From single-speeds barreling down Hennepin Avenue to cowboy boots strutting through Como Park, self-propulsion is gaining momentum here in the Twin Cities.
Saturday, June 5, marks the start of the Cities’ third annual Bike Walk Week, a week of group commutes, social gatherings and shopping deals in honor of residents being their “own engines.”
The festivities are tied together by several key happenings, such as Women’s Wednesday on June 9, Bike Walk to Work Day on June 10, and Bike to the Twins Game on June 13.
“What makes this year really exciting is the breadth of activities going on throughout the week,” Amber Collett, communications associate for event co-organizer Transit for Livable Communities, said.
“We’ve got something for everyone,” Collett added, “from people who walk all the time and very experienced bikers, to folks who are just thinking about taking that step off their doorstep for the first time.”
Organizers hope to show that biking and walking aren’t just for recreation, but something people can build into their everyday lives, she said.
An interactive website provides information about the main events, as well as many smaller gatherings happening in neighborhoods across the metro area from free morning coffee to skill-building classes.
Participants should register to become eligible for prizes and freebies, find a commuter convoy and help organizers keep track of how many people are involved.
Bike Walk Week started as a single day in 2007 and has been growing ever since, with nearly 5,000 people participating last year. In the meantime, Bicycling magazine crowned Minneapolis the country’s top bike city. Organizers are anticipating more people than ever will come out for this week’s events.
By Friday, Collett said, they were already ahead of last year’s registration totals by 23 percent.
Here’s the Daily Planet’s guide to Bike Walk Week, compiled from information found on www.bikewalkweek.org and other websites:
Saturday, June 5:
Twin Cities Start! Heart Walk will get people moving with a fundraiser for the American Heart Association at the new Minnesota Twins Target Field.
National Trails Day with the Three Rivers Park District will celebrate the potential to exercise amidst our area’s natural beauty. Highlights include a Trek Women’s Bike Skills Clinic at 10:30 a.m., free bicycle inspections and healthy food vendors.
Sunday, June 6:
Grand Old Day, a festival along historic Grand Avenue in St. Paul, offers a chance for a bicyling or walking adventure. Avoid parking hassles – and make room in your belly for all that delicious festival food! – by riding your bike or walking to this outdoor summer party.
Bike Walk to Worship Day, a way for the faithful to exercise their physical and spiritual sides, will happen today and June 11.
- Beyond the Motor City: A Documentary Film about the Past and Future of Transportation will be shown at 7 p.m. at St. Anthony Main Theatre. Attend a screening and discussion of the film as well as other short films about bicycling. Q&A to follow with director Aaron Woolf and local bicycle business leaders and activists.
Wednesday, June 9:
Women’s Wednesday is devoted to women cyclists, who a 2009 Transit for Livable Communities report revealed are far outnumbered by men. This new addition to Bike Walk Week is all about connecting current women cyclists with women who want to try out bicycle commuting. The day kicks off with a 7 a.m. group ride starting at the Dunn Brothers at 4648 E. Lake Street in Minneapolis. Women should wear red for heart health (as well as a helmet), and everyone should expect to take home a free cookbook.
Women’s Wednesday continues in the evening with the Midtown Greenway Coalition‘s weekly Women on Wednesdays Trail Watch Ride. The ride’s hours will be extended from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. so even more women can participate in the special Bike Walk Week edition of this empowering safety patrol. Wear red, a helmet and a light – and expect to take home a free reflective leg band!
Thursday, June 10:
Bike Walk to Work Day, with its celebration locations all over town, should give a boost to regular commuters as well as encourage less-experienced folks to try walking and biking to work. Many businesses have pledged to give commuters a free or reduced-cost breakfast, dinner or post-work drink for their efforts.
In St. Paul, Russ Stark is leading a bicycle ride down Charles Avenue beginning at 7:15 a.m. at Charles and Aldine and proceed toward downtown St. Paul along Charles. Look here to find similar events in other neighborhoods.
Nice Ride, the nation’s largest bike sharing program, will launch with a noon ride along Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.
Saturday, June 11:
Bike to the Twins Game is packed with incentives to get Twins fans on their bikes. Gift bags, compliments of OptumHealth, will be given to the first 1,000 fans who ride their bike to the 1:10 p.m. Twins vs. Atlanta baseball game at Target Field. There are 400 bike racks around the ballpark, and a bike corral will be located just off the Cedar Lake Trail on Glenwood in Ramp A.