Thursday, March 25, 2010

Minneapolis #1 bike-friendly city?

I hear a rumor that Bicycling Magazine, in a possibly yet-to-be-released issue, has selected Minneapolis, our fair city, #1 in their 2010 Bike Friendly Cities list. Portland has been moved to #2.

This is funny because these lists have never before included Minneapolis, except maybe in the "honorable mention" category. The truth is that Minneapolis has been leading the nation in bike infrastructure since the 1890s, when bike paths were added around some of the city lakes. And year after year, Minneapolis is #1 or #2 in bike commuting as a percentage of population. We have extensive bike trails and bike lanes and an easily navigable grid of generally quiet city streets. Yes, we have winter, and this last one was tougher than most, but even in winter, cycling is generally a viable, even pleasant activity on most days. Of course, in my experience, a simple mention of the word "Minneapolis" to people who've never been here usually results in a semi-horrified wrinkling up of the nose and/or a grimace, or maybe the person will ask if I know his/her friend in Madison or Milwaukee. We live in the big homogeneous frozen flyover land that no outsider is likely to consider as a cycling hot-spot. Except that it is, and now the secret is out.

(I'll be humored if Bicycling plays the rise of Minneapolis as a "most improved" thing, rather than admitting that they simply overlooked us before)

6 comments:

KM said...

Anonymity kept us pure.

phaedrus said...

The article can be read here (it will ask for you to register every couple of pages. make up any old email address and hit "login" and you're "registered". if you feel bad about that, give them a real one)

http://staging4.texterity.com/bicycling/201005?pg=58#pg58

Actually, inaccuracies and ommission of certain bike shops aside, I liked their take on why Minneapolis hasn't pinged before which, as near as I can tell, is basically: "they've got god awful winters and they ride and don't think its a big deal, so no one was paying attention".

rigtenzin said...

Don't read the article or buy the magazine -- that will encourage them to write more.

Henry said...

Did anyone notice where the arrow pointed to when indicating Minneapolis on their map? Good. Let them move to Moorehead.

spiderleggreen said...

Maybe I've been drinking too much of that Dutch cool-aid, but riding around town this winter wouldn't have led me to the conclusion that Mpls. is bike heaven. I'm not even questioning the ranking, just hoping for so much more. More infrastructure. Did you see what they did to downtown? No disrespect to buses, but they made out like bandits, while bikes lost some pathways. I hope the politico's don't use this as an excuse to say we're a biking wonderland so quit complaining.

Snak Shak said...

My theory is that Buy-Cycling magazine only did this to ensure that everyone in Portland buys a copy to see what the hell happened here.