April 14, 2009

Sorry, Portland

Last fall a fellow by the name of Eric Smillie contacted me about an article he was writing on Minneapolis. It completely slipped my mind until today, when I received an email from him with this link to the published piece.

It's about cities that aren't named Portland, that have strong bike cultures.

Here is the Minneapolis section of said article:

Population: 377,000
Workers commuting by bike: 3.8%
Alley cats a year: 30
People at Critical Mass (approximately): 600 per ride
Bicycle Friendly Community rating: Silver
Miles of bike lanes and trails: 122

Scene: Even 56 inches of snow each year cannot smother Minneapolis’s beating heart of bicycling. “I don’t know if I dare say the alley-cat scene is the biggest in the country, but it’s ridiculous,” says Jeff Frane of the Bike Jerks crew. A recent women-only street race saw 123 riders, and the 2008 Stupor Bowl drew 400. Chalk up some of the depth to local companies like the national distributor Quality Bike Parts, the bike manufacturer Surly, and a contingent of custom frame-builders like Capricorn Bicycles. Plus, the place is flat, which obviates the need for gears. “Minneapolis is huge for single-speed mountain biking. It’s basically the birthplace of it,” says Frane. “In winter, they handle the snow better and don’t need much maintenance.” In summer, meanwhile, bike polo matches run three times a week. The scene gets hefty support from the city, too: The local administration has earmarked funds to install self-service bicycle rentals and 45 more miles of trails and lanes by 2010, and the city’s 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway, a path that cuts all the way across the city’s south side, has been so successful that riders are clamoring for more.

Read the whole article here: www.good.is