Biking Minneapolis

Biking Minneapolis September 16, 2010

Prior to this spring, I had not owned a bike since junior high.  Growing up in the suburbs, I didn’t think I needed one after my friends and I started getting our drivers’ licenses.  When I got to college, I considered getting one, but everyone I knew had their bikes stolen, repeatedly, on campus, so I decided it wasn’t a smart investment.

After that, I went to seminary and, like everyone else in SoCal, I drove everywhere.  And back in Minnesota, I was again a suburbanite, and I continued to drive everywhere.  It wasn’t till my kids were of biking age in the past few years that I started longing to have a bike again.  So this Spring, I purchased a Trek 7200 — a hybrid bike that allows me to both cruise with my kids and to roll down some gravel roads up north.

But what I’ve found myself doing the most is biking instead of driving.  I often bike to my part-time gig at sparkhouse, and I’ll bike to the post office, bank, or to meet someone for coffee.

And, it turns out that Minneapolis is the #1 Biking City in America, or so claims Bicycling Magazine (much to the chagrin of Portland).  Why?  It’s a great (and funny) article that should be read in its entirety, so don’t let this rather dry excerpt dissuade you from reading it, but here is part of the reason:

Between them, Minneapolis and St. Paul have 84 miles of dedicated bike paths and 44 miles of designated bike lanes on streets. The city has plans to install another 40 miles of designated bike lanes. Every city bus and train has bicycle-carrying capability. Every office building in Minneapolis is required by law to provide bicycle storage, and the city funds half the price of every bike rack any business installs. Although a study by the Alliance for Biking and Walking said that Minneapolis had more bicycle parking than any city in the country, transportation planners want to install $250,000 worth of new racks.

The article makes hay about the hardcore Minneapolitans who bike all winter.  I can’t say I’m there yet.  Instead, I’ve joined CycleQuest Studio, an indoor cycling (aka, spinning) gym.  My first rides there have been great, as much for the cameraderie as for the workout (and the first two classes are free!).

I’ve become a convert to biking, both indoors and outdoors.  I love it.

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  • We live in midtown Sacramento and walk and bicycle everywhere we can! Good for you Tony!

  • Tony, what do you think it means that you post a blog with the word “gay” in it and it gets tons of comments, yet your personal blogs rarely get comments?

  • I know what you mean by bikes being stolen in college. I had three bikes stolen and a fourth nearly so – they got it to the back stairwell in my building but realized it didn’t have a chain on it. Biking is great though. I am trying to commute by bike as much as I can.

  • It’s about time, Tony! I am on the bike 3-4 hours a day and would love to ride with you. Logged over 5,500 so far this year and am shooting for 6,060 and most of that is biking to coffee shops, the grocery store, meetings, and farmer’s markets instead of driving. I would NOT recommend biking after the snow falls, though. Impassable sidewalks, icy roadways, and inattentive drivers with foggy windshields does not add up to longevity.

  • I’m glad your back allows you to resume cycling, mine does not – not on a road bike at least. I hope to get a “day 6” bike next year – I understand they will then make one big enough for me. It’s designed for middle-aged people whose joints don’t jive to the extreme joint angles of road bikes