Archive for October, 2011
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Haven’t been on a bike since grade school? That didn’t stop one North Minneapolis resident from taking a spin on a Nice Ride bicycle this summer. In this short post, Jen Emmert shares what motivated her to try the bike rental program and how it changed her perspective of her hometown.
Name: Jen Emmert
Occupation: Corporate HR
Neighborhood: North Minneapolis/Jordan Neighborhood
You do a lot of things to stay active, which you document on your weight-loss journey blog, but until recently biking wasn’t one of those activities. Tell us about what motivated you to get back on a bike.
I recently began writing for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune about healthiness-related topics: places to go, things to do and where to eat. Outside of childhood, bike riding has never really been a part of my healthiness journey. But I knew I wanted to incorporate fun healthiness things to do in my writing, things that were beyond just the limited scope of what I’ve done in my own journey.
Why did you decide to use a bicycle from the Nice Ride program?
I loved the idea of the ability to be able to jump on and ride from one place to another. I was excited that I didn’t have to have my own bike to use the program and that there were locations everywhere! The thought of getting on a bike was slightly intimidating to me so if I could break through my own complex while, at the same time, helping someone else consider breaking through their own complex, why not?
What paths or routes did you take the day you decided to give the Nice Ride bikes a try? Were you aware of those bike paths beforehand?
I had looked up the Nice Ride paths before but for whatever reason, I was too intimidated to do it. I didn’t consider myself a “bike rider.” When I finally decided to take the plunge, I gathered up a few friends so I wouldn’t have to do it alone. I picked out a convenient location in Uptown so we could jump on a greenway and do the Graffiti Tour.
In your recent Star Tribune post about your Nice Ride experience, you said you found yourself wanting to stay on the bike after your ride. Would you consider purchasing an annual Nice Ride subscription? Why or why not?
I would consider purchasing a summer pass so I could jump on during the nice months and enjoy the tours, take low-key rides and even just bike from location to location.
Did you learn anything new about the Twin Cities that day from the perspective of being on a bike?
I grew up in Minneapolis, yet I never even know the greenway existed. I loved all the little stops on the path and the beautiful gardens. I felt like I was in a secret society, like I was on a secret path in the middle of the city that many didn’t know existed. When you drive through the city in a car, we are so used to the speed that we don’t realize how much of our surroundings we are missing. Riding with the Nice Ride program slows life down a bit and helps to truly see the sights. It’s easier to stop and maneuver through the city and get around.
Do you see biking becoming a regular part of your exercise routine or rotation of activities to do with friends?
I loved the leisure of biking with friends – being able to laugh and share in conversation while seeing Minneapolis and St. Paul in a whole new light. There were times in our bike ride when the conversation would fall silent and we would just exist. The silent sometimes says more than words.
What advice do you have for others who haven’t been on a bike since they were children?
We’ve always heard the old saying, “It’s like riding a bike, you never forget how.” Surprisingly enough, it is true! Sure, the first two minutes of getting on the bike I held onto a nearby fence. And true, I wobbled a bit but within five minutes, I was pedaling like I belonged. For those who have some hesitation? Anticipation sometimes holds us back – only you can decide if you will let your anticipation prevent you from doing something. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable means you are letting yourself be challenged. To those who haven’t been on a bike since they were a child, I say break through what holds you back and do it because once you do, you’ll realize how much you’ve been missing!
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
The following is a guest post from Maren Misner, a Midtown-based wanderer who divides her time between community development, photography, and getting beautifully lost, on foot and on bike, on the Twin Cities’ endless trails.
I love this time of year. I dream of this season when the extreme heat breaks my air conditioner and when the extreme cold kills my heat. This small window where nature calms herself and wraps you in colorful happiness is more than enough to stir belief that heaven is on earth, and it’s right here in Minnesota.
More specifically, it’s on the trails.
My favorite trails to observe the leaves flaunting themselves with rightful authority:
Cedar Lake Parkway: This trail seems to be designed for sensory overload; the colors are at peak, but they also retain the perfect autumn scent and the exact texture required for maximum leaf crunching/stomping/jumping joy.
Theodore Wirth Parkway: an extension of Cedar Lake Parkway’s sensory overload. With a mandatory detour to Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden – bring your lock, no bikes allowed. At some point on this detour you will forget where you are, how you got there, and how you get back to the city; then you’ll realize you haven’t left the city, the city is just that great.
Cedar Lake Trail into Downtown: the minimalist colors here are striking against the rolling fields leading up to the brick walls of the warehouse district.
West River Parkway: Beautiful, especially just west of Mill Ruins Park. The colors double their effect with the reflection from the river. An added bonus is getting to see tour groups on Segways; always a smile.
Midtown Greenway: Go in the early morning if possible. Morning on the Greenway can be one of the friendliest places in the city. And the most beautiful.
Summit Avenue: Amazing. Bring a picnic, wear flip flops and traipse carefree through the leaves, then collapse into a pile of happiness lined with a hallway of trees raining yellow and red.
Gateway Trail: Share the fall colors with a community of bikers, runners, and horseback riders. The Gateway Trail appears to house every species of tree in Minnesota, and therefore every color, creating the perfect escape right here at home.
Whether on a bike, training for your next marathon, strolling hand in hand in bliss, or making angels in the leaves, the Twin Cities trails have partnered with Mother Nature to offer the perfect backdrop of dripping color for a few heavenly weeks this fall. You don’t want to miss this show.
What about you? What are your favorite on-street and off-street trails around the city to see the fall colors?
Friday, October 14th, 2011
On Saturday, a few hundred North Minneapolis residents gathered as Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee opened its doors. The bike shop, located at 1830 Glenwood Ave., will sell a full line of new and refurbished bikes, helmets, locks and other biking and walking accessories. What’s more, the shop will also be selling Dogwood Coffee in mid-November featuring its own “Venture North” blend.
The grand opening event on Saturday drew a big crowd and featured local leaders including Minneapolis City Council Members, Don Samuels, Diane Hofstede and Barbara Johnson; Rep. Bobby Joe Champion; Sen. Linda Higgins and a staff member from U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s office. These leaders helped usher in a new era of healthy choices in North Minneapolis. The event also featured music, dancing, face painting, Dogwood coffee, free flu shots, food and a host of other vendors and community partners.
At the same time, new bike lanes were opening on Emerson and Fremont Avenues, which will help make getting around North Minneapolis much easier.
We could go on about the Venture North grand opening in more detail but thought photos from the event would better tell the story.
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
The opening of enhanced bike lanes on 1st and Blaisdell Avenues in South Minneapolis on Sunday, Oct. 9, attracted many families from the Kingfield and surrounding neighborhoods.
Tags: advisory bike lanes, bike paths, Bike Walk Move, Bike Walk Twin Cities, biking infrastructure, enhanced bike lanes, Kingfield bike lanes, Minneapolis bike lanes, south Minneapolis bike lanes
Posted in Featured | No Comments »
Tuesday, October 11th, 2011
The following is a guest post from Masami Kawazoto, local food blogger, Kingfield and Fulton Farmer’s Market board member, and avid cyclist. On Oct. 1, Masami led a ride of 10 south Minneapolis cyclists through south Minneapolis on a “progressive lunch on bike.” The following is her summary of that wonderful Saturday afternoon.
Earlier this summer, Bike Walk Move got in touch with me about organizing a progressive lunch by bike event. I was thrilled to be asked and said yes immediately. Why? For a few reasons – my husband Aaron and I have been car-less by choice since 2003 and use bikes as our main means of transportation from spring to fall, we are passionate about good food (especially the locally-sourced variety), we wanted to learn more about the bicycle amenities in Minneapolis, and we wanted to meet others who feel the same.
So on Sat., Oct. 1, a small group of bicycle and food enthusiasts gathered for the progressive lunch by bike. It was the perfect day for a ride – in Minnesota, you have to take advantage of sunny warm weather in October!
We gathered at the Fulton Farmers Market to peruse the market stands. Upon convening, we realized a number of us had bought the delicious granola from Bliss, who was making her Fulton Farmers Market debut that day. Aaron shared the apple cider he bought from Sweetland Orchards. After introductions, we were off on our bikes! Obeying all traffic laws, we cruised down 52nd Street until we hit Minnehaha Parkway, where we followed the bike path eastwards towards Wise Acre Eatery.
Wise Acre Eatery is pretty new to the restaurant scene in Minneapolis. They opened this summer in the former Liberty Frozen Custard location. For you locavores out there – this is THE place to eat. Most of the ingredients come from a farm near Plato, Minnesota. Wise Acre Manager, Caroline Glawe, was incredibly enthusiastic about our event and put together a “Bikers Special” for us – half of a grilled ham, jam, cheddar sandwich (their most popular sandwich) along with a cup o’ soup and a beverage. I admit I had reservations about strawberry jam in a hot ham and cheese sandwich. But I was so wrong, the sweetness of the jam complimented the briny saltiness of the ham and the rich cheese perfectly. I chose the squash and apple soup, which had a slight zing of ginger and came garnished with popcorn – fun!
Others ordered off the full menu – I saw a hearty hash with beautiful farm eggs, house-made sodas, and ham and egg sandwiches. We were also treated to a small bite of their house-made custard, with our choice of sauces. I chose a silky-smooth pumpkin custard and drizzled salted caramel on top. We all agreed we could’ve drunk vats of the salted caramel on its own. Wise Acre also has a pick-up window so it’s a great option for bicyclists looking for delectable local eats on the go.
Happily fed, we hopped on our bikes again to take the scenic route towards our next location. After backtracking on Minnehaha Parkway, we hit Bryant Avenue, taking advantage of the Bryant Ave. Bike Boulevard. Next was a turn onto 40th Street – also known as the RiverLake Greenway – followed by another turn onto First Avenue to take advantage of its new bike lane. Once we hit Uptown, we hopped onto the Midtown Greenway to make our way over to the Herkimer.
We arrived in time for happy hour at The Herkimer. Sitting outside on their picnic tables, we enjoyed their hand-crafted German beers over conversation. It’s pretty amazing how bikes, food, and drinks can bring people together. We didn’t all know each other but conversation flowed easily amongst us. We talked jobs, schools, kids, bike amenities, favorite restaurants and managed to get some professional networking in. I sampled the Oracle, a local vodka and energy drink cocktail created for our group – a great pick-me-up after biking all over Minneapolis.
We parted ways after the Herkimer after a lovely afternoon. I think my friend Frank Grazzini (picture above at left) summarized our day the best: “I thought it would be a great way to visit a couple of places that are quickly becoming south Minneapolis landmarks, while getting to meet a few new people from my extended neighborhood. As luck would have it we ended up getting one of the most beautiful fall days I’ve been able to relax and enjoy for a long time! For me it sort of summed up most of the reasons I love Minneapolis: interesting people, the possibility of great weather, and an incredibly bike friendly environment.”
Tags: Bryant Ave. Bike Boulevard, Fulton Farmer's Market, Masami Kawazoto, progressive lunch, progressive lunch on bike, Riverlake Greenway, The Herkimer, Wise Acre Eatery
Posted in Featured | No Comments »
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
Annual Bike Fest events in North Minneapolis encourage children and their families to learn more about biking and biking safely. One organizer shares how the events come together and what she hopes the community will take away from them.
Name: Janet Marvin
Occupation: Current: Program Director for Herb Brooks Foundation; Past: Folwell Center for Urban Initiatives – City Kids
You’re an advocate for getting more kids in North Minneapolis to bike. Why is this important to you?
Bicycling is a great way to stay healthy and enjoy the outdoors. Minneapolis has great bike trails. Bikes provide transportation for youth to get to destinations like church, school, parks and local stores.
The Folwell Center for Urban Initiatives (FCUI) created Bike Fest as part of its City Kids initiative; that program was then adopted by the Webber-Camden Neighborhood as a primary event in 2010 and 2011. The Pohlad Family Foundation supported the 2011 Bike Fests and delivered bike programming in six events across the northside from May to August. These events served more than 1,000 people, primarily youth, and included bike giveaways, helmet safety with 1,000 helmets donated by the American Academy of Neurology, bike maintenance and repair.
What was your role in the summer of 2011 Bike Fests?
My role was to coordinate the events; bringing together volunteer mechanics at the host site, organizing activities and volunteers.
The Bike Fest event was started seven years ago through the Folwell Neighborhood Association (FNA) office. North Minneapolis did not have a bike shop or a place where families could take bikes and get basic repairs done. We thought it would be a great idea if together with FNA, PAL (Police Activities League) and the Minneapolis Parks, we could offer a solution to some of the bike issues. Since then, it has grown from doing events at three sites to doing six sites this past summer. This past summer, The American Academy of Neurology donated 1,000 helmets to be fitted and given away. The Bike/Walk Ambassador organization came in and set up the safety course at the events. The Pohlad Family Foundation helped with buying new supplies to fix the bikes and also provided hot dogs at the events.
Bike Fest is a family event with some of the activities focused for 6- to 12-year-old girls and boys. They register for a chance to win a new bike; there are two brand new bikes raffled off at each event. Then we also raffle off used bikes that have been donated and repaired. At the registration table the kids get a “punch card” with activities on it. Once they complete the punch card they will get a gift bag. The gift bag typically contains a water bottle, lock, stickers, etc. At the Bike Fest there are six to eight activities for the kids to participate in: repair a flat tube, ride the safety course, get fitted for a new helmet, get a free basic tune-up, ride a high-wheeler, ride a unicycle, brain injury simulation station.
What’s one piece of advice you would give a youth if they were looking to ride a bike more frequently?
Wear a helmet. Lock your bike when you are not riding it! Ride safe and enjoy the trails we have; we are so blessed to have such a great trail system.
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