Editor’s note: This is one in an occasional series of profiles of random cyclists encountered on the streets of the Twin Cities. To see previous profiles, go to star tribune.com/icycle. Below are edited excerpts from a conversation.
Cyclist Tom Yuska
59, St. Paul
Youth development director, FamilyMeans
Seen: Morning of April 11, Summit Avenue, just west of Snelling Avenue
His ride: Trek mountain bike. “A mongrel bike,” Yuska said, that he bought used and rebuilt, adding mustache handlebars.
On his cycling routine
Based on my job position, I get to cycle less. I used to cycle four or five times a week. Now it’s once or twice a week (to work in Stillwater) if I am lucky.
On how long he has been rolling
Thirty-plus years, I’ve been cycling — commuting, weekend rides, long-distance touring. I toured across the United States about eight years ago, so that was fun.
On the bike he was riding
I can take it out and commute and shop, and not worry about it as much.
On how cycling weaves into his work
Part of my youth development work at FamilyMeans is running a summer youth bicycle program in two mobile home communities in Washington County: Landfall and Cimarron. We teach bike repair, and take kids (from age 8 to 16) on rides ranging from 2 to 100 miles. Kids earn bikes by working in our shop and participating in rides. Last summer, 55 kids rode 5,476 miles, and five rode over 300 miles each. Hundred-mile riders were rewarded with a three-day bike camping trip to Taylor’s Falls. Thirty-three kids earned bikes.
On the Twin Cities cycling scene
It’s certainly change a lot. I’ve lived here since the early ’90s. The amount of bicycle infrastructure has changed. I know there was a lot of government funding in the ’90s and 2000s to support that. It’s good to see lots of younger people starting to cycle. I think that is going to carry on. My daughter is out in school in California, and I know she cycles to school every day. And she and I have done some tours. I think that the transportation planners have done facilities for commuting, facilities for bike trails and paths for people who are out for fun or with their kids ... it’s pretty diverse. Then, (you have) the development of mountain bikes trails. You really don’t have to go very far to get a good bicycling experience. You can leave the city and feel like you are out in the country in maybe a half-hour. I grew up in Chicago — you’d probably have to cycle to Wisconsin now.