feel that it is an activity that imparted on our children at their young ages (6 and 9) will carry through with them for the rest of their lives. It is a great way to keep our bodies in motion and get some much needed exercise. We also feel it is crucial for them to understand that bicycling can open up the world around them. Often we find ourselves telling them that when they are older they can just “go off” with friends and explore!
Have you found yourself riding your bicycle more for function (to work) or for recreation (around the lakes, parks)?
Most recently we have mainly been riding for recreation. However, now that the weather is looking up, the kids ride bicycles to school, and I’m looking forward to riding my bike to work!
Is getting around the city on your bicycle easier or tougher than you imagined? Why?
We have lived in Minneapolis for 15 years. We started out in our 20s riding bike constantly. We didn’t even have a car the first five years! We have always loved how accessible Minneapolis is via bike. In fact, whenever family visits from out of town they always marvel at how extensive our bike trails are.
Have there been any unexpected benefits to you riding more as a family?
The biggest reward for us to ride as a family is a simple one…we just love to all be together outside and explore! Being spontaneous with the boys teaches them that there is a world beyond the TV or computer games. That making our own adventure is the best adventure! Our sons have a great sense of confidence on their bicycles that they don’t get from any other activity.
What tips or advice would you give someone who’s considering riding more, but just hasn’t taken that first step?
It’s always easy to put things off in life. Getting stuck in a routine is par for the course in this society. Our jobs usually require us to drive, and we find ourselves behind the wheel perhaps more often than necessary. If you just make the first step by say, bicycling the five blocks to the market instead of driving, you may find just how enjoyable that breeze on your face is. The benefit of spinning your legs and watching the ground whiz beneath your tires far outweighs the doldrums of sitting in your car. It is truly amazing just how much more you see when you’re in the saddle!
Monday, June 6th, 2011
The following stories are from two individuals who have used Nice Ride bicycles in the last few weeks to navigate the damage left from the tornados in north Minneapolis in May. The stories are very different, but both illustrate how the Nice Ride bicycles are making a difference already on the north side.
Wanted to pass along how helpful a Nice Ride bike was today. I wanted to get an on-the-ground assessment of the damage on the North Side and I was able to make use of the Nice Ride bikes at the west Broadway/Logan Station.
With all the roads closed to vehicle traffic, the Nice Ride bike was a way to get back into the neighborhoods and up and down west Broadway to make an assessment of the damage to commercial properties without interfering with the work being done by the emergency crews.
Just another way that Nice Ride can assist the City of Minneapolis in conducting their business in even the most devastating of times.
Director, Business Finance
City of Minneapolis
I was asked to share how Nice Ride saved me the day after the tornado hit north Minneapolis. The north side buses had route changes and were off schedule and wouldn’t go near my regular stop that day. I had an appointment after work that I needed to be at so I got off the bus about a mile from my house which was luckily near a Nice Ride kiosk, promptly took out my key, got myself a bike and rode to the new kiosk off Broadway–only four blocks from home! I love this program and just renewed my subscription so I’m set through Oct 2012!
North Minneapolis resident and Nice Ride subscriber
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when