"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A new attitude about biking in Minneapolis?

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


George A said...

Steel studded bike tires
Steel studded bike tires
Steel studded bike tires

If I say it enough times I can almost see myself cycling in the snow--but I'd need a beater bike to do that; my pet bikes & LBCs never go out after the highway dept. starts slinging salt around.

Gunnar Berg said...


Gunnar Berg said...

Besides the wonderful bike lane and trail system, the other thing that Minneapolis got right was putting bike racks on front of buses and inside the light rail cars.

George A said...

Sorry, got slangy on my end. LBC = Little British Car.

A proper bike lane system sounds wonderful. Here I'd get waffled on the first day if I attempted to ride to work on the roads leading to the lab. The one bright spot is that nearby DC is enlarging their bike paths and bike rental locations. Does Minneapolis have a bike rental program?

When we go downtown we take the subway from the closest station and once there walk everywhere. I'll have to check out those bike rental options the next time.

Gunnar Berg said...


Tony T. said...

I commuted 48 miles round trip to work when I lived in the Washington DC suburbs. It took almost the same amount of time to bike 24 miles into work as it did to drive thanks to the bad traffic!

Silk Hope said...

It is flat in Minn. cycling is easy ;-).

Gunnar Berg said...

Minneapolis is pretty flat. Parts of Minnesota are hillier than western Iowa. ;-)

Tom G. said...

I've noticed a big increase in cycling commuters. When I started doing it in 2000, it was rare to see another cyclist out and about at 6 am. Now I have to chose alternate routes because the bike traffic on the major commuter trails has become a hassle.

Last year, during a 2 hr. drive home in one of our snowstorms, I saw 3 different cyclists. There's a fine line between healthy, and crazy.

Gunnar Berg said...

@ Tom, Maybe not crazy. Until a week ago, one of those would have been my daughter. People don't necessarily have other options.

Silk Hope said...

Hey is the "Coldnago" out of mothballs?