Posts Tagged ‘routes in Northeast Minneapolis’
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
John Akre made up his mind as a young teenager that he didn’t want to drive. He’s kept that promise to himself ever since. Now 49 years old, John has never had a driver’s license and rides his bicycle or walks for almost every trip he makes. Below, John shares how he’s kept his dedication to bicycling and walking strong over the years.
Neighborhood: Northeast Minneapolis, Sheridan neighborhood
Occupation: Youth Media Programs Director at the Minneapolis Television Network
What made you decide at such a young age not to drive?
I remember it mostly as the threat that cars posed to safety when I was walking around or on my bike when I was young. When I was around 12 or 13 or so I decided that I didn’t want to be driving one of those threatening cars.
Has your dedication to not driving a car affected where you choose to live?
I live in the Sheridan Neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis. When I bought my house 18 years ago I wanted to be in a pedestrian/bike/transit-friendly neighborhood close to downtown, where groceries were available nearby. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years, and is even more pedestrian friendly now.
In the past, you’ve taped events around town for your job. Do you have any special way of carrying and protecting your equipment from the elements?
I actually have gone all over the city of Minneapolis over the last 20 years to tape neighborhood events for the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). The NRP doesn’t exist anymore so I don’t do that now. I have always used small video cameras and equipment that I could carry in a backpack or my paniers. On rainy days or in the worst parts of the winter, I rode the bus with the equipment.
What’s your favorite route for commuting?
My workplace is about a mile and a half from my home so I either bike or walk there all year round. I have lately been excited to use the 5th St. Bicycle Boulevard as my route into work. I also sometimes use the Nice Ride bikes, if I might be riding the bus for something after work.
What advice do you have for people who are trying to take more short trips by foot or bike?
Walking and bicycling are the only way to go for short trips. You get a chance to look carefully at your neighborhood and see all the interesting little things that people have done to their houses, or watch the birds and squirrels, see dogs that people are walking, say hi to people as they walk or bike by. Walking and bicycling are great stress relievers. My advice is to just do it. I have paniers on my bike for holding groceries, and the best advice is to make lots of smaller trips, like a couple times a week on the way home from work. Also, when you support the small businesses within walking distance of your home it creates an atmosphere where more small business can thrive. If you aren’t going on a trip where you are getting something bigger than you can comfortably carry, or if you are going alone, you should consider leaving the car behind.
What are the exceptions to your biking/walking lifestyle?
I take the bus often and it is a great accompaniment to bicycling and walking. I ride in cars too, and that’s a great way to do big grocery and other shopping trips. Also, trips to suburbs are generally hard if not nearly impossible to do without a car. But I have also never been the only one in a moving car, and car trips are always much more fun and efficient if you do them with at least one other person (editor’s note: HourCar is a great option for those who don’t own a car, but still want to get around town).
Tags: bicycling in Northeast Minneapolis, bike routes Minneapolis, bike routes Northeast Minneapolis, biking in Northeast Minneapolis, John Akre, routes in Northeast Minneapolis
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