Event Recaps with Kat!
Minneapolis Bicycle Events – Something for Everyone
As most Minneapolis residents know, we live in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. With this title comes benefits like an ability to take part in an array of diverse bicycling communities. In the last week I attended two vastly different events, both catering to specific and different branches of our Minneapolis bicycling world.
The first of those two events was the second race in the summer series put on by the Minneapolis Bicycle Messenger Association. The series is a spattering of various messenger-style races including alleycats, sprints, pick and drop, and criterium. Last Friday’s race was an alleycat requiring riders to ride about 17 total miles on a two-lap loop with 4 stops on each loop. The racers who showed up were fast and the winners completed the race in 50 minutes.
Though each bicycling community contains diversities in itself,the MBMA race series undoubtedly
appeals to a certain type of cyclist. A variety of people participate but the series is first and foremost designed for messengers and other people who ride their bike everyday for a living. It aims to offer a serious and challenging but fun competition for the fastest, most technical, and most experienced urban riders in Minneapolis. If you can’t keep up a 20 mile per hour pace, don’t know the fastest routes to various locations in Minneapolis, or aren’t comfortable riding with and weaving through traffic, you will probably be left in the dust. You’re also likely to find that males vastly outnumber females in these races. At the race last Friday I was the only female rider even considering joining the race, and when I saw my competition and lack of other female participants, I opted instead to watch and support. Regardless of the specific nature of the MBMA series most people you meet will be incredibly friendly and inclusive whether you’re riding or watching, fast or slow, male or female. And volunteers are always welcome as people are needed to work stops or help check in riders. If you get the chance to attend, don’t hesitate. Come on out whether to race, watch, or volunteer and meet some new faces while taking part in an important part of urban bicycling culture.
The second event I recently attended was the Northeast Ride (http://www.northeastride.org/about/). It took place this last Saturday on June 2. This ride could not be more different than the MBMA series. The ride was very publicized and was meant to attract all types of riders including young, old, families, new riders, experienced riders, NiceRide riders, and everything in between. I rode with two friends – one who is on the new side of bicycling and commuting regularly and another who was on a bike for the first time in years. Both of my friends comfortably participated and had a great time. The Northeast Ride set out to exhibit various aspects of Minneapolis’ Northeast community while promoting cycling for exercise/hobby, green living, and commuting. Each of the 9 stops provided information about Northeast Minneapolis or biking in general. One stop promoted a new yoga studio in the neighborhood, one gave away t-shirts for answering bike trivia correctly, one allowed us to taste local bike-delivered honey, helmets were given away, and free bike checks were provided. At the kickoff Peace Coffee and donuts were served and a band provided music completely powered by solar energy and people riding bicycles that powered generators.
The Northeast Ride was very user-friendly. There was ample parking space for the multiple riders who drove their cars with bikes in tow. It was as slow or fast paced as people desired, though most chose to take it leisurely. The ride totaled around 15 miles and only required participants to climb one major hill, at the top of which each person received a sticker boasting a successful climb to Minneapolis’ highest point. Afterward there was an after-party at Altered Esthetics art gallery which was hosting its 7th annual bike-art exhibit. Beer and food was served and everyone had time to relax after the ride and get to know some of the other riders. Though I personally felt that the price was a little steep ($25) and I generally enjoy faster-paced events, the Northeast Ride ultimately turned out to be a huge success. It attracted a whole group of new faces for me to meet, and I loved going in depth into an amazing Minneapolis neighborhood.
The point is that no matter what type of rider you are, you shouldn’t hesitate to take part in a community bicycle event. Whether you’re looking to ride for a cause, you have a need for speed, you want to support your local brewery or art gallery, you want to get involved in the efforts to develop Minneapolis’ bike infrastructure, or you just want to casually ride and meet new people there is something out there for you. Best of all, no matter what you decide to participate in, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re supporting camaraderie, community, and healthiness embodied in being a bicyclist.
Check out the following websites for some lovely events coming up:
The Greenway Glow June 9th
Urban Assault Ride June 10th
MS 150 June 8th -10th
Altered Esthetics Bike-Art Exhibit
Bike Walk Twin Cities
Grease Rag Ride & Wrench – A Forum for Women/Trans/Femm Cyclists in MPLS
MPLS Bike Love
Tour de Fat July 28
Babes in Bikeland September 8