A close member of my family lives in Minneapolis and works in one of the western suburbs. Last weekend she finally gave in and for the first time in years she temporarily parked her bicycle and bought an automobile. Even in Minneapolis the combination of distance and weather made bicycle commuting too difficult. The following is from yesterday's Minneapolis Tribune. I assume the photo was taken earlier in the year.
"The number of bicyclists in and around Minneapolis has soared in the past year, signaling that a decade-long cultural shift in transportation and urban design is gaining ground.
The number of people burning calories instead of fuel to turn their wheels increased by 22 percent in the past year and by 52 percent since 2007, according to data to be released on Friday by Bike Walk Twin Cities, an advocacy group.
The numbers are still low compared to car usage. But, experts say, they are big enough now to make an impact on health, air pollution and traffic congestion.
"It's become a cultural phenomenon, and part of the identity of many people who reside [in the Twin Cities]," said John Pucher, a professor of urban transportation at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "Minneapolis is one of the most successful [biking] cities in the United States, which is incredible given your weather."
The trend is also producing new attitudes toward commuting and -- in case you hadn't noticed -- a need to share the roads no matter what the weather.
"I'm going to ride in the tire track, right where the cars are," said Jill Hamilton, 48, as she described how she handles her bike commute to downtown Minneapolis on snowy days. "My mindset is: I'm sharing the road, too."
The fact that Hamilton is riding -- Minneapolis has more female riders than the national average -- and doing it in the winter is evidence that millions of dollars invested in biking lanes and trails are resulting in a transformation of the city, Pucher said." continued