Tag Archives: minneapolis

Nothing Says Spring Like Taking Out the Bike

City Biking Explained

Yesterday we rented a truck to deliver furniture to friends around town. We noticed some new street markings for bicycles that we hadn’t seen before. The meaning was not obvious. We had no idea what we were supposed to do. Today I found a couple of videos on the City of Minneapolis website explaining what these markings mean.

This first video explains bike lane markings. The second video explains bike boulevards (that’s what we came across in uptown.)

For those of us who haven’t done a lot of inner-city, heavy-traffic riding, the City is also offering a series of guided biking tours which will not only help you understand how to ride on city streets, but also provide a tour of various neighborhoods. There are tours for adults and for families.

And you won’t want to miss the free classes teaching you how to tune up your bike for the summer riding season.

Need a Bike But Can’t Afford One?

Check out Cycles for Change (formerly Sibley Bike Depot). Cycles for Change refurbishes used bikes and sells them at extremely affordable prices. You can talk to a bicycle mechanic for free and you can even earn a free bike in exchange for volunteer work.

One thing I LOVE about Cycles for Change is their sensitivity to the needs of women and youth. Ladies, have you ever walked into a bike shop and felt you entered a male-only club with a secret language? Cycles for Change works hard to create a safe space where women and girls — and transgendered persons — can feel comfortable coming to learn and work on bikes. They have set aside Tuesday work nights exclusively for women and transgender people (though women and transpeople are ALWAYS free to use the space on other nights).

I learned about Cycles for Change because they donate bikes to a group with which I volunteer. Low-income people encounter many problems with transportation, particularly in a city like ours with relatively poor public transportation offered at a very high cost. (I say poor because bus services are frequently cut back, service to suburbs is dismal, and the legislature regularly cuts funds from Metro Transit.)

A bike brings freedom. Biking and busing combined can bring greater access to jobs. Donating a bike to a low-income person can be life-changing.

Need a Bike Only Occasionally?

My pen pal for the past 25 years is coming to visit me from Australia. I’m thrilled! I can’t wait to show her my city. Biking is a great way to do that but she’s only here for a week so where can I get her a bike. Enter Nice Rides, the Twin Cities bike share program.

I’ve got a couple of options to pay for her to bike while she’s here. We can do a day-by-day subscription for $6 a day. If she’s here for 7 days, it’s cheaper to get a 30-day subscription for $30. In order to avoid a trip fee, we need to plan our bike trip so that we can check the bike in (and out again) every 30 minutes. I think this is rather ideal for a sight-seeing trip. For example, I know there is a Nice Ride park by the MIA and that’s about a 20 minute ride (for me) from my house. We can pick up a bike for her outside The Birchwood Cafe, only 6 blocks from my house. We can take the Greenway bike trail most of the way there. And if I’m too tired to bike back home after a long day at the art museum, we can walk to Lake St and put my bike on the front of a bus for the trip home. Her bike is stowed at the MIA lot – no need to return it to the Birchwood.

First Unitarian Wins Energy Competition, Tour the Building and Learn How

In 2011, the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis won an EPA Energy Star national building competition, “Battle of the Buildings,” in the House of Worship category for their efforts to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

By taking advantage of low-cost and no-cost energy-saving opportunities, the congregation saved more than $16,000 in the first year. See how they did it — and how your church can do it, too. The Metro Clean Energy Resource Team (CERT) and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light are hosting a tour of the First Unitarian building at 900 Mount Curve Avenue, Minneapolis, on Sunday, March 18, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Read more about what the church did to achieve such excellent results.

From Roots to Rooftops!

Every month a group of folks meets at the Red Stag Supperclub near downtown Minneapolis to hear the latest developments from people working on energy and environmental issues. This month’s “Green Ideas & Ham” meeting looks at innovative water management strategies.

Speakers John Bilotta, an educator with the U of M Extension Service on Water, and Angie Durhman, a National Green Roof Manager with Tecta America, will talk about the benefits of green roofs and landscaping in conserving and protecting clean water. John has years of experience in education and training around soil and water resources, and Annie has worked on more than 200 green roof projects including the Target Center in Minneapolis.

This monthly breakfast forum will take place on Tuesday, March 20, from 8 to 9 am (doors open at 7:30). The Red Stag Supperclub is in near-northeast, at 509 1st Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413.

The cost to attend the talk and for a fabulous farm-fresh breakfast (I can attest that it is really good) is $15 total. Donate $5 online at Environment Minnesota, which reserves you a seat, and come prepared to pay $10 to the Red Stag server at your table. (Note: the Red Stag does not accept checks).