Minneapolis Cycle City USA

April 29, 2010

There must be some sort of mistake. A typo or something. This just can’t be possible.

Minneapolis named America’s best bike city.

Or maybe there’s a Minneapolis in some other state outside of Minnesota. California. Oregon. Arizona. You know, where they can ride their bikes all year round.

Because in Minnesota, man, you wouldn’t waste the time, money or effort to build and design a crackerjack bicycle system that people would use for just part of the year. I mean, that would be insane, an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money, some sort of socialist plot to steal our cars from us.

That’s what we’re told up here in wintery Toronto when bike lane opponents have run out of other arguments. As recently as a couple weeks ago in a Toronto Sun editorial, huffing mightily in indignation about the proposed trial run of bike lanes on University Avenue this summer, we’re warned that “… council needs to remember that what may work for 12 weeks in the summer from July to September could prove to be a disaster in the dead of winter.

Not just unworkable, you understand, but a disaster.

Bike lanes are for more temperate climes. Vancouver. Portland (a previous winner of Best Bike City in America). Europe. You mean like balmy locals such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam? They don’t count. They’re European. They like biking because they’re effete, cheese-eating car haters.

We here in North America take to our bikes only recreationally and only when weather permits. Hardy means shivering in your car before the seats actually warm up. Nobody in their right minds would choose to bike in the winter which is why there’s usually only couriers out on the road between November and April.

Apparently, no one’s informed the people of Minneapolis about that. The city is strikingly similar to Toronto weather-wise, averaging slightly less than one degree colder in its daytime highs throughout the winter months with an almost identical amount of snowfall. Yet, there it is, the newly crowned America’s Best Biking City. Yes, they experience a drop off of bike commuting when the temperature plummets and snow falls, as much as 2/3s by an estimate a couple years ago. But this does not stop them from investing in, promoting and encouraging cyclists.

So, it’s not a question of can you create a positive biking culture in cities afflicted by inclement winter weather. Minneapolis proves that you can. It’s all about will you.

bipedally submitted by Urban Sophisticat


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