By Kirstin Taggart
The Tour de Minneapolis sets off!
This past Saturday was another great turnout for our 16th annual bicycle conference on wheels—the Tour de Minneapolis. Over 150 bicyclists braved the weather, sporting layers fit for a day of cycling. This year’s ride began at the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center, continued through North Minneapolis towards Theodore Wirth Park and rounded off back down to the Greenway to the Phillips Eco-Enterprise Center. You can see the route map online here.
Riding over Franklin Ave. on the Light Rail Trail
The focus of this year’s tour was Complete Streets – where all modes of transportation are taken into account in street design, including bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users. Throughout the route our speakers talked of the importance Complete Streets design and of expanding the bicycle facilities in Minneapolis.
North Star Chapter State Director Margaret Levin addresses the ride at the start
At the start Margaret Levin, the Sierra Club State Director, along with State Senator Patricia Torres Ray, offered motivation to get blood flowing and legs pedaling as the ride kicked off. At our first stop around 5 miles into the tour, Ethan Fawley, the President of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition spoke of the need to promote Complete Streets policies in Minneapolis. Mark Andrew, the President and founder of GreenMark talked about the role sustainability plays in all our lives, giving the example of GreenMark’s work on making Target Field one of the greenest stadiums in the world.
Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition President Ethan Fawley talks about Complete Streets policy
Numerous other speakers, from organizations around the metropolitan area, such as Nice Ride, the Midtown Greenway Coalition, and Bike/Walk Twin Cities spoke at our other stops along the route – either highlighting street improvements or policies we are pursuing in partnership with them to make Minneapolis a safer, more fun place to bike.
Riders head back towards Minneapolis
So how about that ride? As the tour made way through the heart of Minneapolis, riders were able to experience new bicycle lanes, trails, and facilities. A winding ride through the Theodore Wirth Park exemplified accessibility to green spaces, not to mention a much needed stop for lunch! With only 7 remaining miles to tackle, riders secured their helmets and rode off towards the Midtown Greenway. While the first leg of the tour was a very urban ride and was comprised mainly of on-street bicycle lanes, the second leg was primarily trails. As bicyclists began to flow onto the Midtown Greenway, the appearing sun seemed to give riders a warm welcome and thank you for a job well done.
The Crosswalk Chicken hitches a ride on the Cookie Support Vehicle