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!