Archive for September, 2011
Friday, September 30th, 2011
The bike trails in North Minneapolis are a gateway to a number of neighborhood landmarks, parks and community gathering spots. We’ve rounded up a few of those spots to start with – pick one, or hit all of them in a day on your bike. Great way to get out and see the neighborhood in a new way.
The Victory Memorial district covers the northwest loop of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway and honors soldiers of World War I. At 3.8 miles, it’s recognized as the largest war memorial in the Twin Cities – a historic and tree-lined ride. No shortage of scenery here.
In addition to featuring local artists, The Warren also hosts community events and is home to the Workhouse Theatre. Keep an eye on its Facebook page for announcements about upcoming events. Hours vary (open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Tuesdays), so be sure to check the schedule or call ahead on weekends.
Tennis courts, a playground, a pond, a library – take your pick of activities at the 22-acre Webber Park. A fixture in north Minneapolis for years.
Located in North Mississippi Regional Park, the Carl W. Kroening Interpretive Center is filled with information and displays on nature, recreation and transportation including a wall of maps and a virtual ride aboard of ’73 Barracuda that will help you better understand what the development of I-94 meant to the community. Oh, and you can also hunt for features of the building that are made out of sunflower seed shells, wheat and recycled plastic.
If you’re a north Minneapolis resident, or you bike in the area regularly, what other destinations would you add to this list?
Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
It’s fairly obvious that bicycling is a way of life on the University of Minnesota campus. On most days, students can be seen biking to class and between the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. And many staff and faculty commute to the University via bike each day. In fact, 6,500 cyclists make their way across the Washington Ave Bridge each day.
And now, University students, faculty and staff will have a new home for all their bicycling needs: The University of Minnesota Bike Center, located in the University’s Oak St. Parking Ramp just south of Washington Ave. SE.
Officially opening Thursday, Sept. 29, the Bike Center is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota (providing the site and infrastructure), Minneapolis Bike Walk Ambassadors (providing education and training), Bike Walk Twin Cities (providing the bulk of the funding) and the Hub (providing management of the shop). Dero Zap is also part of the mix, providing RFID tracking that will enable commuter benefits for cyclists.
The Grand Opening on Thursday, Sept. 29 will run from noon-2 p.m. and will feature Bike Center tours (including a free gift to the first 100 people to take a tour), a group ride around the University and free food (including Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, cake and other refreshments, while supplies last—thanks to University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services).
Bike Walk Move had a chance to sit down with Ben Tsai and Ben Erickson of the Hub Bike Co-Op, both of whom will help manage the Bike Center, earlier this week. The following is a summary from that conversation:
What kinds of services will the new University of Minnesota Bike Center offer students, staff and faculty?
The Bike Center will be a one-stop shop for all things biking. We’ll offer full-service tune-ups and spot repairs. And, we’ll have a fairly robust line-up of biking apparel and merchandise. We’ll also have “Open Shop” sessions from 7-9 p.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday, which will be free for University students with ID. These “Open Shop” sessions are designed to empower students—giving them a chance to learn more about fixing their own bike. Space for these sessions will be limited and it will be on a first-come first-served basis. In addition, the Bike Center will offer a series of classes designed to help students, staff and faculty get smarter about bicycling. These classes (which will be both free and with a fee, depending on the class) will cover everything from how to fix your bike to winter commuting to basic maintenance. Students, staff and faculty will also have the opportunity to buy the full list of bicycles we offer at the Hub—and we’ll have a number of new bikes right in the Bike Center, including brands like Surly, Civia and Giant. And, don’t forget, students receive 10 percent off everything except bikes and repair with their University student ID.
Another great feature of the Bike Center is the bike lockers, storage and shower facilities. Tell me more about what that means for students, staff and faculty.
The Bike Center will include two shower/bathrooms units and one shower-only unit. We also have 32 small lockers that cyclists can use to stow helmets and clothes while they’re at class or work. These are available on a first-come first-served basis. Finally, we’ll have a storage facility where members can store their bikes while they’re on campus.
So you can be a member of the University of Minnesota Bike Center? What does that entail?
Membership will be $85/year for University students, staff and faculty. With that, you’ll have 24/7 access to the showers/bathrooms and secure bike parking with a key card we’ll issue upon payment. So when you ride your bike to class or work, you can shower, stow your bike and look your best. Great benefit for a relatively small price tag. One note: Membership is open only to University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty.
The Bike Center also plays a key role in the University of Minnesota’s new RFID program for student, staff and faculty cyclists. Can you tell me more about that initiative?
The RFID program is actually pretty unique. Working with Dero Zap, the University will feature the largest such RFID installation/system in the country. University staff and faculty can receive a commuter rewards by bicycling more. And students will be able to participate in promotional events and prize drawings. To get started, you simply visit the Bike Center and get your RFID tag installed on your bike. Then, after a simple online registration, you’re ready to start biking and earning your rewards. Seven RFID scanners around the University will scan your bike as you ride, which will help you work toward your discount. Staff and faculty need to have between 40-50 trips annually to qualify (we’re still working out the final details here). People can track their progress by visiting a personal page they’ll set up upon registration. This page will include a calendar that will show days they’ve commuted via bike and miles they’ve commuted for the year. It will also show interesting data points like how much gas they’ve saved, how much carbon dioxide they’ve saved, and how many calories they’ve burned as a result of their choice to bike more. It’s a pretty innovative program.
Tell me more about the “Open Shop” sessions on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
During these two-hour sessions, Bike Center staff will help advise students on how to better care for their bikes. We’ll show them basic maintenance—how to fix a flat, how to tune-up their bike, how to make basic adjustments. Stuff like that. These sessions will be free to students with a University ID (and $5 an hour for the public), so it’s a great value for the beginning cyclist, as well as the more seasoned rider.
A year from now, what does success look like for the Bike Center?
Ultimately, we’re hoping to see more staff, faculty and students riding bikes around campus. We’re also hoping these same people will feel empowered by participating in the classes and Open Shop sessions—making them more self-sufficient when it comes to their cycling. And, really, at the end of the day, we’re interested in “mode shift”—getting more people to think differently about bicycling and considering it as a primary transportation choice.
The University of Minnesota is home to so many cyclists (as I said above, 6,500 cross the Washington Ave. Bridge every day)—what will the Bike Center offer these folks?
The biggest thing? I think it will allow these folks to take their cycling to another level. In some ways, our classes and Open Shop sessions will expand their experience with bicycles, which should help them extend the seasonality of their cycling. And, I think it will also expand what they use their bike for (more trips around town, to the grocery store, to the library, etc.).
Conversely, what’s the biggest benefit for those who aren’t avid riders (or don’t bike at all)?
I think the number-one benefit the Bike Center has to offer these folks is education. By taking a few classes, and participating in the Open Shop sessions, people who don’t ride a lot (or at all) can learn about biking before stepping on the bike. Then, they can get everything they need to get started (a bike, helmet, lock, etc.) right in the Bike Center. That’s where that “one stop shop” concept really is huge.
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
For a group of parents in Minneapolis, the old admonishment, “When I was your age, we walked to school, uphill, both ways,” is losing its effectiveness. Now, their children can simply reply, “Me too.” That’s because families of the Lyndale Community School have built a robust walking school bus program, led by parent volunteers. Scott Bordon, one of the volunteers who spearheaded the effort, shares how they got started.
You lead and organize a “walking school bus” in the Lyndale neighborhood. Can you tell us what a “walking school bus” is and how you got involved?
The route actually starts in Kingfield and then crosses into the Lyndale neighborhood where Lyndale Community School is located. A walking school bus is similar to motorized yellow school bus in that it has a set route and schedule with pick up stops, but students walk instead of ride. Parent volunteers lead the route (at least one in front and back). Parents serve as crossing guards and utilize stop paddles and safety vests.
During Changing School Option, a Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) District effort to get students closer to home, we switched our children to Lyndale Community School. Although we lived just outside the walk zone at Lyndale, we and other parents were excited for our children to walk to school–and chose to completely forgo the school bus. What started with just a small effort grew to a school-wide initiative when Lyndale Principal Ossie Brooks-James said let’s participate in International Walk to School Day. As a result, Julie Danzl from the Minneapolis School District encouraged me to apply for a Safe Routes to School mini-grant. Being awarded $1,000 grant helped expand our efforts, allowing us to buy stop paddles and safety vests, make t-shirts, and expand to more routes.
What’s the difference between walking and taking the bus to school for your kids? Why not just take the regular morning bus?
The difference is huge. Our kids get a gentle start, in the sunlight, in the neighborhood–moving fluidly between friends, rather than in a “stay in your seat,” dark school bus. Walking to school also prepares them for independence in a way the school bus or being driven to school can’t–children learn their way around the neighborhood and how to navigate city streets safely. Neighbors and motorists smile and wave at the sight of the block-long line of children walking to school. I don’t think the yellow bus elicits the same reaction.
How many families are involved in your walking school bus? What kind of route do you take? How long does it take?
We have four different routes. The original route operates every day and has more than 30 children. All these children live outside the walk zone–a little more than half a mile away. This bus runs everyday, rain, sun, snow, and wind and has never been late (not too many fossil fuel buses can say that!). Students that once attended more than seven different schools now walk this route to Lyndale.
The other three other routes operate in the fall and spring one or two times a week. Those routes range from 10 to 30 children. The routes are mapped mainly based on availability of parent volunteers and proximity to students. These routes are about one mile long–but some students walk further to reach the first designated stop.
Kids love walking to school. At Lyndale, we are fortunate to have a culturally and economically diverse student population. There is enthusiasm for walking throughout Lyndale students. Often students embrace the idea of walking to school and their parents are the ones who need convincing. And the kids are proud when they have walked to school–they’ve accomplished something for themselves and also for the environment.
Have you heard of other walking school buses around the metro? The country? Is this a part of a growing nationwide trend you’ve noticed?
Yes. This simple idea “has legs” and is part of a solution for so many modern problems–pollution, obesity, school budget shortages, alienation and lack of community. People call me or Lyndale School regularly to learn how they can set up walking buses for their own children. This school year Minneapolis Public Schools will work to implement Safe Routes walk and bike to school programming in ten additional schools. You can find walking bus websites and videos from around the country.
What tips or advice do you have for other families or parents wanting to start their own neighborhood walking school bus?
All it takes is a few committed parent volunteers and a supportive administration. The National Center for Safe Routes to School is a great resource. Participating in International Walk to School Day is another great way to get involved. Once people walk together once–they will want to do it again. And again. At Lyndale we’ve added to the fun of walking to school with music, t-shirts, “I Walked/I Biked” stickers, special guest walkers (once, even Mayor R.T. Rybak) and a Walking Bus newsletter with student-voices and “news from the routes.” We’ve celebrated the arrival of the walking buses with Somali Tea. Our principal, teachers, and PTA have a “yes” attitude, a “let’s try it and see” perspective. I’d tell parents, “Go for it!” Figure out what works for your school community. One committed person can make all the difference.
Monday, September 19th, 2011
With no cars, this South Minneapolis couple makes it to and from work and everywhere else on their used bikes. In their own words, they share what it’s like to see the city by bike every day.
Occupation: Development associate at the Walker Art Center; board member of Soo Visual Arts Center, Fulton Farmers Market, and Kingfield Farmers Market, and one of the organizers of the FEASTMpls events
How long has each of you been biking to work in downtown Minneapolis? Why did you start?
Masami: We started about 5 years ago when we moved to South Minneapolis. Before that, we lived downtown and walked everywhere; we haven’t had a car since 2003. When we moved farther away, we figured why not bike?
Aaron: It was part of our moving plan. We’ll move to South, ride the bus and get bicycles.
Masami: Part of my motivation to bike is my background. I’m originally from Japan and lived there from birth through 6 years old and then again during high school. There, it’s common to bike commute (even if it’s just riding your bike to the train station) and run errands like grocery shopping. So for me that kind of biking was something I grew up with and a nice “return to my roots” kind of thing.
Do you bike commute together? Why or why not?
Masami: We don’t commute to work together because our hours don’t match up. But we do stuff like go to the farmers market and basically any restaurant together on our bikes.
Aaron: We bike together more on the weekends. It’s good that we do bike, because with our hours during the week, we’d really need two cars otherwise.
Masami: I almost always use Bryant Avenue. It’s almost a straight shot to the Walker. If I’m running errands downtown after work I take Wakefield home.
Aaron: I used to take Bryant every day when I worked in Northeast. Now I’ve started taking First Avenue when I go into work. It takes me pretty much straight there. I started riding on First, and then two weeks later they painted a bike lane on it. I thought, this is awesome. Every Friday it’s my turn to open the restaurant, so I leave at six in the morning and bike in with a friend who also works downtown.
What’s been the biggest benefit of bike commuting?
Masami: Definitely the savings involved for us in not having a car. And you get to be outside; you’re guaranteed to be doing something active every day.
Aaron: I definitely agree with Masami. The savings from not having a car allows us to enjoy more things in our community and our lives and even eat better food. I see and enjoy a lot more in my neighborhood just by going up and down every street on my bike. I get to see what’s new, what smells good, what people are doing. For me, especially having grown up in a rural area where you have to drive to get anywhere, it’s great.
Do you bike year-round? Why or why not?
Masami: We don’t. We’re fair-weather bicyclists. We try to go as long as we can if conditions are dry. I’m not comfortable with the snow and the ice.
Aaron: We purposely live on a bus route just for that reason. I leave work sometimes at 11, midnight, and it’s just too cold in the winter. I don’t like biking with 40 pounds of cold-weather gear on me.
Masami: We really respect the people who do bike year-round. But it’s not for us.
What keeps you motivated when the elements are less than ideal?
Masami: I have gotten stuck in the rain. It’s not my favorite. In terms of getting colder, you just need to put on a couple more layers. I don’t really mind it until it really starts to get bad.
Aaron: I didn’t like biking in the rain until this summer when I just got used to it more. I thought, you know, this really isn’t that bad. Downpours are bad, though. Going into the winter, I don’t put on crazy layers, I just put on a couple more layers and long underwear. When it starts getting too cold and I feel like I might get sick that’s when I say, okay, time to ride the bus.
Masami: For me there’s always a day when it’s cold enough in the air that your eyes just start to burn a lot just from the wind, and that’s usually my breaking point. Our main concern and reason for not riding in the winter is the snow and ice. The snow banks make the streets so narrow.
Masami: I go to my acupuncturist, the hair salon, the gym, yoga, grocery shopping, Target, downtown, the library, the post office. I have a rear basket on my bike that can fit a bag of groceries or my handbag.
Aaron: Any errands where I don’t have to carry heavy things. I purposely don’t buy a lot of heavy stuff so that’s been a good thing about having a bike. If I’m buying groceries I only buy what I can fit into my backpack. I also go to friends’ houses, the farmers market, anywhere. If I wanted to go to Saint Paul and go to a Macalester soccer game, I could ride my bike to that. We’ve biked to Vikings games, Twins games. It’s always fun to go tailgating on your bike, and you don’t have to pay to park.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking about starting to bike more?
Masami: Try it at least once. It doesn’t have to be every day right away. You could take the bike every Thursday to start or get a Nice Ride bike when it’s a nice day. For any women interested in biking but concerned about wardrobe, I’ve found that you can bike in just about any kind of clothing. I’ve ridden around in work clothes but also cocktail attire when I have to attend work-related functions outside of the normal workday.
Aaron: I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do it, honestly. Downtown will be even more congested with traffic soon. And there’s all kind of ways to get involved in the bike community. There are groups that are always looking for volunteers. The sky’s the limit.
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Want the best tips on bike commuting in the Twin Cities? Go straight to the source: people who regularly bike the trails and roads of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Below are tips from serious bike commuters who were gracious enough to share their insights with us:
Making it routine
- Start by dipping your toes in the water. Try to commute both ways one day a week. If you schedule a specific day for it and plan for the extra time, it’ll become a habit. Once that gets easy, add another day. After a while, the people in your life will become accustomed to your mode of transportation and will tolerate some of the extra steps you have to take to get around under your own power. – Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
- The secret to bike commuting is making it part of your routine, making it so that you don’t have to decide each morning whether you want to bike or not. We have one car, and my wife takes it to work. So I don’t think twice about it, I load up my daughter in the Burley, drop her off at daycare and continue on to work. – Rett Martin, @rett
- Keep your daily commute’s route interesting so you don’t get bored. Turn here one day—another the next. Take different routes. Explore. – Patrick Stephenson, @patiomench
Online tools and maps
- I use the Metro Transit Commuter Challenge online, which lets me log the miles I bike. It then calculates total miles, total trips, total gas not used and total CO2 offset (in pounds). Seeing those numbers add up is a nice, encouraging way for me to keep biking. – Casey Peterson, @case_face
- For rides to places you’ve never been before, cross-reference between cyclopath.org and Google Maps bicycle directions to figure out the most bike-friendly route. – Sarah Lonning, @slonning
- Wear a helmet! There’s absolutely no reason not to. – Casey Peterson, @case_face
- Never underestimate the importance of lighting. Run multiple red blinking lights on the back and at least two white lights on the front (one blinking, one steady). – Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
- If you’re in an urban or suburban area, ride like a car: ride on the road, be very predictable and signal your turns. – Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
- In case of emergencies, know the bus routes along your commute that will get you the rest of the way to work or home, and always have bus fare with you. – Sarah Lonning, @slonning
- I prefer slightly longer, safer routes to shorter, high-traffic ones. Riding the same 10 miles of road every day in two directions can get tedious, and it is easy to zone out. I like having a route that allows me to do that without taking my life into my hands. – Sarah Lonning, @slonning
- Having a good bike goes without saying, but it’s pretty much square one. If you don’t like your bike, or if riding the bike is a chore, you’re not going to want to ride. – Casey Peterson, @case_face
- Use an old road bike, update its drivetrain, install flat-resistant tires or tire protectors, and install fenders. – Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
- Keep the bike in good, riding condition, just like you would a car. – Casey Peterson, @case_face
- You won’t really notice the savings until you switch to bike commuting full time, so don’t buy an expensive bike right away with all of the potential money you’re going to save. Once you are able to go an entire year commuting by bicycle, you’ll see the financial benefit, and you’ll be a bit surprised. It warms you a little on cold and windy days when you realize your efforts are so valuable.– Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
- Spend your big money on really good raingear. I mean it, really good raingear. Spend your next biggest chunk of money on a waterproof bag or panniers for your clothes. You’ll especially need this if you have a laptop. – Robert Tomb, @bikeonastick
Day to day
- Get friends or coworkers to ride with you. This will help motivate you when you’re just getting into commuting, and they may know routes that you’d never thought of. – Sarah Lonning, @slonning
- If you have a longer commute or commute in all weather conditions, you’ll probably get to work sweaty and disheveled. Packing your work clothes can sometimes be a bulky pain, and a rear rack and panniers can be expensive. If you have storage or file cabinet space at work, you can pick a day of the week to drive or bus in with enough clothes for the week ahead and store them at your desk to change into, and then take home any clothes you brought in for the previous week. Wash, repeat. – Ang Dezelke, @angied
- Wear two pairs of pants when it’s raining out. That way when you show up to work with a soggy bottom, you can shed a layer. – Nick Nelson, @gonicknelson
- Rolling your right pant leg to protect it from sprockets doesn’t make you a hipster. Forgetting to unroll it does. – Nick Nelson, @gonicknelson
- Fashion is cyclical. Bike shorts are not. – Nick Nelson, @gonicknelson
- Little bells on your handlebars are manly. We all need horns to honk. – Nick Nelson, @gonicknelson
Have tips of your own? Share them below in the comments.
Monday, September 12th, 2011
For digitally driven, fully integrated advertising agency Colle+McVoy, biking is a big part of the work culture. How big? One-third of the 170 employees bike to their office in the Wyman Building in downtown Minneapolis.
How did Colle+McVoy foster a culture of biking?
Biking isn’t a new trend for the 76-year-old firm. In fact, president and CEO Christine Fruechte’s grandfather owned a Schwinn dealership. The biking culture bubbled up over the years without the agency forcing it. As one employee puts it, “It’s just there, especially among leaders.”
It helps that Colle+McVoy has several bike-friendly programs and amenities:
- Showers, locker rooms, maintenance supplies and covered bike parking.
- The Bike Purchase Program, which was implemented at the suggestion of an employee. The program gives employees interest-free loans to purchase bikes, with payments deducted from paychecks. Dozens of employees have used the program (including Allison Rust, profiled below).
- Lunchtime rides to local eateries, such as Psycho Suzi’s.
- Hosting several events during National Bike Month (May), such as the Miles Challenge, a contest to see which employee could log the most miles during the month. The winner biked a whopping 700 miles. The firm also hosted events during Twin Cities Bike Walk Week June 4-12 this year.
- The beer bike, a three-wheel Schwinn that has become a Friday ritual. A bell rings at 3:30 as a new employee typically rides the bike around the office so he or she can meet everyone.
This all contributes to a workplace where it’s not frowned upon to work out over lunch or come into the office sweaty from your morning commute. In fact, last year, the League of American Bicyclists named Colle+McVoy a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business. And supporting this culture helped the agency get named as a Best Place to Work in 2011 by Outside magazine, Advertising Age and the Star Tribune.
A culture of outdoor enthusiasts
A healthy lifestyle is part of Colle+McVoy’s DNA. Many of the employees are passionate outdoor enthusiasts, so it’s no surprise that a culture of biking continues to thrive at the agency.
Colle+McVoy employees who bike range from newbies to hardcore cyclists. Here’s a sampling of the people who keep the bike culture moving:
- Allison Rust. A creative coordinator who is fairly new to commuting by bike, Allison got her start as a bike commuter through working on Colle+McVoy’s blog, where she chronicled her early rides on video. The biking culture at the agency is important to her: “There’s a camaraderie. It’s very common–it’s almost expected. You can’t walk around the office without seeing bikes.” Allison rides a hybrid bike (her first “official” bike) that gets her around town, including regular visits to the Mill City Farmer’s Market on the weekends.
- Joel Stacy. A mountain biker turned road biker and a senior copywriter at Colle+McVoy, Joel has a couple of routes for his commute, picking up either the trail around Lake Harriet/Lake Calhoun to the Cedar Lake Trail or the Minnehaha Ave. trail to the River Road all the way to the Federal Reserve. He bikes for his own well-being, but also to show his two children that biking is an option and that it’s “cool” to bike. Joel rides a racing bike most days for his commute. And, some days, he’ll even drive his kids downtown from his south Minneapolis home, drop them off, drive back home and bike back in to the office. Now, that’s commitment.
- Mike Caguin. In addition to being executive creative director at Colle+McVoy, Mike is the owner of four bikes that he uses for different purposes and during different seasons. He’s a year-round biker not intimidated by Minnesota winters–he’s even biked in 20-below temperatures. His route is almost all bike path, taking him around Lake Harriett/Lake Calhoun, then onto the Cedar Trail. Time-wise, commuting by bike is about the same as by car, he says, and can even be faster than driving if there’s a Twins game at nearby Target Field.
What about the business impact of biking?
With some of the biggest names in biking as clients, you could say it’s Colle+McVoy’s job to know bikes. The biking culture has been a contributing factor in winning some of the businesses the firm represents.
Beyond the direct correlations, the passion and interest in biking carries over to other industries, says Caguin.
“Cycling is a passion industry,” he explains. “We get lots of heads nodding when we talk about that–even when we don’t have category experience.”
Internally, there’s a case for biking in that it helps employees be happier, more productive and less sluggish. And what business-minded company wouldn’t want that?
Thursday, September 8th, 2011
You put a lot of thought into keeping yourself safe while you’re biking – you wear a helmet, you wear reflective material so motorists can see you easily. But, do you think about how to keep your bike safe from theft?
Consider these five tips that can help you avoid filing a police report for a missing bike:
1. Carefully consider where you park and store your bike. Lock your bike anytime it’s not in use, even when it’s parked in your driveway or porch (if you can, keep it stored inside at home, when possible). If you’re locking your bike in a public area, choose a well-lit, high-traffic spot. Secure your bike to a large, stationary object; remember, chain-link fences can be easily cut through. And always take easily removable accessories, such as lights, with you. If you’re a bike commuter, the City of Minneapolis and City of Saint Paul also have great resources and maps for bike racks and lockers to stow your bike safely.
2. Buy a U-lock. Why? Because the U-lock is the best single lock to use, if you lock your bike properly. For even more protection, use both a U-lock and a chain or cable that’s at least 3/8-inch thick. Visit the Bike Walk Twin Cities site for more about the different kinds of bike locks.
3. Learn how to lock your bike. For maximum security, try removing the front wheel of your bike and fastening the U-lock around it, the back wheel, the seat tube, and the object you’re locking your bike to. If you don’t want to remove the front wheel, fasten the U-lock through it, your tube, and the stationary object. Then, wrap a cable or chain through both the front and back tires, as well as the U-lock. For detailed instructions and diagrams, check out the Bike Minneapolis’ Downtown Biking Guide slideshow (see page 8).
4. Lock size matters. Don’t use a lock that’s longer than you need; any extra space is just more room for a thief to maneuver and gain leverage. Try a few configurations to determine which setup leaves the least amount of slack. Avoid letting the lock rest on the ground or a wall, too; a thief could use those surfaces to smash the lock with a hammer.
5. Register your bike. In the case that your bike is stolen, having the serial number registered can help track it if the culprit tries to sell it. The National Bike Registry offers several types of registration at various prices. Also, write down the serial number, make, and model and keep the information in a safe place, along with a few photos of the bike.
Worst-case scenario, follow these guidelines from the City of Minneapolis to report a bike theft in Minneapolis. If the crime occurred in Saint Paul, call 651-291-1111 to report it.
What other tips do you have to prevent bike theft?
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