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Minneapolis is only U.S. city on worldwide bike-friendly list

Minneapolis' growing network of bike lanes and a well-used bike share program have landed the city on yet another list of bike-friendly communities -- and this time, it's the only U.S. city to rank among the world's top cities for cyclists.

The latest recognition is from the Copenhagenize Design Co., a Danish design firm that annually publishes a worldwide index of bike-friendly cities. Minneapolis is No. 18 on the list, which is led by Copenhagen, Denmark, and two Dutch cities: Amsterdam and Utrecht. The only other North American city to make the top 20 is Montreal, Canada, at No. 20. 

Minneapolis is the first U.S. city to make the list since the firm increased the number of cities up for consideration in 2013. The list's authors said Minneapolis is "quickly becoming the go-to city in America for building (bike) infrastructure," noting that the effort has the backing of officials in City Hall. 

They also gave some advice for improvement: do more to keep bike paths and lanes clear in the winter.

"It's hard for American cities to think outside the box regarding transport, but somebody has to do it," the firm wrote. "Why not Minneapolis."

Above: Alexis Pennie, Amy Brugh and Ethan Fawley ride on the Hiawatha Bike Trail in Minneapolis in March. Hawley is the executive director of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, and Pennie and Brugh are volunteers. Leila Navidi / Star Tribune

Minneapolis, Mall of America surveillance plane spotted

Surveillance plane

Surveillance plane

By JOHN REINAN

Staff Writer

Here's the Cessna that's been spotted circling sites in the Twin Cities recently. The plane, registered to LCB Leasing of Bristow, Va., spent more than five hours last week circling downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America in Bloomington and Southdale Center in Edina.

The backstory can be found here.

(Aviation buff John Zimmerman snapped this photo of the plane as it took off from Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie.)