My dad rides a bike. Not like a motorcycle, tattoo'ed up, handlebar moustache bike, he rides a road bike, Lance Armstrong style. It's pretty awesome, he's really serious about it and even takes long, 50-mile rides on the weekends. Of course, this could all be part of a plot to get more gadgets into his life (he loves gadgets, too), but more likely he is part of the huge number of Minnesotans who love bicycling. In fact, this year, Minneapolis was named the most Bike-Friendly city in the nation, even though we have snow on the ground for half the year!
On June 10, 2010, Minneapolis got even more bike-friendly (and more colorful!) when Nice Ride MN launched. Nice Ride has about 500 bikes and 60 stations where you can pick up a bike, ride it around, and then return it when you're done (of course you have to pay for it, but memberships are as low-priced as $60/year). I've noticed several (solar-powered!) "stations" in my neighborhood, and if you've been downtown at all, you can't miss the bright neon-yellow bikes being pedaled around.
Even though I personally haven't tried this new, fun feature in our community, I was really excited to see that in less than 100 days since they've become available, there's been over 50,000 rides taken on these funky day-glo bikes! That's really exciting news, in terms of getting cars off the road and pollution out of the air.
My last bike was sold in a garage sale while I was living in New York; I'm not upset because I might be embarassed to ride it anyways: it was black with red speckles as though someone had flicked a paintbrush at it (yes, I bought it that way). Since my main squeeze already has his own bike, and we would love to be able to ride around downtown, maybe I will buy a subscription to Nice Ride instead of investing in a whole new bicycle.
And, for those of you who love biking and want to see more of our fair city, I would encourage you to check out the Minneapolis Bike Tour, taking place this year on September 19. It's a go-at-your-own-pace ride (not a race!) that takes you through some of Minneapolis's most beautiful park systems, and in fact the registration fees go toward maintaining the very bike trails you will be riding on!
This post is dedicated to the coolest rider around, so cool that he wears a do-rag under his helmet--my Dad!